Taurine – A Powerful Antioxidant and Mitochondrial Nutrient

Healthy Mitochondria – A Key to Optimal Health 

Healthy mitochondria is one of the keys to optimal health and wellbeing. According to Dr. Mark Hyman, Director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, “when mitochondria are damaged, we suffer from low energy, fatigue, memory loss, pain, rapid aging, and more”.  One of the most common factors that promote mitochondrial dysfunction is nutrient deficiencies – along with excess refined sugar, toxin exposure, lack of exercise, and the overuse of antibiotics.


Common Nutrient Deficiencies

The most prevalent mitochondrial nutrient deficiencies are those of magnesium, zinc, copper, vitamins A, C, D, B-vitamins, glycine, and taurine.  An optimum intake of these and other micronutrients protect highly sensitive mitochondria from free-radical injury (i.e. oxidative stress), promote healthy mitochondrial function, and can reverse mitochondrial dysfunction and aging.

A Conditional Vitamin 

Taurine is known as a conditional vitamin because it is synthesized by humans and animals, but often not in sufficient amounts, and thus must be consumed from the diet (or supplements) for optimal health and disease prevention.

Restoration of taurine levels restores respiratory chain activity (i.e. energy production), decreases free-radical production, and increases the synthesis of ATP.  Taurine has been shown to be important in preventing numerous health issues including brain dysfunction, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and mitochondrial diseases in large part due to its ability to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation via its powerful antioxidant properties.

Essential for Optimal Health and Wellbeing

Due to taurine’s extensive role in a number of chronic health issues that lead to a decline of overall health and well-being, it is considered a longevity nutrient.  It can be found in high concentration in the cytosol and mitochondria, and is present in virtually all tissues at low concentrations.  In humans and animals, diet is the primary source of taurine (a sulfur-containing molecule) with smaller amounts synthesized endogenously in the liver from the two sulfur-containing amino acids, methionine and cysteine.  Rich dietary sources include fish, seaweed, eggs, and dark-meat poultry – all containing greater than 50 mg per serving.  The average daily intake of taurine for adult, non-vegetarians is approximately 40-400 mg per day, typically falling closer to the lower end of the range.

Neuroprotective and Helps Remove Heavy Metals

Taurine also plays an important role in brain health and development, including neuronal proliferation, stem cell proliferation, and differentiation, and has no toxic effects in humans.  It functions as a neuromodulator in the brain and nervous system where it inhibits the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor, while activating the inhibitory and calming, GABA- and glycine-insensitive chloride channel.

Taurine helps to neutralize the presence of toxic heavy metals by reducing their generation of free radicals along with helping to promote the removal of these metals from the body.

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