Taurine: An Overlooked Fat Loss Ingredient?

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Bodybuilder posing in the gym

Taurine: An Overlooked Fat Loss Ingredient?

Taurine is an amino acid. Natural sources of taurine include protein-rich food sources, such as meat and fish. Taurine regulates your blood’s water level and mineral level. It may also function as an antioxidant. L-Taurine plays an important role in the function of the adrenal, pituitary and thyroid glands.Multiple studies have confirmed that Taurine can reduce exercise-induced oxidative stress potentially enhancing exercise performance. Taurine also helps to regulate your neurotransmitters and can affect growth and development, muscle contraction as well as physical performance. Therefore, a greater amount of taurine is found in your brain, liver, muscles and heart. 

Taurine is a major structural constituent of the bile, which is needed to breakdown dietary fats. You may see taurine listed as an ingredient in sports beverages and energy drinks. These products often claim to boost your energy level, but some believe it’s possible that taurine could have an effect on your weight, too. Taurine is an amino acid that is necessary for normal skeletal muscle functioning and is popularly promoted for weight loss.

In one of the most interesting discussions on taurine comes from Dr. Pasquale’s book. In his overview over the effect of taurine on health and exercise performance Mauro Di Pasquale (Di Pasquale, M.G.: Amino Acids and Proteins for the Athlete. 2008. p. 312) writes: “Taurine has also been shown to increase glucose sensitivity and enhance mitochondrial metabolic function. The data in this study suggest that taurine administration has a marked effect on lipid metabolism, and can therefore be beneficial to persons looking to lose body fat. Also, that restoration of plasma taurine level could be critical in preventing or improving obesity-related cell dysfunction.

A recent study found that taurine supplementation may be an effective treatment for glucose intolerance and fat=lipid accumulation observed in type 2 diabetes associated with obesity. Taurine has been shown to be an important amino acid in several tissues in the body, including muscle.”  Another interesting finding is the fact that taurine can enhance fat mobilization and possibly fat loss.

Closeup of a muscular young man lifting weights on dark backgrouOne study has shown a favorable increase of fat oxidation during exercise with taurine ingestion.  A 2009 study found that in rats supplemented with taurine had increased “time to exhaustion”  during exercise.  A 2010 study published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism reveals taurine supplementation increased fat oxidation during exercise. 

Researchers examined whether acute taurine ingestion before prolonged cycling would improve time-trial (TT) performance and alter whole-body fuel utilization compared with a control (CON) trial and a placebo (PL) trial in which participants were told they received taurine but did not. Eleven endurance-trained male cyclists completed 3 trials in a randomized, crossover, blinded design in which they consumed a noncaloric sweetened beverage with either 1.66 g of taurine or nothing added (CON, PL) 1 hr before exercise. Participants then cycled at 66.5 %  of their VO2max for 90 min followed immediately by a time trial.  At the end of the study, there was no difference in time trail performance between any of the 3 trials. One interesting finding was that Taurine ingestion resulted in a 16% increase  in total fat oxidation over the 90-min exercise period compared with CON and PL.

Another study published in Amino Acids, found what they call a “significant” weight-loss effect. Researchers evaluated the effects of taurine on serum lipids in overweight or obese young adults. Thirty college students with a body mass index (BMI) >/=25.0 kg/m(2), and with no evidence of diabetes mellitus were selected and assigned to either the taurine group or the placebo group by double-blind randomization. Taurine 3 g/day or placebo was taken orally for 7 weeks. Triacylglycerol (TG), total cholesterol (TC), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and plasma glucose were measured before and after supplementation. The atherogenic index (AI) was calculated as (TC-HDL-C)/HDL-C. There were no differences in any baseline parameter between the two groups. Taurine supplementation decreased triglycerides and risk of cardiovascular disease. Body weight also reduced significantly in the taurine group. These results suggest that taurine produces a beneficial effect on lipid metabolism and may have an important role in cardiovascular disease prevention in overweight or obese subjects.  In addition, to overall health benefits, one may want to experiment with taurine for its performance enhancing and fat loss effects.

ripped man
Taurine supplementation was able to counteract the negative effects of the high fat diet and help prevent leptin resistance.

In a new 2015 study published in Amino Acids, researchers found that taurine may be able to reduce appetite as well.   Researchers placed mice on protein-restricted high-fat diet and taurine supplementation. At the end of the study, taurine was able to prevent fat gain, only if there was enough protein in the diet, which re-inforces the use of high protein diet when trying to lose fat.  Another interesting finding was that its well established that high fat diets induce leptin resistance (leptin is the hormone which control appetite, high fat diets disrupt leptin signalling).  Taurine supplementation was able to counteract the negative effects of the high fat diet and help prevent leptin resistance. Taurine enhances metabolic activity on the cellular level and enables an individual to burn more fat. It can also prevent loss of muscle mass during bouts of quick weight loss. Since taurine boosts the body’s sensitivity to insulin and improves protein synthesis, it helps in muscle building.

Be sure to check out Infinite Labs Taurine

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Rutherford JA, Spriet LL, Stellingwerff T. The effect of acute taurine ingestion on endurance performance and metabolism in well-trained cyclists. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2010 Aug;20(4):322-9.

Yatabe Y, Miyakawa S, Ohmori H, Mishima H, Adachi T. Effects of taurine administration on exercise. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2009;643:245-52.

Zhang M, Bi LF, Fang JH, Su XL, Da GL, Kuwamori T, Kagamimori S. Beneficial effects of taurine on serum lipids in overweight or obese non-diabetic subjects. Amino Acids. 2004 Jun;26(3):267-71. Epub 2003 Dec 15.

Camargo RL, Batista TM, Ribeiro RA, Branco RC, Da Silva PM, Izumi C, Araujo
TR, Greene LJ, Boschero AC, Carneiro EM. Taurine supplementation preserves
hypothalamic leptin action in normal and protein-restricted mice fed on a
high-fat diet. Amino Acids. 2015 Jul 2.