Taurine is widely used in the manufacture of bodybuilding supplements, as well as in the food industry in general. This amino acid is often included in the composition of energy drinks. In this article, we will learn more about the benefits of this substance for athletes and ordinary people.
What is Taurine?
Taurine is a sulfonic acid (containing sulfur) that is synthesized in the body from two amino acids: methionine and cysteine. Anyone who is somehow connected with bodybuilding has probably heard about this substance as it is part of many energy drinks and sports supplements.
What Causes Taurine Deficiency?
Taurine was discovered and described in 1827 when German scientists were conducting research on bile from cattle. In the future, to determine the useful qualities of this substance and to identify its functions in the body, experiments were conducted on cats. In their process, the content of taurine in the diet of animals was deliberately reduced (the body of cats cannot synthesize this substance). As a result, it was concluded that with an insufficient content of this sulfonic acid in the body of animals, there are violations in the work of some organs: the functions of muscle fibers decrease and vision deteriorates sharply.
Despite the fact that taurine is synthesized in the human body, under some circumstances, there may still be a lack of it.
When studying the effect of taurine on the human body, scientists have received objective evidence that an insufficient amount of this acid in the diet can contribute to the development of serious diseases. In addition to the deterioration of vision, there is a weakening of the activity of the muscles, irritability and anxiety, and a weakening of the immune system.
Experiments on mice with Taurine Transporter Knockout (TauTKO) showed that in the presence of a deficiency of this acid in the body, the mice showed cardiomyopathy, as well as a decrease in activity along with a decrease in weight.
The most serious consequences of insufficient consumption of this substance were found in children. The body of newborns is not able to produce taurine. However, this substance is found in breast milk, which, until the baby is six weeks old, is the only source of this valuable substance for him. It is also added to baby food.
Benefits of Taurine Supplement for Bodybuilding
Taurine supplement is necessary for body builders for the normal functioning of the liver, heart, retina, blood cells and the central nervous system. This sulfonic acid is involved in vital processes occurring in the body: maintaining normal metabolism, regulating blood pressure, and digesting fats.
Taurine is read nutraceutical thanks to its versatile health effects, including reducing fatigue and strengthening the immune system.
Muscle and Performance
The most attractive properties of taurine for bodybuilders are associated with increased performance and its effect on the muscles.
So can this amino acid make you stronger and faster?
One study tested athletes’ running abilities after taking taurine supplement, but found no significant improvement. However, an increased concentration of this substance after workout was associated with faster recovery and less oxidative stress in muscle tissue.
Taurine acts as a strong antioxidant that also helps the body recover faster. In this way, it can work in two ways: prevent damage and stress from exercise, and speed up muscle recovery. Since this acid is usually one of the ingredients of energy drinks, it was believed that the combination of taurine with caffeine creates an ergogenic effect. However, a study that used only taurine supplement also showed positive results.
Central Nervous System (CNS)
Taurine plays the role of a neurotransmitter amino acid in the central nervous system (CNS). It is thought to promote the formation of new cells in the hippocampus (the limbic part of the brain associated with memory and emotion).
It is believed that this bodybuilding supplement reduces the level of triglycerides, thereby reducing the likelihood of obesity.
Experiments in mice have shown that taurine is essential for maintaining skeletal muscle function.
The effect of taurine on improving athletic performance has been experimentally proven. Scientists from the University of Stirling in Scotland, who study the effects of exercise on health, conducted a study among athletes-middle-distance runners. Athletes took 1000 mg of taurine supplement two hours before running.
90% of the subjects showed an improvement in the results for a few seconds. And we know that in track and field, the difference of a few seconds can make a big difference. At the same time, there was no negative effect on breathing and heart rate. Studies have concluded that the probability of improving the performance of athletes when taking taurine supplement is 99.3%.
If your goal is the development of muscles and the growth of strength indicators, then taking taurine before training will have a positive effect on the recovery processes, and intense physical activity will be easier to tolerate due to the antioxidant effect.
It is difficult to overestimate the role of this amino acid in maintaining eye health. It improves the metabolic processes in the tissues of the eye, promotes the restoration of the functions of cell membranes. Taurine in the form of eye drops is prescribed for dystrophy and corneal injuries, for dystrophic lesions of the retina, cataracts.
How to Take Taurine Supplement for Bodybuilding?
Taurine is available in capsule or powder form. Also, this substance can be part of many sports supplements or energy drinks. It should be noted that its amount may exceed the average daily norm, which is 400 mg per day. In specialized sports supplements, the concentration of taurine can be from 200 to 2000 mg. This dosage should not confuse bodybuilders, as with intense physical exertion, the need for this acid increases. Accordingly, the body can absorb more of the substance.
The maximum daily dose of taurine is 3000 mg. If you do not exceed this dosage, then you can be sure that no side effects will occur. It is recommended to take this supplement with meals.
Higher doses were also tested. Their good tolerability has been proven. However, there is not enough experimental data to make sure that after a while you will not have any health problems.
What Foods Have Taurine?
Unfortunately, taurine is not present in sufficient quantities in the average diet of US residents. Therefore, it is important to monitor your diet, taking into account the amount of physical activity.
Foods that contain this amino acid: cheese, eggs, fish, seafood, meat. They should be included in the daily diet, if possible. Protein-rich fish and meat can contain from 6 mg (mackerel) to 300 mg (dark meat turkey) of taurine per 100 g of product.
Vegetarians should consider taking taurine supplement to avoid putting themselves at risk of deficiency. This product contains a substance in the form of a powder. You only need to dilute it with water.
What are The Side Effects of Taurine?
Quite often you can hear the opinion about the negative effects of taurine on the body. In 2008, scientific research revealed that the amount of this amino acid used in beverages does not cause side effects. The danger lies in the other ingredients of these products.
Caffeine and other stimulants work synergistically with taurine. This combination of components is a real “energy mix”. It can be harmful to people with disorders of the heart or nervous system. In any case, before using a particular product, you should consult with a specialist. You need to stop using such energy supplements in cases where there are disturbances in the heart, rapid excitability and problems with sleep.
It is worth noting that an overdose from taurine is almost impossible, since the excess content of this amino acid is excreted in the urine. A study conducted in 2008 confirms this. In bodybuilders who took taurine supplement for a week, the content of this substance in the plasma increased by 13 times, but no increase in the concentration was observed in the muscles.
The presence of sufficient amounts of taurine in the body is a prerequisite for maintaining the overall health of the body. It has a restorative and antioxidant effect, helping the body to cope with stress. When doing bodybuilding, the need for taurine supplement increases. Therefore, if you are an athlete, then pay attention to this substance.