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Taurine Side Effects

by
author image Sylvie Tremblay, MSc
Sylvie Tremblay holds a Master of Science in molecular and cellular biology and has years of experience as a cancer researcher and neuroscientist. Based in Ontario, Canada, Tremblay is an experienced journalist and blogger specializing in nutrition, fitness, lifestyle, health and biotechnology, as well as real estate, agriculture and clean tech.
Taurine Side Effects
Woman holding an energy drink Photo Credit Tinatin1/iStock/Getty Images

Overview

Taurine, a chemical similar in nature to molecules that make up proteins in the body, is a common ingredient in several energy drinks. In the body, taurine can have a number of effects, ranging from muscle functioning to regulating the salt balance within cells. Depending on the brand of the drink, as well as serving size, an energy drink may contain 1,000 milligrams to 2,000 milligrams of taurine, levels the European Food Safety Authority indicates are safe for consumption. Ingesting taurine, either through supplementation or through energy drinks, may have positive side effects to benefit your health.

Reduced Insulin Resistance

One positive side effect of taurine is potential reduction in insulin resistance. Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas that helps regulate the levels of blood sugar in the body. When insulin is released into the bloodstream, it promotes a reduction in blood sugar levels. Individuals with insulin resistance fail to respond properly to insulin, and their blood sugar levels remain high, which can lead to diseases such as diabetes over time. A study published in "Diabetology and Metabolic Syndrome" in 2010 indicates that taurine supplementation can help protect against insulin resistance in rats fed a consistently high-sugar diet. Although the effect of taurine on insulin resistance has not yet been tested in humans, further research may explain the role of taurine in blood sugar regulation, insulin resistance and diabetes.

Improved Heart Function

Another potential side effect of taurine ingestion is improved heart functioning, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Diminished heart functioning is a symptom of heart disease, which leads to a decrease in the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the tissues of the body. Heart disease may also cause a number of other health problems, such as potentially fatal fluid buildup in the lungs, leading to an inability to breathe normally. Although the specific effects of taurine on the heart are not yet known, UMMC indicates that two 1,000 milligrams servings of taurine per day can improve the health and functioning of the heart, potentially decreasing your risk for developing heart and lung problems in the future.

Blood Thinner

Taurine ingestion may also lead to side effects affecting blood coagulation, or clotting. Blood thickness is partially determined by cells called platelets, which respond to injury in the body by forming clots and preventing excessive bleeding. Too many platelets in the blood can lead to excessive blood thickening, leading to the formation of harmful blood clots, while too few platelets can prevent clotting and lead to excessive bleeding after injury. A study published in the journal "Platelets" in 2002 indicates that taurine has an effect on the rate of clot formation—decreasing the rate by 10 percent. If you have a previous history of blood clotting or bleeding disorders, consult a physician before ingesting taurine regularly, as taurine ingestion may have positive or negative effects on your health condition.

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