How Taurine Can Improve Your Health

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH


Cup full of TaurineWhen your health has been compromised by stress, you need options to help heal your body. Some supplements can support your body as a whole without causing further harm or stress. Taurine is one of these. It is a safe and effective supplement that may help support your recovery from stress and stress-related conditions like Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome. It can help improve the overall health of your entire body as well as the individual systems. That’s why you need to know as much as possible about this supplement and how you can use it to support your AFS recovery and correct some of the imbalances that occur as a result of this problem.

What is Taurine?

Taurine is a very important amino acid that’s found in your central nervous system, skeletal muscles, and in high concentrations in your brain and heart tissue. Taurine is made from two sulfur-containing amino acids called cysteine and methionine. It’s what’s known as a ‘conditional amino acid’ because it can be manufactured in the body in most situations.

However, if your body has a problem manufacturing this amino acid, you have to get it from your diet or from supplementation. Taurine can be found in a number of animal proteins such as eggs, shellfish, and meat, but is less common in vegetarian foods. As a result, anyone on a vegetarian diet will need to be careful to monitor their intake. Having adequate amounts of this amino acid in your diet and in your body is vitally important because it performs several essential functions and deficiencies can result in major problems.

Some of the most important functions that this amino acid performs include the following. Taurine:

  • Inhibits and modulates neurotransmitters in the brain and helps to stabilize the cell membranes.
  • Is a natural antioxidant.
  • Supports detoxification processes.
  • May help to improve liver function in people with hepatitis.
  • Stabilizes cell membranes in the brain and heart, which regulate the electrochemical forces that govern these organs.
  • Prolonged supplementation can benefit people with heart failure.
  • May improve the health of the gallbladder and eyes.
  • May help lower high blood pressure through its natural diuretic effects.

Eggs are a good source of taurineTaurine is safe for adults to use for prolonged periods at doses between 1 and 3 grams a day. However, some people have reported loose stools at over 5 grams a day, though this dose is rarely used. There are generally no serious side effects associated with the use of this supplement for healthy people. This makes it a safe and effective supplement when you have early AFS.

However, like with any other change you make to your physical routine, it’s important that you consult your doctor before taking this supplement. This is particularly important if you have advanced AFS, which often causes paradoxical reactions and may cause unexpected side effects, such as anxiety and panic attacks. Consulting an adrenal fatigue specialist will help you to avoid negative side effects and maximize the benefits.

What is AFS?

AFS causes widespread imbalances in the body and troubling symptoms that often involve multiple organs and functions in the body. Some of the most common symptoms include brain fog, digestive problems, and cardiac symptoms such as palpitations or blood pressure instabilities.

Adrenal fatigue is brought on by prolonged stress, which causes the adrenal glands to secrete excessive amounts of cortisol in response. The adrenal glands are an important part of the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response, which causes changes in the body in response to stress. These changes allow you to respond appropriately to the source of the stress while protecting your body from damaging consequences. The NEM is composed of six circuits of organs and systems that work together to spread out the load of managing stress.

However, when stress is ongoing, this protection starts to break down. The NEM stress response is designed to turn on and off, and it struggles when stress becomes an everyday, ongoing thing. This can cause the adrenals to become overworked. This causes imbalances that start small before spreading to other parts of the body. If left unchecked, it can even cause some circuits to shut down completely and result in a full physical breakdown. To avoid this, it is important to take steps to support your health and address underlying issues with specific circuits. And supplementing with taurine is a good way to start.

How Taurine Affects the Cardionomic Circuit

Taurine performs important functionsThe cardionomic circuit is one of the first to be affected by AFS because it includes the adrenal glands as well as the nervous system and the cardiovascular system. When the adrenals become unbalanced, it causes hormonal imbalances and affects the function of the nervous system. This causes issues with adrenaline production and can result in symptoms such as anxiety, rapid heartbeat, sleep interruptions, and subclinical POTS. If the stress isn’t alleviated or worsens, then the cardiovascular system becomes involved. This results in full cardionomic circuit dysfunction, in which the three parts of the circuit are dysregulated and symptoms worsen. At this stage, other circuits usually become involved and cause further problems.

Taking taurine supplements can help to improve the health of this circuit and address cardiac symptoms of AFS such as blood pressure problems. It has been used with much success by people with high blood pressure. This is due to the fact that it can reduce fluid retention, which naturally decreases blood pressure. Taurine can also soothe the sympathetic nervous system, relieving arterial spasms, and helping the blood vessels relax. This will naturally lower blood pressure.

Taurine may also help to alleviate symptoms of cardionomic circuit dysfunction such as palpitations. It’s often used to strengthen the heart muscle in those with heart failure. It works in conjunction with other supplements such as Coq10, magnesium, and carnitine to regulate and stabilize the heart rhythm. This could be beneficial for those with AFS. P

In addition, palpitations and other symptoms that involve the cardiac system can be very frightening and stressful. Taking steps to improve the health of the heart and reducing or eliminate troubling symptoms can thus also lower your stress levels overall and help with AFS recovery.

