Taurine (or 2-aminoethanesulfonic acid) is an organic acid named after the Latin taurus which means bull. It is often refered to as amino acid (even in scientific literature) but in strict sense it is not an amino acid, as it lacks a carboxyl group . It is abundant in skeletal muscle and has been reported to have many physiological and pharmacological actions, including membrane stabilization, anti-oxidation, osmoregulation, modulation of ion flux, and control of Ca2+ homeostasis. It is an ingredient that can be found in some energy drinks, like Red Bull and Monster,….
Taurine Benefits for Exercise
Animal studies are reporting beneficial effect of taurine ingestion on physical endurance. Yoshihisa et al.  investigated the effects of oral taurine administration on exercise in rats. They concluded that its ingestion maintains muscle taurine concentrations during exercise and improves physical exercise . In a follow-up study  same researchers wanted to determine the ideal dose of taurine for exercise performance. They supplemented rats with 0, 20, 100 and 500 milligrams of taurine per kilogram of body weight. The running time to exhaustion was significantly prolonged by 25% and 50% in the 100 and 500 mg/kg groups, respectively, compared to that in the control group.
Dawson et al.  reported that 3% taurine in tap water improved exercise performance in rats. Taurine supplementation significantly reduces urinary excretions of creatinine, creatine, 3-methylhistidine after treadmill running .
Several studies are also reporting beneficial effects not only in animals but also in humans [5,6]. Baum and Weiss  reported that taurine containing drink “Red Bull” favorably influenced cardiac parameters in thirteen endurance trained subjects performed an exhaustive exercise compared to similar drink without taurine but did not measure physical performance.
Zhang and colleagues  noted significant increases in VO2max and cycle ergometer exercise time to exhaustion. Authors attributed the ergogenic effect to taurine’s antioxidant activity. Another study in eleven young men (18-20 y) reported a significant increase in VO2max, exercise endurance time and maximal workload .
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)
Taurine supplementation seems to somewhat decrease the severity of DOMS after high-intensity eccentric exercise. However, parameters of muscle damage including serum myoglobin and creatine kinase levels were unaffected . Some subjective and objective markers of DOMS and muscle damage were slightly improved with combination of 3.2 g BCAA and 2.0 g taurine, three times a day, two weeks prior to and three days after exercise .
Majority of studies were sponsored by taurine manufacturers Taisho Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., Japan or Seikatsu Bunkasya Co. Inc.
Taurine and Beta-Alanine Interaction (Counteraction)
Beta-alanine (a taurine transporter inhibitor) has been shown to reduce muscle taurine concentrations by up to 50% after 1 month of supplementation, a study in animals reports . Some studies are even showing 86% reduced taurine liver content due to beta-alanine overfeeding . Beta-alanine is a rival of taurine, since they both share the same transporter . In experimental conditions, beta-alanine is even used to deliberately cause taurine deficiency for purposes of the studies [7,9]. Since taurine has been demonstrated to act as an antioxidant  it was suggested that its severe deficit in tissues may increase their susceptibility to oxidative damage . However, researchers from Istanbul Faculty of Medicine  failed to find such correlations.
Both beta-alanine and taurine completely block the increase in lipid peroxidation (oxidative degradation of lipids which results in cell damage) .
According to Dr. Leonard Smith:  “Low taurine levels have been found in patients with anxiety, depression, hypertension, hypothyroidism, gout, infertility, obesity, kidney failure and autism, among other conditions.”
Safety and Side Effects
A study by the European Food Safety Authority found no adverse effects for up to 1,000 mg of taurine per kilogram of body weight per day .
(Other common names: 2-aminoethanesulfonic acid)
- Carey, FA. “Amino acids are carboxylic acids that contain an amine function.” Organic Chemistry (6th ed.). New York: McGraw Hill. p. 1149. ISBN 0-07-282837-4. (2006).
Yatabe, Yoshihisa, et al. Journal of orthopaedic science 8.3 (2003): 415-419.
Miyazaki, T., et al. “Optimal and effective oral dose of taurie to prolong exercise performance in rat.” Amino Acids 27.3-4 (2004): 291-298.
- Dawson Jr, R., et al. “The cytoprotective role of taurin in exercise-induced muscle injury.” Amino acids 22.4 (2002): 309-324.
- Baum, M., and M. Weiss. “The influence of a taurin containing drink on cardiac parameters before and after exercise measured by echocardiography.” Amino Acids 20.1 (2001): 75-82.
- Zhang, M., et al. “Beneficial effects of taurin on serum lipids in overweight or obese non-diabetic subjects.” Amino acids 26.3 (2004): 267-271.
Abebe, Worku, and Mahmood S. Mozaffari. “Taurin depletion alters vascular reactivity in rats.” Canadian journal of physiology and pharmacology 81.9 (2003): 903-909.
- drlwilson.com Retrieved at 20. May 2013
Parıldar-Karpuzoğlu, H., et al. “Decreases in turine levels induced by β-alanine treatment did not affect the susceptibility of tissues to lipid peroxidation.” Amino acids 32.1 (2007): 115-119.
Balkan, Jale, et al. “Taurie Treatment Reduces Hepatic Lipids and Oxidative Stress in Chronically Ethanol-Treated Rats.” Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin 25.9 (2002): 1231-1233.
Dawson, Ralph, et al. “Effects of dietary taurin supplementation or deprivation in aged male Fischer 344 rats.” Mechanisms of ageing and development 107.1 (1999): 73-91.
- EFSA adopts opinion on two ingredients commonly used in some energy drinks Retrieved from efsa.europa.eu
- Yatabe, Yoshihisa, et al. “Effects of taurin administration on exercise.” Taurin 7. Springer New York, 2009. 245-252.
- Ra, Song-Gyu, et al. “Taurin supplementation reduces eccentric exercise-induced delayed onset muscle soreness in young men.” Taurin 9. Springer International Publishing, 2015. 765-772.
- Ra, Song-Gyu, et al. “Combined effect of branched-chain amino acids and taurinesupplementation on delayed onset muscle soreness and muscle damage in high-intensity eccentric exercise.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 10.1 (2013): 51.