TUDCA (Tauroursodeoxycholic Acid)

What is TUDCA? (Tauroursodeoxycholic Bile Acid)

TUDCA - Tauroursodeoxycholic—Bile Acid is a bile acid that is found in trace amounts in the human body. Bile acids are compounds released from the gallbladder that help digest fats. TUDCA is used to treat cholestasis, a condition in which bile fails to flow from the liver to the duodenum. TUDCA, UDCA, and other soluble bile salts can counteract the toxicity of regular bile acids when the latter are backed up in the liver.

Bile Acid + Taurine = Taurocholic + Taurochenodeoxycholic acid. TUDCA for short.

Tauroursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA) is a compound originally approved to treat liver diseases — but recent research suggests it may have a broader application.

TUDCA is a naturally occurring hydrophilic bile acid that has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine. Chemically, TUDCA is a taurine conjugate of ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA), which in contemporary pharmacology is approved by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treatment of primary biliary cholangitis. Interestingly, numerous recent studies demonstrate that mechanisms of TUDCA functioning extend beyond hepatobiliary disorders. Thus, TUDCA has been demonstrated to display potential therapeutic benefits in various models of many diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and neurodegenerative diseases, mostly due to its cytoprotective effect.

The Chinese have used bear bile for 3000 years for the treatment of numerous health problems. After all, TUDCA makes up more than 50% of the bile acid pool in bear bile compared to 2% in humans! Nature, through this circulating factor, may have given black bears the ability to hibernate for long periods of time without untoward effects. 

The liver makes bile acid from cholesterol.  When we eat, the liver releases bile acid to help digest fats.  Between meals, bile acids are stored in the gallbladder where they are concentrated.  When you eat, the gallbladder contracts to release bile acids into the intestines. It aids in digestion and has numerous other roles in the body.

Even though the terms are often used interchangeable, bile salts usually refers to bile acids which are conjugated (bonded) with taurine or glycine. Conjugated bile acids are stronger than their unconjugated forms.

TUDCA  (tauroursodeoxycholic acid) is a type of bile salt. It is made from the the bile acid UDCA (ursodeoxycholic acid) with a taurine bond.  There is a lot of scientific research which supports the health benefits of TUDCA. It is generally considered more potent and effective than ox bile supplements.

There are numerous reasons why someone might not have enough bile. The main one is impaired liver function.  Because of the increasing amount of toxins that people are exposed to on a daily basis, the liver can become overburdened and not function well. Damage to the gallbladder ducts, gallbladder removal and bacteria overgrowth can also cause low bile acid levels.

TUDCA has also been found to reduce oxidative stress, suppress apoptosis, and decrease inflammation.

TUDCA may be a potential therapeutic candidate in ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), due to its multiple mechanisms of cytoprotective actions which may include anti‐apoptotic, immunomodulatory and antioxidant effects.

TUDCA acts as a mitochondrial stabilizer and anti-apoptotic agent in several models of neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's diseases (AD), Parkinson's diseases (PD), and Huntington's diseases (HD). It has been convincingly demonstrated that TUDCA crosses the blood brain barrier in humans. TUDCA may provide a novel and effective treatment in neurological disorders with its neuroprotective activities. 

TUDCA has been shown to ameliorate a number of retinal disorders. Many studies have shown that TUDCA exhibit anti-apoptotic properties in neurodegenerative diseases affecting the retina by reducing photoreceptor apoptosis. This includes macular degeneration (AMD), retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and retinal problems resulting from diabetes. 

TUDCA has also been shown to help with:

  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Gastrointestinal Disorders
  • Renal Injury
  • Improve Digestion
  • Balance Gut Bacteria (Leaky Gut)
  • Prevent Gallstones
  • Psoriasis 
  • Improve Absorption of Fat-Soluble Vitamins
  • Reduces Bile Sludge (Cholestasis)
  • Stabilizes Mitochondria
  • Reduces Inflammation

You can take TUDCA on an empty stomach or with food. If you take it with food, the supplement may improve digestion. 

Although the dosage of TUDCA ranges significantly in clinical trials, an average dose is two 300 mg capsules twice each day, in the morning and afternoon.

TUDCA isn’t known to have any serious side effects when taking average doses. Some people taking over 1,500 mg per day of TUDCA supplements experienced diarrhea, but no other side effects have been reported. 


The Unexpected Uses of Urso- and Tauroursodeoxycholic Acid in the Treatment of Non-liver Diseases - PMC (nih.gov)

Tauroursodeoxycholic acid in the treatment of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis - PMC (nih.gov)

TUDCA and Ox Bile Benefits: What the Science Says - Superfood Journal

The Benefits of TUDCA | Dr.Berg Blog (drberg.com)

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