Taurine and Type 1 Diabetes

Taurine is one of the active compounds used in popular energy drinks. Originally isolated from ox bile, this organic acid is needed by the human body to make bile acid for fat and cholesterol metabolism. Taurine regulates the fluid and ion balance of your body which affects your blood pressure, conduction of nerve impulse and muscle contraction. It is also carried in your white blood cells to help fight disease and promote more efficient detoxification. In addition to internal production, you can also acquire taurine from dietary sources. Generally speaking, animal products carry much more taurine than vegetables. Red meat, shellfish and sea weeds are excellent sources of taurine.

Dietary intake and supplementation of taurine has been shown to have many health benefits especially if you have type I diabetes. This type of diabetes impairs your internal taurine synthesis, so you have to intervene with addition supplementation to prevent deterioration of the disease and other diabetic complications.

Effect on Pancreas and Insulin

Taurine is a potent antioxidant and is found to be able to reduce the level of oxidative stress on the pancreas of diabetic patients. In higher amounts, taurine can prevent injury of pancreatic B cells causing by the free radicals from fatty acid oxidation. Additionally, studies have shown that elevated taurine levels can improve insulin resistance in type I diabetes.

It is especially important for pregnant and lactating mothers to take extra taurine through diet or supplement. Pregnant women who take extra taurine can reduce their baby’s risk of developing diabetes. Taurine is also passed through breast milk. Infants fed with taurine-rich milk or formulas have showed better postnatal development, and have lower risk of becoming diabetic later in life.

Prevents Kidney Failure

Kidney damage is one of the most common complications from diabetes as the disease can significantly increase the filtration load of your kidneys. Thus it becomes ever more critical for diabetic patients to keep their blood pressure within the normal range to prevent causing more damage to the kidneys.

Taurine controls the sodium magnesium channel on cell membranes, keeping sodium ions out of cells and magnesium and potassium in. This results in a diuretic effect which promotes the elimination of excess fluid from your blood and tissues. The reduction of blood volume also lowers the blood pressure.

Taurine also inhibits angiotensin II, a compound that enables blood vessel constriction. Higher intake of taurine can help relax your blood vessels, which also lowers your blood pressure and promotes better circulation.

Lowers Heart Risks

One of first signs of low taurine is a drastic jump in your blood cholesterol level. Without additional supplementation, both low density lipoproteins (LDL) and very low density lipoproteins (VLDL) will increase significantly if you have diabetes. Excess amounts of bad cholesterol can make you much more likely to suffer cholesterol-induced cardiovascular problems like atherosclerosis, strokes and heart attacks. Studies have shown that you need to take a minimum of 1.5 grams of taurine through diet or supplement everyday to make up for the deficit. With the extra supplementation, you can bring your cholesterol level back to normal within 3 month.


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