What is L-Taurine?
Taurine, named after its first identification and isolation from ox bile, is an amino acid that plays several vital roles in the body, such as regulating osmotic pressure and calcium levels. Unlike most amino acids, it does not contribute to protein synthesis, making it considered non-essential or “conditionally essential.” Taurine is also distinctive in its chemical structure, containing a sulfonate group instead of a carboxyl group. Despite its unusual properties, taurine offers numerous health benefits and should be a crucial consideration for dietary and potentially supplemental intake. This article explores the functions and therapeutic potential of this unique molecule.
Functions of Taurine:
Taurine, an organic osmolyte, helps regulate cell volume and is involved in the formation of bile salts. It also plays a crucial role in controlling intracellular free calcium concentration and is abundant in the brain, retina, muscle tissue, and organs throughout the body. Taurine serves multiple functions in the central nervous system, from aiding in development to protecting cells. A lack of taurine can lead to cardiomyopathy, renal dysfunction, developmental abnormalities, and severe harm to retinal neurons2.