Taurine

Taurine

18-02-2016
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Short review

As a “conditionally essential” substance, taurine acts as a powerful cell volumizer in the body. It is essential for the digestion of fats, the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, brain and nervous functions as well as the transport of electrolytes through the cell membranes.

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Overview

Other names

L-taurine.

Natural sources

Taurine is naturally produced in the body. It can also be found in eggs, fish, meat and milk.

Note: Vegetable proteins don’t contain taurine!

Impact on improving performance

Why athletes use taurine

As a cell volumizer and insulin imitator, taurine plays a role in the transport of important nutrients like glucose or amino acids to the muscle cells. Based on the reviews of active people, this led to increased strength and muscle mass. Taurine can be useful at times of enhanced physical or mental stress, too.

How it enhances muscle gains and recovery:

  • Taurine slows down the catabolism of muscle tissues while enhancing strength and muscle mass at the same time.
  • It imitates the role of insulin by helping glucose and amino acids enter muscle cells.

How it supports brain function

  • It has a sedative effect on the brain and helps overcome anxiety.

Health benefits

Symptoms of taurine deficiency

Symptoms of taurine deficiency can be any of the following:

  • Stunted growth
  • Apathy
  • Edema
  • Low body temperature
  • Liver disorders
  • Catabolism (loss of muscle)
  • Fatigue/weakness
  • Sight impairment

Possible use

Based on studies, taurine may be useful in the treatment of the following symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Bilestones
  • Epilepsy
  • Macular degeneration
  • Headache

Detailed review

Further information

Taurine is the second most common amino acid in the muscle tissues after glutamine. However, it is not part of the muscle tissue. It is more like a part of the amino acid chain within the muscle cells. It is not a component of proteins either, but it floats freely in the body. It also acts as a building block of other amino acids.

Many researchers label taurine as “conditionally essential”, because intense exercising or other stress factors can significantly reduce its amount in the body.

Muscle metabolism

By imitating insulin, taurine helps glucose and amino acids reach the muscle cells, which makes it a powerful cell volumizer. This means, the cell will get into a “super hydrated” state, which results in faster protein synthesis and slower protein breakdown, researchers say. And the result is increased strength and muscle mass.

Research has also shown that taurine reduces 3-methylhistidine (3-MH) levels, which indicates that taurine can slow down the breakdown of proteins.

Brain and nervous functions

Taurine helps create impulses in the brain by promoting the entry and exit of potassium, sodium, calcium and magnesium through the cell membranes. Thus it plays a key role in ensuring nervous functions and regulating blood pressure. Furthermore, it can also act as an inhibitory neurotransmitter (or sedative chemical signal) or cell membrane stabilizer. This means, it sedates the brain and the nervous system and helps overcome anxiety, epilepsy or other brain disorders. It is also considered a mild tranquilizer.

More good news

Based on the latest research, taurine supplements might even help sufferers of cardiac decompensation. This is a condition when the heart cannot pump the blood in the body effectively enough. Taurine supports the contraction capacity of the heart, so it can pump the blood stronger. Some researchers say that taurine can lower blood pressure. However, this has not been confirmed yet.

Taurine is also essential for proper lipid digestion, the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and the regulation of cholesterol levels. Some studies have shown that taurine lowers cholesterol levels in the liver and thins bile, thus it can help prevent the formation of bilestones. As a compound of leukocytes, taurine also plays a role in maintaining the proper functioning of the immune system and diminishing the harmful effects of free radicals.

Conclusion

Taurine is essential, especially for those who lead an active or stressful lifestyle or are prone to anxiety. All in all, taurine is necessary to ensure optimal functioning of the body.

Indications for use

Amount

Although the optimal amount is not established yet, a daily dose of 500 to 1000 mg is recommended for active people, split into 3 portions.

The therapeutic dosage varies between 1000 and 5000 mg, also split during the day. However, you should consult your physician first, before you started using taurine for therapeutic purposes.

Timing

Taurine is the most effective when taken without food, especially without protein or amino acids. It is recommended to have a portion after workout.

Synergists of taurine

Zinc enhances the effects of taurine.

Toxicity of taurine

Extreme high amounts may cause toxicity including diarrhea, depression, loss of short-time memory or ulcers.

Contra-indication and restrictions

Not documented.

Bibliography


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