February 6, 2007

Taurine restores active and passive smokers blood vessels to normal

Written by Kevin Flatt

While the use of taurine, an amino acid in fish, will not help a person quit smoking, it can help reverse the damage done by continued smoking.

Please note I do not advocate or support smoking. However, as many people find it very difficult to quit, any information that may help prevent damage caused by smoking should be presented. Also one has to think about passive smoking.

An Irish study published in the journal Circulation in January 2003 showed that taurine, an amino acid in fish, can help protect smokers from heart disease and stroke by restoring normal blood vessel function. Based on previous research, the researchers hypothesized that taurine supplementation in doses similar to the daily intake of 100 grams of fish would restore to normal the FMD response in otherwise-healthy, young, chronic cigarette smokers. FMD stands for flow mediated dilation, which takes ultrasound images of blood vessel diameter in the arm after a tourniquet is placed on the forearm. (Circulation. 2003 Jan 28;107(3):410-5).

It was previously found in a worldwide population study on dietary prevention and cardiovascular disease, the Cardiovascular Diseases and Alimentary Comparison (CARDIAC) study, that an average of 100 grams of fish per day was sufficient to keep coronary artery disease mortality as low as that in the Japanese race. (WHO, Geneva: Shimane, 1986.).

Cigarette smoke produces changes in the blood vessels, causing them to become more rigid and less flexible. This rigidity prevents the vessels from dilating in response to increased blood flow, resulting in a condition called endothelial dysfunction, an early sign of atherosclerosis and a primary cause of heart attacks and stroke.

Dr. David J. Bouchier-Hayes, professor of surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin and colleagues recruited 15 healthy smokers’ aged 20 to 37 and 15 healthy non-smoking volunteers. Initially, non-smokers’ blood vessel diameter was 3.39 mm and smokers’ diameter was 3.33. Before treatment, FMD increased dilation in non-smokers to 3.7 mm, while smokers’ vessels were virtually unchanged at 3.36 mm after FMD. When the smokers’ were given taurine, their vessel response was the same as the non-smokers’ at 3.7 mm after FMD. (ScienceDaily January 7, 2003).

Simply put: Initially, the smokers’ blood vessel diameter was smaller than that of the non-smokers. But after taking 1.5 grams of taurine per day for five days, the smokers’ blood vessel diameters increased, equalling that of the non-smokers.

The loss of a normal FMD response has previously been reported in the brachial arteries of both active and passive smokers using the ultrasonic evaluation used in the present study. (Circulation. 2003 Jan 28;107(3):410-5).

Taurine is available at most health food stores.

Again, let me reiterate that I am in no way promoting smoking! If any damage can be prevented in those who cannot quit (and the passive smokers’ around them), then the information may help save lives and government costs.


Fennessy FM, Moneley DS, Wang JH, Kelly CJ, Bouchier-Hayes DJ. Taurine and vitamin C modify monocyte and endothelial dysfunction in young smokers. Circulation. 2003 Jan 28;107(3):410-5.

WHO and WHO Collaborating Centres. CARDIAC (Cardiovascular Diseases and Alimentary Comparison) Study Protocol. Geneva: Shimane, 1986.


Copyright 2007 KevinFlatt. Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is presented for information purposes only and is in no way intended to replace professional medical care or attention by a qualified practitioner. It cannot and should not be used as a basis for diagnosis or choice of treatment.

Copyright 2007 Kevin Flatt. Reproduction of any information on other websites is PROHIBITED.

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