|Image 1: No, taurine is not made from the sperm of Belgian Blues and no it won't make you look like one overnight, either ;-)|
Taurine doubles testosterone production in diabetic rats
The reason I am addressing this again is the recent publication of a study on the beneficial effects of supplemental taurine, administered at a dose of 500mg/kg (human equivalent: 80mg/kg, or 3-4g /day) on the following diabetes related ailments:
What's up with intraperitoneal administered drugs? When something is injected into the peritoneal cavity the cannot vomit whatever scientists would otherwise have to stuff down their pieholes or inject into their tiny veins back up. Unfortunately the bioavailability is usually higher than via the oral route with the differences varying profoundly between compounds. Melatonin, for example, has a bioavailability of 54% when administered orally and 74% for i.p. injections (based on 10mg/kg dose; cf. Yeleswaram. 1997).
- wasting (loss of body weight),
- testicular damage,
- defect spermatogenesis,
- systemic oxidative damage,
- DNA damage,
- loss of natural antioxidant defense,
- low testosterone
The average American is likely to benefit, as well
Adequate dosages are probably higher for diabetics
That would obviously require adequate dosing schemes which would, according to the Tsounapi study range from ~3-5g and are thus more than twice as high as the 1.5g /day Brøns et al. administered to overweight men with a genetic predisposition for type II diabetes mellitus without seeing the expected outcomes in terms of increased insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance (Brøns. 2004). Especially in diabetics, whose ability to absorb taurine is decreased (-32%), while the amount of taurine they excrete is increased (+35%; cf. Merheb. 2007), dosages in the 5g+ range (like 3x2g per day with meals) could be very well indicated - not least because the previously calculated human equivalent dose did not account for the increased bioavailability from intraperitoneally injected vs. orally ingested taurine.
Taurine, women, pregnancy and healthy children
Likewise, low(-ered) serum levels of taurine have been identified as a correlate of gestational diabetes by Seghieri et al. According the researchers from Italy,
[...] plasma taurine was inversely related to previous gestational area-under-curve of glucose and directly related to post-gestational CP/glucose [CP: C-reactive protein, important marker of inflammation and correlate of cardiovascular disease and other ailments], as well to CP/glucose measured during pregnancy (p<0.05 for both). [Moreover, the] relative risk of altered glucose metabolism during previous pregnancies [impaired glucose tolerance and gestational diabetes] was higher as plasma taurine decreased, even after adjusting for age, time-lag from pregnancy, body mass index and family history of diabetes (OR: 0.980; CI 95%: 0.963-0.999, p=0.003)Thus taurine is by no means a "man's amino acid" - despite the fact that its concentration is particularly high in "manly" foods, such as fish and meat. In this context, the results of Kim et al. appear noteworthy, as well.
Taurine an essential component of breast milk
Taurine has a whole host of additional beneficial effects related to the prevention of comorbidities of diabetes (Ito. 2012):The Korean researchers found that the taurine content (obviously a vitally important nutrient for infants, as well) is profoundly decreased in the breast milk even of lacto-ovovegetarian mothers, compared to their non-vegetarian counterparts (31.0-54.4 mg/L vs. 19.1-52.3 mg/L; Kim. 1996). That this could be a substantial risk factor for
- diabetic nephropathy
- diabetic retinopathy
- diabetic neuropathy
- diabetic cardiomyopathy
- diabetes, insulitis and pancreatic dysfunction (Arany. 2004)
- cardiovascular disease (Kulthinee. 2010)
- distortions of the renin-angiotensin system (Thaeomor. 2010)
- high blood pressure (Roysommuti. 2009)
- kidney problems (Roysommuti. 2010)
You don't have to be (pre-)diabetic, on the SAD diet or pregnant to benefit
|Image 2: Those of you who listened to my dissertations in Episode III of the Amino Acids for Super Humans series on Super Human Radio, back in the day, will remember: Taurine ain't for obese pre-diabetics, only ;-)|
T for T: Taurine for testosterone for athletes and beyond
The study I am talking about was conducted by Yang et al. in 2009 and compared the effects of taurine supplementation on male reproduction in rats of different ages. With ~1% taurine at a water the rodents received, which would be (assuming an average weight & water consumption) be equivalent to ~15g for an adult human being - or 3x5g per day (Note: I am emphasizing the split dosages for two reasons: (1) I think it is a mistake not to consider the intricacies of supplementation and chronic low dose vs. bolus does make a huge difference with other supplements, e.g. "Never(!) Sip Your Whey, If You Want to Kickstart Protein Synthesis", and (2) taurine is somewhat harsh on the stomach and taking 15g in one sitting is almost guaranteed to make you sprint to the toilette within no time ;-)
