Taurine and caffeine may not instantly come to mind as a partner in supplements, but there are hundreds of products that combine the two for everything from muscle building to weight loss to overall health. What are taurine and caffeine, and how do they interact with each other?
- 1 A Brief Look at Taurine
- 2 Details on Taurine
- 3 Taurine and Exercise
- 4 Taurine and Weight Loss
- 5 Taurine and Your Health
- 6 Possible Side Effects of Taking Taurine
- 7 A Brief Look at Caffeine
- 8 Details on Caffeine
- 9 Common Uses for Caffeine
- 10 Caffeine and Exercise
- 11 Caffeine and Weight Loss
- 12 Caffeine and Your Health
- 13 Caffeine as a Drug
- 14 Possible Side Effects of Taking Caffeine
- 15 Taurine, Caffeine, and Your Body
- 16 Possible Interactions Between Taurine and Caffeine
- 17 The Final Take on Taurine and Caffeine
A Brief Look at Taurine
Taurine is an amino acid. Another name for taurine is amino sulfonic acid. In order for protein to form, taurine is needed. There are large amounts of the acid in cells in the brain, heart, and eye. While the body can produce its own conditional amino acids, essential amino acids must be consumed in the diet. Fish and meats are the best sources of dietary taurine. If, for some reason, not enough taurine is consumed via diet, supplements are available.
Bottom Line: Taurine is used in a long list of body processes. You can get taurine from your diet, but supplements are available in cases where good sources of the amino acid aren’t included in the diet.
A Quick Look at Taurine and Your Health
Before heading into a deep review of taurine, let’s address some of the more promising research into how taurine can affect your health.
Taurine has been utilized for alcoholism, diabetes, retina disorders, and other eye problems, ADHD, autism, and epilepsy or seizure disorder, among other health conditions. It is also used as an antioxidant.
Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)
There have been no exact reasons presented as to how CHF is alleviated by taurine. Some evidence points to the way it improves one of the heart’s chambers, specifically the left ventricle. Also, heart failure is something that is improved with the intake of taurine since it calms the sympathetic nervous system and lowers blood pressure.
Bottom Line: Taurine alleviates congestive heart failure through its ability to lower blood pressure and calm the sympathetic nervous system.
If your goal is to shed those extra pounds or get in shape, or if you are making attempts to lower anxiety levels and fight exhaustion, getting enough of the taurine amino acid may be one way to help. Taurine has been shown to help eliminate stress and work toward fighting anxiety.
Taurine is the amino acid of stress management and helps you control anxiety levels since it may help people get better sleep and lower cortisol. It also improves athletic performance, as well as reaction time, which is great for athletes as well. It elevates energy production and can help with the prevention of diabetes. Taurine also helps with inflammation, heart health, blood pressure, and brain health. Improving overall health is one way to combat stress – as well.
Bottom Line: Efficient stress management is more than possible with taurine supplementation through direct and indirect methods.
Retina Protection With Taurine
When it comes to healthy eyes, taurine is vital. Vision loss related to age can be associated with adequate levels of taurine. On the other side of the coin, trouble with vision problems can be the result of a taurine deficiency. Vision loss related to age has a variety of causes. However, the impact of oxidation stress on the retina’s light-sensing cells is near the top. Damage such as this can lead to forms of retinal disease and even macular degeneration related to age. When there are deficient levels of taurine, problems with vision can occur, including retinal dysfunction in children and retinal degeneration in ganglion cells. Supplementation with taurine ameliorates retinopathy in diabetics.
Bottom Line: Strong evidence suggests that optimal retina function can be maintained with taurine supplementation.
One review of research shows that taurine works wonders as an antioxidant. There’s also evidence that, in animal models, heart health improves while the risk of coronary artery disease, among other factors contributing to heart health, improve.
Bottom Line: “Taurine has been shown to affect coronary artery disease, blood pressure, plasma cholesterol and myocardial function in animal models of human disease.”
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Taurine has some pretty powerful effects on the heart and blood vessels. Individuals that take this amino sulfonic acid in higher levels have lower mortality rates caused by death from coronary heart disease.
Using taurine also showed promising in lowering unhealthy lipid levels, lowering blood pressure, reducing BMI (body mass index).
