Frequently Asked Questions About Taurine Supplements
What is Taurine?
One of the definitions of health is a state of balance, in which the body is in a state of equilibrium and functions in a sustainable fashion.
One of the basic biological necessities of life is maintaining homeostasis, a steady state of equilibrium.
The idea of balancing the body to promote health has been around for centuries, and balancing internal “Yin and Yang” is the basis of traditional Chinese medicine.
This idea has lasted through the centuries and has supported our understanding of health in both Eastern and Western medicine.
Taurine is an amino acid that is sometimes called the “wonder molecule” by researchers because it is an extremely beneficial amino acid for your health.
Found in the body naturally, it tends to be more highly concentrated in the brain, heart, eyes and muscles. It is semi-essential and not involved in the synthesis of proteins. It contains sulfur and is important to the metabolization of fats.
Taurine also plays a role in certain metabolic processes, such as detoxification, bile acid conjugation, membrane stabilization, modulation of cellular calcium levels, and osmoregulation.
In simple terms, it helps regulate the levels of water and minerals in the blood and supports neurological development.
It was first isolated and discovered by two German scientists in 1827 from the bile of an ox. The name comes from the Latin root taurus, which means bull or ox. This is why there are rumors that taurine comes from bull pee or bull semen.
Do not despair, taurine is not extracted from bull pee or semen and Snopes.com has dedicated an article to this debunking this claim.
Taurine is found naturally in fish, meat, breast milk and is often used in some of the best energy drinks and infant formula.
It is used in energy drinks because studies show that taurine may enhance athletic performance. The taurine used in supplements and products is produced synthetically and is not derived from any animal or food product.
Taurine has also been noted to play a role in the longevity of life. All of the world’s longest living populations have a high dietary intake of taurine, which has researchers very interested in its benefits.
One of these populations includes the population of Okinawa island in Japan, which has been coined Japan’s “Island of Longevity.”
There is also evidence that it may benefit mental health. It also shows promise as a treatment for Alzheimer’s, although benefits have not yet been confirmed.
What Are the Uses & Benefits of Taurine?
Researchers have discovered that the mechanisms which improve prevention can be described as “sympathetic modulation for reducing blood pressure (BP) and anti-inflammatory action.”
The term “sympathetic” refers to the sympathetic nervous system, which is the part of the nervous system that controls the body’s responses to perceived threats.
By modulating the sympathetic nervous system, taurine affects heart rate, muscle contraction, pupil dilation, stomach movement and secretions, saliva production, production of adrenaline, and urination. This modulation also results in reduced blood pressure and inflammation. Some other benefits of taurine include:
- May help improve athletic performance
- May help balance electrolytes
- Supports the immune system
- Acts as an inflammatory agent
- Functions as an antioxidant
- May help detoxify the body
- May help balance the body
- Supports overall health
Overall, taurine helps balance the body which promotes better health holistically.
Who Can Benefit from Taurine?
- Athletes – Taurine supplements are known to enhance athletic performance by enhancing physical and mental abilities. While probably not as good as some of the best nootropic products, taurine can improve mental performance by enhancing one’s ability to concentrate, which is highly beneficial for an endurance athlete because endurance is half a mental game. Physically, taurine has been shown to improve oxygen transport and use in the body, which can improve endurance exercise duration. A study conducted in 2003 showed that taurine can significantly increase the maximum capacity of a person’s body to transport and use oxygen. It also supports the balance of electrolytes in the body which improves stamina. The researchers attributed this result to taurine’s antioxidant and cellular health properties. It can also help to prevent or alleviate muscle cramping.
- Those with High Blood Pressure – Blood pressure is the amount of pressure that blood flow presses on the walls of our arteries. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a fairly common condition in which the pressure exerted on artery walls is so high that it can eventually cause health problems, like heart disease. Having high blood pressure can damage your heart and your blood vessels. Risk factors of high blood pressure include being overweight or obese, not being physically active, unhealthy diet, stress, etc.
- Those with High Cholesterol – High cholesterol is a condition in which LDL cholesterol, otherwise known as the “bad” cholesterol, has exceeded healthy levels or is not at a healthy ratio with the good HDL cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is a type of blood fat that can raise your risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke by building up in your arteries. Cholesterol buildup can cause hardening of the arteries, otherwise known as atherosclerosis, and narrowing of the arteries. It can elevate blood pressure, cause blood clots, and inflammation. Improving levels of good cholesterol help to balance your cholesterol and avoid the symptoms of high LDL cholesterol.
- Those with Diabetes – Diabetes is a group of diseases that affect blood sugar levels. The form of diabetes that is most common and can develop over time is called type II diabetes and is characterized by insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a condition in which cells do not respond to insulin as they should. The condition cannot be cured, but treatment can help, as can eating a healthy diet. Taurine can help to improve insulin sensitivity, which counteracts the effects of insulin resistance and may improve symptoms of type II diabetes.
- Those with Migraines – Migraines are intense headaches that are often accompanied by light and sound sensitivity, nausea, and vomiting. They can last from four to 72 hours, and some people experience them with aura, which are symptoms of the nervous system. It is believed that they are a neurological disorder. It can be caused by multiple different factors and treatment that works is not the same for every sufferer. Because of its neurological root cause, taurine seems to improve symptoms of migraines. It may help reduce triggers or support normal functioning of the nervous system and helps to improve the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain. Some studies have found that taurine levels correlate negatively with severe headache, meaning that when taurine levels increase the rate of severe headache decreases.
How Do I Take Taurine?
Taurine is effective at dosages between 500mg and 2000mg. It is also water soluble, which means it does not have to be taken with food. It can be taken at any time of the day that is convenient for you. Some athletes suggest taking it as a pre workout.
Are There Any Side Effects of Taurine?
There are no common or consistent side effects of taurine, and most people will not experience any side effects at all. As with any supplement or new food item, it may cause gastrointestinal side effects, but this has not been frequently reported.
How Do I Pick a Good Taurine Product?
When looking for the right taurine supplement, you should pay attention to multiple different aspects of the product. The first and most important thing to evaluate is what is actually in the supplement.
The better quality taurine supplements will provide you with a good taurine dosage, and will not use proprietary blends and fillers.
For taurine, you also want to look for a supplement that is available in powder form, because a raw taurine powder can be measured into different dosages depending on your needs. Taurine pills with smaller doses per pill work well, also. With taurine, having that flexibility is a benefit, because it allows you to personalize your dose.
Another important aspect to pay attention to is the brand. The reputation of a brand is important to note when searching for an effective taurine product. A reliable brand will be entirely transparent about what they put in their product, and they generally will not use things such as “proprietary blends” or “complexes” in their products. They also will be upfront about their manufacturing facilities, and many reliable brands will tell you that they follow FDA guidelines or they are GMP certified.
Finally, you should evaluate the value of the product through comparison to other products. If the value of the product does not seem to match the price, it may not be the best choice. Look for products that are honestly priced, and give the customer a quality product at an affordable price.