Taurine is an amino acid that is most often found in energy drinks. It is thought to aid against several different health conditions. One of the health conditions that taurine is believed to assist in the recovery of is alcoholism.
Alcoholism is an addiction to alcohol that can be a driving force in someone’s life. The need to drink alcohol dominates the person’s life to the point where it interferes with their ability to cope in their lives. Alcoholism is often hard to overcome without some kind of outside assistance.
How Taurine Affects Alcoholism
Taurine helps alter brain chemistry to help with alcoholism. By ingesting taurine (and forms of it such as the drug acamprosate), the brain releases additional levels of dopamine in a way similar to that of alcohol. In essence, taurine is tricking your brain into thinking that you have indulged in your alcoholism when in truth you haven’t. Alcoholics who take taurine are less likely to relapse than those who don’t.
Additionally, studies have shown that alcoholics who take taurine or its equivalent are less likely to suffer from withdrawal-based psychotic episodes.
In addition to its properties to help reduce relapse and psychotic episodes in alcoholics, taurine has a number of other effects that effect the consumption of alcohol.
- Helps to prevent damage done to cells in the brain and liver
- Improves coordination while intoxicated
- Reduces the effects of hangovers
Other Benefits of Taurine
Taurine is not only useful to help recovering alcoholics, but assists in the recovery of many health conditions and illnesses.
- Benefits those with congestive heart failure
- Reduces death from heart disease
- Protects kidney function in diabetics and those with high blood pressure
- Benefits exercise performance and endurance
- Prevents cataracts
- Possible decrease in memory loss due to aging
- Possible reduction in depression and anxiety
- Reduction of blood pressure and cholesterol
- Improvement in insulin resistance in diabetes
Side Effects of Taurine
Taurine does have some side effects or dangers associated with it. It can prevent the absorption of drugs. In addition people who suffer from epilepsy have been known to have more frequent seizures after consuming taurine.
Sources of Taurine
While taurine can be created in the body, taurine deficiency is a possibility. Taurine can be found in many forms or availabilities.
- Red Bull and other energy drinks
- Taurine supplements
- Meats, such as beef, pork, fish and poultry
While research is still out on taurine and its effects on alcoholism, the benefits for treatment of recovering alcoholics looks promising. In addition, taurine has many health benefits that are important for everyone. Since taurine is found mostly in meat products, vegans and vegetarians may find it difficult to get enough taurine for their bodies. It is therefore important for people with these dietary restrictions to supplement their diet with nutritional supplements or energy drinks that contain taurine to take advantage of its health benefits. If you’re interested in the health benefits of taurine, speak to your health care professional or nutritionist.