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TUDCA: Everything You Could Possibly Want To Know

TUDCA Liver

Tauroursodeoxycholic Acid, more commonly referred to as TUDCA, has seen massive adoption throughout the world of supplements in recent years.

Mostly, it’s known to promote liver health, but research indicates it may have a much wider array of potential benefits.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about TUDCA, including:

  • What It Is
  • The Benefits
  • Safety/Side Effects
  • Dosing
  • Brands You Can Trust

And a whole lot more along the way.

Let’s dive right in…

What Is TUDCA?

TUDCA is a water-soluble bile salt formed by a combination of Ursodeoxycholic Acid and Taurine.

Chemically, it looks like this:

TUDCA

Ursodeoxycholic acid, which goes under the drug name Ursodiol, is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), a liver disorder which can cause serious damage if left untreated.

Interestingly, research indicates that TUDCA supplementation increases Ursodeoxycholic Acid levels more than Ursodeoxycholic Acid alone.

This enhanced absorption appears to be due to the addition of Taurine, since Taurine itself has excellent bioavailability.

This would also explain why TUDCA possesses benefits that neither Ursodeoxycholic Acid or Taurine possess alone.

But more on that later…

Why Do People Supplement With TUDCA?

TUDCA Supplement

Over the years, TUDCA has developed a reputation as a liver-cleansing supplement, capable of protecting the liver against things like:

  • Alcohol
  • Steroids
  • Tylenol
  • Heavy Metals
  • Other Toxins

In recent years, however, research has discovered that the benefits of TUDCA are not limited to liver health.

Study by study, TUDCA is turning out to be less of a liver-specific cleansing agent and more of what you would call a general health supplement.

It’s reputation for promoting a healthy liver is still the most common reason people supplement with it, though.

The Benefits Of TUDCA

TUDCA Benefits

Some of the alleged benefits of TUDCA have a fair amount of research behind them, while others require some elucidation…

Liver Protection

Preliminary (in vivo) research indicates that TUDCA can prevent liver cell death,  This has been replicated in liver cells undergoing cold storage and in hepatic liver cells as well.

TUDCA is commonly used as a treatment for Cholestasis, a condition in which bile flow is impaired, which can be detrimental if left untreated.

Cholestasis can eventually result in bile build-up in the liver, causing cell-death which essentially destroys the liver cell by cell.

TUDCA has actually been shown to prevent this from happening and is considered quite reliable in this regard.

Insulin Sensitivity

Insulin Sensitivity is simply a measure of the degree to which your body needs to secrete Insulin to deal with the food you eat.

The higher your Insulin sensitivity, the less Insulin your body releases in response to food intake

The lower your Insulin sensitivity, the more Insulin your body releases in response to food intake.

Low Insulin sensitivity, also called Insulin Resistance, can lead to obesity and eventually Diabetes.

In vitro, TUDCA has been shown to restore normal glucose metabolism and improve insulin sensitivity.

In one human study, 1750mg of TUDCA per day was shown to improve Insulin signaling in the liver and in muscle tissue.  The subjects in this study were obese men and women but they had not been diagnosed with any medical condition.

While it’s tough to say how TUDCA would impact Insulin signaling in people with healthy Insulin sensitivity to begin with, it does appear to be pretty useful for overweight individuals with poor Insulin sensitivity.

Alcohol Protection

Alcohol is one of the most widely used psychoactive substances on the planet.

Unfortunately, as we all know, Alcohol can do serious damage to our bodies, particularly the liver.

Although we tend to blame alcohol itself for that horrible feeling of weakness and nausea we feel the day after indulging a little too much, most of the damage is caused by a toxic metabolite, called Acetaldehyde.

Studies show that Acetaldehyde is way more toxic than alcohol and likely responsible for much of the damage caused by alcohol.

There is some research which suggests that TUDCA is actually capable of protecting liver cells from the detrimental effects of Acetyaldehyde.

It shares this property with UDCA, but given that TUDCA is capable of increasing UDCA level more than UDCA itself, it would make more sense to just supplement with TUDCA.

Prohormone And Oral Steroid Cycle Support

Given TUDCA’s well-established ability to protect the liver from several different kinds of toxins, it has been adopted by users of prohormones and oral steroids who are worried about the liver damage.

While there aren’t any studies directly investigating its impact on measures of liver health while using prohormones or oral steroids, the research as a whole suggests that it’s useful as a protective measure.

TUDCA has been shown to favorably impact liver enzyme activity in instances of liver disease, such as Hepatitis.  Similar anti-toxic effect have been noted with Taurine as well.

Unfortunately, the toxicity of prohormones and oral steroids ranges pretty considerably.

Some compounds aren’t particularly liver toxic while others can cause liver shutdown in just a matter of weeks!

This makes it pretty difficult to determine how much TUDCA you really need to protect yourself, but standard doses range from 250-500g, taken twice daily.

While further studies are definitely needed to determine what other toxins TUDCA can protect against, it definitely makes for a solid addition to any Cycle Support supplement stack.

Brain Health

While it hasn’t been studied too extensively in the area of brain health, there is some preliminary evidence which suggests TUDCA can protect brain cells from toxins and degenerative diseases.

In mice, it has been shown to prevent cell death in the presence of 3-nitropropionic acid, a toxin known to induce Huntington’s Disease.

Separate studies have replicated these findings and TUDCA has also been shown to improve brain health in mice that already had Huntington’s Disease.

But Huntington’s Disease isn’t the only condition for which TUDCA can be useful.

Research indicates it can also support brain health in instances of Parkinson’s, a degenerative brain disease characterized by low Dopamine levels.

It may also protect the brain against strokes.

Overall, TUDCA shows a lot of promise as a brain-protecting nutrient, but human studies are virtually non-existent at this point, so we just don’t know for sure.

TUDCA Dosing And Safety

TUDCA dosing and safety

Since there aren’t many studies in humans, there is no precise clinical dose for TUDCA.

Research indicates an effective dose is anywhere from 500-2000mg/day.

Throughout all of the studies in which TUDCA has been used in humans, no adverse events have been reported.

One study found that 500mg every day for 1 year elicited no side effects whatsoever.

Another study, using a much higher (1750mg) daily dose, also observed no side effects either.  Even direct infusions do not appear to cause any kind of side effects.

While more research is certainly needed to determine a minimally effective dose and a maximum tolerable dose, all the available evidence suggests TUDCA is remarkably safe.

Choosing The Best TUDCA Supplement

Choosing the best TUDCA supplement

Due to the elaborate process of synthesizing Tauroursodeoxycholic Acid, it tends to be pretty expensive.

For that reason, many supplement companies that use it in their formulas end up under-dosing it quite severely.

A few brands that you can probably trust are:

There are plenty of other supplement companies that sell TUDCA in single ingredient form, but you should go with a brand you trust.

It’s too easy for supplement companies to pretend there’s TUDCA in their product when they’re really using something cheaper like Taurine.

That type of thing happens more than you might think!

The Bottom Line On TUDCA

The Bottom Line On TUDCA

TUDCA has become a popular supplement for people looking to improve insulin sensitivity and liver function, as well as protect against a number of toxins.

Although the research as a whole is still in the early stages, the information we have available indicates it’s quite promising.

If future human studies yield similar results to the studies in mice, TUDCA may very well become a staple supplement for those concerned with general health and maintaining healthy organ function.

If you’re concerned with liver health for one reason or another, it’s not a bad idea to supplement with TUDCA for good measure.

It makes sense to stack it with liver-support supplements like Milk Thistle and NAC.

Did I leave anything out?  Have anything you want to discuss further?  Comment below…

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