Plus, users have been shown to have lower unhealthy lipid levels, lower blood pressure, and lower BMI. Taurine supplements in hypertension models lowered blood pressure by reducing blood flow resistance in the walls of blood vessels and by lessening the brain impulse that drives up blood pressure. Oral supplementation with taurine reduce the stiffness and arterial thickening characteristics of atherosclerosis.
Bottom Line: It has been shown that taurine can help reduce inflammation and help restore arterial response to nitric oxide.
Diabetes and Glucose Control
…“data is accumulating that show the effectiveness of taurine against diabetes mellitus, insulin resistance and its complications, including retinopathy, nephropathy, neuropathy, atherosclerosis and cardiomyopathy, independent of hypoglycemic effect in several animal models.”
Bottom Line: Not only does taurine help control diabetes mellitus, but it also works with a long list of other body processes to improve health.
One way you can use taurine for your overall health improvement is because it fights obesity. All areas of the body are impacted by obesity, particularly due to the inflammation caused by fat stores. Studies done on obese or overweight but not yet diabetic humans reveal that when taurine is administered each day for seven weeks the result was a clinically significant reduction in body weight.
Each subject saw tremendous declines in atherogenic index and serum triglycerides, which is a ratio of multiple components of cholesterol predicting the risk of atherosclerosis.
There have been a number of studies on animals that showed promise in anti-obesity and lipid-lowering benefits. Some benefits are associated with taking caffeine alone and others in combination with additional ingredients or dietary changes. One of the main highlights of the studies is that taurine helps to improve the tolerance of glucose in animals who are relatively obese.
In fact, more alarm may be caused by the fact that research done with animals has resulted in a decline plasma taurine, which promotes obesity further, in vicious cycles. The results were found in mice that were obese due to a high-fat diet and those with genetic obesity.
Bottom Line: Taurine plays a significant part in obesity and the treatment thereof.
Taurine Supplements – Do You Need Them?
There is so much energy focused on investigating new ingredients and medications that sometimes the older, effective options are forgotten. Taurine is the perfect example of this. According to a study from 2012, “Considering its broad distribution, its many cytoprotective attributes, and its functional significance in cell development, nutrition, and survival, taurine is undoubtedly one of an essential substances in the body.”
Yes, your body can make taurine, but, for optimal results, it may be beneficial to take a supplement or follow a diet high in taurine-heavy foods.
There has been some suggestion that taurine supplements will be able to provide you with some health benefits, which include reversing tinnitus, alleviating seizures, fatty liver disease treatment and prevention, reversing factors of cardiovascular disease, mitigating complications of diabetes and restoring sensitivity to insulin.
Bottom Line: Taurine in supplement form can provide some of the same benefits as taurine eaten in foods.
Taurine and Longevity
People of Japanese heritage tend to have the longest lifespan of all cultures. More people over the age of 100 can be found in some Asian countries than anywhere in the world. One such area is Longevity Island.
Of course, people are stumped about what exactly is causing such consistency in longevity. One thing they found in common among the Okinawans was that this population had a high taurine amino acid intake in their diets. There is such a strong connection between long life and taurine that the Japanese refer to this amino acid as the “Japanese longevity nutrition factor.”
In research with animals, taurine protected against heart failure. This protection accounted for a decrease in mortality rates of up to 80%.
Bottom Line: There appears to be a direct connection between taurine and longevity. There’s also evidence taurine works to improve immunity, hearing, electrolyte balance, and heart health. In some circles, taurine is called a “molecule wonder” because of the long list of potential benefits.
A Healthy Body Equals More Taurine
It appears that in healthy individuals, taurine levels are higher than they are in what could be considered “unhealthy” individuals, based on various disease processes. States of disease including diabetes, heart failure, kidney failure, or liver failure, as well as cancer, can all be a cause of the taurine deficiency. Also, bodies that are showing signs of age are usually unable to produce optimum taurine amounts internally. This makes it vital to help your body with supplementation.
Bottom Line: This amino acid can help with neurologic health, metabolic health, and cardiovascular health.
