Review finds only tepid support for use of taurine for sports performance

The recent review was published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition​.  It is the work of a team from Georgia State and Kennesaw State universities.

The authors’ aim was to summarize the “current evidence regarding the efficacy of taurine in aerobic and anaerobic performance, metabolic stress, muscle soreness, and recovery.”

Taurine abundant in body

Taurine, a sulfur-containing amino acid, is abundant in muscle tissue and accounts for 50% to 60% of the free amino acid pool in the body.  Taurine helps to regulate fat metabolism and is associated with aerobic metabolism.  It also could play a role in regulating exercise-induced inflammation, lactate clearance and glucose metabolism.

To investigate the effects of taurine supplementation on these and other endpoints the authors conducted a literature search on Google Scholar and on the PubMed database. After excluding studies that did not meet the intake criteria and discarding duplicates, the authors had 19 papers in total to review.

Mixed studies come up with mixed, ‘small’ results

The authors said an inescapable complicating factor for their review was the heterogeneity of the research.  Seven of the studies looked at athletes and one at soldiers.  Some studies looked at aerobic parameters while others concentrated on recovery. Eight studies measured metabolic parameters while the others did not, and only two studies included women. Dosages ranged from 0.5 grams to more than 10 grams.

The authors noted that the strongest support for taurine’s exercise-related effects has come from animal models. They said this was the first review to summarize results in humans, and the results are mixed at best.



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