Taurine 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”.
It is also very safe and has no known side effects when taken in reasonable doses.
Taurine is classified as a conditionally essential amino acid. It serves various important functions in your body.
This article explains everything you need to know about taurine.
Unlike most other amino acids, it is not used to build proteins, and is classified as a conditionally essential amino acid.
Your body can produce taurine, which is also found in some foods. However, some individuals – such as bodybuilders and those with certain conditions such as heart disease or diabetes – may benefit from taking a supplement (2Trusted Source, 3Trusted Source, 4Trusted Source, 5Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source ) .
In fact, and contrary to myth, this amino acid is not extracted from bull urine or bull semen. The name is derived from the Latin word taurus, which means ox or bull – so this may be the source of the confusion.
The main sources of taurine are animal foods, such as meat, fish, and dairy products (Trusted Source).
Although some processed plant foods contain the added taurine, they are unlikely to provide sufficient amounts to improve your levels (Trusted Source).
Taurine is also often added to sodas and energy drinks — which may provide 600-1,000 mg in a single 8-ounce (237-ml) serving.
Since taurine used in nutritional supplements and energy drinks is usually manufactured synthetically – not derived from animals – it is suitable for vegetarians.
summary The main dietary sources of taurine are animal foods, such as meat, fish and dairy products. Lower amounts occur in some plant foods. It is also added to many energy drinks.
Bodybuilding – May Enhance Workout Performance
Taurine may also have benefits for athletic performance.
In animal studies, taurine caused muscles to work harder and for longer and increased the ability of muscles to contract and produce force. In rats, it reduced fatigue and muscle damage during exercise (1st Trusted Source, 2nd Trusted Source, 3rd Trusted Source, 4th Trusted Source).
Human studies have shown that taurine removes waste products that lead to fatigue and muscle burning. It also protects muscles from cell damage and oxidation (1st Trusted Source, 2nd Trusted Source, 3rd Trusted Source).
Furthermore, it increases fat burning during exercise (Trusted Source).
Another study supports this amino acid’s role in reducing muscle damage. Participants who were put on a muscle-damaging weight-lifting routine experienced fewer signs of damage and less muscle pain than those who took the taurine supplement (1, 2Trusted Source).
In addition to the performance benefits, taurine aids in weight loss by increasing the use of body fat as fuel. In cyclists, eating 1.66 grams of taurine increased fat burning by 16% (Trusted Source).
Functions in your body
Taurine, which is found in several organs, has wide-ranging benefits.
Maintain proper hydration. The formation of bile salts, which plays an important role in the digestive process. Regulating minerals such as calcium within your cells. Support the general function of the central nervous system and eyes. Regulating immune system health and antioxidant function. Taurine plays many important roles in your body. Although extremely rare due to the small amount that is made within the body, a deficiency has been linked to several serious health issues.
May improve heart health
Taurine may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Research shows a link between higher levels of taurine and significantly lower rates of death from heart disease, as well as lower cholesterol and blood pressure (8Trusted Source).
Taurine may help reduce high blood pressure by reducing resistance to blood flow in the walls of blood vessels. It may also reduce nerve impulses in your brain that increase blood pressure (1st Trusted Source, 2nd Trusted Source, 3rd Trusted Source).
In a two-week study in people with diabetes, taurine supplementation significantly reduced hardening of the arteries — making it easier for the heart to pump blood throughout the body (Trusted Source).
In another study in overweight people, taking 3 grams of taurine daily for seven weeks reduced body weight and improved several heart disease risk factors (Trusted Source).
Summary Taurine may reduce the risk of heart disease by improving several major risk factors, such as cholesterol and blood pressure.
Other health benefits
Taurine has a surprisingly wide range of potential health benefits.
In one study, 12% of participants who took taurine completely eliminated tinnitus, which is linked to hearing loss (Trusted Source).
Taurine is also found in large amounts in your eyes, and research shows that eye problems may occur when these levels begin to drop. Increased concentrations are thought to improve eyesight and eye health (1st Trusted Source, 2nd Trusted Source, 3rd Trusted Source).
Finally, it can protect liver cells from free radical damage and toxins. In one study, taking 2 grams of taurine three times daily reduced signs of liver damage while taking it.
Side Effects and Safety Concerns
According to the best available evidence, taurine has no negative side effects when used in the recommended amounts (Trusted Source).
Although there are no direct problems from taurine supplementation, deaths of athletes in Europe have been linked to energy drinks containing taurine and caffeine. This has resulted in many countries banning or restricting the sale of taurine (Trusted Source).
However, these deaths may have been caused by the high doses of caffeine or some other substance the athletes were ingesting.
Summary When consumed in reasonable amounts by a healthy individual, taurine has no known side effects.
Uses and dosage
However, the upper limit of toxicity is much higher – even doses over 2,000 mg seem fine.
Research on the safety of taurine use suggests that up to 3,000 mg daily for a lifetime is still safe (Trusted Source).
While you can get taurine naturally from meat, dairy, and fish, most people will not consume enough to meet the doses used in the studies discussed above (Trusted Source).
Taking 500-3000 mg of taurine per day is known to be effective, cheap, and safe.
Some researchers call taurine the “wonder molecule” because so few supplements offer so many potential health and performance benefits.
Whether you want to improve your health or enhance your athletic performance, taurine can be a cost-effective and safe addition to your supplement regimen.
You can find many different products on our website, but remember that you can also get some taurine from animal products.