Taurine is not bull urine, it is an organic acid with a sulfur in it. It is found in foods, in highest amounts in meats, and is a heart and blood healthy agent that can confer a wide variety of health benefits. Its most well known usage is to reduce cramping caused by fat burners like ephedrine.
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Taurine is an organic acid which acts as a lipid/membrane stablilizer in the body and can aid various anti-oxidant defense systems.
Taurine exerts most of its benefits vicariously though other compounds in the body, but exerts some of its own on a cellular level. It is being heavily researched as an anti-diabetic compound due to its actions on organs of the body of most concern to diabetics (kidney, eye, nerve health) as well as controlling blood sugar while reducing some forms of insulin resistance.
Dosages between 500mg-2,000mg have shown efficacy, although the upper limit for toxicity is placed at a much greater level and high doses are well-tolerated.
The upper limit for which one can be relatively assured no side effects will occur over a lifetime has been suggested to be 3g a day.
6.1. Muscle Soreness
One study using 2,000mg taurine paired with 3,200mg BCAAs (to be taken thrice daily for two weeks prior to physical testing and four days after) noted that combination therapy, but neither placebo nor either supplement in isolation, was able to reduce muscle soreness.
6.2. Aerobic Exercise
Fat oxidation during submaximal activity has been noted to be increased with an acute dose of 1,660mg taurine supplementation in trained cyclists, although this did not impact performance.
Taurine at 1,000mg taken 2 hours prior to exercise has been implicated in improving performance on a 3km time trial in trained athletes, improving time by 1.7% without significantly affecting heart rate or oxygen uptake. Trained cyclists given 1,660mg taurine an hour before cycling (nonmaximal cycling for 90 minutes followed by a time trial) failed to find an improvement in time trial performance with supplementation.
Taurine is investigated for its interactions with testosterone due to being the most prominent free amino acid localized in the testicles of males. It has been detected in Leydig cells, vascular endothelial cells, and other interstitial cells of testis, epithelial cells of the efferent ducts by immunohistochemical methods. In the testes, taurine acts mostly as an anti-oxidant compound and protect the testes and localized structures from oxidative stress. This does appear to attenuate reductions of testosterone from other agents which may reduce testosterone via pro-oxidation, and this has been shown with nicotine, arsenic, cadmium, and doxorubicin.
Another state in which taurine may prevent oxidation-mediated reductions in testosterone is diabetes. Excess glucose and pro-oxidants in the blood of diabetic rats negatively influence testicular function, which is attenuated by taurine and testicular anti-oxidants in general. One study to measure testicular anti-oxidant enzymes also found they were increased, with increases in superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione with more efficacy in aged rats; young rats had a remarkable increase in sorbitol dehydrogenase, and both groups experienced a slight increase in testicular Nitric Oxide levels.
Maternal consumption of taurine also appears to beneficially influence androgen levels of the offspring, when measuring serum testosterone when the mother consumed 1% taurine in drinking water (rats).
General protective effects of taurine on oxidant-induced decreases in testosterone, which is linked to taurine acting as an anti-oxidant and being highly concentrated in the testicles
One study in healthy 2-month old rats given 0.5, 1, and 1.5% taurine in the drinking water for 5 weeks noted increases in serum testosterone (as well as FSH and LH) with 1% being most significant and elevating testosterone in both serum and the testes from around 50ng/dL to 80ng/dL, a 60% increase. These results were later replicated with 1% Taurine in the diet of adult and aged male rats, where an increase in testosterone and LH were noted in both groups but to a more significant degree in older rats.
The mechanism, as assessed in vitro, appears to be enhancement of HCG-induced testosterone secretion at 10-100ug/mL (and also progresterone induced testosterone secretion) while 1ug/mL or less had no effect and 400ug/mL had a suppressive effect. Secretion of testosterone was attenuated when cysteine sulfinate decarboxylase (CSD) was inhibited as well, suggesting that locally produced taurine also plays a role.
The only human study on taurine (1500mg) was confounded with creatine (5g) and glucuronolactone (350mg) as well as caffeine (110mg) and 19g Branched Chain Amino Acids (Amino Shooter, Champion Nutrition) and failed to show any significant influence on testosterone different than placebo. The lack of response from creatine in increasing testosterone may be due to creatine’s instability in solution, and the selected product being a ready-to-drink formulation (and thus no active creatine, only creatinine).
Two studies have shown taurine supplementation to increase testosterone in otherwise healthy rats, no current human studies with similar design; one human study showing no effects of 1,500mg taurine acutely with other ingredient confounds