TUDCA is quickly advancing as a front-runner among many supplements due to its tremendous potential benefits, including liver health, brain health, cellular and mitochondria support, and a lot more. 

Before you get your hands on any of the best TUDCA supplements out there, it’s best to understand what these can do for your body and be informed of the risks related to their use.

In this article, we will discuss and learn about the potential uses, benefits,  and side effects of this extraordinary bile acid. 

What is TUDCA?

This potential ingredient is tauroursodeoxycholic acid or TUDCA. It’s a bile acid derivative that naturally occurs in our body. TUDCA has been therapeutically used in traditional Chinese medicine for millennia, and they use it mainly for biliary and hepatic disorders. Our body only makes small amounts of this health-giving compound, but it’s essential to know that this bile salt influences many bodily functions. 

For ages, traditional Chinese medical practitioners have had a lot of knowledge on the benefits of TUDCA. They prescribe TUDCA for various conditions like helping detoxify the liver treat heat illnesses such as spasms, fever, and vision problems, and it helps improve many other conditions. earning the scientific spotlight just recently, it is the subject of many clinical studies that are being conducted by scientists, exploring its potential health benefits. 

Another exciting thing to know about TUDCA is that bears produce large amounts of TUDCA in their bodies. Scientists believe that it may help them hibernate for so long in the winter. 

What Is TUDCA Used For? 

When taurine binds ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA), this forms TUDCA. Moreover, TUDCA is great to treat cholestasis, it’s a condition wherein the bile fails to flow from the liver going to the duodenum. It is also helpful for treating cholesterol gallstones, which dissolve them to a size in which they may be easier to pass [1].

Numerous laboratory studies conducted that it may be promising for neuroprotection and potentially for Alzheimer’s Disease therapy. The evidence for this research is currently based on preclinical work. 

Benefits of TUDCA

The main area of study in this bile acid is its potential benefits as a supplement for treating various diseases.

TUDCA is said to bring about various benefits, which is the supplement has garnered so much attention in recent years. Before you shop around for the best TUDCA supplements on the market, let’s find out the possible health benefits of taking TUDCA.

Below are the studies that show the benefits of taking TUDCA. 

1. Liver Disease

A randomized controlled trial shows that taking TUDCA improves liver function in patients who have liver cirrhosis, Cholestasis, and HCV-related chronic hepatitis. These studies show that TUDCA significantly lowers the serum liver enzymes that are markers of liver inflammation. The effects of TUDCA on cholestasis are also promising and strong, it’s also helpful as a reference drug for these kinds of outcomes [2],[3],[4]. 

2. Insulin Sensitivity

Another randomized controlled trial consisting of 20 obese men and women who had insulin resistance took TUDCA treatment for about 1750mg/day for 4 weeks, which resulted in a 30% increase in insulin sensitivity in the muscle and liver. It might be an effective pharmacological approach to treating insulin resistance, but additional studies are needed [5]. 

Moreover, it’s also important to know that the specific cellular mechanisms responsible for the increased insulin sensitivity remain unclear. TUDCA is also unknown whether it is protective in healthy adults who don’t have insulin resistance. 

3. Decreases Cholesterol

A study that was conducted in 2001 found people who were supplemented with either 1000mg or 1500mg of TUDCA daily for about six months, and the results show that it drastically lowered their total cholesterol [6].

4. Neurodegenerative Disorders

A lot of studies have shown that supplementing with TUDCA daily may offer neuro-protective benefits on some specific conditions. 

A particular study demonstrated that TUDCA provides an amazing protective effect against a toxin that induces Huntington’s Disease. Another study showed that TUDCA may help with Alzheimer’s by preventing beta-amyloid-induced cell death in the brain. Lastly, two studies demonstrated how TUDCA’s neuroprotective actions against stroke and other neurological injuries [7],[8],[9]

Side Effects of TUDCA

tudca benefits side effects

Although this supplement is generally considered safe when taken within the recommended dosage. 

The most common side effect of taking TUDCA is diarrhea. It has been reported that the daily consumption of TUDCA at 1,000 and 1,500mg may cause diarrhea [10]. 

With the consumption of UDCA, side effects may also occur with its TUDCA derivative. Listed below are the side effects that are known to occur: 

  • Gastrointestinal Issues 
  • Headache 
  • Fatigue 
  • Skin Issues
  • Hair Thinning

There is limited research on TUDCA supplementation for pregnant and nursing women, and it’s important that they should avoid it. Speaking to your doctor before using it for people with underlying medical conditions is essential as it may interact with other medications. 