|Figure 3: Serum testosterone levels (in mIU/ml) after 22 (baby) and 30 days (adult and aged rats) treatment with or without 1% taurine in drinking water (adapted from Yang. 2009)|
|Image 3: Believe it or not, eggs contain sulfur and the raw materials to make taurine, but no taurine (cf. Zhao. 1998)|
|Implications: I guess based on the previous discussion it should be clear that of the numerous supplements that are marketed to gymrats and health-enthusiasts, alike, taurine unquestionably is one of the most promising ones (suggested dose non-diabetics start with 3x2g or 2x3g /day). Moreover, with the focus of today's post being on testosterone and glucose metabolism, I did not even mention all the proven and purported benefits of taurine, such as its ability to...|
A word of caution: Since I know that you are just about to order a couple of bounds of taurine from your favorite bulk supplier, let me briefly mention a not-yet fully elucidated potential downside to excessive taurine supplementation (5g/day in divided doses does not seem to be a problem, though), which relates to its ability to act as a neurotransmitter in the brain: While Louzuda et al. point out that this can be an advantage and would render taurine a potential candidate for the treatment of Alzheimer's and other neurological disorders (Louzada. 2004), it's interactions with the GABA receptor in the brain and peripheral tissues (Hanretta. 1987; Albrecht. 2005; Jia. 2008) may be a problem for people with anxiety issues - whether it exerts anti- or pro-anxiety effects, is yet still a matter of constant debate and I am not even sure how reliable the rodent models are, by the means of which Chen et al., Kong et al. and Zhang et al. (Chen. 2004; Kong. 2006; Zhang. 2007) demonstrated anti-anxiety effects, El Idrissi et al. observed anti-anxiety effects after injection and pro-anxiety effect after chronic supplementation (El Idrissi. 2009), and Whirley et al. observed only "subtle" if not non-existant effects (Whirley. 2008).
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- Arany E, Strutt B, Romanus P, Remacle C, Reusens B, Hill DJ. Taurine supplement in early life altered islet morphology, decreased insulitis and delayed the onset of diabetes in non-obese diabetic mice. Diabetologia. 2004
- Brøns C, Spohr C, Storgaard H, Dyerberg J, Vaag A. Effect of taurine treatment on insulin secretion and action, and on serum lipid levels in overweight men with a genetic predisposition for type II diabetes mellitus. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2004 Sep;58(9):1239-47.
- CDC. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National diabetes fact sheet: national estimates and general information on diabetes and prediabetes in the United States, 2011. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011.
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- Kulthinee S, Wyss JM, Jirakulsomchok D, Roysommuti S. High sugar intake exacerbates cardiac reperfusion injury in perinatal taurine depleted adult rats. J Biomed Sci. 2010 Aug 24;17 Suppl 1:S22.
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- Louzada PR, Paula Lima AC, Mendonca-Silva DL, Noël F, De Mello FG, Ferreira ST. Taurine prevents the neurotoxicity of beta-amyloid and glutamate receptor agonists: activation of GABA receptors and possible implications for Alzheimer's disease and other neurological disorders. FASEB J. 2004 Mar;18(3):511-8.
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- Nardelli TR, Ribeiro RA, Balbo SL, Vanzela EC, Carneiro EM, Boschero AC, Bonfleur ML. Taurine prevents fat deposition and ameliorates plasma lipid profile in monosodium glutamate-obese rats. Amino Acids. 2011 Oct;41(4):901-8.
- Piña-Zentella G, de la Rosa-Cuevas G, Vázquez-Meza H, Piña E, de Piña MZ. Taurine in adipocytes prevents insulin-mediated H2O2 generation and activates Pka and lipolysis. Amino Acids. 2012 May;42(5):1927-35.
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- Tsounapi P, Saito M, Dimitriadis F, Koukos S, Shimizu S, Satoh K, Takenaka A, Sofikitis N. Antioxidant treatment with edaravone or taurine ameliorates diabetes-induced testicular dysfunction in the rat. Mol Cell Biochem. 2012 Jul 5.
- Whirley BK, Einat H. Taurine trials in animal models offer no support for anxiolytic, antidepressant or stimulant effects. Isr J Psychiatry Relat Sci. 2008;45(1):11-8.
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- Zhang CG, Kim SJ. Taurine induces anti-anxiety by activating strychnine-sensitive glycine receptor in vivo. Ann Nutr Metab. 2007;51(4):379-86.
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