Most people are familiar with l-Taurine (sometimes referred to as simply Taurine) because it is a common additive in many popular energy drinks today. Some people even supplement their diets with additional taurine thinking that they aren’t getting enough. Which brings us to the most important question someone should ask whenever they are putting something into their body, is it safe? Anything you put in your mouth can result in some form of side effects and Taurine is no exception, so let’s take a look at what taurine is, what it does, and what kind of possible side effects of L-Taurine someone consuming it may experience.
What Is Taurine?
L-taurine is classified as a non-essential amino acid. Amino acids are the building blocks that make up larger molecules our body uses called proteins. What makes taurine a “non-essential” amino acid is that the body can synthesize its own supply of taurine using other nutrients and we as humans do not necessarily need to consume any taurine in our diet. Despite the fact that we can make our own taurine it is in our diets as well and can be found in the highest concentrations in meat.
What Does L-Taurine Do?
In the body, Taurine is responsible for transporting nutrients such as potassium and magnesium to muscle and other tissues. These nutrients are of course essential to keeping the tissues of the body in working order, meaning taurine does have a fairly big role to play in the body, and some individuals are incapable of making enough of their own taurine so they do have to supplement their diet with it. The best example of this is babies, who cannot make sufficient amounts of l-taurine on their own and will not consume enough of it if they are not being given human breast milk. Since cow’s milk does not have enough taurine in it baby formulas must supplement the milk with taurine.
What are the Side Effects?
Taurine is generally accepted as safe when taken in appropriate amounts, however, there are some symptoms that are commonly seen when taking too much taurine and adverse reactions have occurred. There has been a death potentially linked to taurine which occurred when a bodybuilder took 14 grams of the supplement in conjunction with illegal steroids and insulin. It is unclear whether the l-taurine had anything to do with the man’s death, but it is more likely that the other compounds he was taking played a bigger part in his passing. Other than that one case of mortality the side effects of taurine are mild, the most common side effect experienced from taurine is diarrhea.
Is L-Taurine Safe?
Taurine is generally accepted as being safe to take when taken in doses around what is found in a typical energy drink. The appearance of symptoms at this dose is uncommon and typically mild in nature. However, there has been a taurine related death and the role of taurine in the body makes it a vital part of living. Because of this, it is always best to consult your doctor before starting any supplementation regimen.