Taurine: The Benefits of this Amino Acid
The human body has a lot to offer you when left to its own devices. It’s actually quite the smart organism. Much like your conscience knows right from wrong, your body sort of follows the same automatic path. It knows what you need to survive and thrive. And when it is in need of a certain chemical or substance, it knows how to release it, so you can go on living life without any obstacles. One of these such substances is taurine.
This may sound familiar to you, given the popularity of many-an-energy drinks these days. But there are a lot more dimensions to it than meet the eye.
What is Taurine?
If you fix your gaze at love, it is sometimes said to be unconditional. This simply means that it’s always present, regardless of the circumstances. Conditional love, on the other hand, is quite different. Unless certain criteria are met, there just might not be any love at all. Taurine bears a resemblance to this theory, but not in the form of love. In the form of function to the body. Here’s a little more in-depth analysis of how it works.
Taurine is Known as a ‘Conditional Amino Acid’
If you compare the love story to taurine, here’s where the similarity comes into play. It is known as a conditional amino acid. Usually, amino acids are referred to as essential and non-essential. The non-essential amino acids are not needed through diet because the body makes them itself. Remember, the body is a smart organism! But since taurine is coined as a conditional amino acid, the game changes.
This simply means that it functions a little different than your regular amino acids. It is not a building block of protein, for starters. And your body produces a marginal amount, but there are some people who don’t produce enough of it. Therefore, it is known as a “conditional” amino acid.
Taurine is Naturally Found in the Human Body
When taurine is produced in the human body, it must then be stored somewhere or else it would be rendered useless. If you were to do a dissection, you would find it in most abundant amounts in the musculature, brain, heart, and eyes. And to a lesser degree, all the rest of the body parts.
Taurine Plays an Important Role in Hydration, Digestion and Other Bodily Functions
Aside from the many jobs, this part-time amino acid has to do, there are specific roles that stand at the forefront. Hydration, for example, comes to mind. It is utilized in this atmosphere to draw water into cells and keep it there for the proper balance of your electrolytes. If you ever sweated profusely on a hot, summer day and got dizzy, this is a sign that your electrolytes might be waning. Taurine would help prevent this from happening, and more importantly, prevent you from peacing out.
Digestion is another area where taurine comes to play. It helps with the production of bile salts, which are then used to help break down foods that you consume. If you are digesting properly, then this can have a default effect on other bodily functions.
Your energy will be higher, for example. Plus, you will be less likely to have inflammation, colds or diseases because your immunity will go up. This is the case any time you digest foods well. Especially when they are nutrient-dense.
What are the Benefits of Taurine for Health and Wellness
You already got a little taste of how taurine functions in the body, but here are some more expanded benefits it can bring for overall better health and wellness. This is where you might want to consider adding supplemental taurine to your daily regimen.
May Improve Athletic Performance
Who doesn’t want to perform better on the field or in the gym? Everybody does! And people will often go to extremes to see this to fruition. Well, if you are looking to up your game a notch or two, taurine just might be the ticket to ride.
It has been known to help boost muscle recovery, improve endurance and also give muscles a bit more juice to get your swell on. And as an added benefit to this, it has also been known to increase the rate at which you burn fat.
Can Help Reduce Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is a very serious condition marked by the presence of high triglycerides, low HDL levels, insulin resistance, high blood pressure and obesity. Combined together, these conditions greatly raise the risk for cancer, kidney disease, stroke, and diabetes, to name a few. Taurine taken in supplement form has been known to lower all of the risk factors related to these possibly fatal conditions.
Can Help Combat Gum Disease
You don’t hear much about gum disease, but it is definitely a thing, and it can be quite serious. A lot of diseases is actually caused by a dirty mouth, literally. When it comes to taurine, it has been shown to help in the healing process of those with periodontal disease—the scientific term used to describe a disease that starts in the gums.
Might Reduce Cardiovascular Disease
High blood pressure and inflammation are two common causes of cardiovascular disease. Once you start going down this path, it is in your best interest to make changes in a hurry or your fate can be determined way too soon.
Enter taurine and there is hope. It has been used with great success in turning around the effects of cardiovascular disease. More specifically, it helps reduce inflammation and blood pressure, while also improving left ventricle function of the heart.
This last benefit keeps the nervous system working properly, which further bodes well for cardiovascular function.
Possibly Reduces Symptoms of Parkinson’s
Last but not least, taurine has shown promise in the fight against Parkinson’s Disease. Patients with this condition often have low levels of taurine in their systems. By taking it through food and supplements, it has been shown to regenerate stem cells in the brain.
If you were not aware, these are the workhorse cells of the body that are much needed for repair and recovery. When taurine is taken, it specifically sparks up the growth of new stem cells in the brain and further helps diminish the side effects that come along with Parkinson’s Disease.
Symptoms and Risks of Taurine Deficiency
On the average, people produce enough taurine in their system to go on with daily living. Plus, they get it through their diets. But what about the rest of the people who do not produce it naturally or get it through food? They are at risk of deficiency and here’s what can end up happening.
