TUDCA (tauroursodeoxycholic acid) is a naturally occurring bile acid found in both humans and animals. Primarily produced in the liver, TUDCA plays a diverse potential role in the human body. It may also help in digestion, liver protection, and neuroprotection. Recent research data shows that it may also aid the body in treating conditions like inflammatory bowel diseases, cystic fibrosis, and even eye disease. How is TUDCA produced in the human body and what are its potential benefits? Can we take TUDCA as a supplement? This informative and comprehensive article will answer all these and other related questions about TUDCA. 

 How is TUDCA produced in the human body?

A several-step process in the liver leads to the production of TUDCA. TUDCA is a secondary product produced from bile acids like cholic acid and Chendodeoxycholic acid. A step-by-step formation of TUDCA in the liver is given below:

Step 1:  

During cholesterol digestion in the liver, it extracts bile acid including cholic acid and chenodeoxycholic acid from cholesterol through a complex metabolic pathway.

Step 2: 

In the next step, these extracted acids come in contact with the liver’s enzymes. These enzymes modify the acids after passing them through a series of actions like hydroxylation and taurine conjugation.

Step 3: 

The cholic acid again undergoes several enzymatic reactions and is converted into ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA).

Step 4: 

Finally, an amino acid, taurine, is attached to UDCA after several enzymatic reactions and produces TUDCA. 

 How does TUDCA potentially help the human body? 

TUDCA has the potential to aid the human body in so many ways. Below are some of the main functions of TUDCA in the human body:

  1. Potential Liver Protection

Research data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that almost 4.5 million adults in the United States alone suffer from liver diseases. Endoplasmic reticulum stress and various bile acids are identified as primary contributors to these diseases. TUDCA may play a role in liver protection by potentially reducing the toxicity of bile acids. It may prevent the buildup of bile acids in the liver by promoting bile flow, potentially minimizing the risk of gallstones.

  1. Potential Neuroprotection

TUDCA is also thought to contribute to the protection of the brain from neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. It is believed to possess anti-inflammatory properties that may mitigate damage associated with these diseases. Some medical experts suggest that TUDCA may also have the potential to promote the growth and survival of neurons.

  1. Digestive Support

Beyond its other potential benefits, TUDCA is considered to aid in digestion. It may assist in the breakdown of fats, oils, and molecules. Additionally, TUDCA may support healthy gut bacteria, potentially contributing to improved digestion and overall gut health.

  1. Mitochondrial and Cellular Support

Mitochondria function as the powerhouse of the body, producing energy. Disruptions in mitochondrial function are linked to various chronic diseases. Research data suggests that TUDCA may contribute to the proper functioning of mitochondria, potentially protecting the body from chronic diseases.

  1. Potential Kidney Protection

TUDCA’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties are believed to safeguard kidney cells from inflammation. Moreover, it may support mitochondrial function in the kidneys, potentially preventing mitochondrial damage. TUDCA is also thought to have the potential to block programmed cell death, known as apoptosis, in the kidneys, reducing the loss of cells through this process.

Some medical reports state that TUDCA can also be beneficial in treating diseases like diabetes and retinal issues. However, it is necessary to note that currently it is not approved as a standard treatment for these diseases. 

 What are the potential Side Effects of TUDCA?

Generally speaking, TUDCA has very minimal or no side effects when they are taken under the supervision of a healthcare professional. However, for people who are already on medication, TUDCA may have some side effects. It is because TUDCA may interact with certain medications which can have negative effects on the body. Some of the most common side effects of TUDCA are Diarrhea, Constipation, Nausea and vomiting, and headache in research subjects. In addition to this, it can also cause fatigue, abdominal pain, and skin rash. Pregnant mothers are advised not to take TUDCA. These conditions can be treated easily by stopping the intake of TUDCA for a few days. However, it is generally recommended to take a consultation with your doctor before taking any medication.

 Is TUDCA safe?

Yes, TUDCA is safe to study under the supervision of a medical specialist. However, in rare cases, it may have some side effects.

Is TUDCA approved by the FDA?

No, TUDCA is not currently approved by the FDA for any specific medical condition. It is considered a dietary supplement with less stringent regulation than prescription medication. 

Where can I buy TUDCA?

You can buy TUDCA supplements online, at health food stores, and at some pharmacies. Always consult your doctor before buying it. 

Final Thoughts

TUDCA is a vital part of the human body. Whether TUDCA matters for your health depends entirely on your circumstances and health goals. However, research data shows that TUDCA has positive effects on the human body when it is used under the supervision of a health professional. If used otherwise, it may have some negative effects on our health.