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Taurine is an active ingredient in energy drinks. There are many rumors and concerns about the nature and origins of Taurine. A popular misconception is that Taurine is derived from the testicles of a bull. However, Taurine, also known as 2-aminoethanesulfonic acid, is an organic acid that can be found in lower intestine and tissues of many animals, including humans. The first Taurine substance to be isolated was derived from the bile of an ox (a castrated bull). The word Taurine has its root in the Latin word Taurus, meaning bull because it was originally found in the bile of an ox. Taurine can also be isolated from the urine of female cattle. However, the Taurine in energy drinks is made synthetically.

How Taurine works

It is not clear how Taurine affects the energy levels in the body, and there is no evidence that proves a direct link between the use of Taurine and elevated energy levels. The effect of Taurine may even be reduced to a simple “placebo effect”. On the other hand, studies show that the Taurine levels in human body drastically drop after a vigorous exercise. Consuming an energy drink may help refill the Taurine levels in the body. Taurine should not be confused with caffeine. Caffeine is quite different because it is an external stimulant while Taurine already exists in the human body. Mixed Taurine and caffeine may, however, gives a better physical performance and enhanced mental vigilance.

Taurine side effects

Taurine is generally safe to use and not associated with many side effects. However, it would be advisable to consult a doctor before taking any of the Taurine supplements. On the other hand, Taurine in energy drinks may be somewhat different because of the presence of caffeine. Studies show there have been several cases of death after consuming energy drinks. An excessive intake of energy drinks may also trigger irritability and anxiety problems. Moreover, energy drinks are diuretics, and may cause the dehydration due to the elevated rate of urination, and forced diuresis.

Popular habits of mixing energy drinks and alcohol can extremely dehydrate the body, since, both alcohol and energy drinks are diuretics. Dehydration is a major stress to the heart that may lead to abnormal heart rate and future cardio-vascular problems. There are no conclusive studies on the effect of mixed Taurine and caffeine on humans. For this reason, energy drinks have been banned in some European countries including Norway, Denmark and France.

Energy drinks should not be used by pregnant and breastfeeding women or children. Some investigations have shown that there are traces of cocaine in certain energy drinks sold in Germany.

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