what is taurine and what does it do to the body
Taurine is a sulfur-containing amino acid that occurs naturally in your body and plays an important role in brain and heart health

Taurine is a sulfur-containing amino acid that naturally occurs in different parts of the body, including the heart, muscles, blood, brain, and eyes. Also called amino sulfuric acid, taurine may help the body by:

Some studies suggest that taurine may also help:

  • Lower stress level. Taurine regulates the secretion of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a chemical that helps reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Promote energy metabolism. Energy metabolism is the process by which the body uses energy from food for various functions. Taurine plays a vital role in energy metabolism in muscle performance as well as cardiac and liver activity.
  • Manage obesity. Taurine can help with weight loss by increasing energy metabolism and controlling fat metabolism.
  • Improve brain function. Taurine reduces fatigue and improves the brain’s ability to learn and retain information.
  • Prevent retinal degeneration: Taurine may protect the eyes against retinal degeneration. The retina is a part of the eye (located at the back) that senses light and sends images to the brain so that you can see clearly.

What causes taurine deficiency?

Though the body can produce taurine naturally, the process can slow down due to conditions such as:

  • Deficiency of certain vitamins and amino acids, such as vitamin A, zinc, cysteine, or methionine
  • Some bacterial or fungal infections, such as candida (which interfere with the production of taurine in the body)

Taurine is present in breast milk. Infants who are not breastfed may have low levels of taurine. They can get their intake from infant formulas that are fortified with taurine.

What happens if you have a taurine deficiency?

Taurine deficiency can interfere with different metabolic processes in your body, which may result in:

What are food sources of taurine?

Foods that contain taurine include:

  • Shellfish
  • Meat
  • Seafood
  • Dairy products
  • Eggs
  • Energy drinks
  • Breast milk

Are taurine supplements safe for you?

Research is mixed about the effect of taurine supplements on athletic performance. Some studies suggest that taurine supplementation may improve athletic performance, whereas others did not find any effects. Another study found that people with congestive heart failure who took taurine supplements for 2 weeks had improved exercise capacity.

Not much is known about the effects of long-term supplementation of taurine.

Energy drinks that contain taurine may have other ingredients, such as herbal stimulants, caffeine, or sugar. Having such drinks frequently may result in too much caffeine and cause an increased heart rate and blood pressure, disturbed sleep, anxiety, and weight gain.

Before taking any supplements, talk to your doctor, especially if you are on any medications.

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Medically Reviewed on 9/9/2021
References
Taurine. Wen C, Li F, Zhang L, et al. Taurine is Involved in Energy Metabolism in Muscles, Adipose Tissue, and the Liver. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2019 Jan;63(2):e1800536. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30251429/

WebMD. Taurine. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1024/taurine

Zeratsky K. Taurine Is an Ingredient in Many Energy Drinks. Is Taurine Safe? Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/taurine/faq-20058177