What is taurine and what are the benefits of taurine?
What is taurine?
Taurine is an amino acid that is found naturally in the body and tends to be concentrated in the brain, heart and muscles. Frequently used in pre-workout drinks and stimulation products it is often highlighted as a ‘stimulant’ but the amino acid taurine has actually been proposed to inhibit excitory neurones in the brain resulting in it actually being a relaxant (Louzada et al., 2004).
The body can produce taurine and/or digest it from the diet, mostly coming from animal products such as meat and fish. There is famously a strong dose of taurine in Red Bull (1000mg per 250ml can) which they suggest works alongside the caffeine in the drink to increase alertness and give the consumer a boost.
What is taurine used for in the body?
Unlike many amino acids taurine is not used to synthesize proteins in the body. It has an important role in stabilising proper hydration and maintaining electrolyte balances within the cells. It also regulates levels of some minerals in the cells, for example calcium, and for this reason taurine plays a part in general function of the central nervous system.
What does taurine do?
Research has shown taurine to reduce muscular fatigue (Warskulat et al., 2004), as well as supporting thermoregulation of the body during physical activity; it also helps to improve concentration. As a result, taurine has been combined with Caffeine in our Pocket Rocket Caffeine Kick energy bar to promote concentration and thermoregulation and reduce muscle fatigue while gaining stimulation benefits from the caffeine. It can give you a lift, just when you need it!
Taurine also acts as a cell volumiser (similar to creatine). The result of this role is that taurine is held inside the muscle and thanks to its role in calcium regulation this may be beneficial in preventing cramp.
How does taurine improve sports performance?
Taurine is thought to boost athletic performance by reducing muscular fatigue, thus allowing an athlete to hold a given intensity for a longer period of time. Taurine can also increase force generation in muscles so avoiding a deficiency can help maintain strength of muscular contractions.
Louzada, PR, Paula Lima AC, Mendonca-Silva DL, Noel F, De Mello FG, Ferreira ST. Taurine prevents the neurotoxicity of β-amyloid and glutamate receptor agonists: activation of GABA receptors and possible implications for Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological disorders. The FASEB Journal. 2004;18(3):511-518.
Warskulat U, Flogel U, Jacoby C, Hartwig H, Thewissen M, Merx MW, Molojavyi A, Heller-Stilb B, Schrader J, Haussinger D. (2004). Taurine transporter knockout depletes muscle taurine levels and results in severe skeletal muscle impairment but leaves cardiac function uncompromised. The FASEB Journal. 2004;18:577-579.