Taurine In Liver Health

  • Taurine, an liver protecting amino acid, has been shown to have promising results. It is known that the liver is the main organ for taurine biosynthesis and also an important target organ for taurine's many biological activities. It is essential for formation of bile acids and thus for detoxification processes. In a 2008 study, taurine has been shown to reduce the secretion of apolipoprotein B100 and lipids in HepaticG2 cells and is effective in removing fatty liver deposits, preventing liver disease, and reducing cirrhosis. Importantly taurine has protective and preventive role in portal hypertension, the major cause of death in cirrhotic liver conditions.

  • Taurine plays following important roles in hepatoprotection-Combines and removes of toxic chemicals and metabolites

  •      – Antioxidant action :- Taurine increases levels of antioxidant enzymes like glutathione peroxidase, superoxide dismutase and catalase in liver and thus protects hepatocytes from free radical and ROS induced damages.

         – As essential component of cell membranes :- It enhances transport of important ions across hepatocytes thus improving their functions and recovery. A deficiency of taurine can lead to electrolyte imbalance due to impaired mineral transport across cell membranes and this reduces the ability of the liver to remove toxic substances.

Taurine deficiency and liver injuries(study in mice)14 :-

  • Taurine deficiency can trigger hepatitis and liver fibrosis, probably due to a diminished antioxidant defense, increase in inflammatory reactions and mitochondrial dysfunction in hepatocytes.

  • Taurine deficiency increases free radical and ROS mediated oxidative damages and formation of toxic metabolites in liver cells. This can be seen as there is a 6-fold increase in the TNF-a plasma levels. Tissue necotising factor alpha is a marker for inflammatory processes that leads to cell death. Taurine supplementation prevents these damages and protects cells.

  • Severe toxicities causes death of more and more hepatocytes. These cells are replaced by formation of new cells. If the cell destruction is high, the newly formed cells are immature and abnormal in shape (oval shape). Development of these cells is associated with liver cancer with frequent preneoplastic or neoplastic lesions.

Taurine – hepatoprotective effects against toxicants:15

  • Taurine has important antitoxin effect means it combines with harmful toxic substances and detoxifies them by converting into harmless water soluble substances which are easily excreted by kidneys. During taurine deficiency they are not detoxified and in turn causes toxic effects on liver cells.

  • This effect is observed in a rat study which used carbon tetrachloride as toxicant. Taurine pretreatment induced a marked beneficial effect regarding the prevention of hepatocellular necrosis and atrophy as demonstrated morphologically. In conclusion, these results suggest that taurine pretreatment prevents the morphologic damage caused by CCl4 in the early stages.16

  • Taurine protects liver tissue from necrosis (cell death), inflammation, and fibrosis, and helpes protect cells from damage.

  • It also preserves the internal cellular structure – the endoplasmic reticulum – from toxic damage. Endoplasmic reticulum is important part of cell where protein (like enzymes) formation takes place.

  • Further taurine helps for normal hepatocyte structures and prevents formation of extracellular matrix which otherwise leads to liver fibrosis.

Taurine In hepatitis :-

  • Increased blood bilirubin levels is the first indication of hepatitis. Rising levels of bilirubin causes kidney damages with resultant loss of albumin in urine. This condition is known as microalbuminuria. Urine in normal people does not contain albumin. Its presence is indication of either kidney or liver problems both are inter-related. Reduction in urine albumin levels is indication of improved liver function.

  • In a double-blind, randomized study, two groups of patients with acute hepatitis, all with serum bilirubin levels above 3 mg/dl, were studied. Subjects in the treatment group received 4 grams of taurine three times daily. Bilirubin, total bile acids, and biliary glycine:taurine ratio all decreased significantly in the taurine group within one week as compared to controls.10