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Taurine

Taurine

If you’re looking for better athletic performance, greater muscle fullness (‘muscle swelling pumps’) and even greater longevity, you’re in the right place! Taurine is an amazing amino acid that might be the missing link from your diet and, you can’t get it from regular protein supplements! While you can get Taurine from meats and Seafood, most people only get 200 mg per day, even on a high-meat diet!

Read this article and find out how the latest research has shown that supplementing with Taurine can increase energy, detoxify organs, regulate electrolytes and even improve glucose tolerance. From a training performance point-of-view, find out how Taurine has been shown to increase the force of muscle contractions, and even to help the muscle get rid of excess lactic acid allowing them (and you) to workout harder for longer!

You’ll find it in energy drinks like Red Bull where its combined with caffeine and other energizing ingredients to keep you awake, upright, and functional when you need it. You’ll also see Taurine in bodybuilders and athletes’ toolboxes because of its range of performance enhancing benefits. It’s not just an ingredient in drinks either, some even use it as a standalone product to boost workout intensity and increase muscle gains, strength, and training performance.

While not as well-known as Creatine, Citrulline, Beta-Alanine or Caffeine, Taurine remains one of today’s most effective performance enhancing supplements. Research has called Taurine a “wonder molecule” because of its’ scope and robustness in training benefits. As a super-nutrient with a broad application, Taurine is well worth adding to your next supplement stack. You’re not a blind follower and that’s why we’ve broken it all down for you.

Pre-workout ingredients tend to improve either mental or physical performance. Taurine, on the other hand, does it all and that’s why ALTRD STATE is such an effective pre-workout supplement. Taurine plays a major role in muscle functioning and growth. It can also increase focus which bolsters training intensity, enhances fat loss, improves overall health and boosts testosterone.

Unlike most other amino acids, Taurine is non-proteogenic, which means that it is not incorporated into proteins and not directly involved in muscle protein synthesis. Instead, Taurine resides in the intracellular spaces (inside the cell) of various tissues as a free amino acid. Here it is used to support a wide range of physiological processes and functions. This makes it one of two conditionally essential amino acids (the other being Glutamine).

Taurine is produced in the pancreas from the amino acid Cysteine. Its formulation begins when Cysteine is oxidized to form cysteine sulfinic acid. Upon its formation, cysteine sulfinic acid is decarboxylated – where its carbon atoms are removed from its carbon chain – by the enzyme sulfinoalanine decarboxylase (CSD). This makes hypotaurine which is oxidized again to produce Taurine. That was a detailed way to say that oxygen reacts with cysteine, then carbons are cut away and oxygen reacts again to create Taurine. There are many more supporting reactions but you get the idea.

As a conditionally essential amino, Taurine must be replenished as it is depleted. Taurine depletion occurs under certain conditions; for example, the harder an athlete trains, the greater the Taurine usage in their muscle tissue.40 Though it is not considered an essential amino acid, Taurine remains the second most abundant amino in skeletal muscle. Furthermore, it is highly concentrated in tissues that have the highest energy requirements, such as the muscles, eyes, heart, and brain.4, 28

What are the benefits of Taurine?

The muscle cramping experienced by training athletes – particularly in warmer conditions – can put the brakes on performance and may even lead to injury. Fortunately, Taurine can also be used to maintain proper hydration, improve electrolyte balance, and increase the influx of minerals into muscle tissue.19 In this way, individuals prone to muscle cramping may experience symptomatic improvements in muscle relaxation when supplementing with Taurine.

Taurine has been shown to decrease muscle cramping by helping to offset deficiencies in magnesium, a key mineral that signals the muscles to relax. This, in turn, reduces the involuntary muscular contractions which signify cramping while enhancing post-workout muscle recovery.

Taurine also plays a big role in regulating additional key electrolytes’ calcium, potassium and sodium within the body. Electrolytes are substances that dissolve in water where they create an electrically-conducting solution which carries a charge to power biological processes. These processes include hydration, blood pressure, nervous system and muscle function, and Taurine assists them all. 

Taurine is especially important for strength athletes as its ability to increase intramuscular calcium levels has been shown to greatly enhance muscular contraction.13, 14, 26 This is perhaps Taurine’s most beneficial action for bodybuilders in that a more forceful muscular contraction ultimately stimulates more muscle microtrauma and compensatory muscle growth.

