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The Benefits of TUDCA

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 08/31/2023

The benefits of TUDCA (tauroursodeoxycholic acid) are numerous it is a potent bile salt that’s naturally found in the body. As a supplement, it has a wide range of health benefits, from improving digestion to reducing inflammation.

Find out why TUDCA is so powerful and learn the best ways to use it. 

holding tudca capsules

What is TUDCA?

Tauroursodeoxycholic acid is a naturally-occurring water-soluble bile acid. Bacteria in your large intestine break down bile salts and turn them into ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA). It then combines with taurine molecules to create TUDCA.

TUDCA has been used as a supplement for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine. It was first sourced from bear bile, which is made up of 50% TUDCA. Today, this health-promoting supplement is made synthetically. 

What does TUDCA do?

There are many health benefits of TUDCA, including its benefits for the nervous system, digestive system, liver, gallbladder, and eyes. TUDCA supplements also help lower insulin resistance, reduce the risk of diabetes, dissolve bile sludge, and lower the risk of gallstones.

Bile salts are made up of bile acids, which are produced in the liver and stored in the gallbladder. Bile acids are required for many essential body functions, including:

  • Breaking down dietary fats

  • Helping with digestion

  • Absorbing vitamins (such as vitamin A)

  • Eliminating toxins


What is bile sludge?

Bile sludge is thick bile with small particles that have accumulated. This sediment is made up of calcium salts and cholesterol crystals.


The thick, particulate matter that makes up bile sludge can eventually form gallstones. Perhaps even worse, it can erode the gallbladder, leading to a perforation that leaks bile into the abdominal cavity. Bile sludge is corrosive and can cause pancreatic inflammation.

What is cholestasis?

Cholestasis is any condition that interferes with the normal flow of bile from the liver; it could be caused by disorders of the liver or bile ducts. More serious causes of cholestasis include hepatitis or liver cancer. 

TUDCA bile acid supplements have been found in clinical trials to improve cholestasis due to the reduction of bile sludge.

healthy gut

TUDCA benefits

TUDCA supplements have been shown to offer numerous health benefits for the liver and gastrointestinal system, but surprisingly, there are dozens of other benefits of TUDCA that go well beyond the digestive system.

Preclinical studies have shown that TUDCA is neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, and has many more health-promoting properties.

1. Reduces bile sludge (cholestasis)

TUDCA has been found in clinical trials to have strong effects as bile acids, improving cholestasis by reducing bile sludge. Symptoms of cholestasis may include dark-colored urine, light-colored feces, and severe itching.

2. Improves digestion

TUDCA helps enhance bile flow, which promotes healthy digestion and absorption of dietary fats. Studies show that not only does TUDCA increase bile flow, but it also improves the chemical composition of bile so that it contains more compounds that help aid in digestion. 

Acid reflux can damage the stomach lining over time because of its high acidity level. TUDCA improves the damage to the stomach lining caused by bile reflux. I also recommend drinking ACV on a daily basis when on a keto diet. To learn more about the benefits of apple cider vinegar and fasting read does apple cider vinegar break a fast.

3. Promotes gut health

TUDCA supports a healthy gut lining, preventing and/or improving leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut is a common digestive malady involving an injury to the lining of your gut. When the injury is long-term, it can result in intestinal permeability. This means substances that are supposed to stay inside the digestive tract escape or leak out.

Common factors that cause leaky gut include stress and poor diet. Environmental pollutants, such as pesticides, are thought to be a significant culprit in the cause of leaky gut syndrome.

4. Supports a healthy cardiovascular system

TUDCA helps break down and remove excess cholesterol from the body. TUDCA changes the metabolism of liver cholesterol. A small human study found that taking 1,000 to 1,500 mg of TUDCA per day for six months can lower total cholesterol levels.

TUDCA also promotes healthy blood vessels. Studies show that it recruits vasculogenic progenitor cells, which can accelerate the repair and formation of blood vessels. 


5. Stabilizes mitochondria 

TUDCA helps support mitochondrial health. The mitochondria are the parts of human cells that generate energy. The mitochondria provide energy to the cell. When the mitochondria cannot perform properly, cell death occurs.

Normal/programmed cell death is an important bodily process; it removes cells when they are damaged or otherwise unneeded.

Some disease processes can lead to untimely cell death. The mitochondrion is a part of the cell particularly involved in the death of cells called apoptosis. Both tauroursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA) and ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) disrupt the mitochondrial pathway of cell death.

6. Reduces inflammation

Studies on nerve inflammation discovered that TUDCA has an anti-inflammatory effect on glial cells. Glial cells promote the development of new neurons. They are found in the central nervous system (brain and spinal column).

Glial cells are smaller in size and larger in number than neurons (nerve cells). These tiny cells are instrumental during nerve cell recovery from injury (such as stroke). 

