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Taurine

Synonyms/Common Names/Related Substances:

  • 2-Aminoethanesulfonate, 2-amino ethane sulfonic acid, 2-aminoethanesulfonic acid, 2-aminoethylsulphonic acid, 2-phthalimidoethanesulphon-N-isopropylamide, acomprosate, chlorotaurine, Aminosyn®-PF, chlorotaurine, D-cystine, dibicor, glycochenodeoxycholic acid, glycocholic acid, N-chloro taurine, taltrimide, taurine bromamine, taurochenodeoxycholic acid, taurocholic acid, taurolidine, tauromustine, tauro-UDCA, tauroursodeoxycholic acid, Trophamine®, TUDCA, Twinlab®, ursodeoxycholic acid.
  • Select combination products: 220V, AdvoCare Spark®, Bad Boy Power Drink, Burn® Energy Drink, Dark Dog® Energy Drink, Flash Power, Flying Horse® Light, Monster Energy Drink®, Night Power, Red Bull® Energy Drink, Red Bull® Sugar Free, Rockstar® Energy Drink.
  • Note: Taurine derivatives, such as taltrimide (2-phthalimidoethanesulphon-N-isopropylamide), acamprosate, chlorotaurine, N-chloro taurine, taurolidine, tauromustine, and tauroursodeoxycholic acid, lack specific discussion in this review.

Clinical Bottom Line/Effectiveness

Brief Background:

  • Taurine, or 2-aminoethanesulfonic acid, was originally discovered in ox (Bos taurus) bile and was named after taurus, or bull. A nonessential amino acid-like compound, taurine is found in high abundance in the tissues of many animals (1), especially sea animals (2), and in much lower concentrations in plants, fungi, and some bacteria. As an amine, taurine is important in several metabolic processes of the body, including stabilizing cell membranes in electrically active tissues, such as the brain and heart. It also has functions in the gallbladder, eyes, and blood vessels, and may have some antioxidant and detoxifying properties. Taurine is an established vasorelaxant in the retina (3).
  • Taurine is a constituent of some energy drinks, including Red Bull® (4;5). Numerous clinical trials suggest Red Bull® and similar energy drinks may be effective in reducing fatigue and improving mood and endurance. However, these drinks contain other ingredients, which may also offer benefit in these areas, including caffeine and glucuronolactone. The effect of taurine alone in energy drinks has lacked study. Thus, the effectiveness of taurine in energy drinks is unclear and further research is still required.
  • Several taurine derivatives are being investigated for medical use, such as taltrimide as an antiepileptic drug. Other taurine derivatives in various stages of development include acamprosate (anti-alcoholic), tauromustine (anticancer), and tauroursodeoxycholic acid (liver disorders).
  • The efficacy of taurine has been investigated for diabetes, hypertension, cystic fibrosis, liver disorders, cardiovascular disorders, and nutritional support. Although promising in many fields, high quality clinical trials are required before firm conclusions can be made for these indications.
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Dosing/Toxicology

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Precautions/Contraindications

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Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

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Mechanism of Action

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History

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Evidence Table

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Evidence Discussion

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Products Studied

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.