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Two of my patients are fraternal twins in their late forties. Each has a cluster of ailments including chronic fatigue and hypothyroidism; and other non-specific symptoms that they don’t share. I found that they have one thing in common. When they took the amino acid, taurine, both felt better.

Really—when I started practicing, the medical literature on taurine was limited. It’s useful for liver and gallbladder detoxification. I sometimes used taurine for heart conditions and seizures, but it might also benefit failing vision. In my clinical experience, when I used taurine, the results didn’t produce the shifts these sisters described.

Was I missing something? Did these sisters share a common genetic mutation inhibiting taurine metabolism? Had functional medicine doctors overlooked a common, but essential nutrient? Has taurine become the forgotten nutritional supplement?

As an experiment, I asked one of them to stop taking taurine without telling the other. Within two weeks, the original symptoms returned. Upon taking taurine again, she felt better. Next, I tried the same experiment with the other sister. She reported the same results: stopping taurine increased her symptoms and restarting improved how she felt. The next month, I asked both sisters to stop taking taurine at the same time. Within a week, both felt worse. Upon resuming their taurine supplement, both felt better.

It turns out that taurine plays many important roles in the body. Taurine is a naturally-occurring amino acid concentrated in muscle tissue. It stabilizes cell membranes and has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions. Current research describes taurine as a primary nutrient that controls muscle metabolism and more.

Taurine plays a role in eye health by exerting a protective effect on the retina. Dietary supplementation with taurine reduces the damaging effects of diabetes on the retina. Taurine is also useful for age-related degenerative vision changes.

Benefits of Taurine:

  • Restores insulin sensitivity
  • Prevents diabetes
  • Lower hemoglobin A1c
  • Reverses cardiovascular risk factors
  • Reduces atrial fibrillation
  • Treats fatty liver
  • Alleviates seizures
  • Reverses tinnitus
  • Fights obesity
  • Lowers inflammation
  • Lowers homocysteine
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Improves kidney function
  • Decreases blood pressure
  • Helps muscles work harder and longer
  • Prevents age-related vision loss
  • Improves memory

Taurine is one of the most important substances in the body. Although some taurine is endogenous in humans, most comes from food. Some animals, like cats, don’t make taurine and all of it has to come from what they eat. However, because the modern high sugar processed food diet is deficient in taurine, borderline low levels are relatively common.

Energy drinks can contain up to 2,000 mg of taurine. The combination of ginseng and taurine in some energy drinks offers synergistic benefits. Cognitive performance is improved when taurine combines with caffeine. Taurine is synergistic with coenzyme Q10, vitamins A and E, selenium, and magnesium. Magnesium taurate is a supplement useful for migraine headaches and morning sickness during pregnancy.

Taurine is mainly found in animal foods, leaving vegetarians at risk for taurine deficiency. One study found that strict vegetarians had significantly lower blood levels of taurine. Research suggests that taurine is an important supplement for the vegan diet.

Dietary Sources of Taurine:

  • Fish
  • Beef
  • Lamb
  • Dark chicken meat
  • Eggs
  • Dairy products
  • Sea algae
  • Krill oil

If you suspect a taurine deficiency, add taurine-rich foods and take taurine supplements. I recommend 500 to 2,000 mg daily for general supplementation. If you suspect a taurine deficiency, take higher dosages up to 4,000 mg daily. Dosages as high as 15,000 mg may be necessary to correct serious medical conditions. But, too much oral taurine may cause diarrhea.

In our integrative health center, besides oral taurine supplements, we also use intravenous taurine, a better option when high dosages are required to treat a health condition.

Don’t guess on dosages. You can find your taurine level by taking an amino acid profile blood test.

Dr. J. E. Williams


Dr. Williams is a pioneer in integrative and functional medicine, the author of six books, and a practicing clinician with over 100,000 patient visits. His areas of interest include longevity and viral immunity. Formerly from San Diego, he now resides in Sarasota, Florida and practices at the Florida Integrative Medical Center. He teaches at NOVA Southeastern University and Emperor’s College of Oriental Medicine.

Visit Dr. Williams’ Website: https://drjewilliams.com/

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  1. So much, I, did not know about Taurine. You, have me on it, was taking twice daily, now once . Am going back to twice daily, with my vision problems. Also, trying to incorporate more animal protein, along with fish and eggs. Always ate dark meat poultry, when we were told white is best. Thank you, Dr Williams, for giving us such valuable information, before it ever comes out in other Health News.

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