What is Taurine? High and low values | Lab results explained

Taurine differs from other amino acids because a sulfur group replaces the carboxyl group of what would be the non-essential amino acid, β-alanine. It takes part in biochemical reactions and is not fully incorporated into proteins. In most tissues, it remains a free amino acid. Taurine’s highest concentration is in muscleplatelets, and the central nervous system. Taurine is mainly obtained via dietary sources (dairy, shellfish, turkey, energy drinks), but can also come from sulfur amino acid metabolism (methionine and cysteine). [L], [L]

It has been proposed that taurine acts as an antioxidant, intracellular osmolyte, membrane stabilizer, and a neurotransmitter. [L]

In the CNS, taurine is second only to glutamate in abundance. Taurine is extensively involved in neurological activities, (calming neural excitability, cerebellar functional maintenance, and motor behavior modulation), through interaction with dopaminergic, adrenergic, serotonergic, and cholinergic receptors and through glutamate. [L], [L]

In cardiovascular disease, taurine’s benefits are multifactorial. Because taurine’s main physiologic role is in bile acid conjugation in the liver, it has been demonstrated that taurine is capable of reducing plasma LDL, total lipid concentration, and visceral fat in diabetic, obese patients. [L]

Taurine has been shown to be a protector of endothelial structure and function after exposure to inflammatory cells, their mediators, or other chemicals. [L]

Taurine is thought to be involved in cell volume regulation and intracellular free calcium concentration modulation. Because of these effects, experimental evidence shows promise for taurine therapy in preventing cardiac damage during bypass surgery, heart transplantation and myocardial infarction.

Moreover, severe taurine extravasation from cardiomyocytes during an ischemia–reperfusion insult may increase ventricular remodeling and heart failure risk. [L]

Recent work has revealed taurine’s action in the retina as a photoreceptor cell promoter. [L] The human fetus has no ability to synthesize taurine. Taurine is found in breast milk, but it is also routinely added to infant formulas. [L]

Although taurine is very beneficial, it is often unnecessary to supplement. Dietary intake and sulfur amino metabolism are usually more than adequate to meet the body’s needs. Newborns, patients with restricted diets, or patients with various diseases may be deplete in taurine and benefit from supplementation.


Stipanuk MH, Coloso RM, Garcia RAG, Banks MF. Cysteine Concentration Regulates Cysteine Metabolism to Glutathione, Sulfate and Taurine in Rat Hepatocytes. J Nutr. 1992;122(3):420-427. [L]

Hayes K. Taurine requirement in primates. Nutr Rev. 1985;43(3):65-70. [L]

Wojcik OP, Koenig KL, Zeleniuch-Jacquotte A, Costa M, Chen Y. The potential protective effects of taurine on coronary heart disease. Atherosclerosis. 2010;208(1):19-25. [L]

Ripps H, Shen W. Taurine: a “very essential” amino acid. Mol Vis. 2012;18:2673. [L]

Vanitha M, Baskaran K, Periyasamy K, et al. A review on the biomedical importance of taurine. Int J Pharm Res Health Sci. 2015;3(3):680-686. [L]

Schaffer SW, Jong CJ, Ito T, Azuma J. Effect of taurine on ischemia–reperfusion injury. Amino acids. 2014;46(1):21-30. [L]

Ripps H, Shen W. Taurine: a “very essential” amino acid. Mol Vis. 2012;18:2673. [L]

Brosnan JT, Jacobs RL, Stead LM, Brosnan ME. Methylation demand: a key determinant of homocysteine metabolism. ACTA BIOCHIM POL. 2004;51:405-414. [L]

Hayes K. Taurine requirement in primates. Nutr Rev. 1985;43(3):65-70. [L]


– High oxidative stress [L]

– Elevated GSH requirement [L]

– Poor dietary intake, malabsorption/ maldigestion [L]


– Dietary intake (i.e. energy drinks, dairy, shellfish, and turkey) [L], [L]

– CBS SNP in absence of oxidative stress or inflammation, or adequate GSH levels [L]


Test results may vary depending on your age, gender, health history, the method used for the test, and other things. Your test results may not mean you have a problem. Ask your healthcare provider what your test results mean for you. 

The information on is NOT intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: