Taurine is an amino acid commonly found in energy drinks, pre-workouts, and other popular supplement blends. The body synthesizes taurine on its own, making taurine a nonessential amino acid. Taurine is sometimes also called a “conditionally essential amino acid” because it not used to build proteins and is needed by neonates (newborn infants).
Taurine is included in many energy drinks and pre-workout supplements because it has a calming effect but also can boost muscle endurance and performance.
For most people, supplementing with taurine results in a significant, positive effect on mood, energy, cognition, exercise endurance, and overall mental and bodily function.
The Benefits of Supplementing Taurine
These are the proven benefits of supplementing taurine:
- Prevention of exercise-induced oxidative stress
- Higher muscle endurance
- Enhanced workout performance
- Improved building of muscle
- Better recovery from training and exercise
- Reduced muscle damage and muscle soreness after resistance training
- Reduced anxiety and nervousness
- Improved mood
- Increased focus and cognitive function
Muscle Endurance and Performance
While the exact mechanisms through which taurine enhances muscle endurance and performance are not entirely clear, current research has shown an overall positive effect on athletic function, muscular power, and endurance during exercise from taurine supplementation.
A study done on 10 cyclists found that taurine-containing drinks have a hormonal effect which leads to significantly improved performance. This second study on taurine also found that supplementing oral taurine improves both muscular power output and endurance during exercise.
This meta-analysis on 10 different studies found from the available evidence that taurine has a positive impact on endurance during exercise.
Adding on to endurance and performance, supplementing taurine has also been found to increase the amount of muscle that can be built from training.
This recently published study on taurine supplementation was able to find increased muscle fiber growth and muscle density from supplemental taurine added to meals.
Recovery and Soreness
Taurine supplementation can reduce muscle soreness and improve recovery as well.
This study found that supplementing taurine can help improve muscle recovery following eccentric exercise. Since eccentric movements, or lengthening of the muscle, is the portion of a lift that results in muscle damage, taurine can be very useful to assist the muscle in performing fully after a workout.
Another study on DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) concluded that taurine can be used to attenuate DOMS and decrease muscle soreness after exercise.
Focus and Mood
Finally, taurine has been shown to have a large positive influence on mood, levels of anxiety, depression, and overall cognitive function.
This study on taurine and its neurological effect found that supplemental taurine had a protective role against anxiety, depression, strokes, neurodegenerative diseases, diabetic neuropathy, and epilepsy. A second study on the effects of taurine on anxiety found that taurine may play a role in the modulation of anxiety and locomotor activity.
Another study study on taurine also arrived at the conclusion that supplementing with taurine could be able to able to treat depression, specifically in diabetic individuals.
For focus and cognition, this study identified a relationship between taurine, acetylcholine, and manganese. It found that through its effects on acetylcholine and manganese, taurine was able to improve learning ability and memory.
The Best Taurine Dosage For Bodybuilding
While it is recommended to take 500mg of taurine by certain supplement companies, studies have shown there to be very few side effects at higher doses.
When starting out, only take 200-500mg in order to see how your body reacts, but after this initial dose you can increase the amount of taurine you take up to 2-3g.
You may find that 3g is the right amount for you and that the positive effects on cognition and training performance become more apparent at a higher dose. In this case, supplement up to 5g, however beyond that there is limited evidence on the toxicity and safety of taurine so it not suggested to consume more than 5g per day.
Where Should You Buy Taurine?
Taurine exists in certain foods and can also be supplemented.
There are several natural sources of taurine.
Taurine is primarily found in meat and dairy products. The highest taurine concentrations in meat are in turkey, chicken, salmon, and shellfish. The highest taurine concentrations in dairy foods are in milk and eggs.
In these foods, the taurine content is going to range from 5mg-20mg per serving which is much lower than the recommended dose for the positive effects from taurine. For this reason, supplementing with taurine is a good alternative.
In order to have more control over your taurine intake and obtain the benefits of higher doses, a taurine supplement can be very useful.
There are many different taurine supplements on the market, but for a pure powder without extra fillers, this taurine supplement at BulkSupplements is one of the best choices.
Overall, supplementing taurine can help to build muscle.
The positive effects from taurine are more endurance, improved performance, more muscle built from resistance training, better recovery, less muscle soreness, reduced anxiety and depression, and enhanced cognitive function.
There are no side effects from taurine, however frequent use may cause a rebound in anxiety for some people once they stop. If you are prone to anxiety, it would be better to cycle on and off, however for building muscle, everyday use is not associated with any negative effects.
The best dose of taurine to take is 1-3g per day.
For more on supplements, such as yohimbine and wether or not DHEA supplements are worth it for bodybuilding, click here.