There are two things you probably know about Taurine; That it’s in lots of energy drinks and that someone you know thinks it’s made from Bull piss (or worse). Fortunately, one of those isn’t correct.
What is it?
Taurine is an amino acid, you have a fair bit of it in your heart and brain. You can get it from eating meat and fish, as well as energy drinks and supplements.
However you get it, it’s very easy to manufacture in a lab, so it’s very unlikely to have come from a bull, unless you extract it first hand, by yourself. I can’t imagine why you’d want to, but then again I’m baffled by the popularity of Kim Kardashian, so each to their own.
What does it do?
There’s a reason that taurine is found in a lot of energy drinks: It’s awesome!
Just look at the potential benefits:
Taurine can help pull moisture into your cells. This brings with it nutrients and protein, so the cells of your muscles get more of the stuff they need to grow! It also means that your muscles can feel less stressed because you’re getting rid of fatigue toxins a bit quicker.
Breaks Down Fat
Taurine is stored in your gallbladder, along with bile. It helps your body digest food, especially fats. This means that you can use more of the “bad fat” for energy, and release more of the “good fats” for nutrition.
Taurine makes up 50% of the amino acids in your heart. It’s very important for good heart health and keeping a strong heartbeat.
Brain and Eye Health
Besides hydrating your muscles, it also hydrates your brain, which help you think clearly. It also keeps your eyes healthy and helps maintain good vision.
Taurine can also help protect your body from harmful free radicals. When you exercise, you produce lots of these, and they tear around your body causing all sorts of damage. Antioxidants take them away and purge them from your system before they can do any damage.
Taurine helps your body use calcium, potassium and sodium in your body. This helps keep the membranes of your cells healthy.
Taurine supplementation can assist your body increase your nitric oxide levels, which can increase your blood flow, which gets more nutrients flowing around your body, and oxygen to your muscles.
Why do I need it?
Why do you need it? Did you even read the benefits above? They’re MASSIVE! You shouldn’t just be taking taurine in your supplements, you should be buying it flowers and a dinner thanking it for all that it does for you!
Seriously, it helps you with your heart, eyes, brain and muscle health, AND can improve performance. The only thing it doesn’t do is grant you eternal youth!
Which supplements have it?
While taurine is found in energy drinks, they are also full of sugar and usually carbonated.
When it’s in a supplement, you can control how much of it you get without getting all the extra stuff.
You can buy it as a stand alone supplement, usually named taurine or L-taurine. These are the same thing, the L- bit just specifies that the Taurine is usable by your body. Practically all Taurine you buy will be this type, whether it has the L- in the name or not.
Pre-Workout supplements can also have taurine in it, to give you a boost for your activity.
Some Creatine supplements also have taurine in them, because it does some similar things, and they can help each other pull moisture into your muscles.
How much should I have?
As you exercise, the taurine in your muscles gets used up. Having 1-2 grams about 30 mins before and straight after intense exercise will keep your levels up and get the benefits flowing!
Can I get it from food?
Taurine can be found in most meat and fish products. Your body can also produce enough for your general needs on it’s own, but getting a little extra can have some real benefits.
What other supplements can I stack it with?
Taurine and Creatine are good mates. They work well together and improve the efficiency of each other.
You can add it to a pre-workout, as long as it doesn’t already have it. A little extra is good, a lot extra is not.
Are there any side effects?
Taurine is very safe when taken in the recommended doses. It can interact with other drugs though, so if you’re on medication (especially lithium) ALWAYS consult your doctor before taking a supplement.
If you’re taking taurine as part of a pre-workout, pay attention to the other ingredients too, especially the caffeine levels. You may be getting a good amount of taurine, but if you can’t sleep for a month any health benefits will be short lived.
Taurine can act as a bit of a diuretic, so you’ll need to make sure you keep your fluids up.
Is it safe for women too?
Because taurine is something that you have in your body naturally, it’s really safe for everyone, as long as you keep to the recommended dose.
As women have less water in their body than men, they are slightly more likely to need more fluids when taking taurine, but keeping hydrated when exercising is a good idea anyway.
If you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, on medication or suffering from an illness, ask your doctor before taking any supplement.
Taurine is a great friend to have, it can help you in loads of ways and doesn’t have a lot of bad side effects. As long as you’re not throwing down a bunch of energy drinks, getting a bit more taurine can really help you smash your health goals, right in the FACE!