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Taurine

Taurine, or 2-aminoethanesulfonic acid, is an organic acid. It is a major constituent of bile and can be found in the lower intestine and, in small amounts, in the tissues of many animals, including humans.

Taurine occurs naturally in food, especially in seafood and meat. Taurine in the pharmaceutical and food industryies is chemically synthesised.

Health benefits

Despite being present in many energy foods, taurine has not been proven to be energy-giving. A study of mice hereditarily unable to transport taurine suggests that it is needed for proper maintenance and functioning of skeletal muscles. In addition, it has been shown to be effective in removing fatty liver deposits in rats, preventing liver disease, and reducing cirrhosis in tested animals. There is also evidence that taurine is beneficial for adult human blood pressure and, possibly, the alleviation of other cardiovascular ailments (in humans suffering essential hypertension, taurine supplementation resulted in measurable decreases in blood pressure).

Taurine is also used in some contact lens solutions.

Toxicity

There is an indication that taurine has some function in the maintenance and possibly in the induction of psoriasis.

Physiological functions

Taurine has been implicated in a wide array of physiological phenomena. It also acts as an antioxidant and protects against toxicity of various substances (such as lead and cadmium).

It is possible that taurine supplementation is beneficial for the prevention of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. Studies of the effect of dietary taurine in young overweight adults have reported that body weight decreased significantly in the taurine-supplemented group. Taurine has also been shown to help people with congestive heart failure by increasing the force and effectiveness of heart-muscle contractions.
Taurine is necessary for normal skeletal muscle functioning.

Lately, cosmetic compositions containing taurine have been introduced, possibly due to its antifibrotic properties. It has been shown that taurine acts as a TGFB1 inhibitor. It also helps to maintain skin hydration.

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