Taurine is essential and everywhere inside you — sort of like love and coffee. But you probably don’t know much, if anything, about this powerful compound.
The list of taurine benefits is long, including keeping your body running. Though, too much of this good thing… might not be such a good thing.
Taurine supplements are considered safe when they’re taken properly, but it’s possible to overdo it.
Is taurine good for you?
Taurine, an amino acid, is naturally abundant in your body and serves many key functions. Supplementation could benefit the health of your brain, heart, liver, eyes, ears, and more. When taken on its own, there’s no evidence of side effects in healthy people, but taurine is often added to energy drinks which can have lots of sugar and caffeine.
Taurine is an amino acid that’s found throughout your tissues. It’s a component of bile. Taurine is necessary for your organs and systems to function well, including your nervous and immune systems.
It occurs naturally in animals (including you, ya filthy animal!). So, if your diet includes animal products, you’re already getting additional taurine through your food.
Although your body makes taurine naturally, some research has suggested that people on strict plant-based diets (read: vegans and vegetarians) may need to take taurine supplements to keep their levels in check.
Studies are finding links between taurine and what seems like every body part and function. Here are seven reasons to make sure you’re getting enough taurine in your diet.
1. Supports your metabolism
Taurine is necessary for your metabolic and digestive processes. It helps your liver make bile salts, which break down fats in your intestines.
2. Boosts physical performance
A bunch of studies demonstrate how taurine enhances exercise performance. Research suggests that taurine may help improve energy levels, combat exercise-related fatigue, and reduce muscle damage. Score!
3. Protects your musculoskeletal system
This miracle amino infuses a little TLC into your bones and muscles.
Taurine may help guard against periodontal disease and may facilitate postexercise muscle recovery. Evidence points to taurine being effective in treating skeletal muscle disorders like muscular dystrophy, but more research is needed.
4. Does your eyes and ears good
Research in animals has suggested that taurine may help resolve tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and, in some cases, it may even be able to improve hearing.
A study suggested taurine could be a serious candidate for treating eye disorders like glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy because low levels of taurine seem to influence these types of diseases.
5. Safeguards your heart
Findings from studies in humans and animals suggest that taurine may help reduce high blood pressure, improve blood flow, and promote the health of your arteries.
A 2004 study also shows that taurine can protect against a risk factor of heart disease, high body weight.
There’s also evidence that taurine supplementation seems to amplify the exercise efforts of people with heart failure by lowering their cholesterol and inflammation levels.
6. Fights brain aging
Taurine may be your brain’s little fountain of youth. According to some animal studies, taurine supplementation may benefit learning and memory.
Also, one study found that taurine supplements could improve cognitive function in older adults with dementia.
7. Combats a variety of conditions
Taurine supplementation may benefit people with certain conditions, including:
- inflammatory conditions, like arthritis
- neurological conditions, like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases
Taurine may also improve your mental health. Studies found taurine modulated or reduced stress, anxiety, and depression in animals.
If your body is your temple, it’s helpful to know if taurine’s going to please or upset your corporeal gods. Moderate levels of taurine have no known side effects, so if you’re in good health and you only take recommended amounts, you should be OK.
Taurine supplementation is thought to be safe and isn’t associated with adverse effects in healthy people, but there are a few risks to keep in mind when it comes to taking taurine.
1. Energy drinks
Once you start adding extra ingredients like sugar and caffeine to taurine, the scales may shift. It’s often the other ingredients — or the combinations and proportions of them — in energy drinks that bring about trouble.
For example, too much caffeine can lead to an irregular heart rate, vomiting, and seizures. It’s unclear whether, in the context of these zippy bevs, the taurine becomes problematic, too.
2. Preexisting health conditions
If you have health concerns, you’re likely already extra vigilant when it comes to the supplements you take, and taurine should be no exception. For example, it’s widely accepted that amino acid supplements may harm folks with certain kidney issues.
3. Current and future kiddos
While there isn’t a ton of research on the topic, it’s advised that those who are pregnant and breastfeeding avoid taurine supplements. There’s not enough evidence to confirm whether supplementing with taurine is safe. Speak with your healthcare provider if you’re concerned that you’re not getting enough taurine in your diet.
There’s also very little info available on the effects of taurine supplementation in kids. Kids shouldn’t use taurine supplements unless they’re prescribed by a healthcare provider.
4. Mixing and maxing your pills, powders, and potions
Everything you swallow becomes part of a series of chemical reactions, so be mindful of the combos and quantities of medications and supplements you take (and foods you eat, too!). Keep in mind:
- Taurine may react with certain prescription, over-the-counter, and illicit drugs.
- Taking high doses of taurine (more than 3,000mg per day) for a long time may carry risks.
Taurine is a naturally occurring amino acid in your body. You can get additional taurine by eating many animal-based foods or taking supplements.
Research shows that taurine benefits your health by protecting against or improving conditions related to your vital organs and bodily functions.
When taken in moderation by healthy people, taurine has no known adverse side effects. For people with certain health considerations, or as an addition to energy drinks, there may be risks.
Speak with your healthcare provider if you’re considering taurine supplements.