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What is taurine and how can it help you?

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Quick Answer

Taurine is an amino acid that helps regulate water and mineral levels in the blood, according to Mayo Clinic. It also supports neurological development and likely has antioxidant properties.

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Full Answer

Taurine is called a "conditional" amino acid instead of an "essential" amino acid because it can be produced by the human body. Infants cannot make taurine, and instead receive it from their mother's milk. Taurine is taken for multiple ailments, including high blood pressure, hepatitis, cystic fibrosis, seizure disorders and even autism, according to WebMD. Taurine may also assist with congestive heart failure because it lowers blood pressure and improves function in the left ventricle of the heart.

Taurine is naturally found in meat, fish and breast milk, and it is also included in dietary supplements and energy drinks, reports Mayo Clinic. Studies show that taurine may have additional benefits, including boosting performance at athletic events and improving the exercise capacity of patients with congestive heart failure. One controversial study even found that taurine boosts mental performance when combined with caffeine. Despite the evident benefits of taurine, however, it is important to consume taurine in moderation, as researchers have not studied the potential risks of excessive taurine intake, as of 2015.

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