Taurine Calms The Nervous System
Look, aren’t we all looking for less stress? This is something that taurine can help us with. Taurine facilitates the neurotransmitter GABA. GABA calms the nervous system. When you raise the levels of GABA, it works as a sort of anxiety management. Because taurine helps keep stress from anxiety at bay, it also prevents spikes in cortisol and adrenaline. Cortisol is associated with increased belly fat. Adrenaline spikes can lead to anxious thoughts and feelings.
When you don’t have enough taurine, or you’re reaching the lower end, nerves can over-respond to stress. When the nervous system is chronically irritated and stressed, cortisol and adrenaline levels stay elevated.
Bottom Line: Science has shown stress is linked to weight gain and taurine has been shown to help relieve stress. So, if you’re stressed and anxious, taurine may work to help you lose weight.
Noom can help you learn how to work with the stressors around weight loss to help you stay on track to success.
Which Food Groups Contain Taurine?
There is a natural occurrence of taurine in fish, seafood, and meat. However, most Western diets don’t contain enough of these foods to reap the best benefits. Keep in mind that in plants, taurine is not as abundant.
Non-vegetarian eaters consume between 43mg and 76mg of taurine each day. Foods that are naturally high in taurine include:
- Brewer’s yeast
- Dark chicken
Bottom Line: Vegetarians tend to have lower taurine levels due to lack of plant-based sources.
Details on Taurine
What is Taurine?
Science will tell you, “Taurine is a sulfonated β amino acid derived from methionine and cysteine metabolism. It is present in high concentrations in most tissues and, in particular, in proinflammatory cells such as polymorphonuclear phagocytes. Initial investigation into the multifaceted properties of this non-toxic physiologic amino acid revealed a link between retinal dysfunction and dietary deficiency.” But what does that mean for you?
Taurine is what’s often called a semi-essential amino acid. The amino acid is found in foods but is often taken as a supplement for weight loss, energy, and other considerations. There are various health benefits associated with taurine, including a lower risk of certain diseases and improvements in exercise performance. But, there’s also an indirect dark side.
Taurine is also commonly used in energy and workout supplements, including energy drinks. The big ingredient found in the majority of energy drinks is caffeine. Our research showed a possible interaction between taurine and caffeine that may warrant a closer look – we’ll touch on that in a bit. Now, let’s take a look at some of the sources of taurine in the diet.
Natural Sources of Taurine
Taurine is found in a long list of foods, so most of us get all we need from a regular diet. If your diet includes some, or all, of the following, you are getting taurine in your diet.
Meat and Fish
- Cow’s milk
- Non-fat dried milk
- Ice cream
Common Uses for Taurine
Taurine supplementation is used for a variety of health conditions and as a natural supplement. Based on research, some of the areas where the amino acid may be beneficial include in the adjunct treatment of congestive heart failure and liver disease.
Other uses, though no supported with strong science, include:
- Infant development
- Age-related macular degeneration
- Side effects of chemotherapy
- Liver scarring
- Cystic fibrosis
- Stomach ulcers
- High blood pressure
- Iron-deficiency anemia
- Mental performance
- Muscle soreness
- Muscle-wasting disease
- Lack of sleep
Research into the effect of taurine supplementation in humans has been studied for decades, so there’s a pretty good understanding of how taurine works and the benefits it provides. We’ll take a close look at research shortly.
Taurine and Exercise
With taurine being a big ingredient in so many energy drinks and pre-workout supplements, there’s bound to be some connection to exercise performance – and there is. Some research does show that taking taurine can improve performance.
In a study involving exercising males, taurine supplementation was found to improve recovery from certain exercises.
“These findings suggest that taurine supplementation taken twice daily for 72 h following eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage may help improve eccentric performance recovery of the biceps brachii.”
Now, further research, this time in rats, showed another benefit to using taurine with exercise. Based on this study, researchers found that taking taurine improved muscle fatigue associated with exercise. If fatigue is lessened, theoretically, the workout could last longer with the potential for improved results.
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Taurine and Weight Loss
Now, the big thing in supplements is weight loss. Thousands of supplements claim to help you lose weight. Taurine is one of those ingredients. But, just because it is used for weight loss doesn’t mean it is effective for such. What does research have to say about the effect of taurine on weight?
We first found significant research into the effect of taurine on lipid levels, associated with overweight and obese participants. The research found that the group taking taurine lost a significant amount of body weight. The same study suggested that taurine also has cardioprotective qualities.
