Note: There are affiliate links in this article, if you buy something, we get a commission on the sale.
What is Taurine?
Taurine is an amino acid, or more specifically, a sulfonic acid which is found in a variety of different tissues throughout the human body, primarily acting in the large intestine and pancreas due to its involvement in the formation of bile.
Taurine is what is referred to as a conditionally essential amino acid, meaning that strictly speaking it is not typically required that you obtain your taurine through dietary or supplemental sources because your body is able to synthesize it via alternative means.
Derived from the amino acid cysteine, taurine is synthesized within the pancreas in a number of steps involving the oxidation of cysteine.
Production of Taurine
Due to the popularity of modern energy drinks such as Red Bull, and its application in the production of pet food, the industrial and commercial manufacture of taurine has grown significantly.
Several thousand tons of taurine or manufactured each year, with China constituting almost half of this production quantity.
What Types of Taurine are There?
The organic and synthetic synthesis of taurine sees the acid undergo a number of transformations, but it is in its final and basic form that taurine is most commonly used when it comes to dietary supplements and food products.
Where Does Taurine and Red Bull Get Its Name from?
Both taurine and the energy drink Red Bull receive their name from the fact that taurine was first extracted from ox bile back in 1827.
While this may come as a rather unpleasant surprise to many of you, you can rest assured that the vast majority of commercially produced taurine is now manufactured synthetically, so you don’t need to worry about there being any cow puke in your favorite energy drink!
How does Taurine Work and What are the Benefits?
In addition to the production of bile within the pancreas and subsequent transportation into the large intestine, taurine has been shown to play an important role in the upkeep and day-to-day functioning of muscles.
Taurine helps to promote healthy nerve blood flow as well as other nerve-related functions, as well as providing a protective antioxidant effect against the oxidative stress caused by exercise. This antioxidant effect also extends to protect the body against toxic substances such as lead.
Who Can Benefit from Using Taurine and How?
Because of the benefits that taurine provides in the context of heart health, the development and maintenance of lean muscle mass, and the general health of the central nervous system, we can clearly see that it forms an important part of the diet of just about anyone who is even remotely health-conscious.
In particular, vegans have been shown to have considerably lower levels of taurine in their blood and during than individuals following a more omnivorous eating pattern, so this is well worth considering if you adhere to a vegans or a vegetarian diet.
Taurine supplementation definitely appears to hold a great deal of potential for obese and overweight adults who are looking to lose weight and improve their blood cholesterol levels.
The context in which taurine supplementation may prove to be most relevant is that of athletes and bodybuilders who are training intensely on a frequent basis.
The ability of taurine is to offer protection against the kind of oxidative stress caused by rigorous exercise may aid in the recovery process after intense workouts, and this is of particular interest to those of you who are training with a great deal of volume and sometimes struggle to recover.
Which Foods are High in Taurine?
Dietary sources of taurine include meat and fish.
No one particular type of meat has been found to be superior in terms of its taurine content; however, even people consuming a diet high in meat have been found to consume only 200 to 400 mg per day.
With this in mind, it definitely makes sense to use a dietary taurine supplement if you are serious about increasing your taurine consumption on a daily basis.
Does Taurine Have any Side Effects?
There is a potential link between taurine and stimulation of the hypothalamus leading to a possible change in neuroendocrine production and function.
If you are sensitive to taurine or you are concerned that you may be then it is important to bear in mind that the rate of absorption from taurine-containing drinks may be quicker than that of food-based taurine.
As with any dietary supplement or manipulation, we recommend that women who are pregnant or breastfeeding consult their doctor or physician prior to use. This also applies to people under the age of 18 and individuals who suffer from pre-existing medical conditions or who are taking any kind of prescription medication.
Note: We recommend speaking to a doctor before taking any supplements.
Do I Need to Use a Taurine Supplement; Is It Worth It?
If you are an otherwise healthy adult who is not suffering from congestive heart failure or liver disease then it is probably quite unlikely that you really need to invest in a taurine supplement.
There are a longer benefits associated with taurine supplementation or taurine intake in general; however, there is a lack of compelling scientific evidence for many of these.
Much of the research suggesting benefits such as enhancements to cognitive function, which in is in muscle soreness subsequent to exercise, and an improvement in exercise performance in general is in its early stages with very little concrete data pointing to definite results.
This is not to say that there is absolutely no point in using a taurine supplement, but it is important to first make sure your supplement repertoire contains the basic essentials such as a decent whey protein powder, a multivitamin supplement, omega-3 fish oils, a creatine supplement, and so on.
Once you have covered your nutritional bases in terms of proven supplements that will help with recovery from training and general day-to-day health, then you might like to consider experimenting with supplements such as taurine that may not have as much of a substantial scientific backing.
Of this is actually a very good mentality to adopt when it comes to any supplement that you are considering purchasing; start with supplements that are definitely going to provide you with great value for money before branching out and trying more exotic or experimental compounds that may or may not provide you with the results you are looking for.
This will help stretch your budget a lot further and help you get more bang for your supplement buck.
How and When Should I Use Taurine?
Exactly how and when you use your taurine supplement will be largely dependent upon the product you choose and the dosing protocol that it specifies.
Always refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines on any taurine supplement that you purchase.
How Much Taurine Should I Use?
Those of you using taurine as a dietary supplement would be wise to refer to the usage instructions that come with whichever product you choose.
There does exist some potential toxicity if taurine is consistently consumed in excessive quantities, but daily intake of as much as 1000 mg of taurine per kilogram of body weight has been found to present no adverse side-effects.
Choosing the Right Taurine Supplement
Choosing a taurine supplement is a relatively simple of fair because it does not come in a variety of different forms so there is very little variety in that sense.
There is, however, some variance when it comes to the quality and overall value for money that different supplement brands offer, so if you would like to learn more about different taurine supplements that are available then be sure to take a look at our Top 10 Taurine Supplements list mentioned at the beginning of this article.
In these taurine supplement rankings we picked the best taurine supplements against one another so that you can include see the benefits each one offers and which ones have received the greatest amount of positive user feedback from athletes, bodybuilders, and health-minded individuals alike.
1. Transparent Labs RawSeries Taurine
2. ALLMAX Nutrition Taurine
3. Nutricost Taurine Powder
4. PrimaForce Taurine Powder
5. BulkSupplements Pure Taurine Powder
6. Now Foods Taurine
7. Jarrow Formulas Taurine
8. Source Naturals Taurine
9. Pure Encapsulations – Taurine
10. Thorne Research – Taurine