The multi-billion-dollar phenomenon of energy drinks has captured the attention of nutritionists and scientists across the globe. One of the main reasons is due to taurine, a common energy-boosting ingredient found in the caffeine and sugar-laden concoctions.
But what exactly is this popular amino acid, and why don’t we use it in our Proper Wild energy shots?
What is Taurine?
Taurine is a free form amino acid that is contained in foods and manufactured by the body from the amino acid known as cysteine. Taurine was first discovered in the bile of bulls and is now produced synthetically by the truckload and also found in food sources like scallops and other seafood. However, since taurine is created naturally in the human body, a balanced diet supplies all you need.
Why is Taurine in Your Energy Drink?
Many individuals believe taurine is a stimulant, much like caffeine - but the truth is that it isn’t. In fact, it's just the opposite, as the ingredient is added to popular energy drinks as a nervous system depressant and just has a stimulating effect on the brain.
When you ingest taurine, it suppresses the neurotransmitter receptors responsible for triggering excitatory effects in your brain. In other words, it helps you to calm down.
In fact, taurine has a very similar effect to the well-known central nervous system suppressant gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) - a neural messenger responsible for calming.
Taurine Doesn’t Boost Cardiovascular Endurance
One reason why many people like energy drinks with added taurine is because they are under the impression that it can boost cardiovascular endurance. However, this is not exactly the case.
Although there is a small number of studies that show modest benefits of supplementing taurine on endurance and stamina - they all involve only a limited number of participants, though. In fact, some studies are also directly sponsored by energy drink manufacturers as well, making their results feel less reliable.
There are also several studies that demonstrate minimal or no benefit at all.
For example, the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research reported that although consuming an energy drink with taurine prior to a workout has become increasingly popular, the truth is that it had no effect on time-to-exhaustion or perceived exertion at high intensity.
And another study found that while many energy drink manufacturers claim that taurine can boost the metabolic response to exercise, it actually had no effect on a timed run test at 80% of maximum intensity.
In other words, taurine wasn’t responsible for any benefits - the caffeine was.
Taurine is Unlikely to Decrease Muscle Damage, Either
Another common selling point made by energy drink manufacturers that add taurine to their products is that taurine decreases the amount of micro-damage that occurs through vigorous exercise.
Again, the studies that suggest taurine can prevent exercise-induced muscle damage use extremely small sample sizes. In one case, as few as 11 participants.
Why is this an issue?
In statistics, larger sample sizes are much more reliable because they provide a greater approximation of the general population. Small samples such as 11 individuals are bad representations because they run the risk of being less generalized and are more skewed to a particular type of person or demographic.
To illustrate this issue, here are two other taurine studies with equally low samples sizes but very different results.
This study tested supra-doses - around 3,000 mg of taurine. However the group that received the large doses of taurine didn’t experience significantly reduced inflammation or reduced muscle damage caused by exercise. Nor did the taurine improve physical performance or perceived difficulty of exercise either.
Another study showed that in even extreme strength training situations, taurine did not significantly reduce cellular stress or muscle damage.
Possible Side Effects of Taurine
So, with all of that being said, it’s easy to see from the multiple studies that taurine really isn’t anything special, nor does it need to be added to energy drinks. It doesn’t generally have bad side effects, but it doesn’t really do much in terms of providing benefits either.
If you discover any serious side effects while taking taurine, whether that’s in the form of an energy drink or other supplement, it’s important to discontinue your use of the compound and get with your doctor.
What Proper Wild Uses Instead
Taurine is such an interesting compound that we often see slapped on the bottle of popular energy drink labels without really understanding why it’s even on there. But when consumers see the term “taurine” in bright colors on their favorite energy drinks, they’re generally pretty eager to guzzle the drink down, thinking they just did their body some good by consuming the compound.
However, the truth is, that while manufacturers promise that taurine boosts exercise performance, the research just doesn’t back up the claims.
Here at Proper Wild, we believe in clean ingredients actually backed by science. That is why we don’t add any taurine to any of our products. As we mentioned earlier, some energy drink manufacturers may add taurine to reduce the jitters, which is a common side effect experienced with caffeine, but we prefer the powerful amino acid L-theanine over taurine.
Many studies support that using caffeine and L-theanine together can greatly reduce the notorious jitters and heighten concentration and cognitive alertness while also boosting your mood.
It’s this great combo of caffeine and L-theanine that makes our Proper Wild energy shots such a powerful cognitive booster.
A Final Word
So, why is taurine added to energy drinks, and why don’t we use it?
Taurine is thought to have an effect on mental and athletic performance. However, with many studies performed over the years, there is not enough substantial evidence to make any beneficial claims surrounding taurine.
Taurine has, however, been shown to increase glycine and GABA to help calm the brain, so many experts think it may be added to popular energy drinks to help reduce the notorious anxiousness brought on by too much caffeine.
Here at Proper Wild, our energy shots are crafted with just the right amount of organic caffeine and L-theanine to keep your brain fueled and boost your energy, focus, and productivity for hours!
We are extremely passionate about delivering energy shots with clean and transparent ingredients that actually work - without compromising your health.
With 2x more caffeine than a shot of espresso and 15x more L-theanine than a cup of green tea for clean all-day energy, it’s easy to see why our energy shots are loved by people everywhere (500+ 5-star reviews don’t fall out of the sky!).
If you want to see what the difference clean energy can make, give one of our Proper Wild energy shots a try.