When the Detoxification Circuit Breaks Down

Taurine is key in helping the detoxification pathway function, but first, it is necessary to understand how the detoxification circuit operates. The detoxification circuit works in conjunction with the NEM stress response to maintain internal homeostasis. It includes the liver, the immune system, and the interstitium. These three parts of the circuit work to eliminate the unwanted and dangerous metabolic products of stress, often called metabolites.

Stress puts the body under a lot of strain. Not only does the body have to cope with the cause of the stress and exert itself in response, but it also needs to try to normalize itself so the body can function properly. This causes a release of metabolic byproducts that have to be eliminated before they start to poison the body. These metabolic byproducts are called metabolites. In most situations, the elimination processes go on unnoticed. But because the detoxification system often becomes unbalanced with AFS, this may no longer be the case.

Metabolites cycle constantly through the body until they’re excreted. This means that if the detoxification processes aren’t working correctly, they can easily cause the detoxification circuit to become toxic.

Picture of cell and inside contents that might benefit from taurineOften, the interstitium is the first to experience toxicity. The interstitium consists of the extracellular matrix (ECM), which is the communication space between cells, and the metabolites are almost constantly in these spaces until they’re removed from the body. When overloaded with toxins, the ECM usually starts to slow down like a highway with traffic. This then disrupts messaging between the cells. The liver then becomes overworked because it tries to expel the toxins and is constantly overloaded by the build-up. The immune system becomes involved soon after as toxins build up, causing more inflammation in an effort to protect the body from the toxins. This can become a vicious cycle in which each of the body systems is overworked and causes further toxicity, inflammation, and stress.

The early stages of detoxification circuit dysfunction include the following symptoms:

  • Digestive issues such as bloating and constipation.
  • Food sensitivities.
  • Paradoxical or exaggerated responses to medications.
  • Sleep disruptions.
  • Brain fog.
  • Mental disorders such as anxiety.
  • Fatigue.
  • Palpitations.
  • Electrolyte imbalances.
  • Psoriasis.
  • Immune system malfunctions.
  • Brain fog.
  • Migrating pain.
  • Dizziness.
  • Tingling.

Many of these symptoms can be dismissed or associated with general stress and fatigue, and often this is what happens. Unfortunately, this often results in people receiving haphazard solutions from their doctors that don’t help alleviate the symptoms or solve the underlying problems. And if the issues aren’t addressed, the situation will only get worse over time. This can quite literally be a worst case scenario situation, leaving people bedridden. That’s why it’s so important to get advice from a clinician experienced with AFS. And if you do have AFS, you need to start working on your recovery program as soon as possible.

The Effects of Taurine on the Detoxification Circuit

Taurine can be very helpful in rebalancing the detoxification circuit. This amino acid is a natural diuretic, which means that it can reduce fluid retention and tissue swelling. It does this by keeping potassium and magnesium inside the cells while keeping sodium out. Taurine is unique in that it acts as a diuretic without causing kidney damage. This is in contrast to other medications that act as diuretics, which actually cause damage to the kidneys and further complicate detoxification. Taurine might be used for fluid retention, which is very common in people with physical illnesses such as ovarian cancer, kidney disease, and heart failure. Taurine is also good for bloating and detoxification. Because it encourages the expulsion of excess fluid, it prevents the build-up of potentially toxic metabolic waste products. This will help to keep your entire system healthy, reduce the strain on the liver, reduce inflammation, and encourage balance in the whole detoxification circuit.

This is especially helpful for women with AFS, particularly if they’re taking hormone replacements, birth control pills, or suffer from excessive estrogen. In these situations, the female hormone estradiol can depress the creation of taurine in the liver, so supplementing is often an effective remedy. However, do not attempt to stop these kinds of medications without talking it over with a medical professional. If you stop taking these kinds of medications without medical supervision and assistance, then you may experience unexpected consequences. Finally, another benefit of supplementing with this amino acid is the fact that it can help clear excess fluid caused by the menstrual cycle.

Conclusion

Happy woman smiling from taurineIf you suffer from stress-related disorders such as AFS, it can be difficult to find recovery strategies that actually work. Too often, attempts to manage the symptoms only cause more problems because they fail to address the underlying causes or result in paradoxical reactions in the body. That’s why safe and natural remedies such as taurine supplements are so valuable when you suffer from AFS. They can help you holistically, naturally, and effectively eliminate troubling symptoms by correcting the underlying imbalances. However, as with any adjustment to your health routine, make sure you have the help and support of a trained medical professional before you make any changes. This will allow you to properly assess and implement the changes in a way that’s appropriate for your body and your individual condition.

 
© Copyright 2012 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.


Dr. Lam’s Key Question

Taurine is an essential amino acid that’s found naturally in the body. Unfortunately, taurine deficiencies are fairly common, particularly in people who are on a vegetarian diet. This is troubling because this amino acid performs several essential functions and causes problems when it’s lacking.


Eggs are a good source of taurine

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