Reactive oxygen species (free radicals) generated inside cells are believed to cause the complications of diabetes. In diabetes, levels of antioxidants decline in many tissues. Taurine is known to be therapeutic against free radicals. There is good evidence that taurine can reduce the complications of diabetes, possibly due to taurine’s antioxidant activity.
Taurine increases insulin-mediated glucose uptake in rat hearts and muscles. Cellular oxidants from hyperglycemia contribute to insulin resistance. Taurine is an antioxidant to a wide variety of cells. Taurine can prevent the production of oxidants, also.
Diabetes is an inflammatory disease in which immune cells attack pancreatic beta cells. Taurine is anti-inflammatory. Taurine might reduce beta cell destruction. Taurine has been shown to have activities in the mitochondria, where it can reduce production of superoxide free radicals and prevent lipid oxidation.
Taurine supplements increase the production of insulin. This fact has led to the use of taurine in diabetes. Taurine has not been found to alter the course of diabetes in some studies, however. Studies show low levels of taurine in various tissues.
“There is overwhelming evidence that taurine treatment diminishes the severity of complications among the major targets of diabetes, namely, the retina, the neuron, and the kidney.” In this function, taurine works as an antioxidant, primarily. Oxidation is the main way that diabetes causes complications. Taurine increases insulin production, also.
CONCLUSION: Taurine has been shown to be of benefit in treating diabetes, primarily, through antioxidant activity. Other effects, such as increased insulin production, have been noted and await further studies.