7. Boosts fat-soluble nutrient absorption

Bile salts enable the body to break down and better absorb fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A, D, E, and K. TUDCA increases bile production, improving the body’s ability to absorb fat-soluble vitamins.

8. Protects the liver

Tauroursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA) and ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) are bile acid supplements that can help promote liver health, even for those with liver disease. Liver sclerosis is a complication of late-stage liver disease caused by alcohol abuse, hepatitis, or fatty liver disease (from obesity or diabetes).

An increase in liver enzymes (including ALT, AST, and ALP) indicates an alteration in liver function. TUDCA was found to dramatically lower serum liver enzymes.

Bile salts are like detergent; when it backs up, it’s a strong irritant that can result in bloating, swelling, and pain in the abdomen. 

9. Supports insulin sensitivity

Insulin sensitivity occurs when the body’s cells are unable to respond properly to insulin. As a result, the cells have trouble taking up blood glucose. 

A small four-week study involving people with insulin resistance showed that daily TUDCA can improve insulin sensitivity by 30%.

10. Improves retinal health and vision

The retina is an important part of your vision—it’s the layer at the very back of the eyeball that converts light into electrical signals and sends them to your brain to interpret what you see.


Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin; it’s absorbed along with dietary fats and stored in the liver and the body's fatty tissue. Vitamin A has long been known for its ability to promote eye health. People would have night blindness without vitamin A.

TUDCA improves visual acuity because it promotes the proper breakdown and absorption of vitamin A.

11. Protects the nervous system

TUDCA has shown promise for its neuroprotective benefits, working to protect the nervous system and significantly improving nerve function after a stroke.

Compelling scientific evidence has shown that TUDCA helps reduce the amyloid plaques, which are a hallmark sign of Alzheimer's disease. Even after the onset of Alzheimer’s, TUDCA can reduce amyloid production in the brain.

TUDCA is thought to be a potential future therapy for neurologic conditions such as Huntington's disease, Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimer's disease.

12. Acts as an antioxidant

TUDCA acts as a powerful antioxidant that can combat toxins that build up in the body from smoking and exposure to other toxins and pollutants. 

woman taking bile supplements

How much TUDCA can you take?

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. 

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

Side effects of TUDCA

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.

healthy and happy people

Key Takeaways

Tauroursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA) is a naturally-occurring bile acid that has been used for thousands of years as a supplement for its many health benefits.

TUDCA may potentially help reduce gallbladder sludge and lower the risk of gallstones. It also supports nervous system function, insulin sensitivity, digestion, and cholesterol levels.

You can take TUDCA during a fast or with meals to improve digestion. Overall, TUDCA is a powerful supplement that many people can benefit from. 


1. What does TUDCA stand for?

TUDCA stands for tauroursodeoxycholic acid.

2. Is TUDCA safe?

Yes, TUDCA is safe. Many laboratory studies, lasting up to 12 months, have shown TUDCA to be well-tolerated and safe, even in those with liver cirrhosis and people who have had liver transplants.

3. Can I take TUDCA while doing keto and intermittent fasting?

Yes, you can take TUDCA while fasting. You can also take it during a meal to help with digestion.

4. What is TUDCA?

TUDCA (tauroursodeoxycholic acid) is a water-soluble bile acid that is naturally produced in the body. Taking tauroursodeoxycholic acid as a supplement can help support digestion and many other functions throughout the body.

5. How long does it take for TUDCA to start working?

It may take up to six months to start seeing benefits from TUDCA. However, some people see results in just four weeks.

6. Can TUDCA help with gallstones?

TUDCA reduces the cholesterol in your bile, which helps reduce the formation of cholesterol gallstones.  

7. How much TUDCA should I take daily?

Most adults can take two 300 mg capsules twice each day without any side effects. 

8. When should I take TUDCA? 

You can take TUDCA at any time while eating or fasting. For better digestion, take TUDCA with a meal.

9. What is TUDCA good for?

It’s excellent for nervous system function, insulin sensitivity, digestion, cholesterol levels, gallbladder health, and liver function. 

10. Is TUDCA good for a fatty liver?

Yes! Studies suggest that TUDCA can help detoxify and improve liver function. 

11. Can TUDCA cause liver damage? 

No, it’s not known to cause liver damage. In fact, it can help support a healthy liver by helping reduce liver cell death. 

12. Can you take TUDCA every day?

Yes, there are no known adverse effects of using TUDCA daily.

13. How much TUDCA is safe?

For most people, TUDCA is safe and well-tolerated up to 1,500 mg per day. Taking more than 1,500 mg of this dietary supplement may result in diarrhea. 

14. What does TUDCA taste like?

TUDCA has a bitter flavor. Many people take a TUDCA supplement in capsule form to avoid its bitterness.

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