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The taurine-blood pressure connection

With well over half of Americans having either hypertension or prehypertension, effective supplements are a highly researched area. The amino-acid like compound taurine may be a safe and easy-to-obtain treatment option.

Introduction

High blood pressure is known as “the silent killer.” It produces few direct symptoms but is correlated with higher incidences of heart disease and stroke. About 26%[1] of adults worldwide have high blood pressure. While high blood pressure is considered anything higher than 140/90 mmHg, nearly 40%[2] of adults worldwide have prehypertension, defined as a systolic blood pressure (upper number) of 120-139 mmHg or a diastolic blood pressure (lower number) of 80-89 mmHg. Prevalence is higher in men and in certain racial and ethnic groups. Without preventative steps, prehypertension is likely to develop into hypertension as a person ages and/or gains weight, and recent studies have independently linked even prehypertension to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease[3] and stroke[4].

Taurine is an amino acid-like molecule found in eggs, meat, and seafood. The average omnivore consumes less than 200 milligrams per day[5]. Taurine is also added to a number of energy drinks at levels of up to two grams per serving. There is strong evidence[6] that a dose of at least three grams a day produces no adverse effects, and it’s possible that the maximal safe dose may be much higher. Interestingly, while humans are able to synthesize taurine from other protein sources, it’s an essential nutrient[7] for cats and half of all commercial taurine is manufactured for use in pet food.

Taurine has effects on cardiovascular[8] and muscle function, possibly through either regulation of calcium channels[9] or through nitric oxide-related pathways[10], as well as various brain functions by interacting with gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors[11]. Additionally, taurine has been positively correlated[12] with hydrogen sulfide (H2S) exposure, and previous research in animal models of hypertension showed that treatment with H2S reduced blood pressure[13].

Who and what was studied?

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The big picture

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Frequently Asked Questions

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