Taurine is a sulfur-containing amino acid. However, unlike other amino acids, taurine is not a constituent of any protein. Instead, it exists free in intracellular fluids. Adult humans are capable of synthesizing taurine from the essential amino acids methionine and cysteine, although they still may require a small amount of dietary intake. Newborns cannot synthesize taurine directly and do require dietary intake, according to a 1977 study reported in the journal "Neonatology." A number of foods contain taurine.
Fish contain high levels of taurine. The Department of Molecular Biosciences at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California Davis reports that whole capelin contains 6.174 g of taurine per kilogram of dry weight. Cooked dungeness crab contains 5.964 g of taurine per kilogram of dry weight. Whole mackerel contains 9.295 g of taurine per kilogram of dry weight and Alaskan salmon fillets contain 4.401 g of taurine per kilogram of dry weight.
Animal meat is a good source of taurine. A variety of large animals. including birds and insects, all contain taurine. Mechanically deboned beef contains about 197 mg taurine per kilogram of dry weight. Beef liver contains about 2.359 g taurine per kilogram of dry weight. Lamb contains about 3.676 g taurine per kilogram of dry weight and chicken liver contains about 6.763 g taurine per kilogram of dry weight, according to a UC Davis study reported in the "Journal of Animal Physiology" in 2003.
Infants require dietary intake of taurine. Human breast milk has an excellent supply. Initial four- to five-day postpartum breastmilk, also known as colostrum, contains high levels of taurine. Gradually the amount of taurine in breastmilk reduces and by 30 days postpartum, there is roughly 40 percent of the peak levels. Because taurine is important in the development of the brain and eyes, baby formula manufacturers have begun adding it to artificial baby milks.
From the reactions to the latest courses on taurine (thx Metabolic Alchemy) I concluded it would be nice to have some insight into natural sources of the sulfur-amino acid. It is however important to note that under normal conditions man is also able to produce sufficient levels of taurine (2-aminoethane sulfonic acid) from methionine and cysteine. Other than cats we are thus not dependent on exogenous consumption of taurine if our diet does not lack the aforementioned essential amino acids (EAAs). In view of the many beneficial effects (hypoglycaemic, important for testosterone production, anti-oxidant, etc.) ascribed to taurine the consumption of taurine-rich foods (cf. table below) might benefit overall health and/or specific medical conditions such has diabetes or high blood pressure.
|Wild game||3 ounces||600|
|Oatmeal flakes||1 cup||500|
|Meat (luncheon)||1 cup||390|
|Wheat germ,toasted||1/4 cup||350|
|Egg||1 (medium size)||350|
|Table 1:Taurine content of selected foodstuff (USDA Handbook Number 8)|
In view of these figures it is highly unlikely that you must fear testicular malfunction from improper taurine levels on a normal diet. This does not say that additional supplementation may not be beneficial for blood pressure, blood glucose and other factors associated with the metabolic syndrome or other conditions such as
which are commonly associated with taurine deficiency.
Going overboard on taurine supplementation, on the other hand, has anecdotally been linked to tiredness, drowsiness and a general feeling of weekness. While the exact mechanism of action related to this symptoms has not been investigated yet, studies suggest that the GABA-mediated inhibitory effect taurine has on the brain may be responsible for these side effects.