You can also find taurine in the energy drink Red Bull, as well as in a variety of pre-workout and energy supplements. Some foods also contain it, and your body can even produce it, which is why taurine deficiency is uncommon in healthy adults. In this article, we will explain all of the surprising things you might like to know about taurine and the beneficial effect it could have on your day-to-day health.
What is Taurine?
Taurine is a naturally occurring sulfur-containing amino acid. It can be found particularly concentrated in your brain, eyes, heart, and muscles. Although amino acids are often referred to as the building blocks of protein, taurine is not actually used to build proteins in your body. It is considered a conditionally essential amino acid, so it is only essential in times of illness and stress. Babies cannot produce taurine as well as adults, so they generally get their taurine nutrient from breast milk or taurine-supplemented formula.
When taurine is taken in conjunction with a multivitamin such as our VITAE Men’s Health Optimizer, it can lead to some noticeable benefits. VITAE features full-spectrum multivitamin, greens and superfood complex, and hormone optimizing compounds. Together with a nutritious diet, all of these ingredients used together can really improve your overall performance.
The Best Sources of Taurine
The main sources of taurine are animal proteins such as meat, seafood, and dairy. Plants contain no appreciable amount of taurine, so many vegans or vegetarians consume less taurine. This means they tend to have lower taurine levels than meat-eaters. Even so, taurine deficiency is uncommon even among vegetarians. This is because of the human body’s ability to make taurine in the liver from other amino acids. In addition to getting taurine from food, you can get it from some energy drinks.
These can give you about 750 mg of taurine from an 8-ounce serving. For reference, the typical American diet provides around 180 mg of taurine daily, while a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet (in which somebody consumes both dairy products and eggs) provides only around 20 mg of taurine daily. Another interesting thing to note is that the form of taurine used in supplements and energy drinks is usually synthetic, which means it is not derived from animals. This makes it suitable for people who are trying to stick to a vegan or vegetarian diet.
Bodily Functions and Uses
Taurine is found naturally in several organs and has a wide variety of benefits. The most important roles of taurine in your body are maintaining proper hydration and electrolyte balance in your cells, and forming bile salts, which play an important role in digestion regulating minerals such as calcium.
Because taurine is a sulfur-containing conditionally essential amino acid, a healthy adult’s body can produce the minimal amount required for these essential daily functions. However, your body may need larger amounts in times of illness or stress. This may be the case in people with heart or kidney failure and in premature infants who have been fed intravenously.
These types of people may need to supplement their taurine intake with different types of food or tablets. In animal models, taurine deficiency has been shown to cause eye damage, chronic liver disease, muscle weakening, and an increased risk of developing diabetes. Taurine deficiency in humans is rare, so its effects remain largely unknown. Still, low taurine levels have similarly been associated with these conditions.
Health Benefits of Taurine
Taurine is abundant in the human body. It offers many antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and it plays a role in energy production. Taurine has been widely investigated in many animal and test-tube studies for the role it can potentially play in managing a wide range of clinical conditions and improving overall athletic performance and exercise capacity in general. More human studies are needed to assess any further health benefits it might have.
Health Benefit #1: Taurine May Improve Your Heart Health
Taurine supplements have been shown to regulate blood pressure and improve heart function and blood fat levels in people with heart conditions. In some cases, it may even protect against heart disease and heart failure. Research suggests a link between higher taurine levels and reducing high cholesterol, lower blood pressure levels and heart rates, and lower overall rates of death from heart disease and congestive heart failure.
In one study, people with heart failure took 500 mg of taurine three times daily for two weeks. They experienced significant reductions in levels of total cholesterol, triglycerides, and an inflammatory biomarker called C-reactive protein (CRP) both before and after exercise, compared with those who took a placebo.
In another study of people with high-normal blood pressure, taking 1.6 grams of taurine per day reduced systolic blood pressure (the top number) by 7.2 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) by 4.7 mmHg compared with a placebo. Taurine may help reduce hypertension by improving the efficiency of skeletal and heart muscle contraction and decreasing the resistance of blood flow in your blood vessel walls.
Health Benefit #2: Taurine May Fight Diabetes
Taurine’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties may enhance insulin sensitivity, which can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and improve blood sugar management for those with the condition. One study found that people with diabetes have a 25% lower concentration of taurine than those without diabetes. This suggests that taurine may play an important role in diabetes management.
Although current research and clinical trials on the effects of taurine supplements for diabetes management in humans is limited, the above study suggests that the supplements could be a good therapeutic way to improve blood sugar management and synthesis in people with diabetes. The same study also showed that taurine could have protective effects against diabetes-related complications like nerve damage, kidney damage, and heart disease.
Health Benefit #3: Taurine May Boost Your Exercise Performance
Because of its ability to enhance muscle contraction and delay muscle fatigue, taurine may offer many benefits in terms of athletic performance. In addition, taurine may increase fat burning during exercise to fuel your performance better, although more clinical studies will still need to be done on this topic.
A study assessing the effects of taurine on athletic performance noted several benefits, such as increased oxygen uptake by the body, increased time to fatigue, reduced muscle damage, improved recovery times, and better strength and power. The study suggested that an effective dose to achieve these benefits is up to 3 grams that is taken 1 to 3 hours before your workout for a period of at least six days.
