Is losing fat and getting in better shape one of your goals? Or are you trying to lower your stress and anxiety levels? Maybe you want to get better sleep and not be haunted by exhaustion.
Getting enough of the amino acid taurine is one of the most effective ways to get motivated and eliminate stress.
Taurine is the amino acid of anxiety control and stress management because it will lower cortisol and helps people sleep better. It also improves athletic performance and reaction time, making it useful for athletes.
Taurine supports insulin health, can help prevent diabetes, and elevates energy production. It is a potent brain nutrient, lowers blood pressure, protects the heart, and fights inflammation. Sounds like we could all use a little extra!
This article will focus on the ten best benefits of taurine for a lean body composition and excellent health. Taurine can give you that extra boost by improving your mood, motivation, and helping you feel all around better.
1) Taurine Helps Lower Stress
Even the most serene individuals often say they’d like to have less stress in their lives. Taurine can help us get there.
Taurine is an amino acid that calms the nervous system by facilitating the production of the neurotransmitter GABA. By helping to raise GABA levels, taurine will allow your body to manage anxiety so that your thoughts don’t go spiraling out of control and you don’t get the associated cortisol and adrenaline spikes that go with anxiety and stress.
If you have low taurine, your nervous system will be over-responsive to stress. A chronically excited nervous system means persistently high cortisol, and often, an increase in body fat. If you have any experience with fat loss, you know that the body is most agreeable about giving up its fat stores when it is calm and not stressed or overly stimulated. The simple stress-lowering effect of taurine will help you improve body composition and lose weight.
For example, research shows that taurine supplementation can lower anxiety in stress-producing situations, thereby allowing for greater work output and performance. One animal study in Advances in Experimental Medicines and Biology found that a taurine treatment prior to an anxiety-inducing exercise test resulted in less anxious behavior and better performance than a placebo.
2) Taurine Eases Anxiety
Taurine is an organic acid that is derived from the amino acid cysteine. Interestingly, taurine behaves more like a neurotransmitter because of how it calms the nervous system. Ensuring your taurine intake is adequate is a first line of defense if you suffer from anxiety.
Resistance trainees and athletes will easily deplete taurine since it is involved in fat burning and recovery. For example, baseball pitchers and track throwers tend to be deficient in taurine and magnesium due to all the high velocity throws they perform.
Taurine can be synthesized in the pancreas if sufficient cysteine is available. Taurine is supplied in the diet from meat and animal products such as seafood, meat, milk, and eggs. Vegetarians and vegans tend to be chronically deficient in taurine. One of the more harmful things about nutrient deficiencies associated with the vegan diet is that the lack of taurine leads to chronic anxiety. With the added stress and over-stimulated nervous system that goes with taurine deficiency, vegans can be in for a rough time.
A supplement will help non-meat eaters, but carnivores are recommended to include grass-fed animal products because this will also provide a nice dose of DHA and EPA omega-3s. Plus, you’ll get extra carnitine (essential for fat burning and works synergistically with taurine), creatine (great for body composition and performance), and conjugated linoleic acid (helps prevent cancer).
3) Taurine Improves Fat Burning
Taurine helps the body metabolize fat, making it essential for energy production and a lean physique. But, it’s also necessary for many aspects of health because beneficial fats play a role in the health of every cell in the body.
Fat burning works like this: The nutrient carnitine is responsible for the transport of fats into the cells to be used for energy in the body. By raising the level of muscle carnitine, you support the fat burning process, but you also must have adequate taurine for this to happen. Taurine plays a role in the initial phase of fat metabolism, while carnitine takes the fat into the cell to let your body burn it up.
4) Taurine Improves Insulin Health
Taurine is a well known supplement for improving insulin sensitivity. Taurine makes the cells more sensitive to insulin binding and glucose uptake by multiple mechanisms.
First, taurine has what is called an “anorexigenic” effect on the hypothalamus gland, meaning that it minimizes feelings of hunger by improving energy production and metabolism. A recent study in the journal Amino Acids found that the anorexigenic action of taurine enhances the role of insulin in the control of food intake and helps stall body fat gain.
Taurine also has an antioxidant effect and has been found to lower chronic inflammation in the hypothalamus. An inflamed hypothalamus results in greater insulin production by the pancreas, which leads to higher insulin levels and obesity.
A more concrete action of taurine on body composition is its ability to improve resting energy expenditure. Another new study in Amino Acids found that by raising taurine levels fat burning increased rest by activating pathways that play a role in insulin sensitivity and glucose disposal by 70 percent.
5) Taurine Improves Testosterone
Taurine has been proven to raise testosterone production, while not raising the concentration of estradiol, an estrogenic hormone. A study in Amino Acids found that taurine supplementation stimulated testosterone production. A suggested dose ranges from 3 to 5 grams of taurine a day for an 85 kg man.
