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Taurine is a type of chemical called an amino sulfonic acid. It occurs naturally in the human body and has many important functions. Taurine is found in large amounts in the brain, retina, heart, and blood cells called platelets. The best food sources are meat, fish, and eggs.
The body usually makes taurine on its own. But some people cannot make it and need to get taurine from their diet or supplements. Breast milk is rich in taurine, but infants who are not breastfed do not get enough taurine and do not have the ability to make it, so taurine is often added to infant formulas. It is also added to the formulas used for tube-feeding in adults.
People take taurine for congestive heart failure (CHF) and swelling (inflammation) of the liver (hepatitis). It is also used for athletic performance, boosting energy, diabetes, and other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.
Taurine has important functions in the heart and brain. It helps support nerve growth. It might also benefit people with heart failure by lowering blood pressure and calming the nervous system. This might help prevent heart failure from becoming worse.