Intro

Taurine, 2-aminoethane-sulfonic acid, is an organic acid widespread in mammalian tissue. After glutamine, taurine is the most common amino acid in muscle tissue. It’s also an integral part of bile, where absorption of fats and liposoluble vitamins is performed.

Taurine isn’t an amino acid in a strict sense, because it is produced in our body from the cysteine and methionine amino acids, vitamin B6, and coenzymes of enzymatic reactions.

Taurine makes 0.1% of the human body and it works as a lipid membrane stabilizer. It can also help different antioxidant defense systems.

Taurine is naturally synthesized in the pancreas, but today there are many ways to synthesize it. You can find different products with synthetic taurine on the market and you can even find it in sodas and energy drinks.

Summary

Today, taurine is widely used by bodybuilders. Like creatine, taurine can increase cell size. It replaces insulin, so it accelerates the metabolism of glucose and amino acids.

Natural sources of taurine are animal foods such as fish and meat. Some vegetables can also provide small amounts of taurine, but not enough compared with animal foods. Also, a lot of energy drinks and sodas contain taurine.

The amount of taurine in energy drinks can be up to 600-1,000 mg in an 8-ounce serving. Some studies suggest that taurine combined with caffeine can improve mental performance. However, except for taurine and caffeine, energy drinks usually contain a lot of sugar and other ingredients.

Taurine used in energy drinks and supplements is usually synthetic, not derived from meat, milk, fish, and seafood.

Benefits and Effects

 

  • It stimulates the growth hormone and prolactin together with other amino acids

Proteins can stimulate or inhibit many processes just like taurine stimulates the growth hormone.

  • It stabilizes cell membrane and maintains the structural integrity of the cell membrane

The cell membrane is generally made of a phospholipid bilayer with proteins on them and in them. Since proteins are part of all cell membranes, amino acids like taurine may stabilize the cell membrane.

  • It improves immune function

All proteins are included in the normal function of the immune system. Enzymes are a part of many immune responses, proteins make antibodies, etc., so they are the most important part of the immune system.

  • It works as a neurotransmitter

Acting as a neurotransmitter, taurine helps maintain calcium homeostasis in the brain.

Taurine regulates the level of salt and water outside of the cell

If the concentration of salt outside the cell is greater than the concentration of salt inside the cell, water will leave the cell to equalize the level of salt on both sides of the cell membrane. In the central part of the cell, protoplasm will form the “ball”. This process is called plasmolysis.

Moreover, if the concentration of salt inside the cell is greater than the concentration of salt outside the cell, water will keep entering the cell until the concentration of salt becomes equal on both sides of the lipid membrane – deplasmolysis. If a lot of water enters the cell, it can lead to plasmoptysis – the cell wall can explode.

Taurine can also cause the vascular tissue to relax thus contributing to improved vascular health. Since taurine acts as an antiproliferative and antioxidant agent, it can inhibit apoptosis oxidative stress and cell death.

Central nervous system

Taurine maintains the structural integrity of the central nervous system, regulates calcium transport and homeostasis.

The nervous tissue contains two types of cells. The first type of cells are neurons and the second type are glial cells. Taurine has a very important function in the regulation of the concentration of calcium inside the neurons.

After the stimulation of L-glutamate is prolonged, neurons can lose the ability to regulate the concentration of calcium inside them. Acute swelling and lysis of the cell can be the result of this. Excited neurons will release significant amounts of taurine, Na+-Ca2+ exchangers and metabotropic receptors mediating phospholipase-C.

Congestive heart failure

Taurine can improve the strength of the heart muscles, it reduces arterial pressure, and it helps prevent cardiomyopathy.

Taurine has a therapeutic effect on congestive heart failure (CHF). It seems that taurine improves the function of the left chamber of the heart. It can also lower the blood pressure and calm the sympathetic nervous system. Taurine calms the part of the nervous system that responds to stress, especially in people with high blood pressure.

How taurine affect the eyes

Taurine is a crucial factor of healthy vision. The chemical reaction that produces normal vision would be impossible without taurine. Taurine protects the retina because it helps macrophages in the retina eliminate debris in photoreceptor cells. Also, taurine may prevent cataracts, especially in people older than 60.

Besides, taurine is helpful in the treatment of open-angle glaucoma (OAG). Taurine can balance the level of glutamate. That way ocular tissue is protected against ischemia and high levels of stress.

Liver diseases – hepatitis and alcoholic liver disease

Taurine improves liver function in people with hepatitis.

There is a study done on rats that shows the effect of taurine on alcoholic liver disease. Rats were under the influence of alcohol for 3 months. The group of rats tested with beta-alanine-mediated taurine showed higher results of glutathione, hepatic total protein, and superoxide dismutase, but the content of interleukin-2, interleukin-6, laminin, serum hyaluronic acid, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, and hepatic hydroxyproline were decreased.

Moreover, the content of hepatic malondialdehyde was higher in the untreated group of rats. In addition, the percentage of inflammation and fatty degeneration was smaller in the taurine-treated group of rats than in the group of untreated rats, as evidenced by a pathological change.

This study showed that the consumption of taurine can prevent hepatic disease caused by chronic alcohol consumption.

Taurine and stress

There are a lot of studies on the connection between taurine and stress. Some users have had positive experiences with using taurine for stress relief and several widely available drugs for stress-relief, concentration, and hormonal balance contain taurine.

