1 Taurine concentrates and acts in electrically excitable tissues, stabilizing membrane excitability, and exhibiting anticonvulsant properties. (Thus, Dr Walsh suggests it may be most relevant for bipolars with neurological symptoms.)
See: Seizural/bipolar connections and inhibitory aminos
2 Acts in brain regions which modulate mood (hippocampus (critical to memory), the pineal (light/dark response), and the olfactory lobe.
3 Inhibits stimulating, and activates inhibiting, neurotransmitters. (Suppresses release of dopamine, norepinephrine, glutamate, and aspartate (stimulating transmitters). On the inhibitory side, increases acetylcholine, and may increase hippocampal histamine (which counterbalances dopamine).
4 Regulates electrolytes, influencing membrane stability, receptor activity, second messenger signalling, electrical communication along the axon, and chemical communication between cells.
5 Modulates creation and activity of cAMP (which helps initiate the second messenger cascade).
6 Moderates hormonal activity. Decreases thyroid and adrenal overactivity. Supports normal thyroid function. Reduces blood sugar, enhances use and storage.
7 Antioxidant. Helps regulate copper and iron. Supports immune function and helps prevent chemical sensitivity.
8 Needed in fat absorption, metabolism, elimination. (Fats are critical to neural signalling, and the formation of hormones which affect mood.)
You can find a good introduction to taurine in the second half of Dr. Priscilla Slagle's Jan 15, 2000 Newsletter.
Also see, Birdsall, TC, Therapeutic applications of taurine. Altern Med Rev. 3(2):128-36; April 1998.
For references, and further discussion of bipolar issues, see Natural Healing for Bipolar Disorder.
Reminder: Treatment must be tailored to each individual's unique biochemical requirements, including contraindications. If you need treatment for bipolar disorder, or any other medical condition, consult a knowledgeable physician. In some cases, this will be an orthomolecular or other nutritionally-oriented physician.