Taurine is an amino acid found in ample quantities within your brain and heart. It's also found in many healthy food sources such as meat and fish. It's a common ingredient in energy drinks (which gives it a bad reputation) and supplements popular with athletes.
Taurine is frequently prescribed for those suffering from congestive heart failure, liver disease, high blood pressure, ADHD, and high cholesterol to name a few. While most amino acids are necessary to synthesize protein, a taurine supplement will not aid muscle development. This is because taurine does not link with other amino acids. What taurine does, however, is function as a potent antioxidant to protect the cells from oxidation damage. It is also believed to boost mental function as well as athletic performance.
As we age, taurine levels in the brain decrease. Taking advantage of the popularity of drinks containing caffeine and taurine, researchers produced a study examining the effectiveness of these substances on a group of students.
Drinks containing caffeine and taurine were shown to have promising effects on mood and mental performance. Similar studies found the combination may boost attention as well as verbal reasoning, but showed no beneficial effects on memory.
Another study examined 11 adult males aged 18 to 20. The group was asked to perform exercises until they achieved exhaustion. After taking a taurine supplement before their workout, the participants demonstrated noticeable increases in their capacity to transport and utilize oxygen for extended periods of time before exhaustion eventually set in. The researchers believe the improvements are owed to the antioxidant and cellular protection effects of taurine.
Taurine is frequently referred to as a "conditional” rather than an “essential” amino acid. Conditional amino acids can be manufactured within the body, while the essential amino acids cannot, and must be taken either in food or as a supplement. But some experts believe the opposite, which, if correct, would mean humans need to consume taurine in order to have the necessary amount.
Taurine is a prominent ingredient in most popular energy drinks and can be easily be taken that way rather than in the form of supplements. These drinks, however, are chock full of white cane sugar and are not a recommended part of any athletic or weight loss diet.
When it comes to the treatment of congestive heart failure, patients are usually given between two and six grams of taurine each day divided into three separate doses. There is only one gram of taurine in a serving of Red Bull.
Taurine is generally considered safe for adult consumption. It’s been used in studies lasting up to twelve months with no reported ill effects. One report, however, claims that brain damage may have occurred in the case of a body builder who consumed roughly 14 grams of taurine combined with insulin and an anabolic steroid. There’s a good chance the taurine was not the culprit, but caution is warranted nonetheless.
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