Taurine is an amino acid with a slew of benefits ranging from improved exercise performance to improved heart health and regulated blood pressure. Taurine is in the same ‘family’ as the amino acid Cysteine, but it is difficult to find Taurine in its functional state in most foods. Only small amounts can be found in meats and fish (reference 1H), and therefore supplementation of Taurine is the most effective form of consumption. In addition to muscle growth and heart health, Taurine is thought to be an effective antioxidant in addition to assisting the body with calcium signaling ([done when calcium is needed in the body and cells in the body are told to release calcium] reference 1B). It is for these reasons, in addition to others benefits that Taurine is regarded as a “must-have” in many nutritional supplements and energy drinks.
1. Improved Metabolic and Exercise Functions
Research exists supporting taurine's usefulness for a variety of health purposes, including a recent research study done on 29 cardiac patients who demonstrated improvements in both exercise and metabolic functions after two weeks of oral supplementation (references 1F). Additional research also supports taurine’s ability to improve force production and exercise metabolism through human exercise trials on trained runners (reference 3).
2. Cardiac Function, Blood Pressure Regulation and Exercise Tolerance
Taurine is thought to influence blood pressure, cardiac muscle, liver function and exercise tolerance (references 1B). This is demonstrated by the supplement’s calcium channel-blocking function and the ability to control hypertension at the vascular level (reference 5). Additionally, in a study conducted with healthy young men, supplementation with taurine produced statistically significant increases in exercise time to exhaustion and maximal workload (reference 1G).
While many studies exist demonstrating taurine’s idiosyncratic benefits, the supplement has been demonstrated to work even more beneficially alongside other supplements. A study as recent as 2013 documented by the US National Library of Medicine explains that taurine, when paired with branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), helps improve eccentric exercise delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) (reference 2), demonstrating advantages for both peri (during) and post (after) workout muscle recovery. A second study of energy drink ingredients found that the pairing of caffeine and taurine created feelings of increased alertness and endurance that can be materially attributed to the inclusion of taurine (references 1D).
Taurine has been shown, in excess of 6 grams daily, to reduce blood pressure. This would be counterproductive in regards to its role as a catalyst for increased metabolic function and muscle endurance and therefore dosages within the range described below are optimal to achieve benefits noted above.
Doses will vary based on the users medical history. Typical dosages are between 2g and 6g daily, as the studies referenced above document usage within this range. Much of the research done on the supplement, in excess of the studies referenced here, supports Taurine’s benefits in exercise performance in dosages within this range.
A. Taurine. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Web site. Updated October 6, 2015. Available at naturaldatabase.therapeuticresearch.com/nd/Search.aspx?cs=&s=ND&pt=100&sh=3&id=1024
B. Boukenooghe T, Remacle C, Reusens B. Is taurine a functional nutrient? Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care.2006;9(6):728-733.
C. Burrows T, Pursey K, Neve M, Stanwell P. What are the health implications associated with the consumption of energy drinks? A systematic review. Nut Rev. 2013.71(3): 135-148.
D. Peacock A, Martin FH, Carr A. Energy drink ingredients: Contribution of caffeine and taurine to performance outcomes. Appetite. 2013;64:1-4.
E. Higgins JP, Tuttle TD, Higgins CL. Energy beverages: Content and safety. Mayo Clin Proc. 2010. 85(11):1033-1041.
F. Beyranvand MR, Khalafi MK, Roshan VD, Choobineh S, Parsa SA, Piranfar MA. Effect of taurine supplementation on exercise capacity of patients with heart failure. JCardiol. 2011;57(3):333-337.
G. Zhang M, Izumi I, Kagamimori S, et al. Role of taurine supplementation to prevent exercise-induced oxidative stress in healthy young men. Amino Acids. 2004;26(2):203-207.
H. Spitze AR, Wong DL, Rogers QR, Fascetti AJ. Taurine concentrations in animal feed ingredients; cooking influences taurine content. J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr(Berl). 2003;87(7-8):251-262.
2. Paired with BCAAs, 2013 - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23392882
3. Study on trained runners, 2013 - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22855206
4. Taurine as a “neuro-protective” and “anti-cataleptic, anti-addicting, and analgesic against” - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23392922
5. Taurine as an Anti-Depressant - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23392920