The latest research, completed in 2019, showed that using taurine did, in fact, promote weight loss. However, the study involved rats, and there’s been strong debate over whether or not rat study results are representative of possible human results. Most experts agree there is no correlation.
As for studies on human participants, we were unable to find any reliable information other than an article talking about a trial to be completed on obese women. The researchers hypothesized that taurine supplementation would improve body composition. It looks as though the results of the study have yet to be published, so we’ll keep a lookout for that.
Taurine and Your Health
The research into taurine and your health is, without a doubt, more abundant than that on taurine and weight loss. Here’s a look at just some of the research available to see what taurine supplementation may do in your body.
Before an abundant amount of research into the possible health benefits of taurine was completed, researchers recognized the need for such research. In a 1997 article, authors openly claimed that “the potential advantages of dietary supplementation with taurine have not as yet been fully exploited and this is an area which could prove to be of benefit to the patient.
Just a year later, researchers again touched on the idea that taurine supplementation may prove beneficial to health. This time, the article spoke of the fact that taurine is used for health purposes in the Far East, but that use in the Western World is not as well established.
Taurine has been shown to help fight inflammation. Research showed, “The fundamental role of taurine in the immune system is related to its antioxidant properties. Taurine protects tissues from oxidative stress associated with the pathology of various inflammatory diseases.”
Taurine has long been looked at as a possible antioxidant, and some research does support the idea, but there’s also research that finds taurine may not be the most effective antioxidant in the family after all. After the conclusion of one research article, the authors shared final thoughts.
“It is concluded that cysteamine and hypotaurine are far more likely to act as antioxidants in vivo than is taurine, provided that they are present in sufficient concentration at sites of oxidant generation.”
This is the direct opposite result found in a 2003 article that found “taurine is tissue-protective in many models of oxidant-induced injury.”
Older research from 1982, suggested that taurine was of no benefit to patients with intractable epilepsy. With doses of between 0.5g and 1.0g daily, 18 of 25 cases showed no change in daily seizure activity.
In some rat models, taurine injections have been shown to help reduce the instances of seizures. The results lean to the idea that “taurine is potentially capable of treating seizure-associated brain damage.” Unfortunately, research on humans isn’t as abundant.
In a study that compared the effects of taurine and coenzyme Q10 in patients with congestive heart failure associated with cardiomyopathy, taurine was found to significantly affect left ventricular function, whereas coenzyme Q10 did not.
Possible Side Effects of Taking Taurine
Though the side effects of taking taurine supplements, even at higher doses, are rare, there has been some research that showed adverse effects. Reports and claims say the side effects may include:
- Trouble walking
When considering taurine supplementation, keep in mind that “The observed safety limit, the highest dose for which one can be relatively assured that no side effects will occur over a lifetime, has been suggested to be 3g of taurine in supplemental form (in addition to food intake) a day. Higher doses have been tested and well-tolerated, but not enough evidence is available to suggest lifelong safety of said doses.”
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A Brief Look at Caffeine
Caffeine is consumed daily by millions of people worldwide.
Caffeine is a stimulant and mild diuretic found in beverages and foods.
Some studies report negative or adverse effects of this natural ingredient.
Research also shows health benefits from caffeine.
What is Caffeine?
Caffeine is a bitter substance classified as a stimulant drug found in coffee seeds, tea leaves, and cocoa beans.
It was first discovered in 1821 and became a global commodity by the late 1800s.
The chemical name is 1,3,7-trimethylxanthine and also classified as a xanthine alkaloid.
It works by affecting the central nervous system, which in turn increases heart rate, blood pressure, and brain function, and it may take effect within only 15 minutes after consumption.
Energy drinks, protein bars and shakes, chocolate, soft drinks, hot cocoa, and iced teas contain caffeine.
Dosage – How Much is Safe?
Your weight, size, and tolerance to caffeine play a part in how much is safe for you.
Generally speaking, for the majority of healthy adults, 400 milligrams per day is considered safe.
The amount of caffeine in coffee is around 95-200 milligrams of caffeine, while a cup of black tea provides about 14-70 milligrams.
Consuming too much caffeine may lead to unpleasant side effects like anxiety and restlessness.
Natural Sources of Caffeine
Various plants contain the natural extract.
