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INGREDIENT OF THE WEEK: TAURINE

JUNE 22, 2016

   Taurine is the most abundant amino acid you’ve never heard of. Strong evidence suggests that groups with the longest life spans consume higher amounts of taurine than those of us in the rest of the world. With epidemiological evidence that it contributes to the longevity of famously long-lived groups, taurine belongs on the short-list of supplements necessary for maintaining optimal health in the face of aging. High intakes of taurine could be the underlying factor in the world’s longest-living populations—and for good reason. Its benefits are so broad and extensive that scientists have described taurine as “a wonder molecule.” Taurine protects vision and hearing,It can prevent and alleviate seizures, and it has been shown to treat the most common cause of liver disease in the United States. Taurine supplementation can mitigate the damaging effects of fat, glucose, and excess insulin. Taurine strengthens and protects heart muscle cells and the system of blood vessels that supplies blood throughout the body, helping to protect against atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes. Taurine promotes cardiovascular health, insulin sensitivity, electrolyte balance, hearing function, and immune modulation, reducing mortality by nearly 80%. A study released in November 2012 made the bold statement that taurine is one of the most essential substances in the body.

“Considering its broad distribution, its many cytoprotective attributes, and its functional significance in cell development, nutrition, and survival, taurine is undoubtedly one of the most essential substances in the body.”

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  Although it’s possible for your body to produce taurine on its own, you still need to obtain taurine through diet and supplementation in order to achieve optimal amounts of this essential nutrient. Taurine has powerful effects on the heart and blood vessels. People with higher levels of taurine have significantly lower rates of dying from coronary heart disease. Additionally, they have lower body mass index, lower blood pressure, and lower levels of dangerous lipids. Many different mechanisms account for these powerful effects on the heart and blood vessels. Taurine supplementation lowers blood pressure by reducing the resistance to blood flow in the blood vessel walls and by minimizing nerve impulses in the brain that drive blood pressure up.

   Trained athletes who supplement with taurine experience better exercise performance, and cyclists ride longer distances with less fatigue. There’s good reason for these positive effects: Taurine helps muscles work harder, longer, and safer. Taurine increases muscle contractility (the force with which muscle cells pull together) in both skeletal and cardiac muscle. That means more powerful workouts as muscle works harder. Taurine helps exercising muscle rid itself of lactic acid. Lactic acid is what causes the feelings of pain and soreness and is what limits how much a muscle can continue to work. By cleaning up lactic acid, taurine helps muscles work longer. Working muscles generate oxidant stress and damage DNA, leading to the potential for muscle damage and poorer performance. Taurine protects muscles from such damage, so muscle works more safely. Incorporating Taurine in your daily diet can benefit your health significantly. Be sure to take advantage of Taurine and live a long healthy life!