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The Special Ingredient in Your Energy Drink (It Isn’t Caffeine)

By Annie Price
August 16, 2023
Photo Credit: McKinsey Jordan

Have you heard of taurine? No? Take a look at the ingredients in your energy drink. In addition to caffeine, taurine is a common ingredient found in energy drinks, like Monster Ultra — as well as in seafood, meat, dairy products, and eggs.

But what exactly is taurine? And what’s it doing in your energy drink? Here’s what you need to know.

What Is taurine?

An organic compound found in large amounts in your heart, eyes, brain, and blood platelets, taurine is often called an “essential” amino acid. Technically? It’s an amino sulfonic acid. The main difference? Unlike the 9 essential amino acids, it doesn’t build protein. Still, it is essential to many functions of the body. Thus, the confusion about “essential” amino acids.

Athletes often take taurine to improve energy and performance. Taurine is well known to protect your heart.

Let’s take a closer look.

What are the health benefits?

Several studies have linked taurine with improved athletic performance, including coordination, strength, and endurance.

In a study of middle-distance runners, supplementation improved overall performance. Another study of 11 healthy men between the ages of 18 to 20 pointed to its potential to improve overall exercise ability.

Unrelated to athletics, taurine is known for its overall support of heart, brain, and nerve health. For people with heart disease, including heart failure, it is often used to aid recovery.

What are the side effects?

Taurine is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for healthy adults.

In other words, like most things, it’s personal. Check with your healthcare provider if you’re supplementing on a regular basis.

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