Taurine is an amino acid. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Just as a freight train is made up of many cars, a protein is made up of many amino acids. Taurine is a little different from other amino acids in that its main function is not as a part of proteins; it has physiologic uses as well. Taurine, it turns out, may be beneficial to people with high blood pressure and other cardiovascular issues.
Taurine is classified as a “conditionally essential” amino acid. That means that the body can manufacture it, but in order to have adequate amounts, it should be consumed in the diet or supplemented. Essential amino acids must be gotten from the diet; the body cannot manufacture them. Taurine can be manufactured in the body from other amino acids. To do so, you need adequate folate, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12. For that reason, supplementation with taurine is often necessary, especially for vegans.
Animal studies first demonstrated the value of taurine to address cardiovascular issues. Rats that were bred to be prone to high blood pressure and stroke were found to benefit from taurine supplementation. Taurine supplementation reduced blood pressure and decreased inflammation (J Biomed Sci. 2010 Aug 24;17 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):S6).
One double-blind, placebo-controlled study (Hypertension. 2016 Mar;67(3):541-9) looked at taurine supplementation is 120 patients. Taurine supplementation significantly lowered blood pressure when compared to placebo. The authors stated, “In conclusion, the antihypertensive effect of chronic taurine supplementation shows promise in the treatment of prehypertension through improvement of vascular function.”
In an analysis of seven studies (Curr Hypertens Rep. 2018 Jul 13;20(9):81), the authors found taurine to be beneficial to patients with high blood pressure. They stated, “These preliminary findings suggest that ingestion of taurine at the stated doses and supplementation periods can reduce blood pressure to a clinically relevant magnitude, without any adverse side effects.”
The benefits of taurine supplementation may go beyond blood pressure reduction. Taurine helps regulate blood sugar, blood lipids (e.g., cholesterol), and may help contribute to weight loss, according to a review of 12 studies (Eur J Pharmacol. 2020 Oct 15;885:173533.). The authors concluded, “These findings indicate that, in patients with liver dysregulation, taurine supplementation can lower blood pressure and improve the lipid profile by reducing total cholesterol and triglyceride levels.”