L-Taurine – Benefits & Side Effects
Also Known As: 2-Aminoethylsulfonic Acid, Taurine, 2-Aminoethane Sulfonic Acid, Taurina and Tauric acid.
Information About L-Taurine
Taurine is a major intracellular free β-amino acid, but it is often referred to as an amino acid, a chemical that is a required building block of protein. Taurine is found in large amounts in the brain, retina, heart, and blood cells called platelets.
You will most likely see many rumors that claim Taurine is extracted from bull semen, however this is simply not true.
The word Taurine is derived from the Latin word for bull, which is Taurus. Bull sperm does contain Taurine but modern methods mean Taurine is synthesized in a laboratory due to the high demand for its common use in energy drinks.
Taurine is commonly found in animal products but can also easily be supplemented by vegetarians and vegans.
The Bottom Line – Taurine is an amino acid and commonly found in energy drinks, meat, supplements and pre-workout formulas.
L-Taurine Health Benefits
Taurine serves a wide variety of functions in the central nervous system, from development to cytoprotection, and Taurine deficiency is associated with cardiomyopathy, renal dysfunction, developmental abnormalities, and severe damage to retinal neurons.
In the retina, Taurine is critical for photoreceptor development and acts as a cytoprotectant against stress-related neuronal damage and other pathological conditions.
Some studies also show that supplementing Taurine can help to reduce triglycerides which could have a positive impact on blood pressure and heart health.
Below is a list of the possible benefits we’ve found:
L-Taurine Can Reduce Your Risk Of Heart Disease
In a double-blind randomized study of 30 overweight or obese college students (body mass index [BMI] ≥ 25), who received either 3 g/day of Taurine supplementation or placebo for seven weeks, average changes in lipid levels over time in the treatment group were compared with those in the placebo group.
At baseline, there were no differences in any parameters between the two groups. After seven weeks of supplementation, plasma triglycerides decreased by 8 mg/dL in the Taurine supplemented group and increased by 3 mg/dL in the placebo group.
The study found a reduction in HDL cholesterol in the Taurine supplemented group, whilst the placebo group experienced an increase.
L-Taurine Can Help To Regulate High Blood Pressure
In a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 19 borderline hypertensive patients between the ages of 20 and 25 (27), 6g of Taurine supplementation/day significantly decreased systolic and diastolic BP over time, whereas in the placebo group BP did not change significantly.
This study shows the potential benefit of treating high blood pressure, however, it is recommended that you discuss this with your doctor. 
L-Taurine Can Help To Improve The Effects Of Caffeine
There is some controversial research showing that L-Taurine can potentially help amplify the energy-boosting effects of caffeine when the two substances are consumed at the same time (a reason why many energy drinks contain Taurine).
The Bottom Line – Taurine is an important amino acid that shows to play a key role in cardiovascular health and blood pressure. It may also help support energy levels.
How To Use L-Taurine
Taurine is generally consumed as part of a natural carnivorous diet, however, it can also be found in high quantities in energy drinks and supplements suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
The most common methods of taking L-Taurine are:
- Food Products
The typical dosage of Taurine is between 3-6 grams per day.
Are There Any Foods That Contain L-Taurine?
Taurine is largely found in animal products, predominantly meat.
L-Taurine Side Effects List
Taurine itself has no known negative side effects when consumed in recommended amounts, however when consumed as part of an energy drink, the following side effects are possible if consumed in high amounts:
- Palpitations / tachycardia
- Tremor / shaking
- Agitation / restlessness
- Gastrointestinal upset
- Chest pain/ischemia
- Paresthesia (tingling or numbing of the skin)
These side effects are possible but may not be the typical user experience.
Is L-Taurine Safe?
Taken as part of a food source, or as a supplement in the recommended amounts, yes, it is safe to consume.
When Should I Not Take L-Taurine?
- If you are pregnant and/or breast-feeding: During pregnancy, Taurine deficiency in the mother can negatively impact her baby’s growth, impairing the central nervous system, and pancreas. These babies often grow up to experience impaired glucose tolerance as well as neurological and vascular dysfunction. Taurine is considered safe to consume, however, you must consult a doctor if you decide to take supplements as they may contain other ingredients that are not suitable for pregnancy or breast-feeding.
- If you’re a child under the age of 18: Research suggests that Taurine is safe for children to consume as part of their normal dietary food intake.
Has L-Taurine Been Linked To Any Deaths?
This has not been linked to any deaths.
The Bottom Line – It is safe to consume in the recommended dosage but advised to consult a doctor if considering supplementation during pregnancy or breast-feeding.
Where Can I Buy L-Taurine & Do I Need A Prescription?
Taurine naturally occurs in many food products and you can also purchase Taurine supplements from most good health food shops and online retailers without the need for a prescription.
While common myths will have you believe this important amino acid is extracted from a Bull, it is synthesized in a laboratory when added to energy drinks and supplements.
Studies have shown that by supplementing Taurine with 3-6g daily doses, this can actually have significant health benefits which include reducing your risk of heart disease, strokes, and high blood pressure.
Vegetarians and vegans can potentially show low levels of this acid in their system, however, there have currently been no cases or research to suggest this causes any major health issues, and, this can easily be supplemented if necessary.
Supplementation is necessary for infants who are not breastfed because their ability to make Taurine is not yet developed and dairy milk does not provide enough Taurine. So Taurine is often added to infant formulas.
Taurine deficiency does not appear to be a common health trait amongst any specific groups of people and is rarely reported, however, it may be a good idea to ensure you are consuming 3 to 6 grams a day as this amino acid does appear to have some great cardiovascular benefits.