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Taurine may be one of the most important amino acids for our body. Although quite popular in energy drinks, unless you’re a hard core athlete, you may know very little about this “Wonder Molecule.” While popular for boosting performance in athletes, Taurine is essential in boosting heart health, brain health, and liver health. With it’s many benefits, it’s no wonder that Taurine is considered an important building block to so many physical functions!
What is Taurine?
Fun fact; Taurine was originally discovered in ox bile in the 19th century by German scientist, which explains the name taken from the latin Taurus, meaning bull or ox. Taurine, is scientifically known as aminoethane sulfonic acid. It is referred to a “conditional essential amino acid,” which means that our bodies do produce a measure of it. Technically, it’s not an amino acid. Large amounts can be found stored in the brain, heart, and blood platelets, as well as the eyes and muscles. It is heavily involved in several physiological functions of the body, and is considered crucial to cardiovascular and nervous system operation.
What are The Benefits of Taurine?
Taurine has many benefits:
- Cardiovascular Health- Taurine may help combat heart disease by combating resistance to blood flow through blood vessel wall, as well as slowing nerve impulses in the brain that can increase blood pressure. It may also reduce inflammation and arterial thickening. In addition, although experts can’t explain it, Taurine has helped to combat congestive heart failure (CHF). For whatever reason, evidence has shown that it improves function in the left ventricle, while helping to calm the sympathetic nervous system, which is often overactive in those who are in CHF.
- Central Nervous System Health- Taurine is capable of crossing the blood brain barrier. As such, it is vital to many physiological functions through it’s interaction with the central nervous system. It is also an initiator of the regulatory gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurotransmitter receptors in the brain, which helps block impulses between nerves. In other words, Taurine is the agonist that jump starts GABA receptors into producing a calming effect on the central nervous system. It helps stimulate growth of new brain cells as well. Low levels of Taurine and GABA have been linked to anxiety and mood disorders, epilepsy, and chronic pain.
- Endocrine System Health- Studies in lab animals have shown that increased levels of Taurine can help fight Type 2 Diabetes, by reducing blood sugar levels and insulin resistance.
- Liver Function- Early research has shown that Taurine may help improve liver function for those with hepatitis. It can also protect liver cells from free radical and toxin damage.
- Athletic Performance- While it’s actual effectiveness in energy drinks is debatable, Taurine does enhance exercise performance. It reduces muscle fatigue and damage by removing waste products created from exercise. It improves muscle fatigue, allowing athletes to work harder for longer periods of time. It also increases fat burning during exercise; as much as 16% through additional supplementation.
- Taurine has also been associated with improving eye health, as well as helping with hearing loss, through reduction of tinnitus.
Where Can I Find Taurine?
The best sources of Taurine are basically red meats, shellfish, fish, and dairy. It can also be found in some sodas and energy drinks. However, I would caution on the energy drinks and soda, because of the other bad stuff that’s in them. Also, I would recommend against taking bull bile, because yuk! Pill and powder form supplements are available as well.
If you decide to supplement Taurine, here are some of our tried and true organic, Non-GMO and soy-free favorites from Amazon.
- NOW Supplements, Taurine 500 mg, 100 Capsules
- NOW Supplements, Taurine, Double Strength 1000
- Pure Encapsulations – Taurine 500 mg – Hypoallergenic Supplement to Support Brain, Heart, Gallbladder, Eyes, and Vascular System* – 60 Capsules
- Pure Encapsulations – Taurine 1,000 mg – Hypoallergenic Supplement to Support Brain, Heart, Gallbladder, Eyes, and Vascular System* – 120 Capsules
How Much Taurine Do I Need?
As always, consult your health care team before starting any new supplements. People are different, as are their circumstances. A cardiac patient or diabetic may require large amounts, as do athletes. Most research shows that supplementation should start at least 500mg per day. However, you can safely take up to 2000mg a day. Some research even suggest that you can safely take up to 3000mg a day!
Come on Taurine, Oh You Know What I Mean!
Taurine is invaluable to the human body. Well known to athletes, it does so much more than help with your daily workout. It’s great for heart health, endocrine health, and central nervous system health. It can help with liver function, particularly in hepatitis patients. It will even wash your car! Alright, it won’t wash your car. However, it may help you get less fatigued as you wash, and help burn up to 16% more body fat while doing it! What are you waiting for? Get in on the Taurine mooovement asap! It won’t steer you wrong 🙂
- Healthline.com; What is Taurine? Benefits, Side Effects, and More
- News Medical.Net; Taurine Physiological Functions
- MayoClinic.org; Taurine is an ingredient in many energy drinks. Is taurine safe? Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
- Schaffer, Stephen W et al. “Physiological roles of taurine in heart and muscle.” Journal of biomedical science vol. 17 Suppl 1,Suppl 1 S2. 24 Aug. 2010, doi:10.1186/1423-0127-17-S1-S2
- WebMD Taurine: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, Warnings