Are You Dangerously Deficient in Taurine?
By Dr. Leonard Smith
While most people have never heard of taurine, a deficiency in taurine can contribute to a wide range of symptoms you have certainly heard of. Low taurine levels have been found in patients with anxiety, depression, hypertension, hypothyroidism, gout, infertility, obesity, kidney failure and autism, among other conditions.
Taurine is an amino acid that can be made in your body from two other amino acids: cysteine and methionine.
Adequate amounts of taurine can usually be obtained from animal and fish protein, eggs and brewer's yeast (NOTE: if you have a viral or fungal infection, eating brewer's yeast can cause allergic reactions).
Since taurine can be made in our bodies, it was thought to be a non-essential amino acid É however in certain circumstances, it is actually considered essential.
Taurine - What It Does For Your Body
Here are some of the key benefits of taurine in relation to your health. Taurine is:
Important in the visual pathways, the brain and nervous system, cardiac function and prevention of irregular heartbeats.
A conjugator of bile acids - helps increase cholesterol elimination in the bile, helps with fat absorption and elimination of toxins.
Important for it's role in renal development and protection of the kidneys from free radical damage.
A facilitator for the passage of sodium, potassium and possibly calcium and magnesium ions into and out of cells.
Protection for the heart from irregular rhythms and damage during shock.
Involved in the balance and control of white blood cell production of free radicals to fight microbial infections.
A calming or stabilizing effect on the brain and has been shown to be useful in treating seizure disorders.
An enhancer of performance for athletes.
Taurine Deficiency - Possible Causes
There are many reasons your body could be low in taurine - and if you are an expecting mother, it's important to know how this could affect your baby.
Low taurine can occur if:
Your body does not make enough taurine due to a deficiency in one or more of the following: o Cysteine and methionine (amino acids that make taurine in your body). o Pyridoxal-5-phosphate (the active form of vitamin B6). o Zinc (deficiency in zinc is common with elevated mercury levels). o Vitamin A.
You are Deficient in the enzyme needed to make taurine o Many humans may not regularly produce a high level of the enzyme needed to make taurine (cysteinsulfinic decarboxylase) and are therefore, dependent on dietary sources. o If you don't regularly consume meat, fish, eggs or brewer's yeast, you could be low in taurine.
You have candida o If you have this systemic fungal infection, it produces an amino acid, beta-alanine, which competes with taurine for reabsorption in the kidney. o This causes you to lose taurine through your urine. o An increase of taurine in urine actually masks a test for low taurine in your body.
You are infected with disease-producing anerobic bacteria o These pathogenic bacteria interfere with the proper functioning of bile acid and degrade taurine, thereby effecting taurine levels.
You are eating foods with MSG, which degrades taurine o MSG, or Monosodium glutamate, is a food additive that is used to enhance the flavor of processed foods. o Food labeling regulations do not require MSG to be labeled as such, which means it can be hidden in foods that you eat.
Additionally, the following vitamins and amino acids may interfere with taurine's functions: o The B-vitamin pantothenic acid (B5). o The amino acids beta-alanine and beta-hypotaurine.
Taurine is essential for brain development in your fetus and newborn. Candida and bacterial imbalances can block taurine -- learn how to prevent and heal them with The Body Ecology Diet.
What Expecting Mothers Should Know
Taurine is an essential amino acid for a developing fetus and newborn babies because they cannot make it themselves - and yet the development of their brain depends on it.
In fact, taurine is the highest concentrated amino acid in the brain of the fetus and newborn. The fetus must obtain it through the placenta and newborns can obtain it from breast milk or formula fortified with taurine.
If a pregnant mother has chronic (even low grade) candida, bacterial imbalances or elevated levels of mercury, lead and cadmium (which create zinc deficiency), it could lead to taurine deficiency in the mother and baby.
Placental absorption of maternal taurine can also be blocked if the fetus is under stress from both mercury and microbial challenges. This can set up a condition where your baby's detoxification pathways are inhibited, which could lead to neurological problems, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Taurine deficiency was found in 62% of autistic children, according to one study.
There are situations in which supplementing with taurine is important. Clinically, taurine has been used in the treatment of a wide variety of conditions, including: cardiovascular diseases, epilepsy and other seizure disorders, macular degeneration, Alzheimer's disease, hepatic disorders, and cystic fibrosis. An analog of taurine, acamprosate, has been used as a treatment for alcoholism. Taurine has also been used for migraines, insomnia, agitation, restlessness, irritability, obsessions and depression. But how do you know for sure if you are deficient in taurine and whether supplementation is right for you? In next week's newsletter, I will cover how to accurately determine taurine levels, how much to take and other supplements that can enhance taurine production.
If you or someone you love has candida, bacterial imbalances and autism, be sure to read The Body Ecology Diet book.
how to accurately determine taurine levels
I believe taurine should be taken with P5P (the active form of vitamin B6) because it is necessary for taurine production.
Research Indicates The Following Dosage Guidelines (check with your doctor for your specific situation):
Overall, the dosage used may range from 500 mg to 5-6 grams.