You should also avoid taking alcohol, due to the reason that it can damage your liver.

How to Take TUDCA

TUDCA is not approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration but UDCA is approved for people with biliary cirrhosis. Thanks to researchers, they determined the safe quantities that you may take that are based on their clinical trials.

They recommend for those who want to improve their liver/bile function is to take a 15-20mg/kg dose of TUDCA. For those who may want to improve their muscle and liver sensitivity, a daily dosage as high as 1,750 mg should be great [12][13]. 

It’s always important to consult your healthcare provider first for diagnosis and get accurate medical information on what to take and permission before taking any supplements in the future. 

There’s also no medical evidence that can support that TUDCA supplements may cure, prevent, and treat diseases. 

What Does TUDCA Taste Like?

When taking the supplement in powder form, it tastes very salty and bitter. But you can buy most supplements in capsules.

When to Take TUDCA?

You can take it anytime, but it’s essential to consume it with food so that it can aid with absorption. 

What Improvements May I Notice?

There are a lot of improvements in the body that you may notice while taking this amazing bile acid, which include:

  • Improved food tolerance
  • Reduced liver enzymes 
  • Improved energy
  • Better skin complexion
  • Improved liver function 
  • Reduced dark circles under the eyes 
  • Improved fat absorption and digestion

How Long Does It Take to Work?

It doesn’t have any immediate or acute benefits. Taking it daily may help you reap the positive effects. The significant benefits of taking this supplement will happen with consistent long-term use. 

Is TUDCA Safe?

Of course, it is completely safe with little to no side effects in most people taking the supplement. 

Dosage of TUDCA

tudca benefits side effects

This bile acid is available as a dietary supplement usually in capsule form. Although, there are no websites or studies that compared its efficacy, safety, or purity on different available brands.

For lowering enzyme levels, 1500 mg was the most effective, while taking 500 mg shows that it was the most cost-effective [14]. Another study suggested that taking 60 mg/kg/day is a tolerable and administrable dose for humans [15]. For healthy obese persons, taking 1,750 mg per day for four weeks has been tolerated [16].

If you’re a bodybuilder taking steroids or SARMS, always be responsible and use TUDCA during bulking cycles. Typically, liver enzyme tests are done to see how the drugs you’ve taken are affecting your liver. If not, always pay attention to your urine, the darker the color of your urine is, the more concerned you should be with liver rehab. 

TUDCA vs. Milk Thistle

Milk thistle which is scientifically called Silybaum marianum is a flowering herb that is related to the ragweed and daisy family. This herb is native to Mediterranean countries. Both of them share significant benefits in protecting the liver and brain. There is an active compound in milk thistle that also works like TUDCA which is called Silymarins. 

With that being said, both of them greatly benefit the liver and work in different ways. There is nothing wrong with taking them both. 

Bottomline: TUDCA Benefits, Side Effects, and Uses

TUDCA is a derivative of the natural bile fluid produced by our liver. We only make it in small quantities, but black bears produce it in large quantities. Based on the studies that were conducted, they suggest that as a supplement, it could offer a lot of potential benefits, including the liver, nervous system, brain, retinal, and a lot more. Although, more research is needed, especially with human subjects. Now, it’s worth considering due to its powerful liver and neuro-supportive bioavailability. Always keep in mind to consult your healthcare provider for accurate medical information, diagnosis, and permission before taking any supplements. 

Disclaimer: This article is only a guide. It does not substitute the advice given by your own healthcare professional. Before making any health-related decision, consult your healthcare professional.

