For a few years taurine is now part of our usual vocabulary due to the rise of energy drinks. Despite the controversy that has arisen around it, it is an element that has always existed naturally in natural foods and even manufactured by our own bodies. Plus, although this substance is popular in drinks, it’s also a neurotransmitter, so our neurons use it to function.
Throughout this article, we’ll learn what it is, where we can find it, and its benefits and harms.
What is taurine?
taurine is a derivative of the amino acid cysteine that our body makes naturally and that in addition, it is also present in a number of specific foods.
Its curious name dates back to 1827, when scientists of German origin Friedrich Tiedemann and Leopold Gmelin first isolated it from a sample of beef bile.
In humans, we can find it in large quantities in organs such as the heart, as well as in muscles, platelets and throughout the nervous system throughout its period of development.
this substance causes nervous system stimulationThus, our body resorts to it in very stressful moments or when intense physical activity is required. Due to these stimulating effects, large amounts of synthetic taurine are currently produced, which has become the main ingredient in energy drinks.
However, its use has generated quite a bit of controversy as some studies claim that excessive consumption of taurine can cause serious damage to our body. Since our bodies make it naturally and we can find it in a large number of foods, maintaining a varied and balanced diet is enough to achieve natural levels of healthy taurine.
Where can we find it?
As we mentioned, we can find natural taurine in various foods of animal and plant origin. Likewise, in recent years, types of drinks in which artificially synthesized taurine is established as one of the main ingredients have become popular.
1. Taurine in natural foods
Thanks to a varied and balanced diet, we can maintain adequate and stable levels of taurine, so there would be no need to resort to substances made in the laboratory.
The foods that contain the most taurine are those from the sea. These include octopus and the vast majority of seafood. Food preparations with ingredients such as raw or boiled (never fried) fish are good options when the person wants a good dose of energy.
Likewise, the meat of birds like chicken also contains high amounts of taurine, especially the meat that is found on the thighs of the animal. Other meat foods rich in taurine are those that come from pigs and cows.
When it comes to plant foods, there are a large number of legumes such as chickpeas, lentils and beans containing large amounts of taurine. In addition, nuts such as hazelnuts or almonds, or soybeans and seaweed are also known for their great contribution to this substance.
2. Taurine and energy drinks
As mentioned above, in recent years, energy drinks have achieved astonishing popularity. Among them, it seems that those with taurine as the main ingredient enjoy even greater fame.
In its early days, these drinks they have been designed to improve the heart performance of athletes and athletes during exercises, especially in the world of bodybuilding. However, some time later, some popular soda and energy drink companies combined it with other compounds such as caffeine to increase physical and mental stamina as well.
Consumed in moderation, these drinks should not present a health hazard. However, we must not forget that these are not natural synthetic compounds, so it will always be better to go for food options. In addition, another disadvantage of these drinks is their high content of gas and sugars, agents harmful to health.
On the other hand, its consumption in people suffering from hypertension is totally discouraged; as well as the combination of taurine with other nervous system depressants such as alcohol. The reason is that this mixture can cause abnormal heart rhythms.
What advantages does it bring?
First of all, it should be clarified that when we talk about the possible benefits of taurine, we are referring to the occasions when it is found naturally. This is due to the fact that in cases where it is made synthetically or presented as a synthetic drink, it is accompanied by many other highly recommended additives.
If taurine was discovered more than a century ago, this substance is still the subject of numerous studies attempting to discover each of its therapeutic or beneficial properties. In addition, its moderate consumption with natural ingredients can promote and maintain blood pressure levels in healthy people.
Currently, it is proven that taurine promotes protein synthesisThis therefore helps our body to better assimilate the proteins that we consume. Additionally, taurine nutritional supplements are widely used to improve bone development and growth.
Its use to improve attention
Another of its benefits is related to the effects it has on the neuromotor system, which helps it to consume it. maintain a greater concentration of attention, As well as an intellectual and physical state of performance. This makes it popular among college students, although it is typically consumed through energy drinks, with significant physical wear and tear.
Harmful effects on the body
As has been pointed out several times, taurine is a substance that enjoys as much fame as it has controversial reactions and opinions. These debates revolve around the negative effects of synthetic taurine on the body.
Some research establishes a relationship between this taurine made from chemical and artificial compounds with physical problems and conditions such as hypertension, strokes, pathologies and heart problems and seizures.
Due to the risk this represents for health, taurine energy drinks have even been banned in some countries in northern Europe, which have linked them to the death of some people consuming these drinks.