Taurine, a largely overlooked amino acid, has been named "The Wonder Molecule" (1) by some scientists. Others have labelled Taurine as the "Nutritional Factor for the Longevity of the Japanese" (2).
Our reviewer happened to stumble upon this supplement while looking for a natural energy enhancer, and decided to give it a go. This is what she found:
I have been taking Taurine 2000 mg per day (the average intake has been estimated to vary between 40 and 400 mg/day (7)) for about 4 weeks now and so far the results have been far beyond expectations. With most supplements, you just have to believe that they are doing you good, with no real tangible proof. But not with Taurine. I have literally been cruising ever since I started taking it. My energy levels are up and mentally I feel in control and on top. But that's not all. My body seems to have been given a big boost, and my body shape has changed (for the better). Although the scales have almost stayed the same, I am leaner and stronger. I'm not sure whether to put this down to the Taurine itself, or whether I have unknowingly increased my activity and enthusiasm in the gym due to Taurine. Either way, I intend to continue with my Taurine supplement for the foreseeable future.
But don't just take my word for it. I have put together the most relevant research on Taurine to give you a better idea of what it is and it's effects.
Taurine and disease prevention and treatment.
Taurine is the most abundant amino acid in the heart, the retina of the eye, muscle, the brain, and in leukocytes (white blood cells). It acts as a powerful anti-oxidant and is widely used in Europe as an additional treatment for various infections and tumours (3) (4).
Heart muscle deficient in Taurine will likely lead to heart problems over time (5). The good news is that if you increase your intake of Taurine, either through diet (Taurine is most abundant in fish, seafood and meat and is added to some energy drinks) or by taking supplements, it will make you less susceptible to heart disease (6) and it can alleviate symptoms of hypertension or even reverse clogged arteries (8).
The physical benefits of Taurine are too numerous and varied to cover in this short article. However, one more effect is worth mentioning here. In today's society, where diabetes is widespread and on the rise, a large amount of data has been gathered over the years which seems to suggest that Taurine can be used to both treat diabetes and protect against diabetes (9).
Taurine and it's effect on stress, energy and metabolism.
This part is where it get's really interesting if you would like to shed a few pounds and increase your energy levels.
Taurine is present in muscles in very high concentrations. One study conducted on mice, found that muscles that have depleted levels of Taurine under-perform while exercising (10). Although, Taurine may not enhance energy levels during exercise in healthy individuals, it has been shown to increase the amount of stored fat used by the body during exercise (11). Another recent study has reinforced Taurine's ability to burn fat by finding that body fat was reduced significantly in obese individuals taking Taurine (12).
The proven benefits of Taurine do not stop there. Taurine calms the nervous system by affecting the production of neurotransmitters, and limiting the stress hormones. One interesting animal study found that high levels of Taurine had a relaxing and anti-anxiety effect. On the other hand, lower doses had a stimulating effect which resulted in more physical action (13).
Most studies on the effects of Taurine use doses of between 1500 mg - 3000 mg per day, as opposed to the average daily intake of between 40 and 400 mg/day. Even with a diet rich in meat and fish, it would be difficult to reach the levels used in the studies. Maybe it is time that we class Taurine as an essential supplement for maintaining health and vitality into old age.
What's your view?
1. Yamori Y, Taguchi T, Hamada A, Kunimasa K, Mori H, Mori M. Taurine in health and diseases: consistent evidence from experimental and epidemiological studies. J Biomed Sci. 2010;17 Suppl 1:S6.
2. Yamori Y, Liu L, Mori M, et al. Taurine as the nutritional factor for the longevity of the Japanese revealed by a world-wide epidemiological survey. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2009;643:13-25.
3. Schuller-Levis GB1, Park E. Taurine: new implications for an old amino acid.FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2003 Sep 26;226(2):195-202.
4. Zhang X1, Lu H2, Wang Y3, Liu C4, Zhu W2, Zheng S1, Wan F1. Taurine induces the apoptosis of breast cancer cells by regulating apoptosis-related proteins of mitochondria.Int J Mol Med. 2015 Jan;35(1):218-26. doi: 10.3892/ijmm.2014.2002. Epub 2014 Nov 13.
5. Ramila KC1, Jong CJ1, Pastukh VM1, Ito T2, Azuma J2, Schaffer SW3. Role of protein phosphorylation in excitation-contraction coupling in taurine deficient hearts. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2014 Nov 26:ajpheart.00497.2014. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00497.2014.
6. Yamori Y1, Taguchi T, Mori H, Mori M. Low cardiovascular risks in the middle aged males and females excreting greater 24-hour urinary taurine and magnesium in 41 WHO-CARDIAC study populations in the world. J Biomed Sci. 2010 Aug 24;17 Suppl 1:S21. doi: 10.1186/1423-0127-17-S1-S21.
7.Opinion on Caffeine, Taurine and D-Glucurono — g -Lactone as constituents of so-called "energy" drinks". Directorate-General Health and Consumers, European Commission, European Union. 1999-01-21.
8. Abebe W1, Mozaffari MS. Role of taurine in the vasculature: an overview of experimental and human studies. Am J Cardiovasc Dis. 2011;1(3):293-311. Epub 2011 Sep 10.
9. Sirdah MM1. Protective and therapeutic effectiveness of taurine in diabetes mellitus: A rationale for antioxidant supplementation. Diabetes Metab Syndr. 2014 Jun 3. pii: S1871-4021(14)00050-2. doi: 10.1016/j.dsx.2014.05.001
10. Ito T1, Yoshikawa N1, Schaffer SW2, Azuma J1.Tissue taurine depletion alters metabolic response to exercise and reduces running capacity in mice. J Amino Acids. 2014;2014:964680. doi: 10.1155/2014/964680. Epub 2014 Nov 12.
11. Rutherford JA1, Spriet LL, Stellingwerff T. The effect of acute taurine ingestion on endurance performance and metabolism in well-trained cyclists. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2010 Aug;20(4):322-9.
12. Zhang M1, Bi LF, Fang JH, Su XL, Da GL, Kuwamori T, Kagamimori S. Beneficial effects of taurine on serum lipids in overweight or obese non-diabetic subjects. Amino Acids. 2004 Jun;26(3):267-71. Epub 2003 Dec 15.
13. El Idrissi A1, Boukarrou L, Heany W, Malliaros G, Sangdee C, Neuwirth L. Effects of taurine on anxiety-like and locomotor behavior of mice. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2009;643:207-15.