Tauroursodeoxycholic Acid, more commonly referred to as TUDCA, has seen massive adoption throughout the supplement industry in recent years. Mostly TUDCA is used for liver support, but research indicates it may have a much wider array of potential benefits.
What Is TUDCA?
TUDCA is a water-soluble bile salt formed by a combination of Ursodeoxycholic Acid and Taurine. Chemically, it looks like this:
Ursodeoxycholic acid (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…
The Benefits Of TUDCA
Although relatively new to the supplement world, TUDCA has been studied fairly extensively in some areas, while other areas certainly require more research.
So what does the research say about it? Let’s dive right in…
It’s commonly used as a treatment for Cholestasis, a condition in which bile flow is impaired, often resulting in serious health complications if gone untreated.
Cholestasis can eventually result in bile build-up in the Liver causing cell-death and essentially destroying the liver little by little. TUDCA has actually been shown to prevent this from happening. It’s considered extremely reliable in this regard.
Insulin Sensitivity is simply a measure of the degree to which your body needs to secrete Insulin to deal with the food you eat. If you have high Insulin Sensitivity that means you only require a little bit of Insulin. On the contrary, if you have low Insulin Sensitivity, you’re body will produce large amounts of Insulin in response to food.
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 muscle tissue. The subjects in this study were obese men and women who had not been diagnosed with any sort of medical condition.
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, but it’s really the fault of an alcohol metabolite called Acetaldehyde.
Preliminary research 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, it would make more sense to just stick with TUDCA supplementation.
Prohormone Cycle Support
Given TUDCAs 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 that some of these compounds may cause.
While there aren’t any studies directly investigating its impact on measures of liver health while using prohormones, the research as a whole suggests that it’s useful as a protective measure.
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 an ideal dose for Taurine, 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.
While it hasn’t been studied too extensively in the area of brain health, there is some preliminary evidence to suggest that 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 have Huntington’s Disease.
Interestingly, it looks like 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, another degenerative brain disease characterized by low Dopamine levels.
TUDCA may also be useful for protecting the brain against strokes.
Overall, it shows a lot of promise as a brain-protecting nutrient, but human studies are virtually non-existent at this point.
TUDCA Dosing And Safety
Since there aren’t many studies in humans, there is no established clinical dose for TUDCA. Standard doses range from 500-2000mg/day. Research indicates that an effective dose is anywhere from 500-2000mg/day.
Throughout all of the studies in which TUDCA has been used in humans (for whatever purpose), no adverse events have been reported. One study found that 500mg every day for 1 year elicited no side effects whatsoever.
Another study, this time using a much higher (1750mg) dose daily, also observed no side effects.
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 Supplements
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 actually trust are:
There are plenty of other supplement companies that sell TUDCA in sinlge 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.
It happens more than you might think!
The Bottom Line
TUDCA has quickly become a popular supplement for people looking to improve insulin sensitivity and liver function. Although the research as a whole is definitely still in a preliminary stage, the information we have available indicates it is quite promising.
If future human studies yield similar results to the studies in mice, TUDCA may very well become a staple for supplement users who are concerned with general health.