Taurine (2-aminoethanesulfonic acid) is a sulfur-containing conditionally-essential amino acid which is not utilized in protein synthesis, but rather is found free or in simple peptides. Derived from methionine and cysteine metabolism, taurine is known to play an important role in numerous physiological functions. While conjugation of bile acids is perhaps its best-known function, this accounts for only a small proportion of the total body pool of taurine in humans. Other metabolic actions of taurine include: detoxification, membrane stabilization, osmoregulation, and modulation of cellular calcium levels. Clinically, taurine has been used in the treatment of a wide variety of conditions, including: cardiovascular diseases, epilepsy and other seizure disorders, macular degeneration, Alzheimer's disease, hepatic disorders, and cystic fibrosis. An analog of taurine has been used as a treatment for alcoholism.
It is found in high concentrations in skeletal muscles, central nervous system as well as in the heart muscles and liver.