Liver health is an essential pillar of exceptional cognition.
While many nootropics target the brain, at HolisticNootropics.com, we know brain health is a full-body experience.
As a self-proclaimed bile-a-phile, I am obsessed with bile acids’ role in gut health and, surprisingly, cognitive enhancement.
That’s right.. the stuff that makes your poop brown also helps your brain work better.
That’s why I became so interested in the bile acid tauroursodeoxycholic acid, aka TUDCA.
I’ve heard from other practitioners about its uncanny ability to boost digestion and liver health. After many hours of combing the research, I now understand its role in brain health.
Along with its ability to get things moving in your gut, it also plays a crucial role in neuroprotection from perils of brain aging diseases like Alzheimer’s, stroke, and Parkinson’s.
If you are concerned with keeping a youthful, vibrant brain, Tudca may be a non-negotiable supplement to add to your daily regimen.
The following article takes a deep dive into the wonders of Tudca and highlights its benefits, science, dosing recommendations, and where to buy it.
So if you’re ready to learn more about the benefits of Tudca, let’s jump into it!
Where To Buy Tudca
What Is Tudca?
Tudca, or tauroursodeoxycholic acid, is a bile acid naturally produced in humans and other mammals. It is widely known for its potential health benefits, including its ability to support liver and gallbladder function, improve digestive symptoms, reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, and enhance fat metabolism. In addition to these properties, recent research suggests that Tudca may also protect cells from damage caused by exposure to toxins or chemicals. 1Min Song, et al, Tauroursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA) improves intestinal barrier function associated with TGR5-MLCK pathway and the alteration of serum metabolites and gut bacteria in weaned pigletsJ Anim Sci Biotechnol. 2022
It is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of primary biliary cholangitis, a chronic disease in which the bile ducts in your liver are slowly destroyed due to its protective effects on hepatocytes.
Recently, Tudca has been found to have benefits that extend beyond hepatobiliary disorders.
At the DNA level, it enhances protein folding, and in cells, it shields the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) from stress and elicits an overall anti-inflammatory effect.
Tudca’s benefits reach throughout the body, from its direct action on the gut to the neurological and brain systems.
Below we highlight Tudca’s main benefits.
Tudca’s Main Benefits
- Improved liver, gallbladder function (Hepatobiliary)
- Neuroprotection from Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s Disease, Stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, ALS
- Obesity/Diabetes Management
Bile plays an essential physiological role in the human body. It is produced by hepatocytes to take part in fat digestion. Abnormalities in bile secretion can result in digestion problems and severe hepatobiliary diseases.
One such synthesized bile acid, UDCA, has been used since the 1950’s in a wide range of hepatobiliary disorders such as primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), pediatric cholestatic disorders, primary biliary cholangitis (PBC), and drug-induced cholestasis.2Sha Li et al, Substitutes for Bear Bile for the Treatment of Liver Diseases: Research Progress and Future PerspectiveEvid Based Complement Alternat Med. 20163Gustav Paumgartner , Ulrich Beuers, Ursodeoxycholic acid in cholestatic liver disease: mechanisms of action and therapeutic use revisitedHepatology. 2002
Later it was found that conjugating UDCA with Taurine to form, TUDCA was even more absorbable in the intestine eliciting better clinical outcomes. 4Hong Ma et al, A multicenter, randomized, double-blind trial comparing the efficacy and safety of TUDCA and UDCA in Chinese patients with primary biliary cholangitisMedicine (Baltimore). 2016
In multiple studies, Tudca has proven itself as a potent agent to improve bile flow and alleviate cholestasis, while enhancing overall liver function. 5K D Setchell , C M Rodrigues, M Podda, A Crosignani, Metabolism of orally administered tauroursodeoxycholic acid in patients with primary biliary cirrhosisGut. 1996
It may even help with gallstones, although Tudca is not considered a 1st line therapy.
As mentioned above, Tudca promotes proper protein folding.
