Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) and Taurine
Taurine is an amino acid, one of the building blocks of proteins. It is found in the nervous system and muscles. Research suggests that taurine may be helpful in treating congestive heart failure (CHF), perhaps even better than coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10).
Effect of Taurine on Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)
Taurine may help treat congestive heart failure by helping to regulate heartbeat and maintain cell membranes.
Research Evidence on Taurine
Several studies (primarily by one research group) suggest that taurine may be useful for congestive heart failure.
In one double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, 58 people with CHF took either placebo or 2 g of taurine 3 times daily for 4 weeks.8 Then the groups were switched. During taurine treatment, the study participants showed highly significant improvement in breathlessness, heart palpitations, fluid buildup, and heart x-ray, as well as standard scales of heart failure severity. Animal research as well as small blinded or open studies in humans have also found positive effects.9-13 Interestingly, one very small study compared taurine with another supplement commonly used for congestive heart failure, coenzyme Q10. The results suggest that taurine is more effective.14
How to Use Taurine
A typical therapeutic dosage of taurine is 2 g taken three times daily.
There is no dietary requirement for taurine, since the body can make it out of vitamin B6 and the amino acids methionine and cysteine. Deficiencies occasionally occur in vegetarians, whose diets may not provide the building blocks for making taurine. Meat, poultry, eggs, dairy products, and fish are good sources of taurine. Legumes and nuts don't contain taurine, but they do contain methionine and cysteine.
People with diabetes have lower-than-average blood levels of taurine, but whether this means they should take extra taurine is unclear.
Types of Professionals That Would Be Involved with This Treatment
- Integrative MD
- Naturopathic doctor
- Clinical nutritionist or registered dietitian
Side Effects and Warnings
As an amino acid found in food, taurine is thought to be quite safe. There is strong evidence that taurine is safe at levels up to 3 g per day, although higher dosages have been tested without apparent adverse effects. ^ However, maximum safe dosages of taurine supplements for children, pregnant or nursing women, or those with severe liver or kidney disease have not been determined.
As with any supplement taken in multigram doses, it is important to purchase a reputable product, because a contaminant present even in small percentages could add up to a real problem.
- Azuma J, Sawamura A, Awata N, et al. Double-blind randomized crossover trial of taurine in congestive heart failure. Curr Ther Res. 1983;34:543-557.
- Azuma J, Sawamura A, Awata N, et al. Therapeutic effect of taurine in congestive heart failure: a double-blind crossover trial. Clin Cardiol. 1985;8:276-282.
- Azuma J, Takihara K, Awata N, et al. Taurine and failing heart: Experimental and clinical aspects. Prog Clin Biol Res. 1985;179:195-213.
- Azuma J, Hasegawa H, Sawamura A, et al. Therapy of congestive heart failure with orally administered taurine. Clin Ther. 1983;5:398-408.
- Takihara K, Azuma J, Awata N, et al. Beneficial effect of taurine in rabbits with chronic congestive heart failure. Am Heart J. 1986;112:1278-1284.
- Azuma J, Takihara K, Awata N, et al. Beneficial effect of taurine on congestive heart failure induced by chronic aortic regurgitation in rabbits. Res Commun Chem Pathol Pharmacol. 1984;45:261-270.
- Azuma J, Sawamura A, Awata N. Usefulness of taurine in chronic congestive heart failure and its prospective application. Jpn Circ J. 1992;56:95-99.