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Ask a librarian. Huxtable and Dietrich Michalk Taurine : functional neurochemistry, physiology, and cardiology : proceedings of a Symposium on the Func Lombardini, Stephen W. Huxtable, Flavia Franconi, and Alber Taurine is found naturally in animal-based proteins but is not found in plant-based protein sources.

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Therefore, providing diets that include a sufficient level of high-quality animal proteins that are not heat damaged should ensure adequate taurine intake. However, protein that is of low quality or that has been excessively heat-treated will be poorly digested, reducing the availability of taurine and of its precursor amino acids, cysteine and methionine. In the early s, in response to this new information regarding the interaction of dietary factors and taurine status in cats and their relationship to DCM in cats , the Association of American Feed Control Officials AAFCO increased the recommendations for dietary taurine in extruded and canned cat foods.

Unlike the cat, dogs who are fed diets containing adequate levels of protein should be capable of synthesizing enough taurine from cysteine and methionine to meet their needs. Therefore, a requirement for dietary taurine has not been generally recognized in dogs. However, there is evidence — evidence that we have had for at least 15 years — that certain breeds of dogs, and possibly particular lines within breeds, exhibit a high prevalence of taurine-deficiency DCM.

Although the exact underlying cause is not known, it appears that some breeds have either a naturally occurring higher requirement for taurine or a metabolic abnormality that affects their taurine synthesis or utilization. A second factor that affects taurine status in dogs is size. There is evidence that a large adult size and a relatively slow metabolic rate influences the rate of taurine production in the body and may subsequently lead to a dietary taurine requirement.

It is theorized that increased body size in dogs is associated with an enhanced risk for developing taurine deficiency and that this risk may be exacerbated by a breed-specific genetic predisposition. There is additional evidence that large and giant breed dogs have lower rates of taurine production compared with small dogs.

Ultimately, studies suggest that certain dogs possess a genetic predisposition to taurine depletion and increased susceptibility to taurine-deficiency DCM and that this susceptibility may be related to the combined factors of breed, size, and metabolic rate. The recent spate of cases and media attention to taurine-deficiency DCM in dogs suggests that this is a very new problem in dogs. However, it is not new. A connection between diet and DCM in dogs was first described in a paper published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association in Not to put too fine a point on this, but the 12 cases of taurine-deficiency DCM described in the paper were collected between and , years before grain-free dog foods had arrived on the pet food scene.

1 Introduction

Rather than disparage one class or type of dog food or pet food company , it is more important to look at specific dietary factors that may be involved in DCM in dogs. Generally speaking, these are expected to be the same as those identified for cats, including low protein levels, poorly processed or heat-damaged proteins leading to Maillard products , and the inclusion of a high proportion of plant-based protein sources such as peas and legumes. Over the past 15 years, reduced taurine status in dogs has been associated with feeding lamb meal and rice diets, soybean-based diets, rice bran, beet pulp, and high fiber diets.

As with cats, there appear to be multiple dietary and genetic factors involved. For example, it was theorized that the perceived not proven association between lamb meal and taurine status was due to low levels of available amino acids present in the lamb meal, or to excessive heat damage of the protein, or to the confounding factor of the inclusion of rice bran in many lamb meal-containing foods.

To date, none of these factors have been conclusively proven or disproven. However, the most recent study showed that three types of fiber source — rice bran, cellulose, and beet pulp — all caused reduced plasma taurine levels in dogs when included in a marginally low protein diet, with beet pulp causing the most pronounced decrease.

Taurine as a Regulator of Cell Potassium in the Heart*

You bet. This is why it is important to avoid making unsupported claims about certain foods and brands. Taurine-deficiency DCM has been around for a while in dogs and continues to need study before making definitive conclusions about one or more specific dietary causes. The FDA report identified foods that contain high amounts of peas, lentils, legume seeds, or potatoes to be of potential concern. The FDA also stated that the underlying cause of DCM in the reported cases is not known and that at this time, the diet-DCM relationship is only correlative not causative. Their reasoning is that peas and legumes are present in high amounts in foods that are formulated and marketed as grain-free.

However, the truth is that many companies and brands of food include these ingredients. More importantly, there is no clear evidence showing that a particular dog food type, brand, or even ingredient is solely responsible for taurine-deficiency DCM in dogs. Rather, it is more reasonable and responsible to speculate that one or more of these ingredients, their interactions, or the effects of ingredient quality, heat treatment, and food processing may play a role.

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Furthermore, the underlying cause could be the protein, starch, or fiber fractions of these ingredients. As plant-source proteins, peas, lentils, and legumes include varying amounts of starch both digestible and resistant forms and dietary fiber.


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  7. Potatoes, in contrast, provide a digestible source of starch in an extruded food but also contain varying levels of resistant starch, which is not digested and behaves much like dietary fiber in the intestinal tract. Because any or all of these dietary factors could be risk factors for taurine-deficiency DCM in dogs, and because peas, legumes, and other ingredients identified by the FDA report have not yet been fully studied, the heart of the matter is that no conclusions can yet be made about the underlying dietary cause or causes of taurine-deficiency DCM in dogs.

    But given what we do know, we recommend feeding a diet that contains sufficient levels of high-quality, animal-source protein, does not include plant-source proteins as primary protein sources, and does not contain high levels of dietary fiber. Linda P. Wondering how you know of a plant based protein is in excess based on the info on ingredients listed on the dog food bag. Ohyabu, Stephen W. Schaffer ,J. Azuma, J pharma pharmacol. Clinical pharmacy in traditional medicine: Risk of the use of traditional Chhinese drugs decoction by a personal import.

    Metallothionein acts as a cytoprotectant against doxorubicin toxicity. Taurine attenuates hypertrophy induced by angiotensin II in primary cultured neonatal rat heart cells. Role of osmoregulation in the actions of taurine. Taurine prevents ischemic damage in cultured neonatal rat cardiomyocytes, K. Ohyabu, Stephan W. Schaffer, J.

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    Azuma, Taurine 4: Basic and clinical aspect, ed. Lonbardini, S.

    Schaffer and J. Role of osmoregulation in the actions of taurine, Stephen W. Schaffer, K. Azuma, Amino Acids, The risks of using personally imported traditional Chinese drugs Decoction , E. Uejima, K. Takahashi, N.

    Kurokawa, M. Izumi, E. Hori, C. Mouri, M. Mikage, X. Ouyang, J. Azuma, Jpn.