aurine is a type of amino acid found in many foods and often added to energy drinks.
Many people take taurine as a supplement, and some researchers refer to it as a “wonder molecule”
Taurine has been shown to have several health benefits, such as a lower risk of disease and improved sports performance
It is also very safe and has no known side effects when taken in reasonable doses.
This article explains everything you need to know about taurine.SUMMARYTaurine is classified as a conditionally essential amino acid. It serves various important functions in your body.
Taurine is an essential amino acid that occurs naturally in the human body and is abundant in the brain, muscle tissue, retina, and organs in the body (1). It can also be found in dietary sources such as meat and fish (2).
- May improve athletic performance
- May promote weight loss
- Supports a healthy blood pressure
- Promotes healthy cholesterol levels
Taurine Mode of Action
Taurine, being a substrate in bile salt formation, was originally discovered in ox bile and was named after Taurus, the bull (3). It is not derived from bulls or bull testicles, contrary to circulating misinformation. Many people continue to spread the misinformation that since Red Bull energy drinks contain taurine and it is named “Red Bull” that it confirms this myth. This is incorrect: it is simply an ode to its discovery.
Taurine (2-aminoethanesulfonic acid) is one of the most essential amino acids in the body. Small amounts of taurine can be synthesized in the liver from cysteine and methionine (4). It is an organic osmolyte and regulates cell volumes. Taurine is involved in the central nervous system development and cell protection, as well as being critical for the retina of the eye. Its’ functions include osmoregulation, membrane stabilization, anti-inflammation, ion transport modulation, mitochondrial protein synthesis, and regulation of oxidative stress (5).
Taurine is considered “conditionally essential” because humans can synthesize it and are not entirely dependent on outside sources from which to obtain it (6). The mechanisms behind Taurine are not fully understood, despite the knowledge that it is so essential (1).
Humans obtain most of the taurine from their diet. Though it is synthesized in the body, humans have a low amount of CSAD (cysteine sulfinic acid)–a substrate in taurine synthesis–thus, most of the taurine comes from diet and it is absorbed by the small intestine. Taurine can be found in small amounts of dairy, with the highest amount of taurine in shellfish, dark meat of chicken and turkey, and turkey bologna. Vegetarians and vegans have a lower blood level of taurine than meat-eaters (4).
A deficiency in taurine can be serious and affect the cardiovascular, renal, and ocular system (1).
Taurine is an inhibitory amino acid neurotransmitter, like GABA and Glycine. Taurine can stimulate the release of glutamate and GABA at synapses, but it can also reduce excitatory transmission. Though GABA and Glycine have their own signaling systems, taurine acts without its own signaling and is a neuromodulator of the GABAergic and Glycinergic systems. Taurine binds to both GABAa and GABAb receptors. Taurine may have some mechanism with BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) that may explain its support of mood. Taurine can stimulate the release of glutamate and GABA at synapses, but it can also reduce excitatory transmission (6).
Pure Nootropics’ Taurine contains 500 mg per capsule. Suggested use is 1 capsule by mouth up to 4 times daily or as directed by a healthcare practitioner.
Taurine Side Effects & Toxicity
Taurine is safe in doses up to 3g per day (6). Both animal and human studies have found taurine to be safe at high doses (7).
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The main sources of taurine are animal foods, such as meat, fish and
Although some processed vegetarian foods contain added taurine, it is unlikely that these will offer sufficient quantities to optimize your levels
Taurine is also often added to soda and energy drinks — which may provide 600–1,000 mg in a single 8-ounce (237-ml) serving.
However, it is not recommended to drink soda or energy drinks in high amounts due to other ingredients that may be harmful
Because the form of taurine used in supplements and energy drinks is usually made synthetically — not derived from animals — it is suitable for vegans.
An average diet provides about 40–400 mg of taurine per day, but studies have used 400–6,000 mg per day
SUMMARYThe main dietary sources of taurine are animal foods, such as meat, fish and dairy. Smaller amounts occur in some plant foods. It is also added to many energy drinks.
Taurine, found in several organs, has widespread benefits.
- Maintaining proper hydration and electrolyte balance in your cells
- Forming bile salts, which play an important role in digestion
- Regulating minerals such as calcium within your cells
- Supporting the general function of your central nervous system and eyes
- Regulating immune system health and antioxidant function
Since it’s a conditionally essential amino acid, a healthy individual can produce the minimal amount required for these essential daily functions.
However, higher amounts may be required in rare cases, making taurine essential for some people — such as those with heart or kidney failure, as well as premature infants that have been fed intravenously
When a deficiency occurs during fetal development, serious symptoms like impaired brain function and poor blood sugar control have been observed
SUMMARYTaurine plays many important roles in your body. Although extremely rare, deficiency is linked to several serious health issues.