Editorial References And Fact-Checking

  • Lu, Q., Jiang, Z., Wang, Q., Hu, H., & Zhao, G. (2021). The effect of Tauroursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA) and gut microbiota on murine gallbladder stone formation. Annals of hepatology23, 100289. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aohep.2020.100289
  • Pan, X. L., Zhao, L., Li, L., Li, A. H., Ye, J., Yang, L., Xu, K. S., & Hou, X. H. (2013). Efficacy and safety of tauroursodeoxycholic acid in the treatment of liver cirrhosis: a double-blind randomized controlled trial. Journal of Huazhong University of Science and Technology. Medical sciences = Hua zhong ke ji da xue xue bao. Yi xue Ying De wen ban = Huazhong keji daxue xuebao. Yixue Yingdewen ban33(2), 189–194. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11596-013-1095-x
  • Crosignani, A., Budillon, G., Cimino, L., Del Vecchio Blanco, C., Loguercio, C., Ideo, G., Raimondo, G., Stabilini, R., & Podda, M. (1998). Tauroursodeoxycholic acid for the treatment of HCV-related chronic hepatitis: a multicenter placebo-controlled study. Hepato-gastroenterology45(23), 1624–1629.
  • Ma, H., Zeng, M., Han, Y., Yan, H., Tang, H., Sheng, J., Hu, H., Cheng, L., Xie, Q., Zhu, Y., Chen, G., Gao, Z., Xie, W., Wang, J., Wu, S., Wang, G., Miao, X., Fu, X., Duan, L., Xu, J., … Jia, J. (2016). A multicenter, randomized, double-blind trial comparing the efficacy and safety of TUDCA and UDCA in Chinese patients with primary biliary cholangitis. Medicine95(47), e5391. https://doi.org/10.1097/MD.0000000000005391
  • Kars, M., Yang, L., Gregor, M. F., Mohammed, B. S., Pietka, T. A., Finck, B. N., Patterson, B. W., Horton, J. D., Mittendorfer, B., Hotamisligil, G. S., & Klein, S. (2010). Tauroursodeoxycholic Acid may improve liver and muscle but not adipose tissue insulin sensitivity in obese men and women. Diabetes59(8), 1899–1905. https://doi.org/10.2337/db10-0308
  • Crosignani, A., Battezzati, P. M., Setchell, K. D., Invernizzi, P., Covini, G., Zuin, M., & Podda, M. (1996). Tauroursodeoxycholic acid for treatment of primary biliary cirrhosis. A dose-response study. Digestive diseases and sciences41(4), 809–815. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02213140
  • Keene, C. D., Rodrigues, C. M., Eich, T., Linehan-Stieers, C., Abt, A., Kren, B. T., Steer, C. J., & Low, W. C. (2001). A bile acid protects against motor and cognitive deficits and reduces striatal degeneration in the 3-nitropropionic acid model of Huntington’s disease. Experimental neurology171(2), 351–360. https://doi.org/10.1006/exnr.2001.7755
  • Rodrigues, C. M., Solá, S., Silva, R., & Brites, D. (2000). Bilirubin and amyloid-beta peptide induce cytochrome c release through mitochondrial membrane permeabilization. Molecular medicine (Cambridge, Mass.)6(11), 936–946.
  • Rodrigues, C. M., Sola, S., Nan, Z., Castro, R. E., Ribeiro, P. S., Low, W. C., & Steer, C. J. (2003). Tauroursodeoxycholic acid reduces apoptosis and protects against neurological injury after acute hemorrhagic stroke in rats. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America100(10), 6087–6092. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1031632100
  • Setchell, K. D., Rodrigues, C. M., Podda, M., & Crosignani, A. (1996). Metabolism of orally administered tauroursodeoxycholic acid in patients with primary biliary cirrhosis. Gut38(3), 439–446. https://doi.org/10.1136/gut.38.3.439
  • Vandewynckel YP, Laukens D, Devisscher L, Paridaens A, Bogaerts E, Verhelst X, Van den Bussche A, Raevens S, Van Steenkiste C, Van Troys M, Ampe C, Descamps B, Vanhove C, Govaere O, Geerts A, Van Vlierberghe H. Tauroursodeoxycholic acid dampens oncogenic apoptosis induced by endoplasmic reticulum stress during hepatocarcinogen exposure. Oncotarget. 2015 Sep 29;6(29):28011-25. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.4377. PMID: 26293671; PMCID: PMC4695041.
  • Kars, M., Yang, L., Gregor, M. F., Mohammed, B. S., Pietka, T. A., Finck, B. N., Patterson, B. W., Horton, J. D., Mittendorfer, B., Hotamisligil, G. S., & Klein, S. (2010). Tauroursodeoxycholic Acid may improve liver and muscle but not adipose tissue insulin sensitivity in obese men and women. Diabetes59(8), 1899–1905. https://doi.org/10.2337/db10-0308


  • Kim Monasterial, BSN

    Kim is a Registered Nurse and has been a medical freelance writer for more than six years. Starting off as a writer, Kim moved to proofreading and editing all the articles posted on HealthPlugged. She’s an enthusiast for health and wellness, being one to keep herself fit and adventurous for outdoor activities. LinkedIn


Kim is a Registered Nurse and has been a medical freelance writer for more than six years. Starting off as a writer, Kim moved to proofreading and editing all the articles posted on HealthPlugged. She’s an enthusiast for health and wellness, being one to keep herself fit and adventurous for outdoor activities. LinkedIn