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Is Taurine Bad For You?

Also Known As: 2-aminoethanesulfonic acid



Short answer

Although taurine is not generally bad for you, you're setting yourself up to crash when you consume it via energy drinks loaded with caffeine and sugar. Be careful if you're mixing taurine with lithium or if you have a mental condition such as bipolar disorder or BPD.



Long answer

Taurine is an amino acid that's naturally produced in the body. It does a number of different things in your heart, blood, and brain. Taurine has antioxidant properties and mops up dangerous free radicals that can damage your cells or DNA. It's thought to improve athletic performance and focus. It's involved in your brain's response to anxiety and depression. There may also be a positive relationship between taurine and heart health.

Taurine is often paired with caffeine as an ingredient in energy drinks. It's thought that taurine takes the edge off caffeine - it has a calming effect that counteracts the anxious buzz that people get when over-caffeinated. 

Don't be fooled, however. The energy that comes from the caffeine and sugar in energy drinks is essentially borrowed. While taurine can mask the jitters and unease of an energy drink, the crash is still coming. Be wary when consuming a product with taurine and caffeine or sugar.

You should also be wary when consuming products with taurine if you're taking lithium. There's a chance that taurine could slow down the rate that your body gets rid of lithium. If you're medicating with lithium and taking taurine as a supplement or in energy drinks, talk to your doctor. You may want to have them lower your dose of lithium to maintain safe levels.

Although some studies have indicated that taurine is good for heart health, others have linked taurine with certain kinds of heart failure. This notion is disputed: it may appear that taurine is related because cells leak taurine in the event of heart failure. If you're concerned about taurine and heart health, you should consult your doctor.

The Journal of Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery described the case of a bodybuilder who was found unconscious and brain damaged after taking taurine, insulin, and steroids. It's hard to untangle the brain damage and the different things the bodybuilder was taking. Nonetheless, exercise caution if you're mixing taurine with bodybuilding supplements, and be extra careful if you're mixing taurine with illegal or unregulated supplements.

There's some anecdotal evidence that energy drinks which contain taurine, caffeine, and other ingredients can aggravate certain mental conditions. A review in the journal of Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience reported that patients with bipolar disorder and BPD were hospitalized with worsened symptoms after consuming several such drinks. If you have a mental condition, check with your doctor before consuming products that mix taurine, caffeine, and other ingredients.

Possible short-term side effects

  • interactions with:
  • mental conditions such as bipolar disorder or bpd
  • bodybuilding supplements
  • lithium

Big is taurine bad for you 2


  • calming
  • improves focus
  • counteracts "buzz" of caffeine

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Written by Sean McNulty | 09-09-2016

Written by Sean McNulty
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