Taurine is an amino acid that can be used to boost athletic performance and cognitive function.
It’s also found in many pre-workout drinks.
Unlike many other amino acids, it is not used to build muscle tissue; instead, it appears to be used to regulate the energy production process, both in your muscles and in your brain.
It’s a safe and effective way to increase physical and mental performance across the board and seems to work well both for athletes in great shape and for people with chronic disease.
If you want to get the most out of your body and your mind, check out our taurine supplement reviews. We’ve ranked the best taurine supplements currently on the market.
1. TransparentLabs RawSeries Taurine
Throw away your energy drinks. With Transparent Labs RawSeries Taurine, you won’t need them.
With 2,000 mg of 100% pure taurine per serving, you get double the results, which are nothing to sneeze at. Things like improved cardiovascular health, insulin sensitivity, electrolyte balance, weight loss, and glucose control. And let’s not forget its pre-workout properties and support for higher performance and mental clarity.
No additional ingredients. No artificial sweeteners or coloring. No artificial preservatives. Gluten-free and non-GMO.
The all-around taurine winner of 2019.
2. NOW Double Strength Taurine
NOW Double Strength Taurine has 1000 mg of pure taurine in each capsule, and the capsules are made from a vegan-friendly vegetable cellulose blend.
The supplement is pretty clean, with only stearic acid added to bind the capsule together. It’s a good solution if you want a high-dose capsule-based taurine supplement for an energy and performance boost when you’re out and about.
3. Pure Encapsulations Taurine
Pure Encapsulations is one of the best solutions when it comes to a moderate dose taurine supplement. With a vegetable cellulose capsule and 500 mg of taurine in each serving, it’s well-suited for anyone who wants the benefits of taurine in a more manageable dosage.
While there’s nothing wrong with a higher dose, shorter, lighter, and smaller-framed people likely don’t need as much taurine to get the optimal effects.
4. BulkSupplements Pure Taurine Powder
BulkSupplements is the perfect choice if you are making your own energy drink blend, or if you want to customize a pre-workout supplement to amp up your workout.
Powder is never as convenient as a capsule, because you’ll need a micro-scale if you want precise dosages. With taurine, though, where the active dosage is fairly large (circa one gram) and there are no real problems with going over the optimal dosage, this is less of an issue.
BulkSupplements should be the top choice for anyone who wants to mix taurine with other ingredients, as this supplement is 100% pure—there are zero additional ingredients.
5. Thorne Research Taurine
Thorne Research is known for their minimal and pure supplement designs, and that’s definitely what they deliver here.
The vegetable cellulose capsules have 500 mg of taurine each, plus a bit of silicon dioxide to prevent clumping. This last ingredient isn’t popular among the strictest supplement purists, but just about everyone else can be happy with this taurine supplement.
6. Amazing Formulas Taurine
At 1000 mg per capsule, Amazing Formulas has a simple and high-dose taurine supplement. While the animal-based gelatin capsule won’t make strict vegetarians happy, just about everyone else who is looking for a high dosage taurine capsule will be pleased with the simple and straightforward design.
7. Solgar Taurine
Solgar makes basic supplements with no frills or unnecessary additives. This definitely applies to their taurine supplement.
It has 500 mg of taurine per capsule, using vegetable cellulose as the capsule material and with vegetable derived stearic acid as a binder. It’s a pure and reliable supplement if you are looking for a lower dose of taurine.
8. Nutricost Taurine Powder
Nutricost makes a bulk powder form of taurine, but compared to other options on the market, it comes in a smaller size, making it less convenient for DIY energy drink mixers and others who want to make their own blends.
The one advantage it does have is that it comes in a plastic tub, which is slightly less messy than a resealable plastic bag.
9. Best Naturals 100% Pure Taurine Powder
Best Naturals makes a powder-form taurine powder, though this brand is not as well-established as some of the other powder-based manufacturers.
On the other hand, this powder does come in a large plastic tub versus the resealable bag used by some of its competitors, and each tub contains a whole pound of taurine, making it a good choice for bulk users.
10. Nutricost Taurine
Nutricost also makes a capsule-based taurine supplement, which has 1000 mg per serving. This high-dose taurine supplement uses a gelatin capsule, making it a poor candidate for vegetarians and vegans, but the fact that it doesn’t include any other ingredients aside from taurine and gelatin do make it attractive for purists.
11. GNC Taurine
GNC Taurine doesn’t quite match up to the best competitors, as its dosage is on the low end and it doesn’t have any real defining features that set it apart.
It’s got a few additional binders and additives you won’t find in other supplements, which end up putting it lower down in the rankings.
Taurine benefits and side effects
Taurine, a naturally-occurring amino acid, is an effective supplement for boosting your performance at both physical and mental tasks.
It’s often used by athletes to increase power, speed, and fatigue resistance, and it’s often found in energy drinks because of its across-the-board benefit for both cognitive and physical performance.
