Why Taurine Is Safe and Helps Athletic Endurance and Recovery
Taurine is a natural organic acid that’s central to normal human physiology and found in plentiful amounts in the human body. In fact, it makes up about a gram per kilogram of body weight and is found mainly in the brain, eyes, heart, reproductive organs, and skeletal muscle.
A normal diet typically contains between 40- to 400-milligrams of taurine per day, coming from foods such as poultry, beef, pork, and seafood (2, 3). Taurine is also a conditionally essential amino acid, meaning we can make it in our own bodies provided we have the appropriate levels of methionine and cysteine.
For athletes, taurine supplementation is also linked to improved performance. Most recently, a meta-analysis of studies performed by researchers from the University of New England, in Armidale, Australia, and St. Mary’s University in London found that daily intake of a single dose of taurine in varying amounts could lead to better endurance performance (4).
The researchers based their findings on 10 different peer-reviewed studies, including a subanalysis of time-to-exhaustion trials (4). In these studies, a range of subjects including athletes used taurine doses of anywhere from one to six grams per day in single doses for up to two weeks (4). Taurine’s effects on endurance performance didn’t appear to depend on dose or whether taken short term or long term.
Among the reasons why taurine is linked to improved performance is through its protection against the effects of oxidative stress during exercise. It’s thought to enhance exercise capacity due to its cell-protective properties, and some researchers also believe there are synergistic effects of caffeine and taurine that further improve performance.
Separately, caffeine and taurine have each demonstrated safety and efficacy (5-7). However, in recent years the question has arisen over the safety and efficacy of caffeine and taurine when consumed together.
Most of the concerns are related to energy drink consumption, particularly in those containing high levels of caffeine, taurine, and other stimulatory ingredients such as high doses of caffeine-containing guarana. Additional concerns arise when energy drinks are combined with alcohol ingestion, used in those with sleep deprivation, and used among contraindicated populations such as pregnant women, children, and those with pre-existing cardiac disorders (6-9).
Beyond when used inappropriately, claims of negative health effects are generally unsubstantiated (6, 10). For example, the European Food Safety Authority concluded that the exposure to taurine presently used in energy drink products is not of safety concern and an interaction between either caffeine or taurine is unlikely (11). Like creatine, due to its historical use in combinations with steroids or dangerous stimulants, taurine and caffeine have been simply characterized as “guilty by association.”
In 2014, scientists reviewed the physiological functions of taurine and found that they were inconsistent with the adverse cardiovascular symptoms associated with excessive consumption of caffeine-taurine containing beverages (11). Previously, the European Union’s Scientific Committee on Food published a report in March 2003 summarizing its investigation into potential interactions of the ingredients in energy drinks. At the cardiovascular level, they concluded that “if there are any interactions between caffeine and taurine, taurine might reduce the cardiovascular effects of caffeine” (11).
Several studies have involved heavy taurine supplementation that demonstrated no safety concerns or serious adverse effects. While the largest dosage of taurine tested in humans appears to be 10 grams per day for six months, (12) several studies have used one to six grams per day for periods of one week to a year (6).
Reviewing the literature, consuming caffeine and taurine under moderate use and without combining other stimulants or alcohol is completely safe. Although it’s important to mention that many serious health risks that have been associated with energy drinks were due to overconsumption of the products or their ingestion in a short period (10). Pregnant women, children, and those with underlying illnesses such as hepatic failure or cardiomyopathy should likely avoid these types of products.
AMPED™ Nitro contains a dose of 100 mg of caffeine with 500 mg of taurine. Based on the scientific literature, this dosage and combination is safe and effective for improving performance. We encourage that the drink be used as intended— one or up to two servings daily to boost workout performance.
- Huxtable RJ. Physiological actions of taurine. Physiol Rev. 1992 Jan;72(1):101-63.
- Laidlaw SA, Grosvenor M, Kopple JD. The taurine content of common foodstuffs. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 1990 Mar-Apr;14(2):183-8.
- Spriet LL, Whitfield J. Taurine and skeletal muscle function. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2015 Jan;18(1):96-101.
- Waldron M, Patterson SD, Tallent J, Jeffries O. The effects of an oral taurine dose and supplementation period on endurance exercise performance in humans: A meta-analysis. Sports Med. 2018 Mar 15. doi: 10.1007/s40279-018-0896-2
- Heckman MA, Weil J, Gonzalez de Mejia E. Caffeine (1, 3, 7-trimethylxanthine) in foods: a comprehensive review on consumption, functionality, safety, and regulatory matters. J Food Sci. 2010 Apr;75(3): R77-87.
- Shao A, Hathcock JN. Risk assessment for the amino acids taurine, L-glutamine and L-arginine. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2008 Apr;50(3):376-99.
- Al-Shaar L, Vercammen K, Lu C et al. Health Effects and Public Health Concerns of Energy Drink Consumption in the United States: A Mini-Review. Front Public Health. 2017 Aug 31; 5:225.
- Seifert SM, Seifert SA, Schaechter JL et al. An analysis of energy-drink toxicity in the National Poison Data System. Clin Toxicol (Phila). 2013 Aug;51(7):566-74.
- Wesensten, NJ. Legitimacy of concerns about caffeine and energy drink consumption. Nutr Rev. 2014 Oct;72 Suppl 1:78-86.
- Wassef B, Kohansieh M, Makaryus AN. Effects of energy drinks on the cardiovascular system. World J Cardiol. 2017 Nov 26;9(11):796-806.
- Schaffer SW, Shimada K, Jong CJ et al. Effect of taurine and potential interactions with caffeine on cardiovascular function. Amino Acids. 2014 May;46(5):1147-57.
- Durelli L, Mutani R, Fassio F. The treatment of myotonia: evaluation of chronic oral taurine therapy. Neurology. 1983 May;33(5):599-603.