Some natural sources of this stimulant include coffee seeds, kola nuts, yerba mate plants, cocoa beans, tea leaves, and guarana plants.
Believe it or not, it’s present in more than 60 different plants.
Caffeine Effects – Elevates Mood and Memory?
Research shows caffeine affects both mood and memory.
Individual studies have revealed that consuming 2-3 cups of coffee each day may lower the risk of depression in women.
Specifically, it helps block adenosine receptors, which is a chemical found in the brain that causes you to feel fatigued or less energized.
Furthermore, it helps boost brain function and triggers chemicals such as norepinephrine and dopamine.
Caffeine Weight-Loss – Is it Good?
Some research shows it helps with weight loss to some degree.
Individual studies suggest that this stimulant may help elevate metabolism by increasing thermogenesis, which is the way your body generates energy and heat to burn off calories.
It also helps suppress or reduce appetite on some level, which may allow you to consume fewer calories overall. Reducing your intake of calories may lead to weight reduction over time.
On average, 250 milligrams consumed with food or a meal may help you burn off up to 75 more calories each day.
Get An Energy Boost from Caffeine!
If you are looking for a mental buzz or an energy boost, coffee caffeine may do the trick.
This stimulant impacts acetylcholine, serotonin, and dopamine, which are all neurotransmitters that affect concentration.
It may help boost energy levels by releasing adrenaline, encouraging your heart to beat faster, and produce energy.
If some form of caffeine is consumed within one hour before exercise, endurance levels may go up by as much as five percent.
Furthermore, muscles will remain energized for longer periods because caffeine leads to increased production of plasma catecholamines, allowing the body to adapt more efficiently to physical stress.
Eating the right foods is another way of getting a natural energy boost. What foods work to improve energy?
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Health Benefits of Caffeine
There are some noted health benefits of caffeine that are backed by robust scientific studies.
A 2005 study involving more than 193,000 people showed that 4-6 cups of coffee a day may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes by 35 percent.
Drinking at least three cups of coffee a day [for at least three weeks] has been shown to improve overall gut health by increasing good bacteria in the digestive tract.
Research involving 83,700 nurses suggests that drinking two or more cups of coffee each day reduces certain risks of stroke and heart attack by 20 percent.
Also, a 2007 study showed that drinking coffee may potentially lower your risk of liver disease.
What Are The Caffeine Side Effects?
Unfortunately, some side effects may occur if too much is consumed or if you’re sensitive to this natural stimulant.
These adverse effects may include muscle tremors, insomnia, fast heartbeat, upset stomach, nervousness, restlessness, irritability, and headache. These side effects have been reported by users of weight-loss supplements and pre-workout shakes.
Consuming too much increases the risk of dehydration and more frequent urination.
It’s important to balance your fluid intake and be sure to consume plenty of water to stay hydrated.
If you’re taking any prescription drugs or medications, it’s best to speak with a healthcare provider before consuming caffeine, because caffeine may have an adverse reaction to the drug.
Details on Caffeine
What is Caffeine?
Caffeine is a stimulant that works via the brain and central nervous system. It is used in a wide variety of supplements, added to sodas, and found naturally in coffee and some foods. Tea, which is one source of caffeine, has brewed for ages. “Historians suggest that caffeine was consumed as far back as 2737 BC when Chinese Emperor Shen Nung boiled drinking water and leaves from a nearby bush, creating a pleasant aroma and the first pot of tea.”
How Does Caffeine Work?
The big thing in the world of caffeine is energy and focus. Science shows that caffeine promotes both at optimal levels. The effect may be dose-dependent as some people consume more caffeine than others, and thus a higher tolerance is established. Some research shows the mood-boosting properties may be enough to combat suicide risk.
Natural Sources of Caffeine
Caffeine is added to drinks, water, supplements, and foods, but where does that caffeine originate? “Coffee beans, tea leaves, kola nuts… and cacao pods” are all-natural sources of caffeine.
Common Uses for Caffeine
Caffeine is commonly used to increase energy or fight fatigue. There is also evidence the stimulant can improve focus and cognitive function. Outside of fighting fatigue, caffeine is likely the most common ingredient in weight-loss and workout supplements.
