Taurine – A Powerful Brain Protectant and Anti-aging Nootropic!

Article by: David Gracey
taurine image supermindhacker

Aging is inevitable, and this fact alone comes off as quite daunting to us.

Controlling how we age sounds impractical, but with the help of some nootropics, it can be made possible!

Taurine helps mitigate age-related memory and learning losses.

It helps you retain your focus and alertness, ultimately enabling you to deliver a stellar performance at work and in life.

Keep age-related brain function decline at bay with this superfood!

In addition to giving your brain function a super boost, taurine is also great for the health of your heart, muscles, and eyes.

Most of us yearn for an instant kick of energy, especially during exams or demanding work routines.

Did you know taurine is incorporated in the development of energy drinks that provide you a temporary escape from sluggish routines?

So what is it that makes taurine so special?

Let’s find out!

Taurine is one of the most abundant sulfur-containing amino acids naturally present in many body organs, including the brain, retina, heart, skeletal muscle, and placenta.

It is also one of the components of bile, a digestive fluid produced by the liver.

Taurine is synthesized in the liver from the amino acids cysteine and methionine.

It is a powerful compound brimming with plenty of benefits for both your mind and body.

It plays a vital role in the development, maturation, and survival of neuronal cells and the formation of synapses essential for long-term memory.

Although the human body can produce this amino acid, it is essential that we also acquire it from dietary sources and supplements to maintain optimal levels.

Many foods contain taurine, including meat, fish, and eggs.

After consumption, it’s absorbed into the blood circulation, from where it crosses the blood-brain barrier and enters the neuronal cells.

Who needs to supplement taurine?

Some health conditions can cause taurine levels in your body to dwindle. These include Parkinson’s disease, diabetes types 1 and 2, chronic heart, liver, kidney disease, and cancer.

It is a well-established fact that taurine also begins to decrease as you age. Supplementing with this amino acid can help you maintain its levels across a lifetime.

What are the benefits provided by taurine?

Taurine offers a vast and versatile array of benefits.  Some of them are mentioned below.

Protects against neurological diseases:

chess - aging brain

Animal studies have shown that treating epilepsy with taurine has a significant antiepileptic effect.

It helps mitigate symptoms of neurotoxicity owing to its neuroprotective effects.

An imbalance between excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters is often linked to diseases like Alzheimer’s.

It works to regulate the effects of GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain, since it is a GABAa receptor agonist.

Supplementing with taurine activates these receptors, thus suppressing neuronal firing and attenuating the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

Helps with depression and anxiety:

Taurine has a protective effect on our brain development. An adequate quantity of taurine during development is crucial for improving learning abilities and memory.

An increase in taurine levels is seen in times of stress, suggesting that it has a protective role against anxiety.

If you’re constantly on the lookout for an anxiolytic but haven’t had much luck seeing any real effects, you might want to give this supplement a try!

It helps beat depression by the following two mechanisms:

  1. By enhancing glycine and GABA levels
  2. By protecting the brain against the effects of excessive glutamate

GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that keeps over-firing at bay.

Stress causes GABA levels to diminish, leading to a disproportion in the excitatory/inhibitory cycle.

This consequently increases the risk of developing mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.

Helps with learning and memory:

elderly woman alzheimers image

Taurine works with other neurotransmitters to encourage long-term potentiation, a neurological process that helps memory formation and retention.

It also promotes the formation of new neuronal cells to sustain learning and memory processes.

Are you struggling with forgetfulness and memory loss?

We know how upsetting that can be, and that’s why we recommend supplementing with taurine to improve your mental focus, keep your memory sharp, and stay on top of things!

Helps counteract age-related muscle loss:

With growing age, there is a gradual loss in muscle mass owing to an imbalance between protein synthesis and degradation in the body.

It can lead to functional decline and even disability.

One of the many areas where it is expressed is the skeletal muscle, where it is actively involved in processes such as the modulation of intracellular calcium concentration and ion channel regulation.

Studies have shown that taurine plays a significant role in helping to counteract the development and progression of age-related muscle loss.

Promotes healthy metabolism:

Taurine helps the liver create bile salts by breaking down cholesterol.

Bile helps break down fatty acids in the intestines, thus playing an essential role in metabolism and digestion.

Protects the eyes:

One of the most abundant amino acids present in the eye’s retina happens to be taurine, our unsung hero!

The antioxidant properties it has help to protect our eyes from retinal degradation.

It is also being considered as a potential cure for eye diseases such as glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.

Protects the heart:

Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries due to plaque buildup) is one of the main culprits behind many cardiovascular diseases, such as peripheral artery disease, myocardial infarction, and stroke.

Taurine helps protect against heart conditions by retarding the initiation and progression of atherosclerosis.

It seems to be especially helpful to patients suffering from heart failure.

A decrease in the levels of blood cholesterol and inflammation in people who took it for two weeks (before and after exercise) was observed in a research study.

Protects the brain from aging:

Since taurine levels start to dwindle with age, supplementing with it may be a wise choice.

It stimulates the production of new brain cells and replaces the aging and damaged ones.

It also helps protect against many age-related neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease (by effects on beta-amyloid proteins).

Benefits diabetic patients:

Studies have shown taurine to benefit diabetic patients by lowering glucose levels.

These insulin-like effects result from increased insulin sensitivity, reduced inflammation and oxidative stress, and enhanced insulin secretion.

