Taurine, also known as 2- aminoethanesulfonic acid, is an organic compound that can be found in animal tissue and has a vital function in both animals and humans.
Its primary biological roles in humans are:
- to conjugate bile acids;
- antioxidation; and
- modulation of calcium signalling
Taurine has been proved beneficial for regulating blood pressure and vasoactivity
Taurine is found in the brain, heart and blood cells called platelets and it’s considered a conditional amino acid which means that it is produced by the body. (Schuller-Levis and Park, 2003)
There is clear research showing that taurine supplementation has benefits in various medical fields.
Taurine has been proven beneficial for:
- regulating blood pressure and vasoactivity;
- it’s neuroprotective role (Frye et al., 2013);
- Beneficial effects on high blood pressure ( El Idrissi et al.2013)
- Beneficial effects on high cholesterol (Wójcik et al., 2009, 2012),
- improving seizures and autism (Ghanizadeh, 2013), and
- improving mental performance (Seidl, 2000)
Other studies show that there are increased health benefits when it comes to congestive heart failure and taurine supplements may improve or even treat this condition or other heart related conditions. It’s important to state that taurine could also serve as a great preventative and adjuvant in treatments for people predisposed to any of the conditions above. (Xu et al., 2008)
How is Taurine linked to Hair Regrowth?
The observations concluded that taurine protects the hair follicle from the effects of (TGF)-β1 as well as promoting hair survival
There are several studies showing the benefits of taurine on hair growth and overall health, as well as its connection with the hair’s natural growing cycle.
One study in 2013 (Kim et al.) describes alopecia as a modern malady that is aggravated by stress due to the changing socio-economic conditions we are living.
Researchers studied the effects of taurine against alopecia that has been caused by various chemical stress agents. There was a positive response when taurine was added and it allowed better stress recovery. The study concludes that there is strong evidence showing how taurine can help with alopecia, especially when used with other treatments that reduce hair loss.
Another study conducted in 2008 (Collin et al.) analyses taurine in relation to (TGF)-β — a protein that may cause hair loss. Taurine is involved in many physiological functions among which the immunomodulatory and antifibrotic functions. The researchers used taurine on in-vitro hair follicles. The observations concluded that taurine protects the hair follicle from the effects of (TGF)-β1 as well as promoting hair survival.
besides being an important element in brain and retinal development, taurine has a great anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effect
The (TGF)-β1 is a protein that performs various functions such as cell growth, cell proliferation, cell differentiation, etc.; it also plays an important role in the fibrosis of hair follicle and its growth.
There is further research that shows how (TGF)-β1 is linked to androgenetic alopecia as an important factor in hair growth. This particular study concludes that (TGF)-β1 derived from DPCs mediates hair growth suppression in AGA. (Kim et al.,2013)
Taurine as an anti-inflammatory
Taurine’s anti-inflammatory effect might also help reduce inflammation, thus helping those with scarring alopecia as well as micro inflammation that is due to external factors. In fact it’s thought that inflammation plays a major role in male pattern hair loss, caused by DHT.
A study in 2013 (Kim et al.) concluded that besides being an important element in brain and retinal development, taurine has a great anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effect. The study also shows that taurine inhibits the pro inflammatory mediators resulting from TLR9 activation. This may help researchers find treatment and even a cure for conditions like alopecia areata, psoriasis, vitiligo or other autoimmune conditions.
Hibino & Nishiyama argue that hair loss can be easily prevented by understanding how DHT stimulates synthesis of (TGF)-β1 in derma papilla cells. (TGF)-β1 also suppresses the proliferation of epithelial cells and stimulates synthesis of some caspases. Ultimately, epithelial cells are eliminated through apoptotic cell death. The study concludes that (TGF)-β1 antagonists help by preventing morphological changes as well as promoting the elongation of hair follicles. (Hibino & Nishiyama, 2004)
There is significant evidence showing how taurine is linked to (TGF)-β1 and can be used in treatment of hair loss. One study on taurine deficiency further supports the link between taurine and (TGF)-β1 (Hagiwara et al., 2014) while another study shows that taurine inhibits the expression of procollagen type I and type III in lung fibrosis, once again linking taurine to (TGF)-β1. (Gurujeyalakshmi, Hollinger & Giri, 1998)
Another study on taurine supplementation in the treatment of women with hair fragility shows the potential benefits of a systematic taurine supplementation; the study was conducted on 20 women with ages between 20 to 68 years who had fine hair and decreased hair thickness and shows that daily oral intake of taurine 150mg, Catechin 75mg and Zinc 15mg is beneficial to hair health. 11/12 women showed increased hair diameter from 0,040 to 0,045 μm while 6 other women showed an increase from 0,040 to 0,043 μm. (Tosti et al., 2007)
Natural Taurine Sources
Considering how many benefits taurine has to humans, it’s only logical to look into ways to supplement our taurine intake every day. Fortunately, besides oral supplements, there is a plethora of options for those who simply want to increase their taurine intake naturally.
A paper in 2009 (Oktawia et al.) reviewed taurine content of various foods and the most rich in taurine are:
- pork loin
Seafood is also extremely rich in taurine with clams, octopus, scallop, squid and white fish being the most taurine rich foods. Taurine cannot be found in plants except sea algae so vegetarians and vegans should consider monitoring their taurine levels and take supplements if needed.
Energy drinks contain a very high amount of taurine (between 1000mg to 3000mg) as well as high caffeine content. However, it’s unknown whether the high caffeine content may have detrimental effects on health.