There is a long list of uses for caffeine backed by some solid science. The best list we found was on WebMD. According to the list, caffeine is effective for:
- “Migraine headache
- Breathing problems in premature infants
- Headache following surgery
- Tension headache
- Mental alertness
- Age-related mental problems
- Athletic performance
- Gallbladder disease
- Hepatitis C
- Low blood pressure after eating
- Parkinson’s disease
- Headache after epidural anesthesia
- Skin cancer
- Weight loss”
Caffeine and Exercise
There is a significant amount of research into the effects of caffeine on exercise performance and outcome.
Research published in Sports Medicine found that while “Caffeine does not improve maximal oxygen capacity directly, but could permit the athlete to train at a greater power output and/or to train longer.”
Research in the Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology hared that “Caffeine is clearly a very active drug that has many effects on humans including increasing exercise endurance. This can be associated with muscle glycogen sparing and elevated plasma epinephrine, but the underlying mechanisms are unknown.”
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A review of research involving 40 studies published in the Human Kinetics Journal reported that caffeine ingestion improves exercise performance in endurance testing.
The real questions are how and why caffeine works to improve performance. The journal Sports Medicine shares that “Although controversy exists, the major part of published evidence evaluating performance supports the notion that caffeine is ergogenic during prolonged (>30 min), moderate intensity (≈75 to 80% V̇2max) exercise. The mechanism to explain these findings may be linked to a caffeine-mediated glycogen sparing effect secondary to an increased rate of lipolysis.”
To get the most out of the effects of caffeine for exercise performance, research shows it’s best to stop using caffeine four days prior to performance or competition. This works “to magnify the effect of caffeine.”
Caffeine and Weight Loss
Another popular use for caffeine is as a stimulant and thermogenic in weight-loss supplements. Supplement companies tend to make claims about their products, including some ingredients that aren’t exactly rooted in research. So, what do science and research have to say about caffeine and weight loss?
Intake of supplemental caffeine has been shown to increase energy expenditure or the amount of energy the body uses. In theory, if you continued to consume the same diet with the same number of calories each day and added caffeine, you would burn more calories. The research also found that “Subjects with a higher BMI at baseline correspond to higher energy expenditure,” making it a solid choice for a weight-loss supplement.
Caffeine can also work to decrease energy intake, via food, in men by more than 20%. In women, however, the same result was not found. The theory is that the female body is designed to conserve fat energy when there are “factors activating the sympathetic nervous system,” such as caffeine.
What’s more, it appears that lean women see the effects of caffeine on energy metabolism, but obese women do not. The research showed that “Despite the high levels of urinary methylxanthine excretion, thermogenesis and lipid oxidation were less stimulated in obese than in lean subjects.”
We also found research that speaks of the global obesity epidemic and caffeine’s ability to “potentially be useful as a body weight regulator.” This lends to the idea that caffeine works in people with obesity, whereas the previously mentioned research showed it doesn’t.
We found additional research that supports the claim that caffeine intake may help fight obesity. Based upon a single dose of caffeine (100mg), it was found that “Caffeine at commonly consumed doses can have a significant influence on energy balance and may promote thermogenesis in the treatment of obesity.”
A clinical trial also reported that caffeine ingestion increases metabolic rate in lean and obese individuals. The research did, however, recognize the fact that in lean individuals, the rate of fat oxidation was higher.
Adding caffeine to your diet may be a means of increasing weight loss, but there are many other changes you can make, and all it takes is 10 minutes a day.
Working with Noom, you can use individual coaching to guide you along the path to weight loss.
Caffeine and Your Health
Research into caffeine and the effects on heart health have been around since the 1980s. Early research showed that many of the claimed risk factors were not associated with caffeine intake. However, there’s plenty of research out there to warn people about reactions that may need to be considered.
So many people drink and take caffeine each day that sometimes the benefits are forgotten or given less value than they deserve. Research has shown that “moderate caffeine intake (< 6 cups/day) has been associated with less depressive symptoms, fewer cognitive failures, and lower risk of suicide.” Unfortunately, the study also showed that taking in too much caffeine can actually have detrimental effects, including “psychotic and manic symptoms.”
In one study, focused on the impact of caffeine on heart health, researchers found a correlation they didn’t expect. “Overall, the results show that caffeine consumption may benefit cognitive functioning in a non‐working population… consumption of caffeine was found to be associated with a reduced risk of depression.”
