What is TUDCA?
Tauroursodeoxycholic acid, TUDCA for short, is a bile acid derivative that occurs naturally in the human body, but can also be found in small quantities in various foods, such as milk or eggs. TUDCA has an influence on various functions in the body and has been used therapeutically in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years for liver and bile diseases.
TUDCA is also used to treat "heat illnesses" such as fever, cramps, and vision problems, as well as to improve many other ailments. In fact, however, the bile salt affects many other bodily functions, from the brain to the kidneys to eye health. Despite this, it has only recently come into the scientific spotlight and has been the subject of recent clinical studies in which scientists have investigated and repeatedly substantiated its many potential health benefits.
For this reason, TUDCA is also increasingly used in clinical settings, where it finds application as a bile acid derivative for the treatment and prevention of gallstones. Due to a number of molecular properties - in particular its anti-apoptotic effect - the use of tauroursodeoxycholic acid is also being investigated in inflammatory metabolic diseases and neurodegenerative disorders.
Various manufacturing processes
For a very long time, TUDCA was obtained from the bile of animals, for which it was extracted using cholic acid and then chemically converted into UDCA. This is then conjugated with taurine to obtain TUDCA. Hence the name tauroursodeoxycholic acid. In the meantime, however, TUDCA has also been produced synthetically. This was achieved for the first time in Japan in 1956 and has enjoyed many supporters since then. It is often mentioned that the purity and quality of synthetically produced TUDCA is subject to much smaller fluctuations due to the fact that the raw materials are always the same, and thus an optimal product can always be guaranteed. We also rely on a synthetically derived raw material for our TUDCA supplement.
How TUDCA works
TUDCA or tauroursodeoxycholic acid is a naturally occurring bile acid that has been shown to have a protective effect on the liver. In preclinical studies, TUDCA has been shown to improve liver function, potentially protecting against liver injury (1). It counteracts liver overload and elevated liver enzymes through various mechanisms. These mechanisms include removing toxic bile acid from the liver, which can dangerously damage liver cells (1). As a result, it promotes the formation of healthy bile acids, which play a vital role in liver function. TUDCA can also prevent cell death and inflammation in the liver, thus improving the overall health of the liver. In a study of patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, tauroursodeoxycholic acid was shown to be safe and well tolerated. The results of the study showed that TUDCA could improve liver enzymes and reduce fat accumulation in the liver. Numerous studies found that TUDCA can reduce elevated liver enzymes by up to 50%, indicating that it can potentially significantly reduce the burden on the liver by taking tauroursodeoxycholic acid (2). In addition, TUDCA appears to be able to reduce the burden on the endoplasmic reticulum in a cell. (3) This is instrumental in the formation of new proteins and thus represents an important step in the buildup of new body mass is produced. Tauroursodeoxycholic acid also has an impact on cases of atrophy or muscle breakdown, again studies have shown that supplementation can have a potential inhibitory effect on muscle breakdown. (4)
Why is a healthy and optimally functioning liver important?
The liver is one of the most versatile organs in the human body. It fulfills a variety of different tasks and is under constant strain. Its most important task is to detoxify the body. Every minute, it cleanses 1.5 liters of blood of toxic substances that are supplied from outside or can be produced by the body's own processes. These toxic and potentially dangerous factors include environmental factors, alcohol, medications, performance-enhancing substances, free radicals, and a high-fat, unhealthy diet. All of these items have a damaging and extremely stressful effect on the liver. The insidious thing about liver overload or damage is that it has no pain receptors and therefore liver damage is often not noticed until it is already far advanced and irreversible. The first signs of liver overload are elevated liver values, which can be easily detected during a blood test. At the latest then, the liver should be supported. However, it is much better to take preventive measures and provide the liver with everything it needs.
A healthy lifestyle can significantly reduce most of these factors and thus take a lot of stress off the liver. However, the liver is also significantly involved in protein, carbohydrate and fat metabolism and the regulation of vitamin, mineral and hormone balance(5), which is why everyone can benefit from optimized liver function, including athletes with a healthy lifestyle. In fact, many nutrients cannot be absorbed by the body until the liver has processed them. The absorption of nutrients, in turn, is crucial for physical and athletic performance and a significant factor in muscle building.
