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Taurine – An Essential Amino Acid

The power of the bull…

Amino Sulfonic Acid, also known as Taurine, is an organic compound which occurs naturally in our bodies and plays a number of very important roles in the body.  We can often maintain a healthy level of Taurine by consuming foods such as meat, fish & eggs.  However, much like most things in life, during times of stress and illness we sometimes need a little a help from science to keep us on track.  Taurine supplements became hugely popular in the 90’s with the invention of energy drinks and similar products because of how they were being marketed.  These drinks were used to enhance energy and stamina and consumers thanked the added Taurine for that.  Well, believe it or not energy drink manufacturers were really onto something.  

First things first, let’s just get this out in the open – Taurine is not manufactured from semen or urine of bulls.  I’m not sure how this misconception came to be but it is absolutely not true.  Taurine was originally isolated from the bile of an ox.  I know that doesn’t sound much better, but that was back in 1827, a lot has changed since then.  Now days, laboratories create ‘bio-identical’ Taurine which is a lot more affordable and, in my opinion, a lot more civilized. 

Taurine is known to support nerve growth and has important functions in the heart & brain.  It is an essential amino acid, which means it is not used to build protein but rather becomes essential in times of illness and stress.  Living in these times, I have yet to meet a person, living in a big city who is not suffering from stress.  It is heart breaking but true.  Back in my early 20’s I loved the rat race, I loved the hustle & bustle of the city.  I was working all day, partying all night and I was young enough to recover quickly just to do it all again the next day.  The crazier life became, the more alive I felt. Ah to be young!!!

Unfortunately, humans can only bounce back so quickly in their early 20’s.  From your mid to late 20’s our bodies simply do not handle stress and chaos as well as we would hope.  Not to mention, the fact that most of us didn’t even know what real stress was in our early 20’s.  The real stress only starts to creep in as we try desperately to build our careers, our families and plan financially for our futures. In other words, as soon as we start to take life a little bit more seriously do we actually develop chronic stress.

The human mind and body seem to cope quite well with shorts bouts of stress.  We are naturally built to handle stressful situations and short term illnesses as during these times our fight or flight responses kick in and our bodies simply do what needs to be done in order to survive.  In addition to our natural stress responses, if we take care of ourselves by eating a healthy and balanced diet, keep to a regular exercise routine and get enough sleep we seem to cope quite well.  However,  when we do not take care of ourselves by indulging in high sugar and processed foods, slacking off and not getting enough sleep those short bouts of stress can become quite difficult to recover from.  The worst part is that it is quite a vicious cycle, when we neglect our mental and physical health it is harder to recover and the stress becomes worse and worse and as the stress intensifies so we neglect ourselves even further and so on and so on until that little stressful situation becomes a way of life and turns into chronic stress. 

Additionally, it has become more apparent that our Taurine levels decline drastically during times of illness and stress, making it even harder for us to bounce back.  Over the years studies have shown that Taurine can assist with chronic stress by supporting the nervous system and helps support nerve growth accordingly.  In today’s times I feel that this is the most important reason to incorporate Taurine into our daily diets because a calm nervous system can assist us in maintaining all other aspects of our wellbeing – mentally and physically. 
Taurine also has many other favourable benefits, such as:

  • It is found to assist in lowering blood pressure
  • It assists with treating obesity
  • It supports athletic performance
  • It fights fatigue
  • It assists with treating diabetes, and
  • It assists with mental performance by supporting brain functions

I like to think of Taurine as the body’s link between chaos and success.  With all the benefits I have mentioned above, optimum levels of Taurine will help us achieve our goals by simply assisting our bodies to function correctly and calmly. 

As I mentioned earlier, the best thing about Taurine is that it is found naturally in our bodies so it is usually safe to use as a supplement.  During my research I did not come across any reports of major side effects from Taurine, however when taking an oral supplement there is always a possibility of constipation, diarrhoea and nausea and may differ from person to person.  Similarly, as in the case of any product intended for consumption, allergies are always possibility although unlikely as it is a naturally occurring organic compound. 

It is also very important to consider where and how the product is manufactured and sourced.  Please always make sure that your Taurine supplement is manufactured ethically by a reputable company.  Should you choose to take a supplement of any kind, please do so with care and caution.  If you are suffering from any medical condition, please do consult with your doctor first and please please please always remember that these supplements are intended to enhance wellness and are not intended to replace any advice or medication prescribed by your health care professional.

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