Taurine may improve blood sugar control and combat diabetes.
Long-term supplementing decreased fasting blood sugar levels in diabetic rats — without any changes in diet or exercise
Fasting blood sugar levels are very important for health, as high levels are a key factor in type 2 diabetes and many other chronic diseases
Some animal research suggests that an increased intake of taurine could help prevent type 2 diabetes by reducing blood sugar levels and insulin resistance
Interestingly, people with diabetes tend to have lower levels of taurine — another indicator that it may play a role in this disease
SUMMARYTaurine may benefit people with diabetes, potentially lowering blood sugar levels and improving various risk factors for heart disease. However, further studies are needed before any claims can be made
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Taurine may help reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Research shows a link between higher taurine levels and significantly lower rates of death from heart disease, as well as reduced cholesterol and blood pressure
Taurine may help reduce high blood pressure by decreasing the resistance to blood flow in your blood vessel walls. It may also minimize nerve impulses in your brain that increase blood pressure
In a two-week study in people with diabetes, taurine supplements significantly reduced artery stiffness — potentially making it easier for the heart to pump blood around the body
In another study in overweight people, 3 grams of taurine per day for seven weeks reduced body weight and improved several heart disease risk factors
Additionally, supplementing has been found to reduce inflammation and artery thickening. When combined, these effects may drastically reduce your risk of heart disease
SUMMARYTaurine may reduce your risk of heart disease by improving several key risk factors, such as cholesterol and blood pressure.
Taurine may also have benefits for athletic performance.
In animal studies, taurine caused muscles to work harder and for longer and increased the muscles’ ability to contract and produce force. In mice, it reduced fatigue and muscle damage during a workout
In human studies, taurine has been shown to remove waste products that lead to fatigue and cause muscle burn. It also protects muscles from cell damage and oxidative stress
Human studies indicate that trained athletes who supplement with taurine experience improved exercise performance. Cyclists and runners have been able to cover longer distances with less fatigue
Another study supports this amino acid’s role in reducing muscle damage. Participants placed on a muscle-damaging weightlifting routine experienced fewer markers of damage and less muscle soreness
In addition to these performance benefits, taurine may aid weight loss by increasing your body’s use of fat for fuel. In cyclists, supplementing with 1.66 grams of taurine increased fat burning by 16%
SUMMARYTaurine plays several important roles in your muscles and may aid various aspects of exercise performance by reducing fatigue, increasing fat burning and decreasing muscle damage.
Taurine has a surprisingly wide range of potential health benefits.
It may improve various other functions in your body, such as eyesight and hearing in certain populations
In one human study, 12% of participants supplementing with taurine completely eliminated ringing in their ears, which is associated with hearing loss
Taurine is also present in large quantities in your eyes, with research showing that eye problems may occur when these levels start to decline. Increased concentrations are believed to optimize eyesight and eye health
Because it helps regulate muscle contractions, taurine may reduce seizures and help treat conditions such as epilepsy
It appears to work by binding to your brain’s GABA receptors, which play a key role in controlling and calming your central nervous system
Finally, it can protect liver cells against free radical and toxin damage. In one study, 2 grams of taurine taken three times per day reduced markers of liver damage while decreasing oxidative stress
SUMMARYTaurine has a wide range of potential health benefits, from reduced seizures to improved eyesight.
According to the best available evidence, taurine has no negative side effects when used in the recommended amounts
While there have been no direct issues from taurine supplements, athlete deaths in Europe have been linked to energy drinks containing taurine and caffeine. This has led several countries to ban or limit the sale of taurine
As with most amino-acid-based supplements, issues could potentially arise in people with kidney problems
SUMMARYWhen consumed in reasonable amounts by a healthy individual, taurine does not have any known side effects.
The most common dosages of taurine are 500–2,000 mg per day.
However, the upper limit for toxicity is much higher — even doses above 2,000 mg seem to be well tolerated.
Research on the safety of taurine suggests that up to 3,000 mg per day for an entire lifetime is still safe
While some studies may use a higher dose for short periods, 3,000 mg per day will help you maximize the benefits while staying within a safe range
While you can obtain taurine naturally from meat, dairy and fish, most people will not consume enough to meet the doses used in the studies discussed above
SUMMARYSupplementing with 500–3,000 mg of taurine per day is known to be effective, cheap and safe.
Some researchers call taurine a “wonder molecule” because few supplements provide as many potential health and performance benefits.
Whether you want to improve your health or optimize your sports performance, taurine can be a very cost-effective and safe addition to your supplement regimen.
You can find many different products on Amazon, though remember that you can also obtain some taurine from animal products.