Taurine and Vitamin D

Happy New Year!

I have a couple of quick things which might be of interest:

1. After reading that QuasiVegan was taking taurine and feeling great, I decided to do some experimenting on myself. I have been taking 1,000 mg of taurine per day for a week. I don’t feel any different – not that I was feeling bad to begin with, but you never know.

A few years ago I tried a similar experiment with carnitine and I noticed myself feeling slightly worse. Also a few years ago, I tried taking methylcobalamin (a form of vitamin B12) rather than cyanocobalamin and felt nothing after going through an entire bottle over the course of a few weeks.

2. Over the holidays I talked to another vegan who was feeling very fatigued, got her D levels tested and they were low, started taking vitamin D, and now feels much better.

I’m not suggesting that how one feels is the best way to determine if taking a supplement is healthy or not, but it might be able to indicate if you had a severe deficiency.

10 Responses to “Taurine and Vitamin D”

  1. beforewisdom Says:

    A million years ago, when I went away to college I was a vegetarian. I stopped for a year or two. I didn’t feel any different either. That non-experience is one of the things that makes me not take the ex-veg*ns stories of having a “meatgasm” reaction upon first eating meat again seriously.

  2. Ellie Says:

    Jack,
    I haven’t heard of taurine, but my experiment with supplementing zinc since my level was at the very lowest of optimal recommendation has been a tremendous success – I haven’t had a single cold or viral infection since the day I started (about 8-9 weeks ago now). I started the kids on it half way through (about 5 weeks ago now) and the same result – not a single cold or infection since the first pill! That’s nothing sohrt of MIRACULOUS since we were sick nonstop since the beginning of school in late August, and that’s not an exaggeration. We’re only taking the approximate RDA each and the only other supplements we’re on are vitamin D, liquid B12 and vegan DHA, but we’ve been taking those all this time with no discernible beneficial effect (as far as our rate of cold/sinus infection) since fall. The zinc has been a lifesaver. And apparently the rate of illness in Lara’s class and among family has been on the increase this whole time as well, which makes our results even more amazing. I’m looking forward to some studies done especially on vegans related to this, but really I’m just very happy it’s working so fantastically well for us.

  3. Jack Norris RD Says:

    Ellie,

    That’s great to hear.

    Taurine is a non-essential amino acid which the body can make but which is found only in animal foods. Some people suggest that vegans, or some vegans, cannot produce enough taurine. Note, while taurine is an amino acid, it is not used for building proteins.

  4. Amy Says:

    Taurine is an important nutrient for cats in large doses, not so much for people. :)

    I’d suggest anyone who doesn’t feel good should go to a doctor or a nutritionist first before spending a lot of money on supplements.

  5. beforewisdom Says:

    It is interesting to read people’s anecdotal accounts of which supplements or foods made them feel a noticeable difference.

    Only two things have ever made me feel noticeably different, post going vegan.

    1, A few years ago I supplemented with large amounts of Omega 3 Zen DHA capsules ( 9 – 12 a day ) for a while and got some noticeable relief for a case of plantar fasciitis I had. The relief lasted for months. I lost a lot of weight after that period, so I’ll never know if the effects wore off. After I began losing weight I went back down to 1 capsule a day.

    2. Eating cooked, green, cruciferous vegetables. I go through cycles of eating them everyday and then going for long stretches neglecting to do so. Each time I start up again I feel noticeably better for days.

    Thats it. Post going vegan whatever supplements or new foods I included didn’t produce any *noticeable* changes ( I have no doubt I am benefiting from b-12 and D2 given the available advice). However, outside of injuries I’ve had I’ve generally felt pretty good being vegan. Most of my diet comes from cooked whole grains, cooked legumes, produce and assorted vegan convenience items.

  6. Lisa A. Says:

    This is somewhat not related, but I wanted to drop couple links to very helpful websites that I stumbled upon.
    http://spawnbetter.com/ is about vegan kids. There is a council of vegan parents that answers questions on a weekly basis. There a lot of good tips for new vegan parents and support that can help families stay vegan when they are trying to have and then raise a child.
    http://stayingvegan.com/ is, well, about staying vegan.
    Both are maintained by the same people. And both are regularly updated.

    Jack, I also noticed 2 articles from Armati May on veganhealth.org. Have they been there for a while? I don’t remember seeing them before. In any way, it is very helpful to hear her opinion on these topics. Especially, since we are planning to have a couple of dogs in the future. Thank you for putting it up there!

  7. Jack Norris RD Says:

    Lisa,

    I just put the articles by Armaiti up a few days ago.

  8. Rita Says:

    Anecdotal info alert: I find I feel much better (funny we have to say it like that even though we feel fine to begin with) when I eat a lot of fruit: oddly enough, I don’t do this very often, whereas my (also vegan) husband is supposed to limit his fruit intake because of high blood sugar, and he would cheerfully eat dozens of pieces a day……

  9. Jack Norris RD Says:

    Taurine update. My vegan wife, Alex, finished off my bottle of taurine at 1,000 mg a day for about two weeks. She didn’t feel any effects of it.

  10. Todd Says:

    There is no evidence that increasing taurine in the blood will increase taurine in the cell. One study has shown it didn’t. I’d hold off on supplementing with taurine.

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