Best Taurine Supplements + Top 6 Benefits of Taurine Supplementation

Heart Health
Taurine is an organic acid that is found in food, it is used to make bile and as such is stored in the large intestine. Taurine can be found in many energy drinks, and is often linked with treatment for diabetics.

Sources of Taurine

There are two major sources for Taurine in our diet, the first is from meat and fish, and the second is from energy drinks. Because of this, vegans tend to have much lower concentrations of Taurine in their system than omnivores, even when protein intake was the same [1].

A can of Red Bull contains just 1g of Taurine (also known as 1,000mg), which is well within the safe limit of 3,000mg per day. Other competitors in the energy drinks market have similar concentrations of Taurine.

Meat, fish, shellfish, and dairy products are all good sources of Taurine, but because Taurine is heat-sensitive a lot of it is lost during the cooking process. Eating your steak rare rather than well-done will prevent too much loss of Taurine, but either way you won’t consume much (30-40mg).

Top 6 Factual Benefits of Taurine

There seem to be many benefits of Taurine, but not all of these are universally accepted and many of the benefits have only been studied on mice or rats. This does not mean that the same benefits would not occur in humans. But until there is enough human-based studies to back the proposed benefits up, they must be seen as theoretical and be taken with a pinch of salt.

Benefit #1. Taurine can lower anxiety

In a 2007 study on mice, researchers found that 200mg/kg doses of Taurine significantly reduced anxiety [2]. Another study in 2006 found that Taurine supplementation in rats led to lowered social-anxiety and increased interaction [3].

Whilst both of these studies were performed on animals, the mechanism should be exactly the same in humans, meaning that supplementation of Taurine may help lower anxiety. As we mentioned before, because vegans have much lower levels of Taurine in the body those suffering from anxiety may have a more significant benefit from supplementation.

Benefit #2. Taurine can lead to fat loss

In 2004 a study by Zhang et al found that taking 3,000mg of Taurine per day led to significant body weight reduction in overweight and obese subjects [4]. The study also found that Taurine supplementation reduced triglycerides. A study by Rutherford, Spriet & Stellingwerff (2010) found that 1,660mg of Taurine led to increased fat oxidation during low-intensity cycling in endurance-trained cyclists [5].

Benefit #3. Taurine can protect testosterone

One of the main benefits of Taurine is that it works as an anti-oxidant, protecting the body from oxidative-stress. Taurine can protect the testicals from oxidative stress therefore preventing the loss of testosterone as a result. A lot of supplement companies claim that Taurine boosts testosterone, but really it just protects people from a possible loss of testosterone – which isn’t quite the same thing.

Benefit #4. Taurine can improve heart function

A 2011 study found that oral Taurine supplementation can alleviate the symptoms of hypertension, and reverse arterial stiffness in type I diabetics [6]. A 1985 study found that adding Taurine to the treatment of Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) was beneficial, and may improve heart function [7].

Benefit #5. Taurine can help with Diabetes

A lot of studies have found that Taurine supplementation has a positive effect on Diabetes, indirectly (lowering body fat, increasing testosterone), and directly by reversing arterial stiffness, and insulin sensitivity [8]. It can also alleviate diabetic complications such as atherosclerosis and cardiomyopathy.

Benefit #6. Taurine can Improve gym performance

A lot of people take Taurine as a pre-workout because it can increase blood flow to the muscles [9], and has been shown to prevent fatigue. It can increase endurance performance, and increase work capacity. Add in the increased fat oxidation we mentioned earlier and you can see why it has become so popular with supplement companies and bodybuilding fans.

Correct Taurine Dosage

According to examine.com the most effective dosages of Taurine seem to be between 500mg and 2,000mg. The upper limit of Taurine ingestion is around 3,000mg and no side-effects have been associated with prolonged supplementation at this level.

If you are a meat-eater then you probably have less of a need of Taurine in your diet, but vegetarians and vegans in particular could really benefit from supplementation – just so that they can reach the baseline level at the very least.

Side Effects

While the upper limit that can be safely consumed is 3,000mg that does not mean that >3,000mg doses will cause any negative effects. Currently there are no known side-effects to Taurine supplementation, it would be recommended to stick to the 500-2,000mg dose though, as the best results seem to occur within this range anyway.

The Best Taurine Supplements

Because Taurine has been shown to increase blood flow [9] they are often added into pre-workout supplements. Pre-workouts that contain Taurine include B-Nox Androrush and Show Time from Iron Horse Series.

Taurine is also added into amino acid supplements because even though Taurine isn’t an amino acid (it is technically an amino sulphonic acid) it works just like one and is often thought of as one. Amino Acid supplements that include Taurine are: Alpha Amino from Cellucor, and Essential Amino Energy from the always reliable “Optimum Nutrition”.

You can also buy Taurine in an isolated form, which is the preferred option for people who like control over exactly what ingredients they are taking. Below we have the best isolated taurine supplements on the market, based upon quality, cost, and brand reputation.

