Taurine is an amino acid used extensively in energy drinks and various supplements, including EAminoMax.
Despite the prevalence of this humble ingredient, very little discussion is given as to why it is used or what benefits it may offer, if any.
That’s what we’re here to discuss today. So, let’s start with the basics…
What is Taurine?
Taurine is a conditionally essential amino acid primarily found in the brain, heart, and skeletal muscles of the body. It is also found in a number of foods in the common diet, including naturally in meat, fish, and dairy products.
As a conditionally essential amino acid, taurine synthesis can typically meet demand. However, during periods of injury, trauma, or severe stress, demand exceeds production. When this happens, it becomes necessary to consume foods or supplements supplying taurine.
What Does Taurine Do?
Taurine plays a significant role in a host of cellular functions, which is typical for most amino acids. To highlight just a few of the biological activities in which taurine is involved are[1,2]:
- Cell volume regulation
- As a substrate for the formation of bile salts
- Modulation of intracellular free calcium concentration
- Cognitive function
- Liver and kidney health
- Eye health
Taurine also functions as a rather potent antioxidant, aiding the body’s defenses against free radicals and oxidative stress.
Benefits of Taurine
As an organic osmolyte, taurine helps maintain fluid balance in the cells, which not only keeps cells well hydrated, but stronger and more resilient. The hydration-promoting properties of taurine also pay dividends regarding exercise performance, particularly for those who train in hot and humid environments, where heat stress becomes a real concern.
Improves Athletic Performance
Taurine offers a number of benefits to athletes from increased cellular hydration (i.e. greater pumps, muscle fullness and thermoregulation), to better performance as well as improved recovery.
A recent systematic review and meta-analysis on the ergogenic effects of taurine supplementation noted:
- Less muscular fatigue
- Increased enzymatic antioxidants
- Reduced DNA damage
- Decreased lactate levels
A separate review on Taurine and sports noted improvements in aerobic performance (time-to-exhaustion) and anaerobic performance (strength and power) as well as better recovery.
Due to the high amount of taurine contained in the heart, it should come as little surprise that the amino acid supports cardiovascular health, especially regarding blood pressure.
Research indicates that consuming 6g/day of taurine for 8 weeks may help reduce blood pressure in hypertensive individuals. In fact, improvements in blood pressure measurements were noted in as little as 7 days!
Other studies suggest that it may enhance bile secretion and activity, thus improving the breakdown of cholesterol. This is due to the fact that taurine is a building block for hepatic bile acid synthesis.
Supports Cognitive Function
Taurine also supports cognitive function via multiple potential mechanisms, including:
- Restoring functions of taurine transporters and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) A receptors
- Reducing neuroinflammation and oxidative stress
- Enhancing antioxidant capacities
- Boosting mitochondrial biogenesis
- Increasing neurogenesis & synaptic function
The GABA-ergic activities of taurine may give some insight into why caffeine is so frequently included in energy drink formulations. GABA is an inhibitory (“calming”) neurotransmitter. Including it in energy drink formulations and pre workout supplements may help “smooth out” the strong stimulating qualities of caffeine, providing a more “calm and controlled” energy.
Taurine is a power-house ingredient in which its supplementation has shown a wide array of benefits when it comes to athletic performance. This is why we've included 2,000 mgs of Taurine in our Recovery and Performance Complex featured in EAminoMax.