May benefit athletic performance:

Taurine has the ability to increase muscle contractions and reduce muscle fatigue; adding it to your pre-workout supplement may be a good idea.

It can help improve athletic performance and keep you from feeling tired and fatigued.

How does taurine work in the body?

Taurine provides us with a vast and extensive array of advantages.

Among other notable benefits, the one worthy of the most attention is its cytoprotection ability.

Cytoprotective activity:

Taurine possesses a unique ability to help protect our cells from damage.

It shields neuronal cells from the excitotoxic effects induced by the amino acid glutamate.

Owing to its sulfur content, it has the potential to prevent the production of reactive oxidative species (ROS).

It, therefore, neutralizes hypochlorous acid, nitric oxide, and hydrogen peroxide.

Moreover, it can also block ROS-induced membrane permeabilization if introduced into membranes.

Neuroprotectant action:

Taurine protects brain cells from damage by decreasing the glutamate-induced increase in calcium levels.

Following stimulation by glutamate, the intracellular calcium ion concentration escalates due to the influx of calcium from the extracellular environment through various calcium channels.

However, research shows that in the presence of taurine, this increase in calcium is drastically reduced.

Research has shown that a decline in taurine levels is one of the culprits behind Alzheimer’s.

It can reduce cerebral cortical inflammation, a characteristic feature that signifies the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

In addition, it also decreases the levels of beta-amyloid in the hippocampal regions of the brain.

Neurotransmission:

Taurine works as a neurotransmitter by activating GABA and glycine receptors.

Activation of these receptors brings about changes in mood and memory.

Neuromodulation:

Taurine has an inhibitory effect on neuromodulation.

It influences neuronal activity by providing a neuronal signal for depolarization for numerous neurons in the central nervous system during development.

It hyperpolarizes the neurons and inhibits them from firing.

Are there any side effects associated with taurine supplements?

Taurine supplementation, in moderate amounts, is safe.

However, if you’re suffering from any health conditions, it is advised that you talk to your healthcare provider before starting on taurine supplements.

High doses (3000mg or above) long-term may be harmful.

Some uncommon side effects reported with taurine use are listed below:

  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Liver pain

What is the recommended dosage of taurine?

taking pills dosage - pill box

A dose of 500mg-2grams per day is considered safe.

However, the same dose might not be safe for everybody. Speak to your physician to work out the correct dosage for you.

Drug interactions:

Anticoagulants and antiplatelet drugs:

Supplementing taurine in conjunction with anticoagulants may increase the risk of side effects of these drugs as it may provoke bleeding.

Lithium

It can retard the flushing out of lithium. Therefore, lithium would be spending more time in your body than it should.

If you’re on a lithium medication, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider before starting on taurine supplements.

They might lower your dose of lithium.

Antihypertensive medications

Taking taurine supplements alongside antihypertensive medication may cause your blood pressure to fall too low, as taurine has blood-pressure-lowering effects.

If you have hypertension, it is advised that you monitor your blood pressure closely and talk to a doctor before supplementing with taurine.

Are there any precautions that I should be aware of before taking taurine supplements?

Pregnant and lactating women

Due to the unavailability of enough reliable information to deduce a conclusive result about the safety regarding the use of taurine in pregnant and lactating women, it is better to stay on the safe side and avoid taking taurine altogether. 

Taurine FAQ:

What are the benefits provided by taurine supplements?

Taurine supplements provide your body with the following benefits:

  • Helps treat epilepsy
  • Helps treat depression and anxiety
  • Helps treat diabetes
  • Helps treat neurological disorders
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Protects brain health
  • Protects eye health
  • Prevents age-related muscle loss
  • Supports a healthy metabolism
  • Fights brain aging

Will a single dose of taurine produce any noticeable effects?

No. A single dose of taurine is unlikely to have much of an impact on your body.

To reap the maximum benefits of this supplement, it is advised that you take it regularly for an extended period of time, almost up to a year.

How long does taurine stay in your system?

The plasma half-life of taurine is approximately 0.7-1.4 hours, which means that taurine will stay in your system for 42-84 minutes before being flushed out.

How long does it take for taurine to kick in?

It takes about 15-30 minutes post-consumption for taurine to start working.

When is the best time to take taurine?

Taurine works best when taken at bedtime since your body regenerates cells while you sleep.

However, many people prefer taking it in the morning because they feel it boosts their energy levels.

Do taurine supplements cause any side effects?

Some side effects (although uncommon) reported with taurine use are listed below:

  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Liver pain

Final Thoughts…

Taurine is a widely sought ingredient in many fields of the food industry.

However, one must not become delusional and start expecting wonderous results instantly.

There’s no such drug that can help us become Marvel or DC superheroes!

Period.

Regular maintenance is key to the optimal functioning of your body.

Taurine does the job of ‘regular maintenance’. It works to preserve and protect almost all bodily functions and to keep your system up and running!  

Just pay attyention to dosing guidelines, and speak with your doctor before diving in too deep. 

References:

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About David:

Hey! I’m so glad you’re here. My name is David Gracey. I am a cognitive brain function researcher, avid biohacker, and self-proclaimed nootropic junkie of sorts! (And, yes, a bit of a nerd as well...) I created this website as an outlet to share my passion for self improvement and cognitive brain enhancement. Got questions? Shoot me a message!

 

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