Numerous studies indicate that taurine has tremendous benefits for our overall health. While some of the studies have led to revolutionary treatments in certain areas such as proposing it as adjuvant treatment for cardiovascular disease, a specific treatment model for hair loss that incorporates taurine hasn’t been furthered yet. Although there isn’t sufficient data showing that taurine by itself cannot cure hair loss, it is an essential discovery that may pave the path for further hair loss treatments.
- Georgia B. Schuller-Levis, Eunkyue Park, Taurine: new implications for an old amino acid, FEMS Microbiology Letters Sep 2003, 226 (2) 195-202; DOI: 10.1016/S0378-1097(03)00611-6 Link: http://femsle.oxfordjournals.org/content/226/2/195
- Frye, R. E., Rossignol, D., Casanova, M. F., Brown, G. L., Martin, V., Edelson, S., … Adams, J. B. (2013). A Review of Traditional and Novel Treatments for Seizures in Autism Spectrum Disorder: Findings from a Systematic Review and Expert Panel. Frontiers in Public Health, 1, 31. http://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2013.00031
- Abdeslem El Idrissi , Evelyn Okeke, Xin Yan, Francoise Sidime, Lorenz S. Neuwirth, Taurine Regulation of Blood Pressure and Vasoactivity, Volume 775 of the series Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology pp 407-425, 10 January 2013 Link: http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-1-4614-6130-2_31
- Wójcik, O. P., Koenig, K. L., Zeleniuch-Jacquotte, A., Costa, M., & Chen, Y. (2010). The potential protective effects of taurine on coronary heart disease. Atherosclerosis, 208(1), 19. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2009.06.002
- Wójcik, O. P., Koenig, K. L., Zeleniuch-Jacquotte, A., Pearte, C., Costa, M., & Chen, Y. (2013). Serum taurine and risk of coronary heart disease: a prospective, nested case-control study. European Journal of Nutrition, 52(1), 169–178. http://doi.org/10.1007/s00394-011-0300-6
- Ghanizadeh, A. (2013). Increased Glutamate and Homocysteine and Decreased Glutamine Levels in Autism: A Review and Strategies for Future Studies of Amino Acids in Autism. Disease Markers, 35(5), 281–286. http://doi.org/10.1155/2013/536521
- R. Seidl, A. Peyrl, R. Nicham, E. Hauser, Taurine and caffeine-containing drink stimulates cognitive performance and well-being, Amino Acids 19(3-4):635-42 · February 2000 Link: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s007260070013
- Xu, Y.-J., Arneja, A. S., Tappia, P. S., & Dhalla, N. S. (2008). The potential health benefits of taurine in cardiovascular disease. Experimental & Clinical Cardiology, 13(2), 57–65.Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2586397/
- Hyemin Kim, Hyunsook Chang, Dong-Hee Lee, Simulative Evaluation of Taurine Against Alopecia Caused by Stress in Caenorhabditis elegans, 2013, Volume 776 of the series Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology pp 267-276, Link: http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-1-4614-6093-0_25
- Collin, C., Gautier, B., Gaillard, O., Hallegot, P., Chabane, S., Bastien, P., Peyron, M., Bouleau, M., Thibaut, S., Pruche, F., Duranton, A. and Bernard, B. A. (2006), Protective effects of taurine on human hair follicle grown in vitro. International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 28: 289–298. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-2494.2006.00334.x Link: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-2494.2006.00334.x/abstract
- Kim BS, Spinner DS, Kascsak RJ, Park SY, Cho IS, Schuller-Levis G, Park E., Inflammatory mediators are inhibited by a taurine metabolite in CpG oligodeoxynucleotide and IFN-r activated macrophage cell line. J Drugs Dermatol. 2013 May;12(5):551-7. Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23652950
- Hibino, Toshihiko et al.,Role of TGF-β2 in the human hair cycle, Journal of Dermatological Science , Volume 35 , Issue 1 , 9 – 18, Link: https://secure.jbs.elsevierhealth.com/action/showCitFormats?pii=S0923-1811%2803%2900270-6&doi=10.1016%2Fj.jdermsci.2003.12.003&code=desc-site
- Hagiwara, A., Ishizaki, S., Takehana, K., Fujitani, S., Sonaka, I., Satsu, H., & Shimizu, M. (2014). Branched-chain amino acids inhibit the TGF-beta-induced down-regulation of taurine biosynthetic enzyme cysteine dioxygenase in HepG2 cells. Amino Acids, 46(5), 1275–1283. http://doi.org/10.1007/s00726-014-1693-3
- G. Gurujeyalakshmi, M. A. Hollinger, and S. N. Giri “Regulation of Transforming Growth Factor- β1 mRNA Expression by Taurine and Niacin in the Bleomycin Hamster Model of Lung Fibrosis”,American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology, Vol. 18, No. 3 (1998), pp. 334-342.doi: 10.1165/ajrcmb.18.3.2867 Link: http://www.atsjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1165/ajrcmb.18.3.2867?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&rfr_id=ori%3Arid%3Acrossref.org&rfr_dat=cr_pub%3Dpubmed&#.V3nfK_l97IU
- Tosti, Antonella; Vincenzi, Colombina; Starace, Michela; Pazzaglia, Massimiliano; Department of Dermatology University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy Oral Supplementation With Taurine in the Treatment of Women With Hair Fragility Link: http://nahrs.org/Portals/0/meetings_support/abstracts_5th_congress/Final_Program_from_Bristol_pt6.pdf