People with Low Taurine are More Likely to Have Heart Problems
The heart is one of the places that taurine is often found in high amounts. Plus, it is the organ that can be most affected by high blood pressure and blocked arteries. You already know that taurine can help reduce the risk for heart attack and cardiovascular disease. But adversely, when there is a deficiency, the risk for heart issues goes up.
Vision Loss Can Be Related to Low Taurine
The retina is the part of the eye that senses light and sends signals to your brain, so you can determine what images are present before you. When it becomes detached or faulty, your vision can become blurred and you’ll have a hard time making out objects. When taurine levels are low, this phenomenon can occur.
Taurine Deficiency May Lead to Fatigue and Muscle Problems
Muscles are known to store glycogen, which is another name for carbohydrates. But, they also contain a high amount of taurine. At least, they should. Since it acts as an antioxidant, taurine helps keep muscles strong and prevents them from breaking down. But one of the side effects of deficiency is that muscles can become weak and atrophy over time.
What are the Best Taurine Supplements
It should be pretty clear to you that taurine is a very valuable substance in the body. And you should try to keep your levels topped off. That’s where a good supplement can join the fray. Here are a few of the best options that you might want to look into. But just remember, supplements are meant to be supplements. They should be used in conjunction with food to get the best benefits, as opposed to being a complete replacement.
Transparent Labs Raw Series Taurine
It’s good to know that a company has your back when it comes to supplements. Just because there are so many scammers out there that add fillers and sketchy ingredients to their products. That’s what separates Transparent Labs from the pack. They use nothing but clean and pure taurine as the sole ingredient. There are no artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners or anything else at all.
Each container has 100 servings and each scoop contains 2 g of taurine, which is a good recommended daily amount.
ALLMAX Nutrition Taurine
This taurine supplement is for the most part really good. But it is slightly confusing too. The recommended daily dose is 3 g, which is on the high side. This supplement would be best used if you are a serious weight trainer or bodybuilder.
Secondly, the daily recommendation is ¾ of a teaspoon, which is sort of hard to perfectly measure out. But the bright side is, ALLMAX is a reputable company and their taurine is free of fillers and artificial ingredients.
NOW Taurine Double Strength
If you step into any health-food store, you are all but guaranteed to find a whole section of NOW products. They pride themselves in being all-natural and they’ve been in the game for a while.
Fast forward to taurine and they have a version that is in capsule form. The good news is, this makes taking it very convenient. Especially if you do not like the taste of powders in liquid. But, there is only 1 g per serving. If you are a serious bodybuilder, this may not be the best option for you.
However, if you have a deficiency or are just looking for a maintenance dose, then this is going to be a good bet.
Perhaps one of the most renowned companies, Nutricost taurine is a solid option due to the various types available. Not only can you get their version in powdered form, but they also have a drink and capsules.
Again, the capsules only contain 1 g. So if you are looking for more of a dosage, you should go with the drink or powder. And, they are also free of contaminants, fillers and so on.
Where Does Taurine Come From?
There is a lot of hype floating around about where taurine originated from. First things first, you can get it naturally from the very food you eat every day. It is most prominent in meat and seafood, and then a close third would be dairy. But there are some people who want to believe the supplement version comes from an animal–a bull to be exact. If you have half a head on your shoulders, you shouldn’t believe everything you hear.
The Taurine Bull Sperm Myth
You’re probably well aware of the energy drink Red Bull. You know, “It gives you wings!” Well, that may be the truth, but it does not derive from bull testicles! That is the myth that a lot of people believe as fact because Red Bull has taurine in its blend and there is a picture of a bull on the can.
The reality is, it once derived from the bile of a bull many many years ago. But it has since been formulated synthetically in a lab. And since it is close to the word “Taurus,” which means bull, a lot of people just draw a conclusion on their own that there is an association to bull parts. This just simply is not the case though. So there is no need to even worry about it.
The Taurine Side Effects
You are always warned about side effects when taking supplements or even pharmaceutical drugs. True, there is a chance you can have a reaction to something. But more often than not, this is with the more powerful stuff you decide to take. And it also comes down to how well you follow instructions.
There Are No Known Side Effects or Risks Associated with Taurine
In all honesty, taurine is relatively benign, and it works well with the body. This makes it generally safe to take without the fear of suffering harmful side effects. Just make sure to always be on guard as to how your body feels. If you do notice anything that is off, then consider stopping your intake. That should come to no surprise to you.
The Best Plan of Action
If you know you are deficient in taurine, adding a good supplement is a smart move. If you are a weight trainer looking to optimize your strength, size, and recoveries, then it is still a good option.
Overall though, try to eat a balanced diet that includes eggs, beef, chicken, seafood, and dairy. This way you can get a good amount through your diet, while also boosting your intake more through supplementation. Then you have a solid approach that should prevent any deficiencies from ever occurring.