Taurine in energy drinks brings up a question among nutrition experts of whether or not Taurine is harmful or beneficial. Taurine is an amino acid (or at least referred to as such) that has free reign in the bloodstream as well as all other body tissues. The mere mention of "amino acid" categorizes it as part of the body's structural proteins but in this case it is not true. It is, however, one of the most abundant free form amino acids in the heart, skeletal muscles, and nervous system.
Taurine has a variety of likely medical benefits (the jury is still out) in the human body including detoxification, possibly helping bipolar disorder, combating heart disease and Type I diabetes, and improving vision to name a few. It can be depleted in the body through intense physical exertion so it must be replaced. It can be replaced through nutritional supplements and, in some cases, from the Taurine in energy drinks. I'm not sure I'd rely only on the Taurine in energy drinks as a solution unless they were from a sugar free energy drink not loaded with caffeine, ephedra, gurana root, or some other nervous system stimulant. Few studies have been done on the effects of Taurine in energy drinks but the ones that have been done and are showing promising results; with rats! The studies on humans are also showing promise when the energy drink contains caffeine.
There needs to be more studies but at this point all indicators signal improved well being, mood, and memory. There good news is that there is also an indication that sports performance is positively affected by the Taurine in energy drinks, again, as long as the drinks contained caffeine. Those who are suffering from Type I diabetes can greatly benefit from Taurine as it acts as an antioxidant by combating the destructive effect that free radical have on the pancreas. It also improves insulin resistance through and increase in the excretion of cholesterol via conversion to bile acid.
The overall conclusion is that Taurine in energy drinks can help ones health in many ways. It can make one feel more alert and improve mental performance. Current studies find Taurine to be essential for proper development and growth.
This is indicated by the fact that it has been recently added to many commercially available infant formulas. It is believed to improve cardiovascular function which leads to improved physical performance. Having said that it is important to understand that there are negative side effects of Taurine in energy drinks that contain caffeine. The caffeine is a nervous system stimulant and needs to be consumed in moderation. Several tips you won't want to forget: Do not mix alcohol with energy drinks.
Do not drink more than one a day. Do not consume energy drinks before or after strenuous exercise. Do not consume if pregnant or breast feeding.
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