The Way to BE

Are You Dangerously Deficient in Taurine?

Leonard Smith, M.D., is a renowned gastrointestinal, vascular and general surgeon as well as an expert in the use of nutrition and natural supplementation. As a surgeon, Dr. Smith has first-hand experience of the problems associated with faulty digestion and the surgical necessities they can cause.

For the past 20 years, Dr. Smith has investigated many holistic medical programs, including nutrition, exercise, chelation, stress management and the relevance of mental and spiritual attitudes in healing. Acknowledging the effectiveness of whole organic foods and nutritional supplementation, Dr. Smith strives to stay on the leading edge of research and breakthroughs in the field of functional nutrition.

While most people have never heard of taurine, a deficiency in taurine can contribute to a wide range of symptoms you have certainly heard of. Low taurine levels have been found in patients with anxiety, depression, hypertension, hypothyroidism, gout, infertility, obesity, kidney failure and autism, among other conditions.

Taurine is an amino acid that can be made in your body from two other amino acids: cysteine and methionine.

Adequate amounts of taurine can usually be obtained from animal and fish protein, eggs and brewer's yeast (NOTE: if you have a viral or fungal infection, eating brewer's yeast can cause allergic reactions).

Since taurine can be made in our bodies, it was thought to be a non-essential amino acid … however in certain circumstances, it is actually considered essential.

Taurine - What It Does For Your Body

Here are some of the key benefits of taurine in relation to your health. Taurine is:

  • Important in the visual pathways, the brain and nervous system, cardiac function and prevention of irregular heartbeats.
  • A conjugator of bile acids - helps increase cholesterol elimination in the bile, helps with fat absorption and elimination of toxins.
  • Important for it's role in renal development and protection of the kidneys from free radical damage.
  • A facilitator for the passage of sodium, potassium and possibly calcium and magnesium ions into and out of cells.
  • Protection for the heart from irregular rhythms and damage during shock.
  • An antioxidant.
  • Involved in the balance and control of white blood cell production of free radicals to fight microbial infections.
  • A calming or stabilizing effect on the brain and has been shown to be useful in treating seizure disorders.
  • An enhancer of performance for athletes.

Taurine Deficiency - Possible Causes

There are many reasons your body could be low in taurine - and if you are an expecting mother, it's important to know how this could affect your baby.

Low taurine can occur if:

  • Your body does not make enough taurine due to a deficiency in one or more of the following:
    - Cysteine and methionine (amino acids that make taurine in your body).
    - Pyridoxal-5-phosphate (the active form of vitamin B6).
    - Zinc (deficiency in zinc is common with elevated mercury levels).
    - Vitamin A.
  • You are Deficient in the enzyme needed to make taurine
    - Many humans may not regularly produce a high level of the enzyme needed to make taurine (cysteinsulfinic decarboxylase) and are therefore, dependent on dietary sources.
    - If you don't regularly consume meat, fish, eggs or brewer's yeast, you could be low in taurine.
  • You have candida
    - If you have this systemic fungal infection, it produces an amino acid, beta-alanine, which competes with taurine for reabsorption in the kidney.
    - This causes you to lose taurine through your urine.
    - An increase of taurine in urine actually masks a test for low taurine in your body.
  • You are infected with disease-producing anerobic bacteria
    - These pathogenic bacteria interfere with the proper functioning of bile acid and degrade taurine, thereby effecting taurine levels.
  • You are eating foods with MSG, which degrades taurine
    - MSG, or Monosodium glutamate, is a food additive that is used to enhance the flavor of processed foods.
    - Food labeling regulations do not require MSG to be labeled as such, which means it can be hidden in foods that you eat.

Additionally, the following vitamins and amino acids may interfere with taurine's functions:
- The B-vitamin pantothenic acid (B5).
- The amino acids beta-alanine and beta-hypotaurine.

Taurine is essential for brain development in your fetus and newborn. Candida and bacterial imbalances can block taurine -- learn how to prevent and heal them with The Body Ecology Diet.

What Expecting Mothers Should Know

Taurine is an essential amino acid for a developing fetus and newborn babies because they cannot make it themselves - and yet the development of their brain depends on it.

In fact, taurine is the highest concentrated amino acid in the brain of the fetus and newborn. The fetus must obtain it through the placenta and newborns can obtain it from breast milk or formula fortified with taurine.

If a pregnant mother has chronic (even low grade) candida, bacterial imbalances or elevated levels of mercury, lead and cadmium (which create zinc deficiency), it could lead to taurine deficiency in the mother and baby.

Placental absorption of maternal taurine can als - be blocked if the fetus is under stress from both mercury and microbial challenges. This can set up a condition where your baby's detoxification pathways are inhibited, which could lead to neurological problems, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Taurine deficiency was found in 62% of autistic children, according to one study.

Taurine Supplementation

There are situations in which supplementing with taurine is important. Clinically, taurine has been used in the treatment of a wide variety of conditions, including: cardiovascular diseases, epilepsy and other seizure disorders, macular degeneration, Alzheimer's disease, hepatic disorders, and cystic fibrosis. An analog of taurine, acamprosate, has been used as a treatment for alcoholism.
Taurine has als - been used for migraines, insomnia, agitation, restlessness, irritability, obsessions and depression.
But how do you know for sure if you are deficient in taurine and whether supplementation is right for you? In next week's newsletter, I will cover how to accurately determine taurine levels, how much to take and other supplements that can enhance taurine production.

If you or someone you love has candida, bacterial imbalances and autism, be sure to read The Body Ecology Diet book

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  • China Suck

    when you drink Ensure or other brands, note the amount of taurine and fat content in it.

  • John King

    So where is the follow-up to this article?

