Taurine is a naturally occurring amino acid, one of the most abundant in your body! It has many functions to keep you healthy - it's necessary for your organs to work properly, and is key to keeping your nervous and immune systems functioning at their best. Parts of the body that taurine is most common in, and most essential to their health include the brain, heart, liver, retina/eyes and muscle tissue.
Physical ailments such as diabetes, inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, and neurological conditions, like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s have all been thought to have potential benefit from taurine supplementation. Additionally, taurine may also be able to improve your mental health - studies with animals found that taurine reduced stress, anxiety, and depression. While taurine can be found in some foods, it is most commonly consumed as a supplement through unhealthy energy drinks - but this is definitely not the best way to consume it.
Many people, due to the common taurine content in energy drinks, believe that taurine is a stimulant, like caffeine. While it does have a stimulating effect on the brain, taurine actually doesn’t work like caffeine at all, it acts as a nervous system depressant to counteract the jitters of caffeine. When taurine is consumed, it suppresses the neurotransmitter receptors usually responsible for causing excitatory effects in the brain, thus initiating a relaxing effect. This is similar to the popular natural anxiety reducer, gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA, which is a neural messenger responsible for calming the brain. Aside from this, taurine has many health benefits, backed by a not comprehensive, but growing body of scientific research.
Aside from people experiencing some of the health issues that taurine can help with, everyone can benefit from this nutritive amino acid supplement. Unlike many supplements, when taking taurine on its own rather than a sugary, caffeine-laden energy drink, there’s currently no evidence of negative side effects in healthy people.
Any possible stigma around taurine comes from its association with these harmful energy drinks full of artificial ingredients and overload of caffeine that can harm the heart rather than help it.
Who Should Take Taurine?
Taurine could be a valuable resource to an older age range, as older adults are more likely to experience some of the things taurine can help with, but it would be smart for anyone to utilize taurine as a preventative measure.
One of the most important groups that should consider taurine supplementation is vegans and vegetarians, as their dietary restrictions prevent them from consuming taurine. Our bodies, like other animals, produce taurine naturally, so for those who don’t eat animals, a taurine supplement may be especially necessary. The best part is - taurine can be synthesized to be vegan! So everyone can reap the benefits of this awesome amino acid.