Taurine is a sulfer containing amino acid and is receiving increased attention from researchers who believe it to be more important than previously thought.
Studies suggests that taurine is needed for proper maintenance and functioning of skeletal muscles. Additionally, it has been shown to be effective in removing fatty liver deposits, preventing liver disease, and reducing cirrhosis. Taurine has been shown to affect some of the risk factors for heart disease. Specifically, taurine seems to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. There is also evidence that taurine may alleviate other cardiovascular ailments.
Taurine crosses the blood-brain barrier and has been implicated in a wide array of physiological phenomena including membrane stabilization, possible prevention of obesity, and prevention of epileptic seizures. It also acts as an antioxidant. Studies have shown that taurine can influence (and possibly reverse) defects in nerve blood flow, motor nerve conduction velocity, and nerve sensory thresholds.
Taurine is an essential dietary requirement for feline health, since cats cannot synthesize the compound. The absence of taurine causes a cat’s retina to slowly degenerate— a condition known as central retinal degeneration (CRD), as well as hair loss and tooth decay. It was discovered in 1987 that taurine deficiency can also cause feline dilated cardiomyopathy.
U. Warskulat, U. Flogel, C. Jacoby, H.-G. Hartwig, M. Thewissen, M. W. Merx, A. Molojavyi, B. Heller-Stilb, J. Schrader and D. Haussinger (2004). “Taurine transporter knockout depletes muscle taurine levels and results in severe skeletal muscle impairment but leaves cardiac function uncompromised”. M. D. J. Kerai, Catherine J. Waterfield, S. H. Kenyon, D. S. Asker, J. A. Timbrell Taurine: Protective properties against ethanol-induced hepatic steatosis and lipid peroxidation during chronic ethanol consumption in rats Amino Acids Volume 15, Numbers 1-2 / March, 1998. Congestive Heart Failure, Healthnotes, Inc, PeaceHealth, January 19, 2007. Militante, J. D.; J. B. Lombardini (November 2002). “Treatment of hypertension with oral taurine: exp0/en.2005-1007″. Endocrinology 147: 3276. doi:10.1210/en.2005-1007. PMID 16627576. http://endo.endojournals.org/cgi/content/full/147/7/3276. Retrieved 2006-08-22. Tsuji A, Tamai I. Sodium- and chloride-dependent transport of taurine at the blood-brain barrier. Advances. in Experimental Medicine and Biology 1996;403:385-91. Birdsall TC. Therapeutic applications of taurine. Alternative Medicine Review 1998 Apr;3(2):128-36. Tsuboyama-Kasaoka N, Shozawa C, Sano K, Kamei Y, Kasaoka S, Hosokawa Y, Ezaki O. Taurine (2-aminoethanesulfonic acid) deficiency creates a vicious circle promoting obesity. Endocrinology 2006 Jul;147(7):3276-84. El Idrissi A, Messing J, Scalia J, Trenkner E. Prevention of epileptic seizures by taurine. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology 2003;526:515-25. Gürer H, Ozgünes H, Saygin E, Ercal N. Antioxidant effect of taurine against lead-induced oxidative stress. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 2001 Pop-Busui R, Sullivan KA, Van Huysen C, Bayer L, Cao X, Towns R, Stevens MJ (2001 Apr). “Depletion of taurine in experimental diabetic neuropathy: implications for nerve metabolic, vascular, and functional deficits.”. Exp Neurol. 168 (2): 259–272. Retrieved 2006-08-22. “Nutrient Requirements of Cats”. Nutrient Requirements of Cats, Revised Edition, 1986.