During training we inevitably experience a gradual drop in Taurine. This adversely impacts the degree to which our muscles may contract to produce force. By supporting contractile proteins and countering muscular fatigue, Taurine optimizes the ability of the fast twitch muscle fibers to produce more force and grow bigger and stronger.2, 13, 14

Most importantly, Taurine enables more calcium to be released inside muscle cells whenever these cells are forced to work against resistance. This greater influx of calcium (a necessary component of muscular contraction) enables the muscles to work harder, even when fatigue has set in.

As mentioned, a primary role of Taurine is its ability to push water into muscle cells to increase cellular hydration and volume. Like that other cell volumizer, Creatine, Taurine helps to expand muscle cells by forcing more water into these cells, thus improving both training performance and aesthetic appearance (a fuller, rounder muscle always looks better).15 

By increasing hydration and fullness, an expanded muscle cell leads to a higher rate of protein synthesis and more resulting muscle growth.22 In addition, proper hydration may also boost glycogen storage to enable more reps and greater workout volume (factors which also increase muscle protein synthesis).24 

Finally, a well hydrated muscle is better able to achieve hypertrophy. Due to the pump, the structure of a muscle cell is reinforced and anabolic pathways such as mTOR are activated to address any incurred damage by laying down new muscle fibers.32 The pump also engages hormonal changes, cell swelling, free-radical production and the increased activity of growth-oriented transcription factors, each of which also helps to produce more muscle.32, 36 

As well as processing and transporting nutrients to and ensuring faster waste product removal from the muscles, optimal muscle hydration through Taurine supplementation also reduces muscular fatigue by preventing dehydration and, as we have learned, regulating essential electrolyte minerals, which combine to aid performance, recovery, and growth.

Research – preliminary and otherwise – has shown that Taurine can also help to reduce blood sugar levels and counter insulin resistance.10, 11, 16 This fact is underscored, in part, by the fact that blood Taurine levels tend to be lower in diabetic populations.11, 18 Taurine improves insulin sensitivity by improving insulin binding and glucose uptake in cells. This makes Taurine an important nutrient for diabetics and others who would like to keep their blood sugar levels at a healthy level (i.e., everyone).18, 37 As well, Taurine has a strong antioxidant effect, which may help protect insulin-producing beta cells.20 In addition, Taurine has been shown to directly stimulate insulin release and improve insulin sensitivity.25 

Taurine has anti-inflammatory, immune and cardiac functions. Each of these helps to lower blood pressure and protect the heart.28 Taurine also plays an important role in neurotransmission, membrane stabilization and neurological development, which ultimately leads to healthy brain development and greater focus and general mental functioning.5, 17

In addition, Taurine improves the digestion and absorption of fats by assisting in the formation of bile salts. Here, first time users of Taurine may notice an improvement in digestive health, nutrient assimilation, and cholesterol status due to Taurine’s role in bile salt formation.19 

Taurine also possesses powerful antioxidant benefits (along with the aminos methionine and cysteine, Taurine contains sulfur, which has been shown to ameliorate oxidative damage in cells).3, 7

As a potent antioxidant and membrane-stabilizing compound, Taurine has some powerful benefits when it comes to muscle recovery. Whenever we exercise, we incur stress that can destabilize and damage muscle cells by various mechanisms, including oxidative stress and excessive chronic inflammation.7, 29, 33, 35, 41 By supplementing with Taurine, we can minimize the adverse effects and aid muscle restoration and growth. Taurine, as mentioned, reduces inflammation, a major precursor to with cellular damage. By defending against training-induced muscle damage, Taurine can be used to fast-track recovery while also managing delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).

