(Updated: Nov 2015, Published: July 2012)
If you have read the ingredient list of your favorite energy drink, you may have noticed an ingredient by the name of taurine. Here are 10 things you need to know:
1. What it is it? Taurine is an amino acid. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Taurine is present extensively in animal tissue.
2. Where does it come from? Taurine is found in meat and fish. It is also found in human tissue, our large intestine, and human breast milk.
3. Taurine was first isolated from ox bile, and thus its name is derived from the Latin ‘taurus,’ meaning ‘ox’ or ‘bull’.
4. Nutrition. A significant amount of taurine can help our:
- Skeletal Muscles
- Blood Pressure
- Cardiovascular Function
- The Retina
- The Central Nervous System
5. Toxicity. The European Food Safety Authority published a study in 2003 that found “no adverse effects for up to 1,000 mg of taurine per kilogram of body weight per day.” Like most things, too much of anything can be bad for your body, including taurine.
6. Taurine is added to the following products:
- Energy Drinks
- Infant Formula (specifically, for premature babies)
- Contact Lens Solutions
7. The urban myth that taurine is derived from bull sperm is false. Taurine is present in bull sperm, but that is not the source of taurine in your beverages. Taurine, like many other additives in today’s foods, is synthesized in a lab.
8. Taurine Sourcing. No animals are harmed to bring you taurine. These days, it is manufactured by chemical synthesis in food ingredient processing plants. In China alone there are 40 taurine manufacturers!
9. Is Red Bull good for me? No. Red Bulls contain an extremely high amount of sugar. The taurine in an energy drink isn’t enough to have a positive effect on your health.
10. Have you figured out how Red Bull energy drink got its name yet?