Taurine: Everything you need to Know

Taurine: Everything you need to Know

Taurine is a dietary supplement that’s right on trend.

Athletes consume it for its health benefits and properties: before their sports tests, at night before going to sleep… And there’s more and more research being conducted on its application to human health.

What has it done to gain such prominence in the nutritional landscape? Keep reading and we’ll tell all!

What is it?

Taurine is an amino acid, those constituents of proteins that we’re all familiar with. However, in this case there is a slight difference.

It is an amino acid with non-proteinogenic properties, which is not present in our body’s proteins, and is only present in free form thanks to the body’s ability to create it through metabolic reactions.

For this reason, it is not an essential nutrient, however in certain conditions it is considered indispensable through the diet, as is the case with children of growing age (Gil, 2010).

taurine

What does Taurine do?

Until a few decades ago, it was considered an “osmolyte“.

This means: a component of the liquid tissues of our body (such as the blood or the interstitial medium) that only played a role as a bulking agent to avoid losing osmotic pressure.

For at least 10 years now we’ve known that it is not limited to this role, and its complete insufficiency (also of its precursors) is associated with:

  • Nervous system disorders.
  • Liver function.
  • Visual development.
  • Maintaining the integrity of the retina.

(Ripps and Shen, 2012).

Molecular Structure of Taurine

Molecular structure of taurine.

Do you know these 11 Benefits that Taurine offers to help us take care of our health? Visit this link to find out!

What are the properties of Taurine?

It is now widely used by athletes, following the publication of a series of scientific studies in humans in which dietary supplementation with the compound appeared to produce benefits in physical endurance.

A review of 10 studies published by Waldron et al. (2018) concluded that doses between 1 and 6 grams in the form of a dietary supplement had benefits on:

  • Increased time before fatigue.
  • Power.

Though their consumption showed neither positive nor negative results on specific times in speed tests, pending further studies.

Taurine and Neuroprotection

Mechanisms of nerve modulation and neuroprotection (Jakaria et al., 2019).

In addition to this, there is a broad body of literature that links it with the regulatory effects of the central nervous system, and it continues to be researched as an agent of positive influence on neurodegenerative states such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.

Where does Taurine come from?

It is highly concentrated in our spinal cord, brain and eyes, and helps maintain our state of health.

It is created from the conversion of other amino acids: Cysteine and Methionine, in this case, nutritionally indispensable, by the action of the enzyme Cysteine sulfinate decarboxylase (CSD).

Taurine Synthesis

Synthesis route from cysteine by means of cysteine sulfinate decarboxylase.

Although there are other routes of synthesis, they are lower compared to the conversion of cysteine.

It can also be chemically synthesised in the laboratory, which is the preferred method that meets the conditions for its production as a food supplement for consumption.

Foods containing Taurine

The food groups that contain the most taurine are nuts, shellfish and cephalopods.

Depending on the specific species, the concentration can be hugely variable, ranging from a few milligrams to grams, per 100g of food.

In this graphic representation, we can clearly see the variability of the concentration in different foods categorised by their origin.

Taurine Concentration in Food

Taurine concentration in various foods of animal origin.

Pasantes-Morales, Quesada, Alcocer and Sánchez, in 1989, published a study in Nutrition Reports International determining the concentrations of the most consumed foods in Mexico.

We can use this data as a reference to select our food consumption choices, in search of the richest options.

FoodContent (µmol/g)
Meat
Beef3.7
Pork4
Chicken (breast)1.4
Chicken (thigh)6.6
Fish
Tilapia9.1
Shellfish
Prawns3.5
Clams41.4
Octopus31.2
King prawns12.4

Taurine in nuts

Taurine in nuts.

In measures of magnitude one thousandth smaller (nanomoles) they found:

FoodContent (nmol/g)
Nuts
Walnut15.4
Almond17.9
Cashew38.3
Pistachio4.9
Hazelnut46.8
Pine nut33.4
Legumes
Black beans9.2
Broad beans12.9
Chickpeas18.7
Lentils13.3
Seeds
Pumpkin seeds13.5

Other foods evaluated in which no quantifiable concentrations have been detected are:

Ham, lard, egg yolks and whites, cow’s milk, yoghurt, cow’s cheese, honey, fruits and vegetables, including avocado, peas and potato, beans, peanuts, cereals (rice, corn, wheat, etc.), sunflower seeds, sesame, coffee and cocoa.

