Taurine is a semi-essential nutrient, that is, a substance that our body is capable of producing. However, in certain situations such as parenteral nutrition, hemodialysis or in children, the body may need to receive an additional supply through our diet.
This substance is formed from the amino acid methionine and is found in greater quantities in animal products (red meat, fish, seafood and human milk) more so than in plant foods.
It is the second most abundant amino acid in human muscle tissue and is also found in remarkable quantities in the brain, heart and platelets.
Scientific evidence has observed that taurine may have a prominent role in the modification of some characteristics of cell membranes, including fluidity, the transport capacity of certain ions (calcium, sodium, potassium and magnesium) and the regulation of the activity of some enzymes in the membrane. In addition, it has been suggested that taurine has antioxidant and osmoregulatory properties, and that it can act as a neurotransmitter.
This substance is related to the immune system, defending the body against pathogens and other harmful substances. It also has the ability to stimulate certain cells involved in our body’s defenses.
It has also been linked to the maintenance and development of the retina, as well as to the absorption of fat and fat-soluble vitamins.
Taurine acts as an “insulin mimicker”. It binds to insulin receptors, causing a decrease in glucose levels and a consequent increase in oxygen. It has therefore been used in supplements for athletes, specifically for those who practice aerobic exercise. In addition, it is related to the characteristic inflammatory processes that are associated with sport, reducing damage and muscle recovery time. It has also been used in this population group due to its participation in protein metabolism.
Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that the brain needs to secrete serotonin, a brain neurotransmitter.
Amino acids are the nutrients that make up proteins, some of which are essential (we have to get them through food), as is the case with tryptophan.
Tryptophan’s metabolism is complex and requires an adequate amount of vitamin B6 and magnesium to perform its function. A supply of vitamin B6 or pyridoxine is essential for the metabolism of amino acids, as well as for the conversion of tryptophan to niacin (vitamin B3).
Tryptophan is found, above all, in animal products. Therefore, the main sources of this amino acid are eggs, milk, fish and meats.
As an essential amino acid, the body needs tryptophan to make its own proteins.
If we follow a varied diet and our body has all the nutrients it needs for its metabolic processes, our neurons also use it to produce serotonin, a chemical messenger that, among other body functions, promotes relaxation and produces vitamin B3.