What is Taurine? Benefits and side effects of Taurine
What is Taurine?
Taurine was originally found in bull gall – hence the name, from the Latin Taurus, bull – but later turned out to be quite common in the human body as well. In short, the substance is used by the body in stressful situations where rapid action is required.
The substance then gives the nervous system a significant boost, allowing you to take action more quickly and thus avoid potential danger. By copying the substance synthetically, you can consciously imitate that effect – and it is, therefore, unsurprisingly, a widely used means for its stimulating effect.
If the name taurine sounds familiar to you, there is a good chance that you either drink a lot of energy drinks or exercise a lot. The substance is mainly used as an ingredient in pre-workouts and drinks such as Red Bull and Monster Energy. But what exactly is taurine, what does it do to your body, and how safe is it to use it? In today’s blog we will discuss exactly the effect, the benefits and the dangers of this substance.
Beneficial uses of taurine
The substance is therefore an important ingredient in two types of products: pre-workouts and energy drinks. In the first case, it is mainly used to increase the physical performance of an athlete: thanks to the taurine that you take before a workout, you are able to push yourself further and thus progress faster.
You also get tired less quickly and your condition improves somewhat. In energy drinks, taurine is mainly intended to improve mental performance; it mainly has this effect in combination with caffeine. Those who take energy drinks will therefore feel more awake afterwards and will often also be able to concentrate better.
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Digestive side effects
Under the heading ‘What is taurine?’ we already mentioned that everyone has a standard stock of taurine in their body. However, that is only a small amount, and when you suddenly take a large portion of synthetic taurine, it can have nasty side effects. One of these is dehydration: your body tries to get rid of the surplus taurine quickly, mainly through your urine.
It is therefore important to keep replenishing body water when using taurine. Furthermore, the substance can promote acid production in the stomach, which is disadvantageous if you suffer from ulcers, for example. It is sensible not to eat something immediately after consuming taurine.
Blood and heart side effects
Your heart and blood vessels are also affected by the effect of the taurine. For example, taurine influences the electrolytes that regulate heart function, such as calcium, potassium and sodium. This can cause extreme amounts of arrhythmias and other heart problems.
It also acts as a kind of blood thinner, which is good news for people with the high blood pressure but can be dangerous for those who have low blood pressure. So, if you get dizzy after taking your pre-workout powder, you may be very sensitive to the effects of taurine. It is then wise to avoid the material a bit more.
What is a good portion?
Now that we have our main question – what is taurine and what exactly does it do? – we have one more thing to discuss. How do you avoid taking too much of it and suffering from the negative side effects we mentioned above? The most important thing is to keep an eye on your intake: an amount of three grams per day is generally still considered safe.
However, if you are still growing or pregnant, it is not recommended to take taurine, and people with kidney and liver disease should also be careful with this substance. In case of doubt, always seek the advice of a doctor or another expert first!