While Taurine is not an amino acid, it is an acid that contains an amino group – a subtle distinction.
There are many benefits to consuming taurine, both through diet and through taurine supplements.
In this article we are going to look at the benefits of taking taurine, ideal dosages, and whether taurine supplements are worth your time and money.
What is Taurine?
As mentioned above taurine is an acid that contains an amino group, it occurs naturally in meat and fish . This has led to many people saying that taurine does not need to be supplemented.
This is not true, the average amount of taurine consumed by a regular person is between 50-200mg per day, with vegetarians consuming less, and vegans consuming none. Studies have indicated that doses of 500-2,000mg per day of taurine are required to see significant benefits .
In other words, people who eat meat could benefit from increasing their taurine intake, while for vegans, a taurine supplement would be beneficial (though due to it coming from animal sources you would have to ensure that the taurine being used was synthetic).
Taurine is a non-essential nutrient, meaning that the body produces it naturally, but the amount produced is very low. People who have been vegan since birth tend to have much lower levels of taurine than people who consume animal products .
There does not appear to be any downsides to having lower levels of taurine in your body, however vegans may see better results from supplementation than omnivores.
Benefits of Taurine
One of the main benefits of taurine, and the one that has the most evidence behind it, is that it can lead to a significant increase in blood flow .
This can have many practical benefits, improved circulation, improved gym performance, increased cognition, and potentially benefits for heart rate and blood pressure (though there is a lack of evidence for this at present).
Taurine may also help with muscle damage, muscle soreness, and recovery from exercise in general. But it is not just post exercise that taurine can help, studies have shown that taking taurine has led to an increase in exercise capacity.
A study on patients with heart failure saw an increase in walking capacity when supplementing with taurine .
Side Effects of Taurine
According to examine.com , there are no signs that taking too much taurine can have any negative effects.
The safe upper limit per day appears to be 3g, which is much higher than the recommended dosage of 500-2,000mg. Even that upper limit is just playing it safe, all we know so far is that taking 3g per day has no negative effect on lifespan.
Taurine is a great supplement that has no downsides, and quite a few potential (and certain) benefits. Improved circulation and blood flow being the main ones.
If you are vegan or vegetarian then find yourself a synthetic taurine supplement (they are very common) and give it a try. You could see big improvements in your physical and mental performance.
Even omnivores should consider supplementing with taurine, as the amount we derive from food is well short of the optimal dosage.