What is TUDCA: It’s Uses, Benefits & Side Effects
What is TUDCA?
Tauroursodeoxycholic acid, also known as TUDCA, is a naturally occurring compound found in bile acid, that is made in the liver in very small quantities. Bile acids are stored in the gallbladder, and are released to aid digestion, remove cholesterol, and maintain your metabolism. TUDCA can also be synthetically manufactured and sold as a dietary supplement.
How are TUDCA Supplements Used?
Due to a condition, poor diet, or impaired liver function, TUDCA supplements are primarily used to aid liver health, bile function, gallstones and as an effective on-cycle support commonly utilised within the bodybuilding community.
Over the last 10 years a large body of scientific research has cemented TUDCA’s place as an advanced functional medicine. Clinical trials have demonstrated TUDCA to provide its users with various health benefits, particularly in regards to bile flow and liver health.
However, it also plays a critical role assisting in the opening of digestive pathways and detoxification of the gut as well as the liver. TUDCA also aids the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K and plays an important role in the breakdown of fats and excretion of cholesterol, and destruction of harmful bacteria.
Supports Liver Health
TUDCA is arguably the most powerful liver protection available on the market due to having an exceptional ability to treat bile acid buildup in the liver, also known as cholestasis. It also plays a huge role in the regeneration of liver cells and has potent protective properties for other organs, including kidneys and eyes. This protective quality can be largely accredited to two mechanisms of TUDCA.
Firstly, its ability to enhance insulin sensitivity (1, 2), which improves the uptake of glucose from the bloodstream, reduces the risk of hyperglycemia which is a very harmful metabolic state in regards to organ health.
Secondly, TUDCA helps reduce endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress (3, 4), which can lead to the misfolding of proteins within the cell, which leads to cell dysfunction and eventually cell death. To support this claim, clinical research has shown TUDCA to reduce cell apoptosis (5). TUDCA also reduces rates of cell death by blocking the molecule BAX from getting into the mitochondria; BAX initiates the release of cytochrome C which causes apoptosis (6). It also reduces cell death by disabling Bcl-2-associated death promoter (BAD) (7).
Improves Cognitive Function
TUDCA has neuroprotection properties, so can be classed as a nootropic: a class of supplements that improve your brain’s performance. A body of research indicates that TUDCA has beneficial effects on the neurons in the brain, including reducing the degeneration of neurons (8) and reducing synaptic toxicity which is associated with Alzheimer's (9). It has also been shown to reduce cholesterol levels (10).
Could Help You Lose Weight
There is also evidence to suggest that TUDCA can also help you shed more fat. Supplementing TUDCA increases the conversion of T4 thyroid hormones to T3, and this increases your metabolism and promotes the utilisation of fat as an energy source as opposed to carbohydrates (11).
Could Prevent Hearing Loss
One study has shown that using TUDCA could help prevent hearing loss disorders. Although more research is needed, early indications show that a dose of TUDCA might protect against blindness and deafness in human Usher syndrome, and hearing loss due to other genetic mutations (12).
Has Antiviral Properties
Initial studies have shown that taking TUDCA as a pretreatment helps prevent viruses from entering and replicating in your body. (13) When your cells sense an infection, they have an adaptive response called endoplasmic reticulum stress (ER stress). If ER stress goes on too long then the cell can die. TUDCA was found to prevent cells from perishing as a result of ER stress, and also stopped the virus from replicating.
The Side Effects of Using TUDCA
From the variety of studies conducted on the effects of using Tauroursodeoxycholic acid, users who have used high daily doses (1500 mg) of TUDCA have reported getting diarrhea. Apart from this side effect, no other adverse reactions have been reported due to taking TUDCA.
Using TUDCA As a Cycle Support
When using prohormones, AAS or any other similar supplement, your liver is put under a lot of stress and the damage, which can lead to cholestasis. This condition stops bile from getting to where it needs to go. Therefore by supplementing TUDCA you are preventing the build up of toxins in the liver and enabling optimal bile flow throughout the body. Ultimately, TUDCA removes toxic bile acids from the liver and stops them from damaging liver cells (14).
TUDCA vs Milk Thistle Supplements
TUDCA is a more effective on-cycle liver support compared to milk thistle, as it has the ability to prevent the build up of poisonous chemicals.
Is TUDCA Legal?
TUDCA is legal buy and use, but it is not FDA approved to treat medical conditions. More clinical trials are needed to prove TUDCA’s safety and efficacy in humans.
TUDCA and NAC Dosage
There is no scientific consensus on the optimal TUDCA dosage, however dosages tend to range between 250 and 1000mg per day. Those who partake in bodybuilding tend to supplement 1000mg daily.
Buying TUDCA Supplements
If you’re running a cycle, it is highly recommended to use an on-cycle support supplement to protect the liver and maintain regular bodily functions. There are a variety of cycle support options, but for bodybuilding TUDCA is scientifically proven to be one of the best ways to ensure methylated compounds don’t cause damage to your organs.
At Prohormones UK, we have a TUDCA Supplement which is specially formulated to be run alongside a steroid or prohormone cycle. Simply take two capsules per day through your cycle and your post-cycle therapy to maintain your kidney and liver health.