We used to think the brain stopped growing when you became an adult.
Thankfully that is not the case.
Truth be told, the brain is remarkably malleable and always changing. But this is good as well as bad news.
Just because it can get better, doesn’t mean it is.
One overlooked area of brain development is the basic building blocks of brain nutrition.
The amino acid taurine is often forgotten in this mix.
It’s a relatively low-cost supplement that has been shown to help grow brain cells making your brain younger.
Scientists noticed that taurine helps the brain recover from a stroke or other brain injuries.
But then they noticed that it not only helps the brain recover from injury, but also makes an otherwise healthy brain get better.
Taurine is considered a “conditional” amino acid and not an “essential” one because it can be manufactured by the body.
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Essential amino acids are the ones that must be eaten, but some people cannot manufacture their own taurine, or produce it in low quantities.
For instance, babies who are not breastfed must get it via supplementation because cow’s milk does not provide enough for healthy development.
Don’t worry about getting too much, because the body extracts any extra via your kidneys.
People who have suffered congestive heart failure use taurine, and it has been shown to be effective in helping people with high blood pressure or pre-hypertension.
According to WebMD, taurine has a number of serious uses including the treatment of ADHD, high cholesterol, cystic fibrosis, and liver disease.
There is also research showing how helpful it is with seizure disorders, autism, diabetes, and eye health.
While no one is completely sure why this seems to help with so many various areas, there is evidence that low levels do affect our health in many areas particularly by calming the part of the nervous system you have no conscious control over.
This may be why it helps with heart health and lowers blood pressure. That may be why it also seems to improve brain function.
While our bodies do manufacture our own, it only makes a small amount, so to boost our levels we need to get it through food or supplementation.
Salmon, crab and other seafood have high levels of taurine as well as meat.
Taurine isn’t part of other proteins, but swims around by itself in intercellular fluids.
A kilo (around two pounds) of beef liver contains 2.4 grams of taurine, salmon has twice that amount.
But in order to help with heart health, you need 2-3 grams of taurine twice a day. So, relying on food alone probably won’t be enough.
Because of taurine’s critical role in maintaining healthy mitochondria (the power plant of our cells), you want it to be optimized.
More and more research shows that taurine helps the brain develop new memory pathways, keeping our brains young and healthy.
The reverse is a brain that is declining and showing signs of dementia.
A gram of taurine every day may prevent our brains from going into a downward spiral and may help us continue to grow new cells and memories.
It may be fairly cheap insurance against brain problems we don’t need.
While taurine plays a role in helping to heal from brain injuries due to stroke or other cardiovascular problems, it might be great protection from these injuries from ever happening in the first place.