Benefits and Side Effects of Taurine

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Taurine supplements are recommended for some people, depending on their specific health goals and medical conditions, but it is important to understand the details of dosage and potential effects.

What is Taurine?

Taurine is a critical organic compound found in animal tissues and the large intestine of humans, among various other organ systems. It plays a key role in many biochemical processes, including those of the nervous and cardiovascular systems. Taurine is required by the brain, eyes, muscle tissue, and heart for normal functioning, which is why supplementation of taurine is so important. This acid, which possesses an amino group, is not technically an amino acid. It is often classified as a non-essential amino acid, as well as a sulfonic acid. [1]

While an adequate amount of taurine is typically consumed in a healthy diet, supplementation is often recommended for people with heart disease or diabetes. The dietary sources of this compound include meat, fish, and dairy, making it difficult for vegetarians and vegans to intake proper amounts. However, consuming complete protein sources, such as soy, buckwheat, quinoa, and hemp seed, can provide the basic amino acids from which taurine can be synthesized in the body. [2]

Chemical structure and formula of taurine on a green background.

Structure of Taurine. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Taurine Health Benefits

The most impressive health benefits of this compound include the following:

  • Treating Parkinson’s disease
  • Improving athletic performance
  • Preventing heart diseases
  • Reducing risk of diabetes
  • Weight loss
  • Preventing metabolic syndrome
  • Lowering periodontal disease
  • Improving muscle growth

Cardiovascular Disease

This compound is able to maintain the levels of potassium and other electrolytes in the body, which can improve blood pressure, thus preventing the symptoms of atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes, as well as coronary heart diseases. This is in addition to potentially lowering overall cholesterol levels. [3]

Parkinson’s Disease

Research has shown that when people have adequate or high levels of taurine in their system, the regrowth of neural cells is possible, which can help to reverse or mitigate the effects of certain neurodegenerative diseases, like Parkinson’s disease. [4]

Weight Loss

Lowering fat levels in the bloodstream and aiding the body in handling excess blood glucose are two of the best properties of this compound; thus, it can help streamline the weight loss and fat-burning process. [5]

Metabolic Syndrome

By lowering the risk of various risk factors for metabolic syndrome, including obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes, supplementation with this compound can be a great preventative measure for metabolic syndrome. However, there is limited clinical data available in humans about the role of taurine in the prevention of diabetes and metabolic syndrome. [6]

Periodontal Disease

The link between free radicals, chronic inflammation, and periodontal disease is well known, but supplementation with taurine has been linked to better health in the oral cavity and a lower risk of periodontal disease. [7]

Athletic Performance

This organic compound has become a very popular workout supplement, as it is known to allow muscles to work longer, safer, and more efficiently, meaning that your workouts will have better results, and your recovery time will be shorter. [8]

Immune Function

Having proper levels of taurine in the body can help the immune system regulate its actions, meaning that your body is less likely to experience allergic reactions and other unnecessary energy expenditures.

Muscle Growth

This supplement is known to help in skeletal muscle differentiation, and later in life, having proper levels can help you grow and strengthen your muscles more effectively, making this a popular additive for bodybuilders and weightlifters. [9]


By improving nerve integrity throughout the body, supplementation with this compound is known to help prevent diabetic neuropathy. Furthermore, taurine also has insulin-like properties, thus helping to regulate glucose levels and inhibit the spikes and drops in glucose that diabetic patients suffer through. [10]

Taurine Dosage

If your doctor recommends increasing your taurine levels through supplementation, most experts suggest consuming less than 3,000 milligrams per day. At that level, your body will be able to process and excrete any excess taurine without negative side effects. However, consuming more taurine, in addition to the dietary sources and bodily production, can result in unwanted and potentially dangerous side effects.

Taurine Side Effects

Taurine remains one of the most important organic compounds within the body, but there are some potential side effects when an excessive amount is consumed, such as complications with pregnancy and the worsening of certain nervous system disorders.

  • Bipolar Disorder: Studies have found that regular or extended use of this compound can worsen the symptoms of bipolar disorder, even though in moderate amounts, it may have a mitigating effect on this condition.
  • Pregnancy: Some of the most popular supplements of taurine also contain other active ingredients, including caffeine, which may pose a risk to pregnant or nursing women, so these individuals should avoid the use of this non-essential amino acid. Protection Status
About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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