Taurine is one of my favorite prescriptions for perimenopause, menopause, sleep, mood, insulin resistance, and migraine prevention.
Unlike many other amino acids, taurine is not used to build protein. Instead, it acts directly to support the healthy functioning of the liver, brain, and immune system. Taurine is so important for health that it makes up 0.1% of total body weight.
Traditionally, taurine has been classified as “non-essential” because it can be synthesized from methionine and cysteine. Unfortunately, the rate of taurine synthesis is very low in humans so must be ingested from animal foods such as meat, dairy, and fish. The daily intake from an average omnivore diet is 400 mg and there’s no taurine in plant foods.
Obtaining adequate dietary taurine is more important for women because estrogen slows the biosynthesis of endogenous taurine.
Benefits of taurine for women’s health
Calms the brain and soothes anxiety
Taurine is a calming neurotransmitter similar in structure to glycine and GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) — the brain’s other two calming neurotransmitters.
By interacting with GABA receptors, taurine helps to support beneficial “GABAergic” tone or overall GABA activity, thereby improving sleep, preventing migraines, and relieving premenstrual and perimenopausal mood symptoms.
Helps to reverse insulin resistance and prevent obesity
Taurine improves healthy insulin sensitivity by supporting mitochondria and preventing the harmful overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Together with magnesium, taurine can also reduce inflammation, suppress appetite, and prevent obesity.
👉🏽Tip: Taurine’s benefits for both GABA and insulin make it particularly helpful for the hot flashes of perimenopause and menopause.
Supports healthy estrogen metabolism or detoxification
By supporting the healthy formation of bile acids, taurine can prevent gallstones and help to promote the healthy detoxification of estrogen through the liver and bowel.
Improves recovery from iron-deficient anemia
Thanks to taurine’s antioxidant and cell-membrane stabilizing effects, it can boost hemoglobin in response to iron supplementation.
Builds muscle and bone
How to supplement taurine
The therapeutic dose of taurine is 500 to 3000 mg and works best when taken with magnesium, another important nutrient for mood, mitochondria, and insulin sensitivity. I usually prescribe a magnesium glycinate powder with 3000 mg of taurine. Magnesium taurate (a magnesium salt of taurine) is another option.
Is taurine safe with a sulfur allergy?
A “sulfur allergy” is usually an allergy to sulfonamides (sulfa drugs) or a sensitivity to sulfites, which are common in processed foods and wine. It’s not possible to have an allergy to sulfur, the element found in taurine.
For more about taurine, see my new book Hormone repair manual: every woman’s guide to healthy hormones after 40.