Taurine Toxicity

Taurine is a natural amino acid naturally present in bodily tissues that play a role in physiological functions that is also available in food sources for dietary intake.

Due to its wide effects on the body, it has been added as an ingredient in several consumer products. However, in large doses it may have a toxic effect on the body and the current upper limit of taurine is not known. There is some concern about cardiac toxicity, and the observed safe limit should be followed to reduce the risk of side effects.

Image Credit: Eugeniusz Dudzinski / Shutterstock
Image Credit: Eugeniusz Dudzinski / Shutterstock

Supplements and Consumer Products

Taurine has become increasingly popular in a range of health foods, including dietary supplements, functional foods and energy drinks. Nutritional research in the area supports the beneficial effects of taurine in promoting many physiological functions and performance benefits.

As a result, the health industry has responded with various supplementation products that allow individuals to increase their daily intake of taurine and other amino acids beyond normal dietary intake.

However, the optimal dose of taurine is yet to be agreed upon and research does not clearly indicate how much an individual needs to reap the benefits, without experiencing toxic effects of the amino acid.

Consumer Awareness

It is essential that the public consumers of foods and beverages containing taurine are aware of the benefits and risks, particularly in relation to toxicity. Energy drinks are freely available for purchase and many consumers may be unaware of the taurine content in the products they buy. As a result, they are at risk of consuming high doses of taurine unknowingly and may be at risk of toxic effects.

Cardiac Toxicity

Some medical researchers have considerable concern about the safety of taurine for the heart tissue and believe that the amino acid may cause damage to the heart. However, at present, this suggestion is not supported by any significant research. In fact, opposing research indicates that the leakage of taurine from damaged cells in cardiac failure may be responsible for elevated serum taurine levels.

Observed Safe Limit

The maximum safe dose of taurine as a supplement is the dose at which there is a high level of confidence that an individual will not experience any side effects. This dose assumes that the supplement will be taken on a long-term daily basis.

According to one study, the observed safety limit was deemed to be 3 grams of taurine as a supplement, taken in addition to normal dietary intake. There have been several studies that have investigated the effects of higher doses, which are largely well-tolerated, but there is insufficient evidence to support the long-term use of higher doses.


Further Reading

Last Updated: Apr 9, 2021

Yolanda Smith

Written by

Yolanda Smith

Yolanda graduated with a Bachelor of Pharmacy at the University of South Australia and has experience working in both Australia and Italy. She is passionate about how medicine, diet and lifestyle affect our health and enjoys helping people understand this. In her spare time she loves to explore the world and learn about new cultures and languages.


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  1. Kitty Rodriguez Kitty Rodriguez United States says:

    One taurine supplement capsule taken before bedtime has helped me to sleep much better, waking up feeling refreshed. How could this be dangerous, I don't think so.

    • Richard Weston Richard Weston United States says:

      Benzodiazepines, barbituates, opioid analgesics and other highly addictive and toxic drugs help you sleep before bed too, and they're very dangerous.  MAOIs(even natural ones like Passiflora aka Passion Flower) help people sleep, but are dangerous at high doses.  I could go on and on.  I hope you get the point.

  2. sandra bellini sandra bellini United States says:

    I’ve been taking Taurine for over 18 years.
    Do your research .

  3. Nehm Salam Nehm Salam United States says:

    I took a heaping teaspoon of Taurine at 6:30 this morning cause I was having anxiety issues  and it knocked me out for three hours having crazy dreams . I woke up with peripheral neuropathy and still anxious.

  4. Kaique Walk Kaique Walk United States says:

    Taurine, an amino acid found naturally in the body and in certain foods, plays a crucial role in various physiological functions, including bile salt formation, eye health, and cardiovascular function. Studies have shown that taurine supplementation can have beneficial effects on heart health.

    For instance, taurine has been associated with reduced blood pressure, improved lipid profiles, and protection against heart failure and arrhythmias. Research also indicates that taurine acts as an antioxidant, reducing oxidative stress and inflammation, which are critical factors in maintaining heart health.

    Regarding energy drinks, while they do contain taurine, the concern is often more about other ingredients such as caffeine and sugar, which can have adverse effects on health if consumed in excessive amounts. The taurine content in these drinks is usually well within safe limits.

    Clinical studies have demonstrated that daily intakes of taurine up to 3 grams are safe for long-term use in healthy adults. There is no evidence suggesting that such dosages pose a risk to heart health; rather, they are often linked to positive cardiovascular outcomes.

    In summary, taurine itself, even in higher doses like 3000mg per day, is generally considered safe and may contribute to improved heart health. The overall health effects of energy drinks depend more on their other components rather than taurine.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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