#1 Transparent Labs Pure Taurine Powder – Zero Additives, Preservatives, Colors, Flavors

Top Taurine PowderOur first pick for taurine supplements is Transparent Labs, since, this is one of the only providers of 100% pure and raw Taurine powder.

Unlike many other supplements, Taurine is tasteless. Because of this, Taurine can easily be mixed in water, or any beverage really, and then drank.

With Transparent Labs Taurine, you receive 200 grams of taurine in 2 gram serving size scoops. That means you’re getting 100 servings per container!

Due to this massive serving quantity at a 2 gram dosage, maximum purity and brand reputation – we rank TL Taurine as our personal favorite.

#2 Solgar Tuarine Pills

Taurine supplement pillsSolgar is a very reputable brand in the single ingredient supplement industry. Their products are like a ‘premium’ herbs and vitamins brand.

With Solgar, you receive your products in glass bottles with metal tops, and they ensure that their products are exceptionally fresh.

We have a lot of respect for the Solgar brand, but they are a bit out-dated.

Ten or so years ago, Solgar definitely lead the movement for pure, high quality supplements. But now, we have multiple brands proving undeniably high quality supplements. Solgar is no longer alone.

For that, we prefer to default to TL Taurine, since it is cheaper and has more servings.

However, if you prefer taking Taurine in pill form, Solgar is our second choice.

#3 Amazing Nutrition Taurine – Pharmaceutical Grade

High Quality TaurineRanking in at #3 is Amazing Nutrition’s Taurine supplement. They provide taurine in capsules containing 1,000 mg which they claim to be at a pharmaceutical grade of quality.

We’ve taken their taurine before, and have had the same results as taking Solgar and Transparent Labs taurine supplements.

Overall, this is another option for you if you prefer buying from the store and can’t find our other higher ranking brands. We like that Amazing Nutrition products are made in the USA.

#4 Now Foods Double Strength Taurine

taurineIf you go to any supplement shop or large grocery store, you’re going to find Now Foods supplements there. After all, they are one of the largest makers of herb and mineral supplements in the world!

But do they make good quality products? We think so.

Are they our favorite brand? No, not really. That’s because we prefer smaller more specialized brands who focus on a few ingredients quality, versus providing something for every product.

Additionally, this may mean fresher products since its not such a huge industrial business model.

Conclusion on Taurine Benefits and Supplements

Considering the fact that even meat-eaters tend to have lower than optimal levels of Taurine in their body, and the many benefits that supplementation could potentially yield there is definitely a case for adding Taurine to your supplement shopping list. The complete lack of side-effects are another big plus.

On the other hand, you can get a decent amount from your diet (provided you eat animal products) and there aren’t many downsides to not having optimal levels, so you could call Taurine a luxury item. If you have a bit of cash lying around then it’s definitely worth your time, but if your funds are limited there are other, more important supplements to prioritise (whey protein, creatine, omega-3s).

 

References

[1] Laidlaw, S., Shultz, T., Cecchino, J., Kopple, J. 1988. Plasma and urine taurine levels in vegans. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 47(4): 660-3

[2] Zhang, C., Kim, S. 2007. Taurine induces anti-anxiety by activating strychnine-sensitive glycine receptor in vivo. Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism 51(4): 379-386

[3] Kong, W., Chen, S., Li, Y., Zhang, Y., Wang, R., Min, L., Mi, X. 2006. Effects of Taurine in rat behaviours in three anxiety models. Pharmacology Biochemistry & Behaviour 83(2): 271-276

[4] Zhang, M., Bi, L., Fang, J., Su, X., Da, G., Kuwamori, T., Kagamimori, S. 2003. Beneficial effects of Taurine on serum lipids in overweight or obese non-diabetic subjects. Amino Acids 26(3): 267-71

[5] Rutherford, J., Spriet, L., Stellingwerff, T. 2010. The effect of acute Taurine ingestion on endurance performance and metabolism in well-trained cyclists. International Journal of Sport Nutrition & Exercise Metabolism 20(4): 322-9

[6] Abebe, W., Mozaffari, M. 2011. Role of Taurine in the vasculature: an overview of experimental and human studies. American Journal of Cardiovascular Disease 1(3): 293-311

[7] Azuma, J., Sawamura, A., Awata, N., Ohta, H., Hamaguchi, T., Harada, H., Takihara, K., Hasegawa, H., Yamagami, T., Ishiyama, T. 1985. Therapeutic effect of Taurine in congestive heart failure: a double-blind crossover trial. Clinical Cardiology 8(5): 276-82

[8] Ito, T., Schaffer, S., Azuma, J. 2012. The potential usefulness of Taurine on diabetes mellitus and its complications. Amino Acids 42(5): 1529-1539

[9] Moloney, M., Casey, R., O’Donnell, D., Fitzgerald, P., Thompson, C., Bouchier-Hayes, D. 2010. Two weeks Taurine supplementation reverses endothelial dysfunction in young male type 1 diabetics. Diabetes & Vascular Disease Research 7(4): 300-10

 

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