Recommended range for total sulfur containing amino acids, like taurine, for maintenance is:
Infants and small children - 27-58 mg per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of bodyweight. For example a young child weighing 24 pounds (or 11 kilograms), a daily dose of taurine could be around 500 mg. per day in two divided doses.
Adults 13-16 mg per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of body weight. Athletic training - 6 grams in 3 divided doses has been used.
Heart disease - 5-6 grams daily in three divided doses (low taurine and magnesium levels were found in patients after heart attacks).
Arrhythmias or congestive heart failure - 2 grams three times daily has shown improved cardiac and respiratory function.
Seizures - 500 mg, three times daily.
Possible Side Effects of Taurine Supplementation Possible symptoms of toxicity from taurine supplementation include diarrhea and peptic ulcers.
The potential for ulcers arises from the fact that taurine stimulates gastric acid production. For many people who are low in stomach acid, including the elderly and autistic children, gastric acid production could be a benefit.
However, if you have plenty of stomach acid or are taking hydrochloric acid (HCl) to aid your digestion, you may want to discuss this with your doctor or discontinue your HCl supplements when supplementing with taurine.
Supplements that Enhance Taurine Production
Vitamin D3, 1000 - 2000 IU
P5P (active form of vitamin B6) - jet airline fuel creates airborne carbonyl residues which may block the conversion of B6 to P5P in your body. Depending on where you live, there maybe significant jet fuel residues in the air and on the ground.
Glutamine supplementation increases plasma taurine in trauma patients and stressed rats.
Vitality SuperGreen is an excellent source of covalent bonded glutamine (readily absorbed by your gut), as opposed to typical glutamine (does not absorb well).
Methionine (an essential amino acid found in animal protein) could be an alternative to taurine supplementation because it can make cysteine, which then makes taurine.
Keep in mind that if you supplement with methionine, you must have enough P5P (either in your body or as a supplement) in order to make taurine.
Based on the animal study, mentioned below, fermented foods and drinks would also be beneficial to build a healthy inner ecosystem that could help with taurine metabolism in your gut.
TAURINE - THE MOST COMMONLY DEFICIENT AMINO ACID
Of all the amino acids present in humans, taurine is the most abundant. Unfortunately, it is also deficient in more individuals than any other amino acid. Eighty-six percent of significantly depressed individuals are deficient in taurine. This deficiency may become symptomatic in virtually any organ system, since taurine's major metabolic role is regulation of the electrical charge on cell membranes, a role synergistic with magnesium.
Heart muscle and the retina contain the highest concentration of taurine. Overall, taurine drastically counteracts or down-regulates the body's stress reaction, helping stabilize carbohydrate metabolism, insulin levels and epinephrine levels and muscle tension.
As a mild sedative to the nervous system, taurine is anti-nociceptive - it assists in reducing pain, as well as assisting in regulation of serotonin, prolactin, growth hormone, immune function and cholesterol metabolism.
Taurine is widely used in Europe and Japan to treat epilepsy. My personal experience suggests that all epileptics should take about 3000 mg. of taurine daily and either magnesium taurate or magnesium lotion. Other clinical indications are macular degeneration, elevated cholesterol, arteriosclerosis, congestive heart failure, heart rhythm irregularities and insomnia.
It is well known that alcohol, even within five or six hours of sleep, interferes with Stage 4 sleep. Thus, I recommend that anyone who drinks alcohol take 2000 to 3000 mg. of taurine at bedtime. This precaution appears to block the sleep-interference of alcohol.
Incidentally, there is NO taurine in vegetables. Taurine is a unique animal amino acid found in virtually all animal protein, eggs, milk and flesh foods, including fish, fowl and, of course, beef. It was named for Taurus since it was first found in ox bile, where in humans as well, taurine binds with cholesterol.
L-Taurine has a protective effect on the brain, especially when the brain may be dehydrated. It also works with zinc to maintain good eye function.
L-Taurine May be useful in the treatment of alcoholism.
L-Taurine supplements may also reduce symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.
Stimulates the release of growth hormone which causes muscle growth and reduces body fat.
L-Taurine treats insomnia.
L-Taurine Produces melanin, the pigment of the skin and hair.
L-Taurine helps with states of depression and anxiety.
L-Taurine produces norepinephrine, which is an appetite suppressor.
L-Taurine plays an important role in the function of the adrenal, pituitary and thyroid glands.
L-Taurine increases red and white blood cells.
L-Taurine elevates mood.
L-Taurine for brain, heart, and digestive support
L-Taurine promotes healthy brain cell activity
L-Taurine supports healthy heart function
Read parts of an entire book on taurine:
Other Ancillary Techniques – Massage, physical exercise and nutrition are all important components for management of chronic pain. For instance, we have demonstrated that 80% of smokers and 35% of nonsmokers are deficient in B6. Virtually 100% of patients with depression, which includes almost all chronic pain patients, are deficient in one to seven essential amino acids
and 86% are deficient in taurine. These patients with chronic depression have abnormal blood levels of serotonin, melatonin, beta endorphin, norepinephrine and cholinesterase 92% of the time. Almost 100% of the time they are deficient in intracellular magnesium and all of them have a DHEA level that is either low or deficient.