What is Taurine? Energy drink supplement benefits and side effects

Fitness

June 14, 2023 | 3.30pm


Sparkle, taurine, sparkle it’s your turn in the spotlight.

The supplement, found in foods and many energy drinks, has been getting a lot of attention since a medical expert dubbed it an elixir of life.

That shining reference came after new research revealed that taurine appears to slow the aging process and extend healthy lifespan.

But before you go drinking taurine-laden energy drinks like Rockstar, Celsius, and Red Bull, take a look at taurine and what it can and can’t do for you.

What is Taurine?

Taurine is an amino acid and is made by the body, Lisa Young, Ph.D., RD, a professor of nutrition at New York University, told The Post in an email.

It’s important for babies and toddlers and is abundant in breast milk, according to a 2020 report in the journal Amino Acids.

The compound plays several important roles in adults as well.

Taurine is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that aids in digestion, energy production, immune response, neurological development, brain functioning, vision, nerve and muscle conduction, and more.

Seafood, including scallops, shrimp and other shellfish, is a rich source of taurine.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

It’s not found in most plants, sorry, vegans, but it’s found in nori, the seaweed used to make sushi.

While vegans may benefit from a supplement, we should proceed with caution until we have larger studies confirming its efficacy and safety, said Dr. Young.

Most people get plenty of taurine from animal products, Dr. Young said, even though taurine levels in the body decline with age.

Seafood, especially shellfish, is rich in taurine. Scallops, clams, mussels, shrimp, octopus, tuna, cod and oysters are rich sources of the compound.

Meats also have some taurine, including beef, chicken, turkey, salami, mortadella, veal, ham and pork, according to a report published in the journal Atherosclerosis.

Dairy products, such as yogurt, ice cream and pasteurized milk, contain smaller amounts of taurine.

Benefits of taurine

There are some medical situations where taurine supplements can be helpful.

Many energy drinks contain taurine, as well as lots of caffeine, sugar and artificial sweeteners.
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For example, a 2008 study in Experimental and Clinical Cardiology found that it may improve heart function in people with chronic heart failure and decrease blood pressure in people with high blood pressure.

Numerous reports also suggest that taurine could potentially enhance exercise performance, relieve muscle cramps, and improve overall cardiovascular health.

Taurine supplements

Taurine, in addition to supplement powders and capsules, is found in varying amounts in the following energy drinks and energy bars:

  • Energy drink 3D
  • AMP energy drink
  • Celsius LiveFit
  • Cocaine energy drink
  • Energy Rush Stix
  • Full throttle energy drink
  • Ghost energy
  • Jaguar Fox Gaming Energy Bars
  • Juvee Rejuvenating Energy Drink
  • Throw the Energy Bars
  • Monster Energy
  • First energy drink
  • PureBoost clean energy drink
  • Red Bull Energy Drink
  • Red Cup Energy Drink
  • Rockstar energy drinks
  • VOOM Pocket Rocket Caffeine Kick Energy Bars

Taurine side effects

There isn’t much information on safe dosages or evidence that taurine can be dangerous in large amounts, but a 2019 study found the highest level of taurine to be 3[grams] per day, which showed no adverse effects.

It’s also possible that taurine can interfere with some medications, so it’s important to talk to a healthcare professional before taking taurine supplements if you’re also taking prescription medications.

What most worries health experts isn’t adding taurine to your diet through energy drinks, but the other ingredients in those drinks, including artificial sweeteners.

These drinks tend to be high in caffeine and added sugar, Dr. Young noted. They also have other ingredients that could be harmful in large quantities.




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