1.What Is It?
Tauroursodeoxycholic Acid more commonly known as TUDCA for obvious reasons, is found in the bile excreted by our liver and stored in the gallbladder. It is the Taurine conjugate form of Ursodeoxycholic Acid (UDCA). TUDCA is found in very small amounts in human bile but it makes up around 50% of the bile from bears. Infact, TUDCA has been used in chinese medicine for 100s of years and before a chemical alternative was found, this ingredient was actually derived from bear bile.
Bile helps with our digestion; assisting the body in breaking down fats into fatty acids making them easier for our digestive tract to take in. Bile is made up of 4 main components; Cholesterol, Bilirubin, Bile Acids (also called Bile Salts) and of course, water. When supplemented, TUDCA is in the form of a salt and will be listed on the nutritional panel as TUDCA (Tauroursodeoxycholic Acid Sodium).
2.What Does It Do?
Were going to be completely honest with you here; it is not verified exactly how TUDCA does what it does but numerous studies have shown very interesting results. TUDCA is actually FDA certified for the treatment of liver diseases such as cholestasis, which is a condition where the production or flow of bile from the liver slows or stops. Supplementing with TUDCA can assist the body in restoring and increasing bile production.
The main benefit TUDCA is known for is improving liver health & function. Studies have cited very impressive results of liver enzymes being reduced after supplementation with TUDCA. Elevated liver enzymes are an indication of poor liver health and function and respectively, low liver enzymes indicate a healthy and functioning liver. Supplementation with TUDCA showed significant reductions in key liver enzymes representing an improvement in liver health.
These improvements in liver health is what makes TUDCA so appealing to users of anabolic substances, especially oral anabolic substances. These substances can take a big toll on our livers health and function which is why On and also Off cycle support supplements are always recommended to be taken, on top of getting regular blood work to monitor health. TUDCA is regarded as one of the best liver health supplements available today.
The benefits dont just stop at the liver but to explain the additional benefits of TUDCA were going to need to get a little sciency…
Apoptosis is the death of cells which occurs as a normal part of an organisms growth and development. The main part of the cell that is involved in apoptosis is the mitochondria. Mitochondria are the powerhouses of our cells, responsible for providing energy to the cell. Mitochondria also release and activate certain molecules that play a role in initiating apoptosis. When something unsettles the mitochondrial membrane, a molecule called cytochrome c is released by the mitochondria. Cytochrome c then calls on enzymes called caspases to then initiate a cascade of reactions resulting in apoptosis.
TUDCA is able to protect mitochondria from cellular elements that would normally cause this interference and therefore prevent apoptosis. It does this by preventing a molecule called Bax from being transported to the mitochondria. When Bax is transferred from the cytosol to the mitochondria, it causes the disruption to the mitochondrial membrane initiating this chain of reactions. By TUDCA preventing Bax, it will prevent the unsettling of the membrane which then prevents the release of cytochrome c which then prevents the mitochondria from activating caspases. TUDCA stops cell death by protecting the cells mitochondrial membrane.
TUDCA prevents the death of cells by protecting the cells mitochondrial membrane from harmful elements. This process and reaction in the body is why studies are looking at the benefits of TUDCA supplementation for people suffering from neurological diseases such as Parkinsons Disease, Huntingtons Disease, Alzheimer’s and patients with ALS. These studies and early suggested results are very exciting. TUDCA could have some very beneficial effects for some major diseases.
Studies have also shown improvements in both muscle and liver insulin sensitivity as well as a positive effect on thyroid health. One study using animals and a very large dose of TUDCA showed improvements on neuroprotection from age-related memory loss. These studies were unable to conclusively explain the mechanisms of how TUDCA does this. More studies in humans are required to get more conclusive results and dosages.
3.How Much Do I Need To Take?
There have been a wide variety of doses studied for the benefits of TUDCA. Starting from as little as 10-13mg of a TUDCA supplement each day for 3 months in patients with chronic liver disease showing significant reduction in liver enzymes. Doses of up to 1,750mg daily have been shown to have benefits towards fatty liver disease, improving both muscle and liver insulin sensitivity. An animal studied showed dosages up to 4,000mg (human equivalent) to have a positive effect on neuroprotection from age-related memory loss.
Despite these extreme dosages, there appears to be a happy medium of between 500mg and up to 1,500mg per day to yield the effects from TUDCA. Most supplements appear to have formulas that contain between 100 – 250mg of TUDCA per serve with multiple serves to be taken per day. As with a lot of these ingredients, more studies need to be conducted to get some concrete numbers.
4.When Do I Take It?
TUDCA can be taken at any time of the day, preferably taken with food to aid with the absorption. As mentioned above most supplements will have a dose between 100 – 250mg per serve. Its recommended to spread the dosing of TUDCA across the day, taking 2, 3, 4 or even 5 serves per day.
5.How Long Does It Take To Work?
TUDCA is not going to work overnight. Studies have reported the various effects of TUDCA being shown after 1, 2, 3 and even 6 months of supplementation. From the studies available, it would safe to say that a minimum of 30 days (1 month) of supplementation is necessary to see the improvements and benefits. However, consistent and long term use will yield the greatest benefits from TUDCA supplementation.