Taurine and the Relevance of Supplementation in Humans, in Health and Disease

Author(s): Astrid L. Rijssenbeek, Gerdien C. Melis, Steven J. Oosterling, Petra G. Boelens, Alexander P.J. Houdijk, Milan C. Richir, Paul A.M. van Leeuwen

Journal Name: Current Nutrition & Food Science

Volume 2 , Issue 4 , 2006

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Taurine, a beta-sulphur amino acid with a zwitterionic function, plays an important role in several biological processes. In humans taurine synthesis is limited. Therefore, intake by food is important. A normal diet, including animal products, contains a sufficient amount of taurine to provide the physiological necessary quantity of taurine. Taurine is a component of bile salts, which function as detergents for emulsification of dietary lipids and fat-soluble vitamins. Also, taurine is involved in the development of the brain and retina, which makes it an essential nutritional substrate in neonates and small children, who are limited in the synthesis of taurine. Moreover, taurine can act as an osmoregulator and antioxidant, which makes it an important amino acid during pathological conditions such as ischemic reperfusion injury, inflammation and brain oedema. Its osmolytic function helps to prevent alteration in the intra-cellular concentrations of all substances. In many models of oxidant-induced injury, taurine was shown to be tissue-protective as a non-toxic endogenous antioxidant. This review focuses on the biological actions of taurine, to illuminate possible clinical benefits of taurine.

Keywords: Taurine, amino acid, supplementation, bile, osmoregulation, antioxidant

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Article Details

Year: 2006
Page: [381 - 388]
Pages: 8
DOI: 10.2174/157340106778699458
Price: $65

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