Caffeine also tends to assist with mood disturbances in people with fatigue. One bit of research showed that ”findings indicate that consumption of a caffeine-containing food supplement improves subjective state and cognitive performance in fatigued individuals that is likely a result of its caffeine content.”
Vitamin and Mineral Depletion
There’s also evidence that caffeine intake, even in moderate amounts, can cause “nutrient depletion of important nutrients, like vitamin B6, and interfere with nutrient absorption of essential minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium, and B vitamins.”
Additional research has shown that caffeine intake disrupts serum folate levels. Folate, or folic acid, is critical for neural tube development in the fetus. Thus, pregnant women are advised to limit caffeine intake, as are people who at increased risk of low folate levels.
There’s also evidence that caffeine intake can reduce levels of zinc, calcium, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and other vitamins and minerals.
High Blood Pressure
We know that caffeine, as a stimulant, can increase heart rate, but what effect does it have on blood pressure? According to research, there’s not a strong correlation, after all. Research has claimed, “It is concluded that prolonged administration of caffeine is not associated with significant elevation in blood pressure, plasma catecholamine levels, or plasma renin activity in patients with borderline hypertension.”
As is the case with many supplements, and natural stimulants like caffeine, research falls on both sides of the fence. In this case, a study found that “Caffeine increased self-rated alertness and jitteriness and blood pressure. Theanine antagonised the effect of caffeine on blood pressure but did not significantly affect jitteriness, alertness or other aspects of mood.” So, there is research that shows caffeine helps mood and increases blood pressure and research that shows it doesn’t help mood or raise blood pressure.
Interestingly enough, research has also shown that women may benefit from education on the risks of dietary caffeine intake more than men. According to the research, “the present findings show progressively larger BP responses to caffeine in persons with increasing risk of hypertension. Future research should focus on those with elevated BP and both treated and untreated hypertensives. Because the discrepancy in BP between the genders narrows in later life, priority should also be given to postmenopausal women in regard to dietary caffeine use.”
When coffee and caffeine were compared for possible health benefits, coffee came out on top. And, unlike some research, caffeine was found to elevate blood pressure. This research showed that “coffee was associated with a rise in serum lipids, but this result was affected by significant heterogeneity, and caffeine was associated with a rise in blood pressure.”
Again, because caffeine is a stimulant, there’s little doubt it can impact the quality of sleep. Many supplement companies will warn users to prevent disrupted sleep by taking a supplement or drinking a caffeine-laden beverage, by consuming the caffeine no less than six hours before bedtime. As you’d expect, the research showed that reducing caffeine intake would alleviate the impact on sleep.
That six-hour period is more than just a claim made without clinical support. Research does show that caffeine intake as long as six hours before bedtime negatively impacts sleep quality. “The magnitude of reduction in total sleep time suggests that caffeine taken 6 hours before bedtime has important disruptive effects on sleep and provides empirical support for sleep hygiene recommendations to refrain from substantial caffeine use for a minimum of 6 hours prior to bedtime.”
There appears to be a cyclic relationship between sleep quality and caffeine intake. People who are tired tend to take in more caffeine and, because they are taking in more caffeine, they have trouble sleeping – thus perpetuating the cycle.
As far back as the 1970s, researchers warned about the effect caffeine has on sleep. In one study, the authors suggested that caffeine intake actually affects the deeper stages of sleep – both the development and sustainment of said stages.
Caffeine as a Drug
Many people look at caffeine as something their morning coffee provides, or that the afternoon energy drink packs to help get you through the day. But, caffeine is also considered a drug. As a matter of fact, caffeine is the most used drug in the world. When classified as a drug, the potential of addiction and overuse come with the label.
Just like any other stimulant, caffeine use comes with risks. The level of risk depends on various factors, including:
“Size weight and health
Whether the person is used to taking it
Whether other drugs are taken around the same time
The amount taken”
Taking too much caffeine can lead to overdose or death. Symptoms of caffeine overdose include:
- Irregular Heart Rate
- Death – in extremely rare cases with extreme caffeine intake
The possibility of death increases the more extreme the intake, but research has shown that even at lesser amounts, death can occur. “toxic and lethal doses are relative, since doses below the toxic and/or lethal range may play a causal role in intoxication or death. This could be due to caffeine’s interaction with other substances or to the individual’s preexisting metabolism alterations or diseases.”