Other stress medications have fatigue and tiredness as a side effect, but stress medications with taurine don’t seem to cause these issues. These medications promise a positive mood and increased energy. Since these medications can reduce anxiety and stress, they are becoming increasingly available on the market.

Further, taurine combined with magnesium can improve sleep. This combination may calm the nervous system. The risk of depression or poor motivation is greater for people who are deficient in taurine.

Also, for some people, the best recipe for sleep is green tea mixed with taurine.

There is a study in which 65 patients were included with depression and 65 controls without depression. Patients with depression have poor dietary habits, higher stress score, and unbalanced nutrient status compared to the control group. It looks like taurine, a natural stress-relief substance, can also help people improve their dietary habits.

“Protection effect of taurine on nitrosative stress in the mice brain with chronic exposure to arsenic” is a case study provided by the Journal of Biomedical Science, published on 24th August, 2010. In this study, the brain tissue of the mice was exposed to arsenic. This case study showed that taurine may mitigate DNA damage of the brain neurons.

Exercise performance

If training is adequate, taurine helps in building muscles. With taurine consumption, muscles can work harder for a longer time. Also, it’s helpful in producing the force and contraction of the muscles. Since taurine is able to protect the muscles of cell damage, athletes can exercise more with an increased rate of fat burning of up to 16%.

A study conducted on rats showed that oral administration of taurine maintains taurine concentration in skeletal muscles. The duration of running time was increased in the group of rats treated with taurine but urinary excretions of creatinine, creatine, 3-methylhistidine was decreased.

The conclusion is that taurine administration can reduce the exercise-induced muscle fatigue.

Side effects

When it is used in recommended amounts, taurine has no negative side effects. Many people are connecting the side effects of taurine with side effects of energy drinks, but they are wrong. Energy drinks aren’t good because of the large amount of sugar, caffeine, and other substances.

Caffeine is the most common psychoactive substance available to minors and has notable side effects if taken in large doses. The combination of energy drink ingredients is potentially dangerous and harmful if consumed in large quantities, but taurine on its own is totally safe.

There is no drug abuse with the use of taurine, but if you overdose, get medical help immediately. If you are hypersensitive to taurine, don’t use it.

There are no long-term or short-term effects from the use of taurine.

Be careful if you:

– Have kidney problems:

Just like other amino acids, big doses of taurine can cause some issues in people with kidney problems.

– Are pregnant and breastfeeding:

There is not enough information about taurine consumption during pregnancy or breastfeeding so avoid using it.

– Have bipolar disorder:

Some sources say that large dosage of taurine may make bipolar disorder worse. That’s why energy drinks aren’t recommended for people with bipolar disorder. After a case of mania that appeared after a patient with diagnosed bipolar disorder took a lot of energy drinks (it isn’t known if that is related to taurine or to some of the other ingredients) using taurine isn’t recommended.

Taurine also might have diuretic effects. Taurine might change the amount of lithium in the body. Before using taurine in combination with lithium, consult your doctor to avoid negative side effects.

Taurine reviewDosage

The recommended dosage of taurine is between 500 mg and 2,000 mg. It depends on weight, height, age, physical health, and so on. Consult your doctor or fitness coach because an excessive dosage may be harmful.

For example, for the treatment of congestive heart failure, the recommended dosage of taurine consumption is 1.5-6 grams per day in three separate instances.

Taurine is possibly ineffective for:

Chemotherapy side effects including nausea and vomiting:

Taking a prescribed dosage of taurine for six mounts can improve kidney and liver damage caused by chemotherapy.

– Fatigue:

Although energy drinks aren’t healthy, a single energy drink every now and then can help with fatigue and tiredness.

– Stomach ulcers:

Helicobacter pylori can cause stomach ulcers that may be reduced after six weeks of taking 500 mg of taurine twice a day together with conventional treatments.

– Anemia:

Due to iron deficiency, taking iron with 1000 mg of taurine can increase the number of red blood cells (erythrocytes).

– Cystic fibrosis:

Research has shown that daily consumption of taurine supplements together with conventional treatment can reduce steatorrhea in people and children with cystic fibrosis.

Muscle soreness:

The recommended dosage of taurine for healthy people who don’t exercise regularly is 2 grams per day in combination with branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) in three divided doses for 2 weeks.

Infant development:

Some infant food contains taurine. You can feed the baby with a formula that contains taurine for up to 12 weeks.

Where to Buy

Today, you can buy taurine in different forms. Some fitness drugs and supplements, stress medications, and nutritional supplements contain taurine. A lot of stimulants and supplements for energy, better health, and maximizing fitness goals contain taurine.

The most common combinations of ingredients in fitness supplements are taurine + creatine and taurine + caffeine.

You can order it online at (link here), you can buy it at your nearest pharmacy or in fitness equipment stores.

What kind of taurine will you buy depends on what kind of taurine product you need.

Conclusion

Since taurine is a legal substance without side effects and with a wide spectrum of applications, we can recommend medications with taurine. It offers a nice performance boost for athletes and can help with any problems with anxiety or stress. It’s even safe to use for adolescents or kids if your doctor agrees with it.

On the other hand, you can take it preventively in agreement with your doctor.

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