What is taurine and what role does it play in the body?

Taurine is one of the most abundant amino acids in the human body. It fulfills several functions and its regular consumption generates health benefits, so it is advisable to ensure its presence in the diet. Next we are going to tell you everything you need to know about the substance.

Before starting, it should be noted that there are two types of amino acids: essential and non-essential. The first are those that the human body is not capable of endogenously synthesizing, so they must be administered through food. There are 9 and taurine is not one of them (it is only considered essential in the case of newborns).

Where can it be found?

Despite being a common component in energy drinks, the truth is that taurine can be found in many other foods. In general, meats, eggs, dairy products and fish have high levels of the amino acid. Nevertheless, it cannot be found in products of plant origin.

There are also taurine supplements. These can be bought in sports nutrition or specialized stores and are marketed due to the possible benefits that the intake of this substance can generate on health.

To know more: Types of amino acids, their characteristics and where to find them

Function and effects of taurine within the body

Next we are going to indicate to you what are the main functions of taurine and the benefits associated with its consumption, with the corresponding position of science in this regard.

It is not possible to find this amino acid in foods of plant origin, but it can be found in meat and dairy products.

Antioxidant

Taurine has a high antioxidant power. For this reason, it is capable of neutralizing the formation of free radicals, which provides protection against the development of complex and chronic pathologies.

According to a study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, the regular intake of taurine manages to modulate the oxidation and reduction potential, maintaining homeostasis.

Intervenes in the health of the nervous system

Taurine plays a very important role within the central nervous system. According to research published in Life Sciences, the consumption of taurine acts as a protector at the neuronal level, guaranteeing the adequate transmission of the impulse.

Although the intake of this nutrient has been related to the reduction of some neurodegenerative pathologies, solid evidence has not yet been established in this regard.

Protects the pancreas

In addition to what has been said, taurine has proven to be an effective amino acid in preventing the development of diabetes. It increases the sensitivity of cells to insulin, which is very positive in terms of preventing resistance to the hormone.

It must be taken into account that this nutrient manages to exercise certain complex functions at the mitochondrial level that are related to the efficiency of metabolism.

How does it affect the body?

In general, the consumption of taurine is recommended. There is only one scenario in which you have to be careful with the amino acid, due to various negative implications.

We are talking about energy drinks. These are characterized by containing caffeine and taurine in large quantities, based on their synergistic effects. When combined with alcohol, all 3 substances could cause damage to the central nervous system. In the rest of the cases it is considered safe.

Recommended daily amount of taurine

The recommended daily amount of taurine is between 500 and 2000 milligrams. It is easy to achieve this dose if you carry out a varied and balanced diet.

However, in the case of vegans, supplementation may be necessary, since the amino acid is not found in foods of plant origin.

On the other hand, no negative effects are experienced as long as a dose of 3 grams per day is not exceeded, so the safety profile is high. In the case of ingesting excessive amounts, headaches could occur, although it is a rare scenario.

Taurine could be able to prevent the onset of diabetes, as it improves the response of the organs to insulin.

You may also be interested in: How to make meringues with vegan ingredients

Taurine: an important amino acid

Taurine is a non-essential amino acid that performs very important functions in the body. For this reason, it is necessary to guarantee its regular intake.

It is not common to experience deficiencies because it is found in significant concentrations in meats. However, people on vegan diets may need a supplement.

On the other hand, well-planned supplementation could be positive to protect the body against metabolic or neurological inefficiencies. Even with it, the ability to modulate oxidation could be increased.

Keep in mind that, in addition to guaranteeing the consumption of taurine, in order to enjoy optimal health it is necessary to promote healthy lifestyle habits. The latter includes adequate rest and physical exercise.

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