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Taurine

By M H

Taurine

Background

Taurine is an amino acid that has been shown to increase protein synthesis, increase cell hydration, metabolism, and improve cardiac function (1). Taurine can lead to a reduction in blood pressure, and an improvement in exercise capacity (2). So what about its effects in healthy young adults?

Scientific effects

In 2014, a paper published the journal of Applied Physiology Nutrition and Metabolism investigated the effects of taurine on young adults following eccentric exercise (EE) (3). They were interested in three particular measures: muscle performance, oxidative stress, and inflammation response following exercise. 

Twenty one subjects were either broken up into the placebo group (n=10), or the taurine group (n=11). Subjects exercised for 14 days, and received either placebo or 50 mg/kg of taurine (4 grams for a 175 pound human) for 21 days (during the 14 days of training and the 7 days after the training ended). 

The results: simply astounding. They found that taurine increased strength levels (refer to figure 1), decreased muscle soreness, decreased oxidative stress, but did not alter the inflammatory response after eccentric exercise. 

Figure 1



Notice in figure one that there were significant differences in strength between the taurine and placebo group after 7 days (the days where subjects were still ingesting taurine but no longer exercising). This suggests that the effects of taurine are long lasting, making taurine a worthy addition to your supplement stack. 

Other effects of Taurine

Taurine has been shown to improve performance in middle distance runners. Taurine has also been shown to significantly increase fat oxidation in endurance trained cyclists, and to decrease the accumulation of lactate (4-6). 

Taurine can also lead to a reduction in blood pressure, and an improvement in exercise capacity, while also reducing rates of heart failure. Extracellular taurine induces angiogenesis by activating ERK-, Akt-, and FAK-dependent signal pathways, which means it may be useful for the treatment of vascular dysfunction related diseases. Taurine can also reverse endothelial dysfunction in diabetics, implying it may be of benefit to those with atherosclerosis (1-2, 7-8). 

Recent evidence suggests that taurine may be involved in the pathophysiology of glaucoma or diabetic retinopathy. Taurine is crucial in preserving retinal ganglion cell survival, and deficiency in taurine damages retinal neurons. Taurine has also been shown to provide neuroprotection against retinal ganglion cell degradation 9-13). 

References:

1. Cuisinier, C., Michotte De Welle, J., Verbeeck, R. K., Poortmans, J. R., Ward, R., Sturbois, X., & Francaux, M. (2002). Role of taurine in osmoregulation during endurance exercise. European journal of applied physiology, 87(6), 489-495.

2. Beyranvand, M. R., Kadkhodai Khalafi, M., Roshan, V. D., Choobineh, S., Parsa, S. A., & Piranfar, M. A. (2011). Effect of taurine supplementation on exercise capacity of patients with heart failure. Journal of Cardiology, 57(3), 333-337.

3. Silva, L. a da, Tromm, C. B., Bom, K. F., Mariano, I., Pozzi, B., Rosa, G. L. da, Tuon, T., et al. (2014). Effects of taurine supplementation following eccentric exercise in young adults. Applied physiology, nutrition, and metabolism. 39(1), 101-4.

4. Balshaw, T. G., Bampouras, T. M., Barry, T. J., & Sparks, S. A. (2012). The effect of acute taurine ingestion on 3-km running performance in trained middle-distance runners. Amino Acids.

5. Rutherford, J. A., Spriet, L. L., & Stellingwerff, T. (2010). The effect of acute taurine ingestion on endurance performance and metabolism in well-trained cyclists. International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism, 20(4), 322-329.

6. Imagawa, T. F., Hirano, I., Utsuki, K., Horie, M., Naka, A., Matsumoto, K., & Imagawa, S. (2009). Caffeine and taurine enhance endurance performance. International journal of sports medicine, 30(7), 485-488.

7. Baek, Y. Y., Cho, D. H., Choe, J., Lee, H., Jeoung, D., Ha, K. S., Won, M. H., et al. (2012). Extracellular taurine induces angiogenesis by activating ERK-, Akt-, and FAK-dependent signal pathways. European Journal of Pharmacology, 674(2-3), 188-199.

8. Moloney, M. A., Casey, R. G., OʼDonnell, D. H., Fitzgerald, P., Thompson, C., & Bouchier-Hayes, D. J. (2010). Two weeks taurine supplementation reverses endothelial dysfunction in young male type 1 diabetics. Diabetes & vascular disease research: official journal of the International Society of Diabetes and Vascular Disease, 7(4), 300-310.

9. Froger, N., Moutsimilli, L., Cadetti, L., et al. (2014). Taurine: The comeback of a neutraceutical in the prevention of retinal degenerations. Prog Retin Eye Res, 14, 14,-7.

10. Froger, N., Jammoul, F., Gaucher, D., Cadetti, L., Lorach, H., Degardin, J., Pain, D., et al. (2013). Taurine is a crucial factor to preserve retinal ganglion cell survival. Advances in experimental medicine and biology, 775, 69-83. 

11. Gaucher, D., Arnault, E., Husson, Z., Froger, N., Dubus, E., Gondouin, P., Dherbécourt, D., et al. (2012). Taurine deficiency damages retinal neurones: cone photoreceptors and retinal ganglion cells. Amino Acids.

12. Froger, N., Cadetti, L., Lorach, H., Martins, J., Bemelmans, A. P., Dubus, E., Degardin, J., et al. (2012). Taurine Provides Neuroprotection against Retinal Ganglion Cell Degeneration. PLoS ONE, 7(10).

13. Militante, J. D., & Lombardini, J. B. (2002). Taurine: evidence of physiological function in the retina. Nutritional neuroscience, 5(2), 75-90.

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