While most amino acids are used by your body to build muscle tissue, taurine is different. It appears to play a role in the regulation of energy production, and in the bloodstream, it’s one of the rare compounds that can cross the blood-brain barrier, which is likely what allows it to create the cognitive benefits it is known for.
Taurine, especially when combined with caffeine, can boost physical performance in endurance events. Research on the effects of taurine on exercise performance has mostly focused on using taurine in conjunction with caffeine, as this is the combination of biologically active compounds found most often in energy drinks.
Research published in the journal Amino Acids found that this combination leads to improved performance in endurance events (1).
In this study, researchers took ten cyclists and supplied them with either a taurine/caffeine supplement or a placebo 30 min prior to a cycling time trial.
The results demonstrated that the taurine and caffeine in combination improved endurance performance, and this improvement was associated with a change in hormone levels.
Since this hormonal change is not associated with caffeine alone, it suggests that taurine itself is responsible for a large part of the improvement in performance.
A taurine supplement can improve cognitive performance. In a rare study that isolated the effects of individual ingredients in energy drinks, researchers at Tufts University examined how taurine affects performance on cognitive ability tests (2).
Taurine appeared to improve cognitive performance specifically on choice-reaction tests, where you must quickly make a decision when presented with many different options. Like with physical performance, taurine’s cognitive effects appear to be enhanced when used alongside caffeine.
A study published by researchers at the University of Vienna in Austria studied the cognitive and emotional effects of a taurine and caffeine energy drink on ten subjects (3).
After administering an energy drink or a placebo drink, the subjects performed a battery of cognitive tests and completed a mood evaluation. The results showed that the energy drink increased mental performance and resulted in an overall boost in mood.
The researchers noted that half of the subjects were not regular caffeine users, and thus these results couldn’t be explained by simple caffeine withdrawal in the placebo group.
Taurine can improve exercise capacity in people with heart failure. The performance benefits of taurine are not just for elite athletes. An entire branch of the research on the supplemental use of taurine is focused on its benefits for people with heart failure and other chronic health problems.
Physician-supervised exercise is a proven, evidence-based treatment for chronic heart failure, but as you might guess, people whose hearts are already not working very well have a difficult time performing much in the way of physical exercise (4).
This is where taurine comes in. Its energetic benefits to muscle appear to extend to the heart as well (which is, after all, just another muscle). A study published in the Journal of Cardiology in 2011 examined how taurine could help patients with heart failure (5).
Twenty-nine patients were split into either a taurine group which took a 500 mg taurine supplement three times per day, or a placebo group who received an inert supplement. All of the subjects performed an exercise tolerance test before and after two weeks of taurine supplementation.
The researchers found that the taurine supplement increased exercise tolerance, while the placebo group had no significant change in their exercise tolerance levels. Under the supervision of your doctor, a taurine supplement taken three times per day could improve your ability to exercise if you have heart failure.
Taurine may reduce anxiety. One problem with some stimulants that increase mental and physical performance is that they can make you jittery and anxious.
Taurine, on the other hand, may have a soothing and anxiety-relieving effect. So far, research has been limited to animal studies, but the initial results are promising.
A 2006 paper in the journal Psychopharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior by researchers in China tested several doses of taurine on mice exposed to three different anxiety-inducing tests (5).
The results from all three tests showed that taurine caused a reducing in anxiety-related behavior, leading the authors to hypothesize that taurine reduces anxiety by mediating the response of the central nervous system when exposed to anxiety-inducing situations.
As with other amino acids that occur naturally in foods, taurine appears to be completely safe, even at very high doses.
A risk assessment published by the Washington, DC–based Counsel on Responsible Nutrition in the journal Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology affirmed that even very high doses of three grams per day appear to pose no risk of adverse effects (6).
The European Food Safety Authority went even further, asserting that no negative effects can be expected for up to one gram per kilogram of body mass, which would be an enormous dose (7).
Both of these reports suggest even at high intake levels of taurine, you don’t need to worry about adverse effects.
In the scientific research, optimal results have been achieved for physical and mental performance with a dosage of 1000 mg of taurine.
This is usually administered 30 minutes prior to either a cognitive or physical test of ability. Medical literature usually uses a dose of 500 mg of taurine taken three times per day, morning, afternoon, and at night. This will keep taurine levels higher throughout the day, which will help you stay alert and ready to perform throughout the day.
If your goal is simply to perform at one specific time, a larger dose taken half an hour out looks to be the best strategy.
As noted earlier, there doesn’t seem to be any harm in higher doses of taurine, but there isn’t any evidence for benefits on the far side of 1500 mg per day.
Taurine is a safe and effective amino acid supplement that can be used to boost physical performance, improve cognitive performance, elevate your mood, and reduce anxiety.
Research has found it useful both for athletes and for people with chronic health problems like heart failure. It appears to carry no side effects, even at very high doses.
For physical and mental performance, it appears to work best when combined with caffeine, but even without, its benefits span a wide range of categories, making it a good candidate for a safe and easy way to perform and feel better.