Health Benefit #4: Taurine May Benefit the Health of Your Eyes
The antioxidant effects of taurine may help combat the oxidative stress associated with degenerative diseases of the retina such as age-related macular degeneration and other types of retinal degeneration. One study has suggested taurine can treat eye disorders like glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy because low levels of taurine seem to have a measurable influence on these types of conditions.
Health Benefit #5: Taurine May Support the Health of Your Liver
It has been shown that taurine may have some possible protective effects against chronic and acute liver injury. Taurine is necessary for many of your important metabolic and digestive processes. For example, it helps your liver make bile salts (also known as bile acids), which can break down fatty acids in your intestines.
Health Benefit #6: Taurine May Benefit Your Hearing
It has been shown that taurine may prevent the hair cells within your ear from becoming damaged, which is a key contributor to hearing loss.Research in animals has suggested that taurine may also help resolve tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and, in some cases, it may even be able to improve the quality of your hearing.
Health Benefit #7: Taurine May Offer Neuroprotective Effects
The anti-inflammatory effects of taurine may reduce inflammation within the brain and combat neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological disorders like neurodegenerative diseases, stroke, epilepsy and diabetic neuropathy. It protects against injuries and toxicities of the nervous system.
Several findings demonstrate its therapeutic role against neurodevelopmental disorders, including Angelman syndrome, Fragile X syndrome, sleep-wake disorders, neural tube defects and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. It can also be used in the treatment for cystic fibrosis, and to prevent the buildup of plaque in the arteries throughout your body.
Health Benefit #8: Taurine May Help You Sleep Better
Taurine may have a beneficial effect on the quality of sleep that you get each night. When you take it as a supplement together with a product like our SANA deep sleep formula, it can help you fall asleep faster, achieve REM sleep for longer periods, recover faster from intense workouts, and decrease stress while enhancing creativity and productivity in your waking state. Some users report an increase in lucid dreaming due to their deep REM sleep state.
Although all of these findings are very encouraging, none of these potential benefits have been researched in great detail and they are currently only supported by animal and test-tube studies. Therefore, a lot more research is needed to learn more about all of taurine’s specific benefits when it comes to human health.
Risks and Side Effects
According to the best available evidence, taurine has no negative side effects when it is taken appropriately as a supplement. But even at a low dosage, some people have reported adverse effects after taking taurine. These side effects have included liver pain, vomiting, nausea, headaches, and stomach pains. It is not clear whether these side effects are related to the amino acid or to a different ingredient that may have been taken with the taurine.
There is no evidence that taking taurine alongside prescription medications causes side effects, although it does act as a cytochrome P450 enzyme inhibitor. This means it could potentially interfere with types of medications that rely on this enzyme to metabolize drugs, such as antidepressants, antiepileptic drugs, warfarin, and statins.
If you are using any medications, you should always consult your doctor or medical professional for medical advice about what your risk is if you decide to take taurine. Also, if you try to increase your taurine intake with pre-workout supplements or energy drinks, be aware of any other ingredients in these products that you may be sensitive to or want to limit to control your body weight. For example, some of these products may be high in caffeine or have a lot of added sugar.
How to Take Taurine as a Dietary Supplement
Taurine is a conditionally essential amino acid, meaning you need more of it during periods of stress or illness. These are times when you may want to take extra taurine in the form of a supplement. The most common dosage range for taurine is up to 3,000 mg per day. While some people may use a higher dose for short periods, sticking to 3,000 mg per day will help you maximize the benefits of taurine while keeping your consumption moderate.
The easiest and most cost-effective way to reach this dosage is through powder or capsule dietary supplements. Many capsule supplements contain up to 1,000 mg per serving, while powdered taurine can have up to 2,000 mg per serving. Taurine powder mixed with water tastes slightly bitter, so you may want to experiment with different mixers to find the type of flavor you like.
Taurine deficiency is rare because taurine is common in animal protein foods and because your body can make it in your liver. Taurine supplements have been studied for their therapeutic roles in managing diabetes and heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure. They also show promise for improving various measures of sports performance. Still, more research in humans is needed. Taurine has a strong safety profile, but keep in mind that it may interact with certain medications, so it’s best to talk with a healthcare professional before taking it.
Taurine is an amino acid found in certain foods, and the human body can also produce it. It is considered essential only in certain circumstances, such as in times of illness and stress. The main dietary sources of taurine are protein-rich animal foods such as meat, fish, and dairy products. Taurine is found in smaller amounts in some plant-based foods. It is also added to some energy drinks like Red Bull.
Taurine is known to play many important roles in your body. Although extremely rare, taurine deficiency has been shown to lead to serious health issues in animal studies. Taurine may benefit people with diabetes, improve heart disease risk factors, and enhance aspects of athletic performance. It may also offer a wide range of other potential health benefits.
When consumed in reasonable amounts by a healthy individual, taurine doesn’t have any appreciable side effects. Still, it may interact with certain drugs, so consult your doctor before taking taurine if you’re taking any medications. While most people can get all the taurine they need from their diet, supplementing with this amino acid can help optimize your levels for improved health and sports performance. Supplementing with 500–3,000 mg of taurine per day is generally considered safe and effective.