Taurine

heartsolutions.jpgTaurine 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.

Resources
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.
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