08 July, 2011
The Effects of Taurine on the Heart Rate
As of 2011, taurine is considered a relatively new “heart-healthy” supplement. Early studies show promising effects of taurine supplementation when it comes to heart rate, blood pressure, muscle strength and possible cognitive benefits. Dr. Michael Lam, M.D. states that taurine is found in high concentrations within the heart muscle, so it’s easy to see its importance when it comes to heart health.
Taurine is amino acid found mostly in the central nervous system, skeletal muscle, and in greater concentration in our heart and brain. According to Dr. Lam, taurine works alongside magnesium to regulate heart rate and improve overall cardiovascular health. Taurine also may offer antioxidant properties to help protect the heart from damaging free radicals.
Abnormal heart rates, also referred to as cardiac arrhythmias, have been shown to be greatly affected by levels of taurine in the heart. A study published in June 2006 in "Medical Hypotheses" found that people with irregular heart rates could reduce instances of arrhythmias by 50 percent when supplementing 10 to 20 g of taurine per day. The results were even more successful when adding 4 to 6 g of L-arginine to the mix, which is another naturally-occurring amino acid.
Many energy drinks on the market contain taurine as one of the ingredients. MayoClinic.com notes that some studies suggest that taurine supplementation may improve athletic performance, which may explain why taurine is used in these drinks. Although taurine may offer some benefits in terms of heart health, and even in lowering blood pressure, energy drinks contain a high level of caffeine. Caffeine may cause an increase in heart rate in some people or even an increased risk of cardiac arrhythmias, according to the Cleveland Clinic. As such, these drinks may not be a good choice for anyone suffering from any sort of cardiac arrhythmia or other heart problem.
The dosage recommendation of taurine varies due to the fact it’s a relatively new type of supplement. Dr. Lam suggests 1 g to 3 g of taurine per day is generally safe. He also mentions that doses of up to 4 g per day is often prescribed for cardiovascular health. The "Medical Hypotheses" study suggests consuming as much as 10 to 20 g per day for cardiac arrhythmia patients. So, there’s no standard set in stone as of 2011. Speak to your doctor to make sure taurine supplementation is right for you.
- DrLam; Taurine; Michael Lam
- Cleveland Clinic: Management of Arrhythmias (Abnormal Heart Beats)
- "Medical Hypotheses"; Elimination of Cardiac Arrhythmias Using Oral Taurine with L-Arginine with Case Histories: Hypothesis for Nitric Oxide Stabilization of the Sinus Node; George Eby, William W. Halcomb; June 2006
- MayoClinic.com; Taurine is listed as an ingredient in many energy drinks. What is taurine? Is it safe?; Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.; June 26, 2010
- Comstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images