Contraindications

There are no specific contraindications to its use, as it is naturally present in and familiar to the body.

Consumption up to a dose of 3g has been established as a practice with a high degree of safety, although dietary supplementation with doses up to 10g has been evaluated without adverse effects on a widespread basis.

Use with caution during pregnancy and lactation, under medical knowledge and control, as there is insufficient toxicological data available for during this period.

Safe taurine

However, preliminary evidence tends to point to a positive effect through being able to transfer part through breast milk, enriching its nutritional potential.

It is recommended you avoid consuming it when following a treatment with thrombolytic agents, an anticoagulant, antiplatelet agents, and/or salicylates, as it can interfere and magnify its effects.

The main side effects have been described in cases of consumption of energy drinks containing the ingredient, however, their relationship is not causal since it has not been possible to establish a relationship between the events (mainly cardiovascular) and the taurine itself.

Energy drink

Waiter serving a commercial energy drink.

Current evidence indicates that the adverse effects sometimes related to taurine are due to the use of large amounts of stimulants in combination with alcohol and/or intense physical exercise.

Taurine in energy drinks

Most of the well-known brands of energy drinks on the market use it as an ingredient in their formulas.

In fact, the official Red Bull® website itself answers one of the most popular questions about this ingredient in your commercial drinks: Is taurine obtained from the testicles of bulls?
  • Its use in energy drinks is due to the above-described possible neuroprotective effect against nervous excitability that can be induced by high doses of caffeine.
  • It is added to high caffeine beverages as a strategy with theoretical potential to cope with the overactivation that caffeine generates.

Where can you buy Taurine?

You can find it in HSN products.

We have the pure amino acid in its natural chemical form, both in powder format and in high concentration capsules (500mg):

RawSeries Taurine Powder

Looking for a dietary supplement to add to your pre-workouts? Don’t miss RawSeries L-Taurine Powder!

This dietary supplement has a purity report published by an external laboratory that certifies the content as having greater than 90% purity, specifically an average value of 94.5%.

EssentialSeries Taurine 500mg

You also have the L-Taurine dietary supplement in vegetable capsules, which are fully vegan-friendly. An easier way to accurately dose the amino acid!

Find the best products for your diet at HSN! We are nutrition!

Bibliographic references

  1. Jakaria, M., Azam, S., Haque, M. E., Jo, S. H., Uddin, M. S., Kim, I. S., & Choi, D. K. (2019). Taurine and its analogs in neurological disorders: Focus on therapeutic potential and molecular mechanisms. Redox Biology, 24, 1–15.
  2. Pasantes-Morales, H., Quesada, O., Alcocer, L., & Sanchez Olea, R. (1989). Taurine content in foods. Nutrition Reports International, 40(4), 793–801.
    Ripps, H., & Shen, W. (2012). Review: Taurine: A “very essential” amino acid. Molecular Vision, 18, 2673–2686.
  3. Waldron, M., Patterson, S. D., Tallent, J., & Jeffries, O. (2018). The Effects of an Oral Taurine Dose and Supplementation Period on Endurance Exercise Performance in Humans: A Meta-Analysis. Sports Medicine, 48(5), 1247–1253.
  4. Yamori, Y., Taguchi, T., Hamada, A., Kunimasa, K., Mori, H., & Mori, M. (2010). Taurine in health and diseases: Consistent evidence from experimental and epidemiological studies. Journal of Biomedical Science, 17(SUPPL. 1), S6.

Related Entries

  • Want to get the most out of your Pre-Workout Supplements? We recommend taking at look at this article.
  • We analyse the major energy drinks, here.
Review of Taurine

What it is - 100%

What it's used for - 100%

Contraindications - 100%

Supplements - 99%

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About Melanie Ramos
Melanie Ramos
Melanie Ramos uses the HSN Blog to share the latest information and content, so that all those readers who want to learn.
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