5+ Foods High in Taurine

Taurine is a sulfur-containing amino acid. It is important for many body processes such as fluid regulation, bile salt production and antioxidation. Moreover, it is important for the function and development of your heart, nerves, muscles and eyesight. Your body can synthesize taurine from essential amino acids cysteine and methionine, but it is good to get some from your diet as well. Newborns can't synthesize taurine.

Foods High in Taurine

1. Fish

One of the best places to get taurine from your food is fresh fish. Cooked Dungeness crab contains nearly six grams of taurine for every kilogram. Whole mackerel will give you a little over nine grams for every kilogram and Alaskan salmon provides over four grams per kilogram. Capelin and other fish are also rich sources of taurine. If you enjoy fish, this is an ideal way to get your taurine in for a day.

2. Meat

Another excellent source to get your taurine is meat. There are a variety of birds, large animals and even insects that contain taurine. Beef liver has about 2.4 g per kilogram and is full of other nutrients. You can also find taurine in lamb (3.676 g taurine per kilogram) and chicken liver (6.763 g taurine per kilogram).

3. Human Breast Milk

For young newborns and babies, instead of eating foods high in taurine, getting taurine from breast milk is the recommended method by many doctors. Colostrum is especially good. This is what comes in the first few days right after delivery. It tends to be in a rich, golden color and contains high amounts of taurine. The level of taurine in breast milk decreases and after about a month, it is about 40% of the highest level. Taurine helps with the eye and brain development of babies.

4. Shellfish

Another excellent source of taurine is shellfish. You can usually find high levels in shrimp, scallops and clams. The fresher the seafood is, the higher amounts of taurine it will contain.

5. Other Sources

Some other excellent foods to eat to get taurine include brewer’s yeast, eggs, many dairy products, and even seaweed.

Do You Get Enough Taurine?

Most people get enough taurine with their body’s natural synthesizing process, including vegetarians. Eating foods high in taurine also makes a contribution. There are a few cases of deficiency though. You should consider getting your taurine levels tested if:

  • You go through high physical demands like heavy exercise or you have been injured.
  • You have immune, liver, or digestion problems.
  • You have candida or another fungal infection.
  • You have a child who has autism. Both of you should get tested.
  • You are trying to conceive or going to breastfeed.
  • You are obese.
  • You have edema.
  • You smoke.
  • You have heart disease.
  • You have high or low levels of iron.
  • You suffer from migraines, anxiety, insomnia, agitation, irritability, depression and obsessions.

Tests of Taurine Levels

The best testing for taurine is to use whole-blood instead of just blood plasma. When whole blood is used, various cell levels can be considered, such as platelets, neutrophils, and lymphocytes, showing higher levels of taurine than with plasma. It is recommended that those with chronic viral hepatitis look at the taurine levels in their white blood cells.

You should keep in mind that stool and urine tests aren’t as accurate as blood tests. This is particularly true for newborns, vegans and people who may have low zinc or candida (the systemic fungal infection).

When to Take Taurine Supplements

Supplements are needed in a few people who can't get enough taurine by the synthesizing process and eating foods high in taurine. There are clinical conditions that taurine is used for, such as seizure disorders, epilepsy, mascular degeneration, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cystic fibrosis and hepatic disorders. Alcoholism has been treated with acamprosate which is an analog of taurine. Taurine has also been used for treating depression, irritability, insomnia, agitation, obsessions, restlessness, and migraines.

Taurine Supplement Dosage

The dosage can vary, depending on your genetics, liver function, kidney function, body size and health. Note that overall usage can range from 500 mg to 5-6 grams. The following shows the general guideline. You should speak with your doctor before supplementing.

  • Athletic adults in training should get 6 grams in three different doses.
  • Adults should get between 13-16 mg per kilogram of weight.
  • Small children and infants should get 27-58 mg per kilo body weight, divided between two different doses.
  • Those suffering seizures should take 500 mg, three times a day.
  • People who have heart disease are suggested to take 5-6 grams divided between three doses in a day.
  • Those who have congestive heart failure or arrhythmias should get two grams of taurine, three times a day.

Possible Side Effects

If you are taking taurine in large doses, you may see some side effects such as short term memory loss. You can also have ulcer trouble because taurine stimulates your stomach acid. There are some people who have intense itching and even psoriasis in doses of 2g a day or higher. Those who have epilepsy may experience dizziness, gait trouble, nausea and headaches.

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