  • Harmen

    Do you have the scientific articles for these possible causes?

    Taurine may be the key in my recovery from chronic fatigue syndrome.

  • John

    Taurine is just amazing. Despite the fact that it is an atypical amino acid and is not part of our proteins it plays so much important roles. Here is a useful link for the how taurine regulates our body functions. The study shows that B12 derived from our mothers regulates liver taurine production that in turn goes in the blood and regulates our function.

  • Charles

    Taurine is important to vision because the retina has high concentrations. A vegetarian family forced their cat to be vegetarian. The cat went blind due to retinal taurine depletion. Felines are more taurine dependent than humans. A study noticed the protective effects of taurine on smokers arteries.

  • Bob

    My experience with candida

    Its a bad actor, I had it for 20 -30 years, don't now. You have to bat it down true, but that wasn't the answer for me, i used all the diet restrictions to the point of almost no sugar , carbs, or moldy foods. It was awful . Great discipline to no avail. Heavy on yeast killers, etc. After that cleansing to remove dead yeast , than repopulated the good bacteria with VSL3 probiotics, to strengthen immune system. (over 110 bililon organisms, up to 400 billion a day ) It definitely stopped candida in its tracks, but was very expensive.
    I found later turning to Jesus, yes, Your thyroid if working properly, has the master defense if your temp. is 98.6 degrees ( most of the time) creates a defense of an environment that will not allow yeast to get out of control. All along I listened to doctors saying that low body temp by 1 degree is no big deal. It is a big deal, proper body functions require 98.6 degrees.
    Get your thyroid checked, and if the Dr. says, like a lot of these bozo's say, your lab tests show good and your temp. is still low consistently below 98.6. Don't waste your time treating symptoms, get to a alternative dr, or even a chiropractor that knows the thyroid.
    God Bless,

  • whisperingsage

    She didn't answer yet but I would like to put forward some evidence for the high protein diet- look up the study by Weston A Price free online now at Gutenberg free online books, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. The heathiest people in the world ate a high protien diet, the healthiest did not have any carbs at all, considered vegetables as "cow food". Then they partook of the cows. There are 2-3 high milk consuming tribes, all African, 6% butterfat milk- know they also ran sheep and goatgs with the cows.
    Then the GAPS diet- if you look into the Autism wellness sites, they note the correlation between autism and gut malfunctions.
    I would encourage you to read all of Dr. Atkins works, not just the diet books, but if you have predjudice against him, then look up folks before him- Weston Price of course, but also pioneers into eskimo lands and cultures a very high fat and meat diet. Explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson. He repeated his experience in an experiment at Bellevue Hospital-and he stated his health preserving diet with the eskimos was 3/4 fat and the rest protein.

  • Ali

    I spent well over 30 years trying to 'kill' Candida. You name it, I tried it, herbs, antifungals, remedies, yet within 18 months on a diet similar to BED it was gone. I have been taking a decent amount of basic supplements - Vitamins A, the Bs, C, D3 and E plus Magnesium and Calcium Citrates and am still following the diet because it works well for my body. Lots of other things have, and still are healing as well as the Candida issue. I didn't take any probiotics or antifungals, but my body has been readjusting my gut flora quite happily on its own. I have now added in Kefir (after 2.5 years on the diet), but only for the benefits of its large range of nutritional elements.

    I still have a way to go because my body was very deficient for a long time, but it illustrates just how nutritional deficiency can impact on our health.

    To the previous poster, I am wondering why you are eating a high-protein diet? Too much protein can be as bad as too little. If you remove carbs, you need to replace them with fat rather than up the carbs.

    Candida is a result of sickness - not a cause. Address the cause and the Candida will go away. The cause is nutritional deficiency created by the 'body-robbing' highly processed carbohydrate and other foods and empty sugars, chemicals, modern wheat with its extra 'foreign' proteins that damage the gut and prevent nutrient absorption, and highly-processed vegetable oils and fats that turn to something akin to varnish when heated (ever tried to scrape congealed veg oil off a chip-fryer and you'll know what I mean!) that clog the cells.

    Put the wrong, or contaminated fuel in the engine of your car and you would soon know it, yet people throw garbage down their throat every day and just expect the body to 'deal with it'. The more natural, unprocessed and better quality the food, the better the body will respond.

  • Shaista


    My son is a senior in college and has very high social anxiety and high functioning aspergers. I recently put him on 1000 mg of L-carnosine which immediately changed him. The school clinic prescriped 40 mg of Cymbalta. It made an amazing difference to him except that now he has Candida Guilliermondii and 3 of his fingernails have fallen off and one toe nail is all white. The doctors too almost 6 months to identify the fungus. The dermatologist prescribed 250 mg of Terbanafine. I am certain that his nail fungus is a side effect of some deficiency. Can you help shed some light?

  • Sharon Watson

    I have a comment and a question.

    I have been diagnosed with severe candida fungal infection since April 2011 and have been in treatment for such. I have lost from 138 to 108 lbs while on the candida diet and taking antifungals. Ive been eating a diet very high in protein through beef, and other meats and fish and chicken and turkey. Because of my severe weight loss, my doctor referred me to a specialist at the University of Florida Shands teaching hospital. I had amino acid testing and they say I was found to be extremely high (25) in beta-alanine and they say I have hyperbeta-alanemia. Question: Your article says "systemic candida can cause elevated beta alanine". Could you share or forward to me the basis for that information. I would like to share that with my doctor at Shands. Thank you.

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Information and statements regarding dietary supplements/products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Information on this website is provided for informational purposes only and is a result of years of practice and experience by the author. This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal, or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your healthcare provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read on this website.

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