Since energy drinks hit the market, there has been a long held idea that combining caffeine with taurine will lead to enhanced physical and cognitive function. Whilst the positive effects of caffeine are confirmed by scientific and clinical testing, taurine on the other hand is still under much speculation.
Taurine is an amino acid that is found predominantly in the heart, however can be found in muscle tissue and also the brain. Its primary function is to maintain normal contractile function. Under a normal diet, a regular person can easily receive sufficient amount of taurine, therefore supplementing with additional taurine is not required.
According to Krzysztof, a PhD student in Organic Chemistry from the Technical University in Lodz, the process of adding extra taurine to energy drinks is not beneficial to the consumer. Whilst natural taurine found in meat and seafood could possibly provide positive effects on normal people, the small amount that many energy drinks contain is not sufficient enough to see any positive effects in either physical or cognitive functions. Conclusions can be made that, due to taurine's synergistic effects with caffeine, an increase in blood pressure higher than if the ingredients were to act alone may result. Similarly the effects of caffeine may be reduced due to the combination with taurine. The Journal of Applied Physiology supports the notion that taurine does not positively effect the human metabolism. The Journal of Applied Physiology continues to explain that the amount of taurine that is required to see any improvement in humans is far too high for regular consumption and could lead to gastrointestinal problems. Therefore its properties do not justify its use in energy drinks.
Many energy drink companies advertise their product in a way that states that taurine enhances the positive qualities of caffeine, however there is no evidence to support this and there are actually studies that completely refute this notion.
Additionally, the taurine that is added to many popular energy drinks, is synthetically produced, which is not identical to the natural based taurine found in food. Arguments arise regarding the purpose of adding a synthetically produced supplement to energy drinks, if the artificially produced taurine offers no benefits to the consumer, what is the purpose of adding it to the product.
Ultimately there is an overwhelming lack of evidence to suggest that components within energy drinks other than caffeine, such as taurine, can contribute to enhanced physical or cognitive performance.
Krzysztof Z. 2014, 'Justification of taurine's use in energy drinks', pp. 1-15.
Stuart D. R. Galloway , Jason L. Talanian , Anna K. Shoveller , George J. F. Heigenhauser , Lawrence L. Spriet, Journal of Applied Physiology. Published 1 August 2008Vol. 105no. 2, 643-651
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