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Taurine is an amino acid, one of the building blocks of proteins. Found in the nervous system and muscles, taurine is one of the most abundant amino acids in the body. It is thought to help regulate heartbeat, maintain cell membranes, and affect the release of neurotransmitters (chemicals that carry signals between nerve cells) in the brain.
Preliminary evidence suggests that taurine might be helpful in congestive heart failure (CHF), a condition in which the heart has trouble pumping blood, which leads to fluid accumulating in the legs and lungs. 1 Warning: Keep in mind that CHF is too serious for self-treatment. If you're interested in trying taurine or any other supplement for CHF, you should first consult your doctor.
There is also some evidence that taurine may be helpful for acute viral hepatitis . 2 Taurine has additionally been proposed as a treatment for numerous other conditions, including alcoholism , cataracts , diabetes , epilepsy , gallbladder disease , hypertension , multiple sclerosis , psoriasis , and stroke , but the evidence for these uses is weak and, in some cases, contradictory. 3 4...
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. 5 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.