Use Taurine To Accelerate Workout Recovery

Use Taurine To Accelerate Workout Recovery

Taurine is an important amino acid that can help you recover faster. Getting more taurine in your diet is one of the most effective ways to get motivated and eliminate stress.

Taurine has major metabolic effects, increasing fat burning by almost 50 percent (1). It is also a potent brain nutrient, lowers blood pressure, protects the heart, and fights inflammation. Sounds like we could all use a little extra!

Protects Muscle, Easing DOMS Soreness

Taurine is an amino acid that comes from animal protein and has a protective effect on muscle fibers. If you’re not familiar with the term delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS), you’ve certainly experienced it. DOMS is the muscle pain you feel after working a muscle in a new way, but it also manifests after intense muscle-damaging workouts. Eccentric motions, such as running downhill or doing slow tempo squats, are notorious for causing DOMS.

Taurine prevents DOMS by activating satellite cells that are responsible for the growth of new muscle fibers. Taurine also helps stabilize cell membranes that are injured by oxidative byproducts of exercise, protecting muscle fibers from damage. For example, supplementing taurine for 21 days at a dose of 3,600 mg for a 160-pound individual reduced DOMS and improved function at 48 hours after a muscle-damaging biceps curl exercise (2). Adding a BCAA supplement has been shown to amplify the benefit (3).

Increases Fat Burning

Taurine is an important metabolic nutrient, helping the body metabolize fat and produce energy. When you are metabolically healthy, your body is readily able to shift back and forth from burning glucose (from carbs) to using fat. However, high-carb diets, impair your body’s ability to burn fat. Taurine supplementation can help overcome this deficit. How?

Taurine stimulates the release of hormone-like growth factors from muscle, which help mobilize fat cells to be burned for energy. One study found that when young men were given 6 g of taurine 90 minutes before doing a 60-minute aerobic treadmill workout, fat burning increased by 38 percent (4). Another study showed taurine ingestion prior to a prolonged cycling time trial resulted in better performance and a 16 percent increase in total fat oxidation compared to a control group.

Improves Insulin Health

Taurine makes your cells more sensitive to insulin binding and glucose uptake by multiple mechanisms.

First, taurine has an “anorexigenic” effect on the hypothalamus gland, meaning that it minimizes feelings of hunger by improving energy production and metabolism. One study found that taurine enhances the role of insulin in the control of food intake and helps stall body fat gain.

Taurine also has an antioxidant effect and has been found to lower chronic inflammation in the hypothalamus in the brain. An inflamed hypothalamus results in greater insulin production by the pancreas, which leads to higher insulin levels and obesity.

Helps You Handle Stress

Even the most serene individuals often say they’d like to have less stress in their lives. Taurine can help us get there.

Although taurine is an amino acid, it behaves more like a neurotransmitter by calming the nervous system. Taurine leads to the release of the brain transmitter GABA, which helps your body to manage anxiety so that your thoughts don’t go spiraling out of control. It also dulls release of Corticotropin Releasing Hormone, a precursor to cortisol release from the adrenals.

Enhances Exercise Performance

Taurine helps your body adapt to physical stress making it a go-to for lowering RPE. Research shows there are benefits for both endurance and anaerobic, high-intensity forms of exercise.

Let’s look at anaerobic first: Taurine helps the type 2 fast-twitch muscles contract forcefully by supporting the contractile properties of muscle. It also counters fatigue and the “burning” feeling you get from intense efforts. Taurine helps clear lactate via its ability to improve calcium buffering.

In one study that supplemented 4 g of taurine for 2 weeks, subjects ran 7 minutes longer until exhausted at an intensity of 75 percent of maximal. Levels of lactate and other byproducts were significantly lower (1).

Here are the endurance benefits: In addition to helping the body burn fat and spare glycogen during intense exercise, taurine augments your sweat response, lowering core body temperature. Improved thermoregulation plays an important role in maintaining performance during the latter stages of an exercise bout.

When volunteers took 0.5 g of taurine two hours before a time trial in the heat, they improved time to exhaustion by 10 percent, which researchers attributed to lower core temperature (5). Mean sweat rate was higher by 12.7 percent (good), while RPE was lower.

Protects The Heart

Taurine is a cardioprotective nutrient that is stored in the cardiac mitochondria in high concentrations where it reduces oxidative stress. Lack of taurine can deplete energy production in the mitochondria in the heart and lead to increased levels of inflammation.

Raising taurine levels can lower blood pressure and improve the exercise capacity of patients with heart failure. One study found that giving patients with ventricular heart failure 500 mg of taurine significantly increased exercise distance over a two-week period.

Scientists recommend combining taurine with magnesium to protect the heart after a study found that Japanese volunteers with higher levels of these two nutrients demonstrated the healthiest cardiovascular status (6). The Japanese have higher levels of taurine and magnesium due to the high presence of fish in the diet, supporting heart health.

How To Take Taurine:

Take 0.5 to 3 g of taurine for health and anti-stress benefits.

Take 3 to 6 grams of taurine after workouts to support recovery.

For athletic performance, 3 to 6 grams is recommended. In one study, compared to an energy drink that supplied 1-2 grams of taurine, higher dose of 4 to 6 grams improved performance to a greater degree.

Take taurine 1 to 2 hours prior to exercise to achieve peak plasma concentrations during training.

Vegetarians and those who eat predominantly plant-based diets may benefit from regular supplementation. Taurine is only available in animal products and vegetarians are often taurine deficient, which contributes to increased levels of anxiety and depression.

When possible, take taurine on an empty stomach because this improves absorption.

Taurine Goes Well With:
  • Magnesium to calm stress and promote exercise recovery. This duo has also been shown to improve water retention and ease bloating.
  • BCAAs to improve muscle recovery and offset muscle damage from intense training.
  • Curcumin to tamp down inflammation.
References

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