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Last modified on November 17th, 2022
We tend to associate taurine with energy drinks, but there are many more health benefits than fueling up when feeling a little drained.
Taurine is an amino acid that contains sulfur, and it’s especially concentrated in our brains, hearts, eyes, and muscles—these areas of concentration highlight part of why taurine benefits are so powerful.
What Is Taurine?
Typically, amino acids are referred to as building blocks of protein, but taurine isn’t used for building protein. Taurine, instead, is a conditional amino acid, so it’s essential during times of stress and illness.
Your body can produce taurine, which is found in some foods, or you can supplement with it.
Food sources of taurine include dairy, meat, and seafood, while plants don’t have any valuable amounts of taurine. People who are vegan or vegetarian tend to consume less, but your body can make it in your liver using other amino acids.
The functions of taurine in our bodies include:
- Helping maintain the right balance of electrolytes and hydration
- Formation of bile salts, essential for Gallbladder Removal
- Regulation of calcium and other minerals within our cells
- Support for the eyes and central nervous system
- Regulation of the immune system and antioxidants
Animal models have shown taurine deficiency can cause many conditions, including chronic liver disease, a higher risk of developing diabetes, eye damage, and muscle weakening.
Taurine deficiency is also related to depression, anxiety, epilepsy, and hyperactivity. Taurine may be part of treating alcoholism, combatting fatigue, and improving immunodeficiency. Taurine might help prevent the proliferation of tumor cells and protect certain organs from oxidative stress.
Research is currently looking at the potential benefits of taurine for help with preventing ischemic heart disease and best supplement for heart health.
Taurine in Energy Drinks
Many people are only familiar with taurine because it’s in energy drinks. Taurine is included in energy drinks because it helps keep your mitochondria functioning correctly. Mitochondria are powerhouses of cellular energy. Taurine can also potentially support your exercise abilities and athletic performance.
7 Taurine Benefits
Below are seven taurine benefits that everyone should be aware of, whether you’re getting all the taurine you need for a diet with a lot of meat or taking a supplement.
1. May Combat Diabetes
Because of the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of taurine, it might help improve insulin sensitivity. This effect of taurine can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and may improve blood sugar management in people who already have the condition.
In one study, people with diabetes had a 25% lower taurine concentration than those without diabetes.
Along with possibly helping blood sugar management, taurine might be protective against complications of diabetes, such as kidney damage, heart disease, and nerve damage.
2. Heart Health
Taurine supplements can improve heart function and help regulate blood pressure in people with conditions like heart failure. Taking high doses of taurine may also protect against heart disease.
Research finds a connection between higher levels of taurine and lower cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as significantly reduced rates of heart disease deaths.
In a study of people with heart failure, they took 500 mg of taurine three times a day for two weeks. After those two weeks, study participants had lower triglycerides and cholesterol levels and lower C-reactive protein (CRP) levels. CRP is a biomarker of inflammation.
3. Bile Production and Synthesis
Taurine plays a pivotal role in healthy digestion.
Bile, which contains bile acids and salts, helps with digestion in our small intestine. Bile is produced by your liver and stored in your gallbladder, and bile acids and salts are synthesized in the liver. Several bile salts are formed when taurine conjugates with bile acids in the liver because taurine is a bile salt substrate.
To put this in simpler terms, taurine is essential for forming bile salts and Ox Bile.
Taurine helps increase bile flow, bile acid amounts, and the rate of excretion of bile acids. Taurine helps the liver stay healthy and allows you to experience healthy digestion and efficient metabolic processes.
Bile acids are the primary way the body also breaks down cholesterol.
4. Liver Health
Taurine can help protect the liver in various ways, as mentioned above. For example, it can help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress related to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and fatty liver disease.
Taurine can help alleviate hepatic steatosis because it increases the antioxidant defenses of the liver and regulates inflammation signaling pathways.
In studies, supplementing with taurine helped significantly improve liver function.
5. Eye Protection and Health
Taurine is the most abundant amino acid in the retina and can protect against retinal degeneration.
Low taurine levels may play a role in various eye disorders, including diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma.
Some research indicates that doctors might consider taurine as a treatment for these eye-related conditions.
6. Brain Health and Aging
Taurine appears to have protective effects on the brain. In a 2017 review, supplementing with taurine helped promote long-term memory storage. According to this review, the amount of taurine goes down in our brains as we age. Supplementing with taurine could help maintain levels, which could combat age-related neurodegenerative diseases and conditions.
In an animal study, mice with Alzheimer’s were given taurine supplements or a placebo. The mice that received taurine supplements improved their memory deficits and learning.
Taurine imbalance may be part of autism and epilepsy too. Animal studies consistently show that they can reduce neurotoxicity symptoms and neurological impairments.
7. Better Exercise Performance
Taurine helps improve muscle contraction and can delay muscle fatigue, boosting athletic performance. There’s also evidence that taurine can enhance fat burning when exercising.
Taurine can improve oxygen uptake by your body, reduce muscle damage, improve strength and power, and improve recovery times.
To optimize taurine benefits related to exercise performance, aim to have one to three grams anywhere from one to three hours before your workout.
Is Taurine Safe?
Taurine appears to have no adverse side effects associated with its use, as long as you don’t take too much. You should also remember that if you’re taking taurine in an energy drink or similar type of supplement, its other ingredients may not be safe.
Taurine Supplements to Try
If you’re interested in taurine benefits in your life, the following are some highly-rated supplements to consider:
Taurine Benefits—Final Thoughts
We tend to associate taurine with energy drinks, but it’s an important amino acid. There are a number of taurine benefits, including brain health, exercise performance, and heart health, and it’s not just an ingredient in energy drinks.