Taurine is a sulfur amino acid which is the most common amino acid in mammals. Humans are made of 0.1% taurine by weight. Taurine is claimed to be the cause or the cure of many diseases. Taurine levels are high in brain, muscle and heart. Taurine levels are reduced in diseases.
Humans make very little taurine and most of our taurine must come from nutritional sources. Taurine use is complicated by poor absorption. Forms of taurine have been developed by the drug industry to improve absorption and they are used as anticancer, anti-alcoholic and anticonvulsant therapies.
Taurine is important in diabetes. Taurine has insulin-like activity and can stimulate glycolysis and glucogenesis. Taurine in the drinking water of diabetic rats helps them recover from kidney damage (glomerulonephropathy.) Taurine works well with magnesium. A magnesium-taurine treatment of diabetes works better than magnesium, alone.
Beta-alanine is a taurine transport inhibitor which can reduce taurine levels in a few weeks. Cellular functions are maintained by high levels of taurine in disease states. Taurine helps irradiated mice recover faster. Taurine helps counteract free radicals. Taurine reduces hypertension and improves insulin sensitivity in rats. Taurine reduces hypercholesterolemia. Taurine is important in bile formation and fat emulsification. (Atherosclerosis is seen with low levels of bile.)
Taurine is important in fetal and neonatal development. A good supply of taurine is important in the pregnant and nursing mother. A good dose is 10 mg/kg/day. Taurine levels are high in normal breast milk. Taurine depletion in mothers may be one way in which diabetes is transmitted to the next generation.
CONCLUSION: Taurine supplementation has a role in diabetes therapy. Supplemental taurine is important since humans have very little capacity to make taurine.
NOTE: Glucogenesis is the generation of glucose from non-carbohydrate carbon sources. Glycolysis is the breaking down of glucose, turning it into pyruvate.
Food sources of taurine are meat and fish, brewer’s yeast, eggs and other dairy products. Vegans have low blood levels of taurine. Read more about the effect of taurine in diabetes.
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