Tag Archives: amino acid taurine

Taurine for CHF – Congestive Heart Failure

Evidence is showing that taurine may help congestive heart failure (CHF). Taurine, a sulphur-containing amino acid is found in the tissues of mammals. Although the body can synthesize taurine, most often it is obtained through diet; in particular, protein foods such as meats, eggs, and fish. It is known to act as an antioxidant, helps lower blood pressure, and may help with cardiovascular health problems like: congestive heart failure, ischemic heart disease, atherosclerosis, hypertension, and diabetic cardiomyopathy. Although double-blind long-term trials are not commonly found, it is often recommended as a treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease.

Taurine can be synthesized from cysteine and methionine amino acids when in the presence of vitamin B6, but also is obtained through the diet. Taurine is found in high concentrations in the retina as well as the heart. This could be one of the reasons why taurine can help with congestive heart failure (CHF), due to its role within the heart muscle itself.

Congestive heart failure

For the age group of 60+ CHF is the leading cause of both hospitalization and death. Sudden death can occur due to irregular heartbeat or cardiac arrhythmia in over fifty percent of people with CHF. Congestive heart failure is not like a heart attack (sudden tissue death) since CHF is a progressive disease. It can cause shortness of breath, fatigue, increased nighttime urination, and progress to a worsening stage over time.

Left-sided failure of the heart is most common in those with CHF. It leads to limited oxygen to the bloodstream and therefore the body (pulmonary edema). For right-sided failure of the heart it causes increased pressure within the veins, retention of water and sodium, and leads to accumulation of fluid as well as swelling of the liver, abdomen, and legs. Sometimes both left-and-right-sided failure happens together.

So how does taurine affect CHF in a positive way?

Taurine and CHF

Taurine supplements can often be taken as a medicine because of its beneficial health effects in treating congestive heart failure (CHF), as well as liver disease, to help reduce cholesterol and lower blood pressure, and cystic fibrosis, among other health issues. Because it is an antioxidant it also protects cells from damage due to oxidation (chemical reactions with oxygen). Excess taurine is usually excreted by the kidneys.

Scientists are still not sure why taurine helps CHF entirely, but some evidence suggests that it improves functioning within the left ventricle (chamber) of the heart. Taurine may also improve circumstances in a heart failure situation since it helps lower blood pressure, plus calms the sympathetic nervous system.

The sympathetic nervous system can often be overactive in people who have CHF and high blood pressure. The sympathetic nervous system responds to the stress and is responsible for the flight-or-fight response and stimulating other bodily activities in times of stress. Both the sympathetic nervous system (flight-or-fight) and the parasympathetic nervous system (rest-and-digest) and the enteric system (gastrointestinal) are the three parts of the autonomic nervous system (ANS).

Taurine may help with the calming of stress-related activities of the sympathetic nervous system, lower blood pressure, and help improve heart functioning in patients with congestive heart failure. Please check with your doctor as to any taurine supplements and the dosage that you can take if you have CHF.

References:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2586397/

http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/heart_vascular_institute/conditions_treatments/conditions/congestive_heart_failure.html

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-1024-TAURINE.aspx?activeIngredientId=1024&activeIngredientName=TAURINE

Taurine Supplements Prevent Diabetes In Animal Study

An animal study into taurine supplementation found that the amino acid delayed the onset of autoimmune diabetes in non-obese diabetic mice. Could this result in preventive treatments for humans?

Autoimmune diabetes is slow-onset Type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is caused by an immune system malfunction, where the autoimmune system destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.

Insulin is a hormone which regulates blood sugar. If the pancreas no longer produces insulin, blood sugar will spike. If untreated, this Type 1 Diabetes is fatal. However, the disease is controllable with insulin injections, or an insulin pump. In some cases, a pancreas transplant is possible.

A Canadian study, developed by researchers E Arany, B Strutt, et al, from Lawson Health Research Institute, St. Joseph’s Health Care, London, Ontario, investigated whether supplements of the amino acid taurine would inhibit the development of diabetes in the offspring of diabetic mice.

Taurine and the pancreas

Taurine is vital to the development of the pancreas, which in turn leads to the production of insulin, which regulates blood sugar. Taurine is produced in our bodies from cysteine and vitamin B6. We can also get taurine from our food, particularly seafood and meat, though we probably don’t need to unless we are deficient in cysteine or B6. Newborns, however, do not produce taurine and must get it from breast milk, or infant formula.

The results of the study on taurine

Two groups of pregnant, diabetic mice were tested in the Canadian study. Their offspring would naturally be diabetic, too. The mice were given taurine supplements throughout their pregnancy, and until the offspring were weaned. A control group was given no taurine. The animals were monitored until they became diabetic.

Taurine supplements reduced the onset of diabetes in the mice, delaying the onset of the disease. The onset was delayed from 18 to 30 weeks, with 20% of taurine-treated mice remaining diabetes free after an entire year.

This animal study concluded that taurine supplements in early life effectively delayed the onset of diabetes.

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Sources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15502919