Taurine is one
of the most abundant amino acids in the body. It is found in the central
nervous system, skeletal muscle and is very concentrated in the brain and
heart. It is synthesized from the amino acids Methionine and Cysteine, in
conjunction with vitamin B6. Animal protein is a good source of Taurine, as
it is not found in vegetable protein. Vegetarians with an unbalanced protein
intake, and therefore deficient in methionine or cysteine may have
difficulty manufacturing Taurine. Taurine is present in meats and animal
products, but not in plant products. Dietary intake is thought to be more
important in women as the female hormone Estradiol depresses the formation
of Taurine in the liver.
functions in electrically active tissues such as the brain and heart to help
stabilize cell membranes.
Taurine seems to inhibit and modulate
neurotransmitters in the brain and helps to stabilize cell membranes. It
also has functions in the gallbladder, eyes, and blood vessels and appears
to have some antioxidant and detoxifying activity. Taurine aids the movement
of potassium, sodium, calcium, and magnesium in and out of cells and thus
helps generate nerve impulses. Zinc seems to support this effect of Taurine.
There have been reports on the benefits of Taurine supplementation for
epileptics. It has also been found to control motor tics, such as
uncontrollable facial twitches. Taurine's effectiveness in epilepsy has been
limited by its poor diffusion across the blood-brain barrier.