Taurine also helps to banish stress and anxiety, which can improve quality of sleep and enhances recovery by maximizing protein synthesis, supressing catabolic hormones, and bolstering immunity.17 When combined with Magnesium, Taurine has been shown to calm the nervous system, boost mood, reduce anxiety and promote relaxation by increasing the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA.9, 21, 23 

Taurine has also been shown to improve training performance by increasing muscular strength, VO2 max (the maximum rate of oxygen consumption measured during incremental exercise), exercise time to exhaustion, and maximal workload.1, 8, 40, 41 Underlying these benefits is Taurine’s ability to remove certain metabolic waste products that lead to fatigue and cause the muscles to burn and tire prematurely.1, 5, 7 This combined with Taurine’s ability to protect muscle cells from damage and oxidative stress allows you to get back to training faster and train at a higher intensity, for longer. Studies show that Taurine may reduce exercise-induced DNA damage and enhance training capacity due to its cellular protective properties.41

Blood Taurine depletion is minimized when it’s taken pre-workout and that’s why ALTRD STATE has 2 grams per scoop. This leads to more forceful muscular contractions and greater work capacity (intensity and force) along with the ability to train longer.8 This can be explained in part by Taurine’s neuromodulatory role in this brain, where it exists in very high concentrations. Here, Taurine alters the actions of inhibitory neurotransmitters. This action is thought to be the main mechanism for Taurine’s beneficial impact on mental focus. Because Taurine concentrations in the brain are thought to decrease with age, researchers have concluded that increasing Taurine intake can improve mental functioning and enhance memory, both of which enhance training performance.5  

A leaner physique looks better and performs better – Taurine can help with that. With its powerful fat burning benefits, Taurine can assist here too.27, 34 Indeed, in addition to its direct performance-enhancing benefits, Taurine also assists in body fat metabolism, which can both boost energy production and strip adipose tissue.34 

For energy usage, fats depend to a large extent on the amino acid Carnitine, which transports fats to the mitochondria (energy production) organelles contained within each of our cells. Inside these little fat furnaces, adipose is converted to fuel. But before Carnitine can perform its fat-burning role, sufficient Taurine must first be available to initiate the all-important transportation of fats into the mitochondria. Without adequate Taurine, the fat burning process would be much less efficient.34 In one study, cyclists who supplemented with 1.66 grams of Taurine increased fat burning by 16%.27

Testosterone production is a major catalyst in building muscle and stripping fat.  Taurine has been shown to increase Testosterone while decreasing the estrogen estradiol.35, 39 Without enough testosterone we compromise muscle protein synthesis, muscle growth, fat burning, and health. With more of it we recover faster, gain lean mass faster and regulate many other important functions in our body better.

How Much Should I Take?

Because very little Taurine is synthesized in the human body, it is important to replenish it through supplementation and a diet of Taurine-rich foods such as meat, seafood, milk and eggs.38 In energy drinks Taurine is usually in doses from 1000mg (one gram) to 2000mg (two grams) and can safely be taken in supplemental dosages of 1-3 grams, before or after workouts. You can see the importance of supplementing because the average diet only provides 40mg to 400mg of Taurine daily.

When it comes to testosterone production, 3-5 grams of Taurine per day for an 85kg man is recommended.35 While the most common dose for performance enhancement can run anywhere from 500mg to 2000mg per day, the upper limit for Taurine toxicity is high, with doses above 2000mg being well-tolerated by most.31 Now that you understand what Taurine is and how it works, here are some of the benefits of Taurine explained:

A Wonder Molecule for All

From obscure amino to all-in-one wonder molecule, Taurine has made its mark as the compound of choice for hard training athletes and the exclusively health-conscious alike. From energy-enhancement to fat burning, muscle-building, cell-volumizing, subcutaneous water elimination, testosterone boosting, blood sugar reduction, muscle contraction, mental focus, recovery, and less muscle cramping, Taurine exerts its powerful influence to build better bodies and optimize physical and mental performance. Give it a decent shot and see how it can work for you.

References

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  2. Bakker, A.J. et al. (2002). Effect of taurine on sarcoplasmic reticulum function and force in skinned fast-twitch skeletal muscle fibres of the rat. J Physiol. 538(Pt 1): p. 185-94. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11773327/
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  15. Hoffmann, E.K. et al. (2009). Pedersen, Physiology of cell volume regulation in vertebrates. Physiol Rev. 89(1): p. 193-277. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19126758/
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  38. Wójcik, O. P. et al. (2010). The potential protective effects of taurine on coronary heart disease. Atherosclerosis208(1), 19–25. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19592001/
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