When I think of taurine, I think of energy drinks. My favorite energy drink going back several years to occasionally indulge in was Red Bull. Some people don’t love the metallic taste, but to me it became synonymous with an almost-instant boost of energy and feel-good chemicals.
I knew the jolt of high caffeine was likely not good for me, but I actually enjoyed the way the drink would make me feel. It could really help me get over a mid-day slump at work or even on the weekend when that inevitable time hits where you feel like you need a short nap. Related: What is Glycine, and How Can It Benefit My Health?
Taurine in Energy Drinks
I was curious when I read an article about the benefits of taurine, how could something that is in every energy drink I’ve ever read the label for, be good for you? Also I was a bit confused by the counterintuitive claims from some that taurine did the opposite of what I thought it was supposed to do – calm the nervous system and help promote deep restful sleep.
After reading several reviews on some popular taurine supplements, I realized that the supplement’s effect on people really does seem to vary from person to person. It was a split of about half and half. Half said it really helped them sleep – and they actually took it before bed! The other half said it really helped them get an energy and focus boost during the day, but that they wouldn’t take it at night.
What is Taurine?
Taurine is actually an amino acid. It is most commonly recommended to those who have heart health issues, although it’s gaining a lot of attention for its supposed positive impact on overall longevity. What’s interesting is that this amino acid is gaining a reputation for promoting longevity not only in people but also in our animal friends. Most notably cats, but also it may have benefits for dogs (I’ve actually seen this as an ingredient in both dog and cat foods, now I know why!) Related: Amino Acid Lysine and Its Usefulness or Cold Sores
Taurine does occur naturally in the body, and you can get it through adding meats, fish and eggs to your diet. The yolk of the egg is actually the best part to eat as a source of this amino acid. Vegans and vegetarians are often advised to add taurine to their diet since they may not get enough naturally.
Eye Health Benefits?
What caught my eye (no pun intended) was the supposed eye health benefits some were reporting in their review of this supplement. Over the past year or so, my 48 year-old eyes have notably decreased in their efficiency. I have to squint and hold things far away to see them. Especially ingredient and direction labels!
I’ve also been noticing that my contacts are blurring up much more easily throughout the day, so I think dry eyes have become an issue as well. This doesn’t seem like a big deal, but even after applying moisturizing eye drops, it takes sometimes several minutes for my vision to return to normal again. This can be very disruptive during the day at work. Related: Mood Benefits of Sun Exposure
When I saw some people reporting they have been able to see more clearly after being on taurine for several months, of course that naturally piqued my interest. For a relatively inexpensive supplement to have vision benefits along with others, I actually took the plunge and ordered some taurine powder.
Other Important Benefits
Of the other reported benefits of taurine, some of the more interesting are that it helps protect the brain and nervous system. It also may help to promote healthy liver and kidney function. It actually helps the liver to create certain enzymes.
It may also have protective benefits for the brain and be important for retaining maximum brain function as we age. Another important potential benefit is its role in metabolism by aiding the liver in creating salts that break down fats. Since taurine production slows down with age, it may be an important supplement to at least consider if you don’t think you’re getting enough in your diet alone.