What is Taurine? Taurine Supplements Benefits & Side Effects

Most guys knowledge of Taurine will be that it is in their cans of Monster or glass of vodka & redbull. When staying up plowing through ‘just one more match’ of Call of Duty, a can of taurine loaded Monster seems like the best solution to get an uber k/d ratio. Taurine is also a supplement that can be used for those with a taurine deficiency¬†or within bodybuilding. But what is taurine? Let’s have a look at what it does, and the taurine side effects.

what is taurineTaurine is an amino acid which is primarily found within muscle and nerve tissue, although it can be found throughout the entire body. It is the second most abundant amino acid within the amino acids muscle group. Taurine is believed to help regulate water balance, energy levels, heartbeat and also muscle contractions. A taurine supplement may be prescribed as a way to treat symptoms such as high blood preasure, liver disease, ADHD and heart failure. Whilst most other Amino Acids are used required to build muscle, taurine doesn’t actually help build muscle directly, as it does not form a bond with the other amino acids from protein. So why the heck would a bodybuilder thinking about supplementing taurine? As we all know bodybuilders want to make gains, and nothing but gains. The reason a taurine supplement may be used by a bodybuilder is due to the following properties taurine holds;

  • Enhances water balance and nutrient uptake within muscle cells. (Similar to Creatine)
  • Increases alerntess
  • Strengthens the heart
  • Reduces blood pressure
  • Helps prevent dehydration

So the benefits of taurine for a bodybuilder are pretty clear. Taurine is produced by healthy adults, by the way of other amino acids. For example vitamin B6 is used in the conversion of methionine or cysteine to taurine. Taurine can be found from food sources such as meats, eggs, dairy, poultry and fish. Nuts and beans do not contain taurine, however they do contain cysteine and methionine, which is used by the body to create taurine.

Try Taurine For Yourself

There are a wide range of theories as to the benefits of a taurine supplement. A lack of taurine within the body has been linked to retinal damage, impaired muscle growth, and immune system¬†deficiencies. As such, a taurine supplement is often used within energy drinks and sports drinks. Taurine is also believed to have similar performance benefits to creatine, in that it has ‘muscle cell volumising’ properties. What does this mean for the bodybuilder looking to add more muscle? Taurine may help boost the hydration within muscle cells, just as creatine does. Basically the muscle will hold more water, improving both strength and muscle gains.

Taurine Side Effects

Despite the fact that energy drinks are loaded with Taurine, it is possible for a taurine supplement to have the opposite effect. This is because taurine is believed to be a mild inhibitory neurotransmitter, and in some cases has been used as a way to treat epileptic patients. This however could calm people due to its level balancing effects. If a person is too active, taurine will calm them. If feeling lethargic, taurine may help provide energy and alertness.

Now for the bro’s looking for ho’s out there, you will be familiar with mixing monster and vodka, redbull and vodka, perhaps believing to give you an extra buzz without feeling the ‘down’ or depressive symptoms that alcohol also has. It should be noted that taurine does not reverse, prevent or minimise the effects of alcohol on the body.

Taurine Supplement

Taurine is often used in bodybuilding supplements. This is because of the cell volumising properties. Some all in one’s will use it as a way to enhance the effects of creatine. The larger amount of water within the muscle is believed to lead to improvements within endurance performance, as well as strength. Studies conducted in 2003 looked at 11 males aged between 18 and 20. They were asked to ride a bicycle until exhaustion. The males where then prescribed to take taurine for 7 days, as a pre workout. The results of this taurine supplementation showed increases in the maximum amount of each individuals abilty to transport oxygen, and a longer amount of time exercising before exhaustion.

A taurine supplement has been assessed at dosages of upto 6 grams a day. Taking this amount shows no adverse side effects.

Taurine of up to 6 grams can be supplement daily, as part of a pre or intra workout. Energy drinks such as redbull or monster are packed with it, however they also contain empty calories from sugar, and very high caffeine content. As such a taurine supplement is often used by bodybuilders, to ensure they are able to increase their taurine intake, without the need for excess sugar and other stimultants.

Taurine is a condition amino acid, not an essential amino acid, meaning that the body can produce it itself. Supplementing it can still provide benefits within sports performance however, as explained above.

Taurine isn’t an expensive supplement, so it is definitely worth a try for any serious athlete. After 1 bag of it, you should know yourself if you have seen any benefits from it or not. I’ve recently added it to my supplement stack, and will be bringing you my personal thoughts over in the supplements reviews section. I’ll be using the full bag before I bring my verdict of this supplement however.

Try Taurine For Yourself

References:
1. De Curtis M, Santamaria F, Ercolini P, Vittoria L, De Ritis G, Garofalo V, Ciccimarra F. Effect of taurine supplementation on fat and energy absorption in cystic fibrosis. Arch Dis Child. 1992 Sep;67(9):1082-5.
2. Greubel S. Isotonic beverages, “energy” and “power” drinks. Med Monatsschr Pharm. 1998 Nov;21(11):353-5.
3. Laidlaw SA, Shultz TD, Cecchino JT, Kopple JD. Plasma and urine taurine levels in vegans. Am J Clin Nutr. 1988 Apr;47(4):660-3.
4. Michalk DV, Tittor F, Ringeisen R, Deeg KH, Bohles H. The development of heart and brain function in low-birth-weight infants fed with taurine-supplemented formula. Adv Exp Med Biol. 1987;217:139-45.
5. Mizushima S, Nara Y, Sawamura M, Yamori Y. Effects of oral taurine supplementation on lipids and sympathetic nerve tone. Adv Exp Med Biol. 1996;403:615-22.
6. Rana SK, Sanders TA. Taurine concentrations in the diet, plasma, urine and breast milk of vegans compared with omnivores. Br J Nutr. 1986 Jul;56(1):17-27.
7. Riesselmann B, Rosenbaum F, Schneider V. Alcohol and energy drink–can combined consumption of both beverages modify automobile driving fitness? Blutalkohol. 1996 Jul;33(4):201-8.
8. Schaffer SW, Lombardini JB, Azuma J. Interaction between the actions of taurine and angiotensin II. Amino Acids. 2000;18(4):305-18.
9. Seidl R, Peyrl A, Nicham R, Hauser E. A taurine and caffeine-containing drink stimulates cognitive performance and well-being. Amino Acids. 2000;19(3-4):635-42.
10. Sole MJ, Jeejeebhoy KN. Conditioned nutritional requirements and the pathogenesis and treatment of myocardial failure. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2000 Nov;3(6):417-24.
11. Suleiman MS. New concepts in the cardioprotective action of magnesium and taurine during the calcium paradox and ischaemia of the heart. Magnes Res. 1994 Dec;7(3-4):295-312.
12. van Gelder NM. Brain taurine content as a function of cerebral metabolic rate: osmotic regulation of glucose derived water production. Neurochem Res. 1989 Jun;14(6):495-7.

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Adam Foster is an aspiring bodybuilder, and has been training since a teenager. As the founder of the website & youtube channel 'Shreddybrek' he shares his experiences and knowledge via informative videos and articles. Get in touch if you have any questions!

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