As with all drugs, there is a comedown process that produces its own set of side effects and adverse reactions. When coming down off caffeine, with regular use of four cups of coffee or more daily, you may experience:
- difficulty Sleeping
- irritability and headaches
- dizziness and ringing in the ears
- muscle tremor
- weakness and fatigue
- rapid heart rate and quickened breathing rate
- poor appetite, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea
- increased thirst, frequent urination or increased urine volume
- irregular heart rate or rhythm
- low blood pressure with faintness or falls
- seizures, confusion or delirium”
These symptoms are also experienced in people withdrawing from excessive caffeine intake.
Withdrawal symptoms are often the cause of people continuing to drink caffeine. They don’t like experiencing the symptoms, so they drink more caffeine to stave off the effects of coming down.
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Possible Side Effects of Taking Caffeine
There is a long list of potential side effects of taking caffeine. A list that is longer than any list of benefits. If you’re consuming caffeine regularly or considering adding caffeine to your day, you may want to consider how the body reacts.
Caffeine can cause:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Muscle aches
- Issues with fertility and pregnancy
- Increase in blood pressure
- Jitters and shakes
- Increased urine output
Other factors to take into consideration concerning the effects, and side effects, of caffeine, are, “Too much caffeine may lead to sleep deprivation and a tendency to disregard the normal warning signals that the body is tired and needs rest. Caffeine does not replenish energy or prevent emotional fatigue; food and sleep are the only remedies for these. When normal sleeping patterns are continually disrupted, mood depression may occur. Too much caffeine may also lead to anxiety-related feelings such as excessive nervousness, sweating and tremors.”
Taurine, Caffeine, and Your Body
Taurine comes with some potential health benefits, as does caffeine, but what happens when you put the two together. Some studies show increased, or new benefits, and others that show negative interactions could be an issue.
The Mayo Clinic shares that the combination of taurine and caffeine has been shown to improve mental performance. But, they note that additional research is needed because long-term use of taurine hasn’t been studied.
Unfortunately, research doesn’t exactly agree with the Mayo Clinic. In one study, participants who took caffeine reported better changes in cognitive performance – the taurine was not responsible for such an effect.
There’s also a possible negative effect on exercise performance. In sprinters who took a taurine and caffeine supplement before sprint cycling, the combination appeared to cause increased fatigue, especially near the end of the research.
Research also shows that the positive effects associated with caffeine, in terms of exercise performance, may be negated with taurine is added to the mix. This is especially troublesome because so many energy drinks and pre-workout products contain the two ingredients.
In another study on the impact of taurine and caffeine on sports performance, college football athletes showed no benefit or change in performance when taking a taurine/caffeine combination. There is some thought that the total amount of caffeine could have played a factor, so further research is needed.
Though rare, we were able to find another study – this time, taurine did improve exercise performance, but the caffeine and taurine combination did not perform as well as taurine alone. “[Taurine] elicited greater improvements in performance compared to [placebo], [caffeine], or [caffeine + taurine].”
Possible Interactions Between Taurine and Caffeine
It appears that taking taurine and caffeine together may cause some untoward, or lackluster, effects on exercise and sports performance. Are there other interactions that could cause issues with the effectiveness of a supplement or possible side effects?
Research has shown that taking taurine with caffeine can negate the cardiovascular effects of caffeine. The research also goes on to state that “the adverse cardiovascular symptoms associated with excessive consumption of caffeine-taurine containing beverages” does not appear to be associated with the taurine – but with the caffeine.
This appears to the only piece of research into the interactions of taurine and caffeine. Because long-term use of taurine hasn’t been studied, researchers need to evaluate possible interactions through human research, especially since the combination is widely available in supplements and energy drinks.
The Final Take on Taurine and Caffeine
Taurine – an amino acid found in foods with possible health benefits. Caffeine – a stimulant that qualifies as the most heavily used drug in the world. The two come with a unique set of possible health benefits, but they also come with a relationship that requires significant, long-term research to evaluate possible risks, side effects, and dangers.
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