In other words, your liver determines how well your metabolism functions and thus how your athletic successes can turn out. If your liver is too busy with detoxification processes and their regeneration due to high loads, your metabolism can not run ideally. Optimal liver function also optimizes your performance as an athlete, which is why the liver should be supported as much as possible.
Other effects of TUDCA on metabolism.
TUDCA can increase the insulin sensitivity of muscle tissue and thereby potentially positively influence body composition. Tauroursodeoxycholic acid was investigated in a human study that revealed the potential influence of the bile acid derivative on insulin metabolism. According to the results of this study, TUDCA can increase the insulin sensitivity of muscle cells by up to 30%. In contrast, the insulin sensitivity of adipose tissue remained unchanged when TUDCA was used (6). This is particularly important for athletes and sportsmen. Increased insulin sensitivity of the muscles also leads to a better supply of nutrients to the muscle cells. This in turn is crucial for regeneration and muscle growth. Since the insulin sensitivity of the adipose tissue remains unchanged, fewer nutrients reach the adipose tissue at the same time. As a result, fewer nutrients or calories can be converted into body fat. In other words, the body uses more nutrients to build muscle while potentially putting on significantly less fat(5). This so-called body recomposition is an ideal stage to get in shape and is considered the goal of many athletes worldwide.
Other health effects
More and more studies are being conducted on the effects of tauroursodeoxycholic acid on health worldwide. A large number of these studies point to a whole cornucopia of health benefits. One notable aspect that can be positively affected by taking TUDCA is digestion. TUDCA aids digestion by stimulating the production of bile. This is needed to break down the food in the body into its components. In addition, bile also has the function of breaking down cholesterol and killing a whole range of harmful bacteria. Research also suggests that TUDCA may protect the brain and nervous system from degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. TUDCA acts as a mitochondrial stabilizer and anti-apoptotic agent (inhibits apoptosis) it thus has potential neuroprotective properties(7). In addition, it seems to have a positive effect on the regeneration of the heart and brain after heart attacks and strokes.
Studies have also found a potentially supportive effect on the eye. TUDCA may protect the retina of the eye from damage that could otherwise lead to reduced vision or even blindness. Although this has not yet been confirmed by human studies, it is a nice bonus on top of the proven effects of TUDCA.
Dosage and intake
Studies suggest that, depending on the desired effect, as little as 10 - 13 milligrams of TUDCA is sufficient to have potentially beneficial effects on the liver(8). Meanwhile, a dosage between 200 and 1000 mg is considered common practice, with a value of 500 mg proving to be a good dose, as the potency of the effect seems to gradually decrease at a higher dose(9). So 500 mg is a good dose, which is why we work with this amount in our TUDCA product. However, under certain circumstances, blood values may suggest a higher dosage. A dosage of more than 1000 mg also proved to be unproblematic in phases in a study and was tolerated by the test subjects without any problems(6).
TUDCA and its special role in professional sports
Bodybuilding, powerlifting and just about every other professional sport have athletes who resort to performance-enhancing substances. The goal here is to get the most out of the body and thus achieve better and better performance. However, the use of anabolic steroids and other doping substances is sometimes anything but beneficial to health, and for the liver in particular, many of the components that top athletes feed their bodies represent an exorbitant additional burden. As already mentioned, one of the liver's main tasks is to detoxify our body and blood. Through the supply of performance-enhancing substances, liver-toxic agents sometimes enter our metabolism. Typical consequences of anabolic steroid abuse can be bile stasis, liver carcinomas and adenomas, fatty liver or complete liver failure. TUDCA, as already described in the section on the effect of the gallic acid derivative, can help to counteract liver-toxic components and thus relieve the liver. This is still true even if the liver has already suffered severe damage (9,10,11).
TUDCA is a supplement that has a variety of potential benefits for the human body. It can support the liver in its natural function, ensuring that detoxification processes, metabolism and digestion are not damaged by harmful substances. TUDCA can potentially have a beneficial effect on recomposing your body and helping to maintain optimal insulin function. Many other potentially health-promoting effects have been demonstrated in studies, and especially in combination with liver-healthy drugs, the use of TUDCA has long been considered a staple worldwide.