Taurine in EnergyNeeds®
Taurine is added in order to provide a wide basis of nutrition, especially given the important role of taurine in the function of nerve and muscle. Side effects are unexpected.
What Is Taurine?
Often called an amino acid, taurine is actually an amino sulfonic acid, and is not part of proteins. Taurine can be made by our bodies, but often not in sufficient quantities, and the remainder must come from the diet. Taurine is present in many animal products (e.g. meat, dairy).
What Does Taurine Do?
Taurine acts as an antioxidant, and is also important in digestion (being a major part of bile), membrane stabilization, and modulation of calcium signaling. Taurine is present at high concentration in muscle, heart, retina, and brain, whereas it is essential for function. Taurine crosses the blood-brain-barrier and acts as an inhibitory neurotransmitter.
What Does a Taurine Deficiency Appear As?
Since our bodies can synthesize taurine and it is present in many foods, deficiency is rare. However, levels are significantly lower in vegans.
What About Taurine’s Use in Disease?
Taurine is used for many purposes, including in disorders of the muscles, heart, eye, brain, and liver. Taurine is a frequent component of energy drinks as can improve exercise performance. Taurine may also help with glucose tolerance.
What Are the Common and/or Important Side Effects of Taurine?
Taurine is present in animal products, and is generally recognized as safe (GRAS-status). Taurine is present in many energy drinks at amounts as high as 1,000 to 2,000 mg. Taurine might increase blood levels of lithium in people treated with this drug.
Is There Any Laboratory Testing for a Taurine Deficiency?
Testing is neither generally available nor of apparent clinical utility.