What is Taurine?
Amino acids are important in the building of proteins, so that protein can build the muscles. But one particular amino acid does not contribute to the building of protein. It is called taurine. And, if you ever heard about conditional essential amino acids, taurine is one of them.
Researchers call it the “wonder molecule” and it is typically found added in some energy drinks. But in actuality, taurine is can be found naturally in the body. Areas in the body such as muscles, heart, eyes, and brain are some which are concentrated. Nevertheless, some foods also have it.
Taurine supplements are even available today and people with certain conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, are the most to benefit with it.
What Are the Sources of Taurine?
Unlike the belief that the amino acid is extracted from bull semen or bull urine, taurine comes animal products including dairy, fish, and meat. The name, which causes much of the confusion, is originated from the word taurus—a Latin word which meaning is bull or ox.
As for vegetarians, some of their processed food does not have enough taurine to supply their needs.
But aside from supplements and certain foods, some soda and energy drinks also contain the amino acid. A single 8 oz. beverage may supply you between 600 and 1,000 mg of taurine. However, these drinks are not recommendable as a primary source of the amino acid because other harmful substances are much higher and present.
One of the advantages of supplements and energy drinks directed to the vegetarians, as a source of taurine used in it is synthetic. Meaning, it is not produced from animals.
Studies show that an average diet can supply your body with 400 to 6,000 mg taurine each day.
What Is the Function of Taurine?
Many of the benefits of taurine include:
- Balancing the electrolyte in the cells and maintaining proper hydration at the same time.
- Keeping minerals in the cells including calcium.
- Producing biles salts – substances that are vital in digestion.
- Regulating antioxidant function as well as the immune system.
- Sustaining the function of the central nervous system as well as the eyes.
Conditional essential amino acids don’t have a massive production in the body, unlike the other essential amino acids, especially if an individual is healthy. It will just have an enormous production in rare cases which is having mental conditions including kidney failure and heart problem. Premature babies who are fed through IV also need mass production of taurine.
In case taurine deficiency happens during the development of the fetus, the baby may have some serious symptoms such as poor control in the blood sugar and weakened brain function.
What Are the Health Benefits of Taurine Supplements?
Fighting diabetes is one of the abilities of taurine since it can improve the control in blood sugar. In one study, it shows that continuous supplication in rats reduces the fast increase in their blood sugar level. Note that researchers do not change rats’ exercise and diet. Linked in type 2 diabetes is the fasting of blood sugar levels. Thus, decreasing it has a positive result in one’s health.
Moreover, increasing your intake of this amino acid may reduce insulin resistance – a factor affecting and worsening a diabetic condition. Furthermore, a lower level of taurine is found among diabetic patients. With that, more research is needed to come up with a more factual statement.
Potentially an exercise performance booster
There are two studies conducted which support that taurine boost exercise performance. In animal studies, the effect of taurine manifest in the mice muscles. The researcher observed that the mice work longer and harder. Thus, their tiredness level is reduced. On the other hand, human studies show that muscles have been protected from oxidative stress as well as cell damage.
Additionally, fat burning is increased significantly. To summarize it, human studies show an improved exercise performance after being supplied with this amino acid. For instance, runners and cyclists can run longer distances without feeling tired immediately.
Promote heart health
Your cardiovascular system may be happy hearing that taurine can keep them from diseases. Associated with taurine is a lower level both in blood pressure and cholesterol. Thus, a low fatality rate caused by heart disease is low as well.
A high blood pressure may lead to heart problems. But through the help of taurine, it can lower the pressure by reducing blood flow resistance in the wall of the blood vessel. The nerve impulses in the brain are also minimized which contributes to the reduction of blood pressure.
There are several studies made to support its claim of improving heart health. In one study, diabetic individuals are supplemented with taurine for two weeks. Within the time period, artery stiffness is reduced which makes the pumping of the blood potentially easier for the heart. In another study, three grams of taurine has been supplied among overweight individuals. After seven weeks, their body weight has a significant reduction. Moreover, risks of heart disease are improved.
Safety Concerns and Possible Side Effects
Now, you will not wonder why most commercials of energy drinks linked taurine in their products. Taurine is evidently significant in boosting one’s athletic performance. However, experts have reminders and warnings for the consumers.
This amino acid as supplement is safe. But consuming an unreasonable amount can result in overdose, and worse is death. Taurine supplements have no issue release in the public. Energy drinks which contain caffeine and taurine, on the other hand, have several death-associated issues in Europe. Because of death issues, many countries limit the number of taurines that can be sold. Other countries even ban it totally.
But taking a closer look, the authority is alleging the fatalities to be associated with the excessive consumption of caffeine as well as other constituents that are taken by athletes.
If you choose to supply your body with this amino acid, the common dosage range from 500 to 2,000 mg each day. But researchers suggest that 3,000 mg is still safe.