Obviously, having adequate testosterone levels is essential for the ideal male body composition because testosterone improves lean mass development and fights fat gain. Plus, it’s well known low testosterone in men is linked with poor health, particularly bad metabolism and the development of diabetes.
Taurine is one nutrient among many that should be attended to for adequate reproductive health in both men and women. Along with taurine, carnitine, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin D are all essential for health and body composition.
6) Taurine Fights Oxidative Stress
Taurine is a highly effective, if lesser known, antioxidant. Its ability to abolish free radicals and keep cells alive and healthy is partly due to how it helps maintain homeostasis and balance in the body.
The integrated benefits of omega-3s and taurine in the body were demonstrated in a new study published in the International Journal of Molecular Medicine that measured the inflammatory status of fat tissue in response to a diet that included supplemental sardine protein. Sardines contain some of the highest concentrations of EPA and DHA omega-3s of all fish, making them an excellent dietary addition, and they also contain taurine and vitamin E, another potent antioxidant.
This study found that sardine protein minimized fat gain in response to a diet high in fructose. In addition, glucose uptake improved, oxidative stress markers were reduced, and inflammation decreased.
7) Taurine Enhances Performance & Accelerates Recovery
Taurine supplementation will increase force production, improve endurance and performance in both aerobic and anaerobic system sports.
For example, one recent study showed that intense exercise significantly lowers muscle taurine levels, but that administering taurine during the exercise session counters the loss of taurine and helps improve work capacity.
In this study, taurine supplementation improved endurance performance compared to a placebo group. Plus, following the exercise tests, urinary loss of creatine and other biomarkers were reduced. This means that taurine administration improved recovery and reduced the effects of muscle fatigue.
One reason taurine improves performance and time to exhaustion is its ability to improve fat burning. One study showed taurine ingestion prior to a prolonged cycling time trial resulted in better performance and a 16 percent increase in total fat oxidation compared to a control group.
Taurine also helps the fast-twitch muscles produce peak force by supporting the contractile properties and countering fatigue. It’s likely a combination of better energy production and the ability of taurine to maintain homeostasis in the body that play a role in increasing force in type 2 muscle fibers.
8) Raising Muscle Taurine Levels Protects Cardiovascular Health
Taurine will protect the heart and lower blood pressure, and raising muscular levels has been shown to improve the exercise capacity of patients with heart failure. A recent study in the Journal of Cardiology compared the effects of 500 mg of taurine three times a day with a placebo on patients with left ventricular heart failure.
The patients who received the taurine significantly increased exercise distance, and they improved their functional mobility over a two-week period, while the placebo group demonstrated no changes. Researchers suggest taurine improves calcium homeostasis, which aids cardiovascular function, and has “an overall beneficial effect on the macrovascular system.”
The cardiovascular benefits of taurine are abundant and convincing. Multiple studies have shown taurine will lower blood pressure (it is particularly effective at preventing hypertension that is linked to insulin resistance and poor metabolic health).
Further, a recent study in the Journal of Biomedical Science found that taurine and magnesium levels along with body mass index and total cholesterol were most directly related to the lowest cardiovascular risk in a population of healthy Japanese. Researchers suggest the combination of elevated taurine and magnesium stores support heart health in this population, and that the Japanese have higher levels of these nutrients due to the presence of fish in the diet.
9) Taurine With Magnesium Improves Sleep
Together magnesium and taurine are the answer to abolish stress, calm the nervous system, and help you sleep better. You’ll also have a better overall mood. People who are deficient in either magnesium or taurine are at greater risk for depression and poor motivation.
Magnesium is well known to calm the nervous system, while countering fatigue. Similarly, taurine raises GABA levels, calming the nervous system and lowering anxiety and stress hormones that hinder rest.
10) Taurine Supports Brain Function
Taurine can delay the cognitive decline that comes with aging. It can also improve learning and retention in older individuals and will aid the development of cognitive function in children.
Interestingly, research shows taurine will improve reaction time and minimize sleepiness in sleep-deprived individuals when paired with caffeine. A new study in the British Journal of Surgery tested the effects of a placebo, caffeine, or caffeine with taurine on surgery performance in sleep-deprived novice surgeons. The caffeine plus taurine reversed the negative effects of reaction time due to fatigue and minimized feelings of sleepiness, although not to baseline levels.
Researchers suggest that the combination is ideal because caffeine provides the stimulus, while taurine has a calming affect that functions as an anti-fatiguer. Green tea paired with taurine and carnitine can be very effective when in a sleep-deprived state because this mixture helps to manage anxiety and improve energy and focus.