What You Should Know
Taurine is a type of pseudo-amino acid recently touted as a miraculous energy and diet aid by numerous diet companies and is also considered a fundamental acid for regulating skeletal tissue functioning in animals and humans. Taurine is found in trace amounts in the body and is normally included in energy drinks because it is hypothesized that it increases energy due it to its effects on skeletal tissue, although actual studies have not yielded any substantial results. Most taurine in energy drinks is synthetic and features a combination of vitamin E and cysteine, which are precursors to natural taurine.
It is heavily believed that taurine is a viable diet aid, and to an extent, a potent energy source, but studies conducted on these effects reveal that this is not necessarily the case although there is evidence supporting its weight loss benefits. It certainly is not the type of miracle aid diet companies claim it is however, and depending on taurine to help facilitate weight loss may not be the best solution for dieters.
Synthesized taurine is comprised of vitamin E, methionine, and cysteine.
Evidence about taurine’s ability to facilitate weight loss and stimulate energy processes in the body is slim but some evidence does exist. Preliminary studies conducted on test rats show that supplementing the diet with around two grams of taurine per day helped decrease their weight and blood sugar levels, which is good news for rats — but for the humans who want these benefits for themselves, studies conducted in this realm show negligible benefits. Further studies are being done to confirm if there are any benefits for humans.
A recent study in 2004, as reported by The FASEB Journal, also confirms some exercise-related benefits with taurine consumption. Severe taurine deficiency reduced the movability of skeletal muscles, whereas increasing this amount allowed it to function normally. The same effect has been observed in humans. It is thought this is where diet companies claim taurine has an “energizing” effect, which is untrue — it is simply a different, albeit similar, effect.
- Taurine is shown to increase skeletal muscle function.
- Early studies show it helped decrease weight in lab rats.
- Does not contain any thermogenic effects, which is considered an effective way to promote weight loss.
- Does not offer substantial dietary benefits, and it is only hypothesized it will help humans lose small amounts of weight.
- Most taurine available is synthetic, not natural.
Taurine is marketed as an energy and diet supplement but this is only based on a few studies which revealed minimal benefits for humans. It certainly would not hurt to consider supplementing taurine in your diet plan but the effects guaranteed by diet companies cannot be guaranteed and may not provide overall diet coverage. Nevertheless, the ease of purchasing taurine-infused drinks is a plus and will easily be found in any local convenience or grocery store.