What is it?
Tauroursodeoxycholic acid, more commonly known as TUDCA, is present in bile, which is excreted by our liver and stored in the gallbladder, for obvious reasons. It is the taurine-conjugated form of ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA). TUDCA is found in very small amounts in human bile, but it makes up about 50% of bear bile. In fact, TUDCA has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 100 years, and the ingredient was actually derived from bear bile before chemical alternatives were discovered.
Bile aids in digestion; helping the body break down fats into fatty acids, making it easier for our digestive tract to absorb them. Bile is made up of 4 main components; cholesterol, bilirubin, bile acids (also known as bile salts), and of course water. When supplemented, TUDCA comes in salt form and will be listed as TUDCA (sodium tauroursodeoxycholate) on the Nutrition Facts list.
What does it do?
We’re being completely honest with you here; there’s no verification of how TUDCA does it, but many studies have shown very interesting results. TUDCA is actually FDA-approved to treat liver conditions like cholestasis, a condition in which the production or outflow of bile from the liver is slowed or stopped. Supplementing with TUDCA can help the body recover and increase bile production.
The main benefit of TUDCA is improved liver health and function. Studies cite impressive results in liver enzyme reductions following TUDCA supplementation. Elevated liver enzymes indicate poor liver health and function, while low liver enzymes indicate normal liver health and function. Supplementation with TUDCA showed significant reductions in key liver enzymes, representing improved liver health.
These improvements in liver health make TUDCA so impactful for users of anabolic substances, especially oral anabolic substances. These substances can have a big impact on our liver health and function, and in addition to regular blood tests to monitor health, cycle support supplements are always recommended. TUDCA is considered one of the best liver supplements available today.
TUDCA prevents apoptosis by protecting mitochondria from cellular components that normally cause this disturbance. 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 disrupts the mitochondrial membrane, triggering this chain of reactions. By blocking Bax by TUDCA, it will prevent the synthesis of the cell membrane and then the release of cytochrome c, thereby preventing mitochondria from activating caspases. TUDCA prevents cell death by protecting the cell’s mitochondrial membrane.
TUDCA prevents cell death by protecting the cell’s mitochondrial membrane from harmful elements. This process and the body’s response is why research is looking into the benefits of TUDCA supplementation in people with neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, Alzheimer’s, and ALS patients. The results of these studies and early recommendations are very exciting. TUDCA can have some very beneficial effects on some serious diseases.
Research has also shown improvements in insulin sensitivity in both muscle and liver, and positive effects on thyroid health. A study using animals and very high doses of TUDCA showed neuroprotective effects to improve age-related memory loss. These studies cannot conclusively explain the mechanism by which TUDCA does this. More human studies are needed to obtain more definitive results and dosages.
How much do you need to take?
Various doses have been studied for the benefits of TUDCA. Starting with 10-13 mg per day of TUDCA supplementation, liver enzymes were significantly reduced in patients with chronic liver disease for 3 months. Doses up to 1,750 mg per day have been shown to be beneficial for fatty liver, improving muscle and liver insulin sensitivity. Animals studied have shown positive effects on neuroprotection against age-related memory loss at doses up to 4,000 mg (equivalent to humans).
Despite these extreme doses, between 500 mg and 1,500 mg per day seems to be an ideal dose to produce the effects of TUDCA. Most supplements appear to be formulated to contain 100 – 250 mg of TUDCA per serving, taken multiple times a day. As with many of these ingredients, more research is needed to get some concrete numbers.
When to take it?
TUDCA can be taken any time of day, preferably with food to aid absorption. As mentioned above, most supplements come in doses of 100 – 250 mg per serving. It is recommended to spread the dose of TUDCA throughout the day, taking 2, 3, 4 or even 5 times a day.
How long does it take to take effect?
TUDCA will not work overnight. Studies have reported various effects of TUDCA after 1, 2, 3 and even 6 months of supplementation. From the available research, it is safe to say that at least 30 days (1 month) of supplementation is required to see improvement and benefit. However, continued and long-term use will yield the greatest benefit from supplementing with TUDCA.
1. Paavola, K.J. and R.A. Hall, Adhesion G protein-coupled receptors: signaling, pharmacology, and mechanisms of activation. Molecular pharmacology, 2012. 82(5): p. 777-783.
2. Stephenson, J.R., R.H. Purcell, and R.A. Hall, The BAI subfamily of adhesion GPCRs: synaptic regulation and beyond. Trends in pharmacological sciences, 2014. 35(4): p. 208-215.
3. Zeisel, A., et al., Molecular architecture of the mouse nervous system. Cell, 2018. 174(4): p. 999-1014.
4. Duman, J.G., Y.-K. Tu, and K.F. Tolias, Emerging roles of BAI adhesion-GPCRs in synapse development and plasticity. Neural plasticity, 2016.