What Is It?
Taurine, an amino acid derivative found in meat and other animal foods (except for milk and milk products), appears to shield the heart from harm. It's best known for empowering bile acids to clear cholesterol from the body. It may also fight cellular troublemakers that can damage the heart. Studies in animals suggest that taurine lowers blood pressure as well--yet another heart-healthy property. Although research has produced conflicting results, taurine may also benefit vision disorders, epilepsy, and gallstones.
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Congestive Heart Failure
The amino acid taurine is an important nutrient found in very high concentrations in excitable tissue. Its lack in heart muscle cells is a particularly frequent cause of heart failure. Generally, CHF responds favorably to taurine therapy. In double-blind studies, taurine supplementation has been shown to reduce signs and symptoms of CHF. Taurine promotes natriuresis (sodium excretion) and diuresis (urine excretion), and minimizes many of the adverse actions of angiotensin II, including the induction of cardiac hypertrophy, volume overload, and myocardial remodeling. Since ACE inhibitors are the mainstay treatment for CHF, taurine supplementation is extremely important.
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Reduces Platelet Aggregation
Taurine may benefit cardiovascular health is by reducing the tendency of special blood cells, called platelets, to stick together or aggregate. Sticky platelets can form blood clots, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke if they block arteries to the heart or brain. In a study conducted at Brandeis University, platelets from taurine-depleted animals were twice as sensitive to aggregation as platelets from animals receiving taurine. In humans receiving supplemental taurine (even though their taurine status was normal to begin with), resistance to platelet aggregation increased by 30 to 70 percent. In other words, decreased platelet "stickiness" was seen with increased taurine.
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In the cell, taurine keeps potassium and magnesium inside the cell while keeping excessive sodium out. In this sense it works like a diuretic. But unlike prescription diuretics, it is not a cellular poison. It does not act against the kidney, but improves kidney function instead. Taurine is very useful in fighting tissue swelling and fluid accumulation. People with heart failure, liver disease, congestive heart failure frequently have unwanted fluid accumulation inside their bodies usually have slight fluid retention.
Taurine has been very successfully used to treat people with high blood pressure. When excessive fluid is normalized, blood pressure becomes normalized. Taurine functions to dampen the sympathetic nervous system, thereby relieving arterial spasm. When blood vessels relax, the body’s blood pressure will fall.
There have been studies showing the positive effectiveness of taurine on heart failure. Aside from having diuretic properties, taurine is able to strengthen the heart muscles and maintain proper calcium balance.
Working together with magnesium, taurine also is able to regulate heart rhythm and help to stabilize it.