advertisement



Q & A Library


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Q
Topping Off Energy with Taurine?

I am curious about taurine, the active ingredient in the product Red Bull. What is it? What does it do? Is it safe?

A
Answer (Published 5/30/2003)

Taurine, often called an amino acid, is not part of the human body's structural proteins. Rather, it remains free in the blood and tissues. In fact, it is one of the most abundant free amino-acid-like compounds found in skeletal and cardiac muscle, as well as in the nervous system, and it is important in metabolism, particularly in the brain. Taurine works in electrically active tissues to stabilize cell membranes. It also has functions in the gallbladder, eyes, and blood vessels, and appears to have some antioxidant and detoxifying activity. Taurine aids the movement of potassium, sodium, calcium and magnesium in and out of cells and thus helps generate nerve impulses.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor for Supplements & Herbs - If you are interested in supplementing your diet, and want to take the mystery out of choosing vitamins, try Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor. Visit today for your free, personalized Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor Recommendation.

Medically, taurine has been used to help treat epilepsy and other excitable brain states. Its anti-convulsant effect comes from its ability to stabilize nerve cell membranes, which prevents the erratic firing of nerve cells, and research has shown that taurine levels tend to be low at seizure sites.

In Japan, taurine is used to treat ischemic heart disease. Taurine also has potential for the treatment of certain heart arrhythmias. Patients with congestive heart failure are reported to have responded to taurine therapy, and taurine may help in the treatment of both hypertension and high cholesterol. It can improve gallbladder function by forming a substance called tauracholate from bile acids, which helps increase cholesterol elimination in bile.

The manufacturers of Red Bull claim that the body's taurine production declines with extreme physical exertion and that this change can be remedied by drinking a can of Red Bull. I can't say whether the taurine in Red Bull is responsible for the purported energy boosting effects. The other ingredients include caffeine and sugar, either of which could be a source for any energy surge some people may experience. Since the drink contains caffeine, sugar, B vitamins, and glucuronolactone (a substance found in the body that helps remove toxins), it is impossible to say whether one or more of the ingredients, the combination, or a clever advertising campaign deserves credit for its effects and commercial success.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle, LLC on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!
 

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

 
Copyright © 2014 Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here