It’s been observed that defective protein folding is connected with many neurodegenerative diseases, highlighting Tudca’s potential cytoprotective role in neurological disorders.6Adrian C Lo et al, Tauroursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA) supplementation prevents cognitive impairment and amyloid deposition in APP/PS1 miceNeurobiol Dis. 20137Siamak MahmoudianDehkordi et al, Altered bile acid profile associates with cognitive impairment in Alzheimer’s disease-An emerging role for gut microbiomeAlzheimers Dement. 20198Lucas Zangerolamo et al, The bile acid TUDCA and neurodegenerative disorders: An overviewLife Sci. 2021
Tudca’s neuroprotective role was first observed in Alzheimer’s disease in 2003, and continues to demonstrate its protective effects in multiple areas of Alzheimer’s pathology. 9Susana Solá et al, Tauroursodeoxycholic Acid Prevents Amyloid-β Peptide-Induced Neuronal Death Via a Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinase-Dependent Signaling PathwayMolecular Medicine. 200310Rita M. Ramalho, Pedro M. Borralho, Rui E. Castro, Susana Solá, Clifford J. Steer, Cecília M. P. Rodrigues, Tauroursodeoxycholic acid modulates p53-mediated apoptosis in Alzheimer’s disease mutant neuroblastoma cellsJournal of Neurochemistry. 2006
It has since shown the ability to slow or even cease progressive death of dopaminergic neurons in substantia nigra region of the brain which leads to the onset of Parkinson’s Disease. 11Wei-Ming Duan, Cecilia M. P. Rodrigures, and Walter C. Low, Ph.D, Tauroursodeoxycholic Acid Improves the Survival and Function of Nigral Transplants in a Rat Model of Parkinson’s DiseaseCell Transplantation. 2002
These findings have been replicated in animal models, ameliorating physical symptoms of Parkinson’s. 12Alexandra Isabel Rosa, Sara Duarte-Silva, Anabela Silva-Fernandes, Maria João Nunes, Andreia Neves Carvalho, Elsa Rodrigues, Maria João Gama, Cecília Maria Pereira Rodrigues, Patrícia Maciel & Margarida Castro-Caldas, Tauroursodeoxycholic Acid Improves Motor Symptoms in a Mouse Model of Parkinson’s DiseaseMolecular Neurobiology. 2018
These mechanistic findings even extend to Huntington’s Disease where TUDCA was shown in animals to treat the associated neurotoxicity and improve locomotor and sensorimotor deficits.13C. Dirk Keene, Cecilia M. P. Rodrigues, Tacjana Eich, Tauroursodeoxycholic acid, a bile acid, is neuroprotective in a transgenic animal model of Huntington’s diseasePROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES. 2002
TUDCA in treating ALS shows promise, as one double-blind placebo-controlled trial in 34 ALS patients demonstrated a significant reduction of function deterioration over one year. 14A. E. Elia, S. Lalli, M. R. Monsurrò, A. Sagnelli, A. C. Taiello, B. Reggiori, V. La Bella, G. Tedeschi, A. Albanese, Tauroursodeoxycholic acid in the treatment of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosisEuropean Journal of Neurology . 2015
There is also some evidence that TUDCA acts as a neuroprotectant against stroke.15JCecilia M P Rodrigues et al Neuroprotection by a bile acid in an acute stroke model in the ratJ Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2002
TUDCA may also be effective at managing obesity and type 2 diabetes via several pathways.
One such pathway is TUDCA’s prevention of ER stress, which is a crucial contributor to the pathology of diabetes and is associated with pancreatic beta cell loss and insulin resistance, according to a growing body of literature. 16Gabriela Alves Bronczek, et alThe Bile Acid TUDCA Improves Beta-Cell Mass and Reduces Insulin Degradation in Mice With Early-Stage of Type-1 DiabetesFront Physiol. 2019
In both human and animal trials, TUDCA boosts insulin sensitivity, potentiating insulin clearance, increase pancreatic beta-cell mass.17Marleen Kars; Ling Yang; Margaret F. Gregor; B. Selma Mohammed; Terri A. Pietka; Brian N. Finck; Bruce W. Patterson; Jay D. Horton; Bettina Mittendorfer; Gökhan S. Hotamisligil; Samuel Klein, Tauroursodeoxycholic Acid May Improve Liver and Muscle but Not Adipose Tissue Insulin Sensitivity in Obese Men and WomenMETABOLISM. 201018Gabriela Alves Bronczek et al, The Bile Acid TUDCA Improves Beta-Cell Mass and Reduces Insulin Degradation in Mice With Early-Stage of Type-1 DiabetesFront Physiol. 201919Neeraj K. Sharma, Swapan K. Das, Ashis K. Mondal, Oksana G. Hackney, Winston S. Chu, Philip A. Kern, Neda Rasouli, Horace J. Spencer, Aiwei Yao-Borengasser, Steven C. Elbein, Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress Markers Are Associated with Obesity in Nondiabetic SubjectsThe Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. 2008
This is encouraging for those looking specifically for brain enhancement as the connection between optimal brain health and excellent metabolic health is well established.
In experimental conditions, TUDCA has shown its ability to reduce TNF-α and IFN-γ-induced up-regulation of pro-inflammatory markers such as TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-6, and alleviated NF-κB activation and inhibit expressions of pro-inflammatory mediators such as nitric oxide (NO), inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), TNF-α, IL-1β, and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), while also inducing the expression of anti-inflammatory mediator, arginase 1.20Isabel Castro, Nicolás Albornoz, Sergio Aguilera, María-José Barrera, Sergio González, Matilde Núñez, Patricia Carvajal, Daniela Jara, Carolina Lagos, Claudio Molina, Aberrant MUC1 accumulation in salivary glands of Sjögren’s syndrome patients is reversed by TUDCA in vitroRheumatology. 202021 Seong Jun Kim et al, Anti-inflammatory effect of Tauroursodeoxycholic acid in RAW 264.7 macrophages, Bone marrow-derived macrophages, BV2 microglial cells, and spinal cord injuryScientific Reports. 2018
This is also important for brain health as the connection between inflammation and mental health is well-established.
TUDCA Recommended Dosage
250mg 2x per day (500mg total)
TUDCA Side Effects/Safety
TUDCA is generally well-tolerated with few reported side effects in healthy individuals up to 1750mg/day for 4 weeks.22Marleen Kars et al, Tauroursodeoxycholic Acid may improve liver and muscle but not adipose tissue insulin sensitivity in obese men and womenDiabetes. 2010
Patients with advanced primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) may experience specific contraindications
In conclusion, TUDCA is an effective supplement that has the potential to provide a wide range of physical and mental health benefits.
Along with its natural support for optimal liver and gallbladder function, it is neuroprotective, improves digestive symptoms, reduces oxidative stress and inflammation, enhances fat metabolism, and protects cells from damage caused by toxins or chemicals.
For these reasons, it can be highly beneficial for anyone looking to improve their overall health and well-being.