What is Taurine in Energy Drinks & Is It Good For You?

May, 23, 2023

What is Taurine in Energy Drinks & Is It Good For You?

Learn more about the benefits and side effects of taurine in energy drinks, and why you may want to choose an energy drink without it.

Taurine is an amino acid that is made naturally in the body. It is found abundantly in the brain, eyes, heart, and muscles. It is also found in some food sources including meat, shellfish, and dairy. Unlike other amino acids, Taurine is not used to build proteins. Taurine is believed to have antioxidant effects, but there is little research on the effects of long-term taurine supplementation. 

Some studies suggest that taurine supplementation may improve athletic performance, while others have shown improvements in cognitive performance when combined with caffeine. This is why many energy drinks include taurine in the ingredients. 

This article explains everything you need to know about taurine, including its benefits, possible side effects, and whether you should consume it.

Role of Taurine in Energy Drinks

Many energy drink companies and pre-workout supplements include taurine in their ingredients along with caffeine. Let’s dig into why these companies add taurine to their formulas. 

Taurine as an amino acid

Taurine is an amino acid that is found in several organs in the human body. The main functions of taurine in the body are: (1, 2, 3)

  • maintaining appropriate hydration and electrolyte balance in your cells
  • making bile salts, which are needed for digestion
  • controlling mineral levels such as calcium in your cells
  • supporting the general function of your central nervous system and eyes
  • maintaining immune system health and antioxidant function

A healthy adult can produce the minimum amount of taurine required for these basic functions because it is a conditionally essential amino acid. So under normal circumstances, there is no need for taurine intake from outside the body.

When you are sick or stressed, your body may require more conditional essential amino acids from the diet. In this case, Taurine can be consumed from food sources or supplements, like in energy drinks. (4)

Taurine in energy drink formulations

“Energy drink companies use the amino acid taurine because of the effect on mental and physical performance it is believed to have,” says Victoria Whittington, a registered dietitian. Some studies have linked taurine supplementation to improved exercise capacity and may therefore help individuals to meet athletic goals. It may also increase fat-burning capacity during exercise, which may help you perform better for longer. (2)

A review of research studying the effects of taurine on athletic performance found several potential benefits, including:

  • increased oxygen uptake by the body
  • increased time to fatigue
  • reduced muscle damage
  • improved recovery times
  • improved strength and power

Researchers did note that the effects were minimal and results were inconsistent, so more research is needed to fully support the benefits of taurine supplementation for athletic performance. (2)

Potential Health Effects of Taurine Consumption

Positive Health Effects

Whittington says that there are some health benefits to be had from consuming taurine either from the diet or supplements. Some studies have associated taurine intake with positive health effects including:

1. Improved exercise performance

A meta-analysis reviewed studies that examined taurine supplementation and found that it may help improve exercise performance by reducing fatigue and prolonging endurance. (5)

2. Enhanced cognitive function

Taurine has been shown to enhance cognitive function, particularly in the areas of memory and learning. (6)

3. Protection against oxidative stress

Taurine is believed to have antioxidant properties, which might help protect the body against free radicals. (3)

4. May lower blood pressure and improve vascular function

A randomized control trial showed that taurine supplementation may be effective for the treatment of prehypertension because it improves the functioning of the circulatory system. (7)

Although some studies found an association between taurine supplementation and positive health benefits, the results are inconsistent, with some research showing no benefit at all. 

Negative Health Effects

“Most healthy individuals can tolerate taurine in moderate amounts without any significant side effects, however, some people may want to consult their medical provider before taking any supplemental taurine,” says Victoria Whittington, RDN. Here’s why:

1. Side effects of excessive consumption

Some people have complained of the following side effects when taking taurine (8):

  • vomiting
  • nausea
  • liver pain
  • headache
  • stomach pain

2. Possible interactions with medications

Taurine acts as a cytochrome P450 enzyme inhibitor, so it may interfere with some medications. Particularly antidepressants, antiepileptic drugs, warfarin, and statins, all of which rely on the enzyme for medication metabolism. (9, 10)

Although there aren’t any significant side effects of taurine, there really isn’t any substantial research to support taking it. 

If you’re taking taurine from pre-workout supplements or energy drinks, you may also want to consider any other ingredients that are included in these products that you might be sensitive to or want to limit. “Many of these drinks may have extremely high doses of caffeine or added sugar,” says Whittington.

Why Ethan’s Does Not Use Taurine in Their Formulations

Ethan’s doesn’t include taurine in their formulations because its products are specially formulated for optimal performance, using only evidence-backed ingredients with expertise from a registered dietitian. 

Ethan’s Clean Energy Shots blend natural plant-derived caffeine, B Vitamins, and adaptogens that give you the boost in energy you need, without the added sugar or unnecessary ingredients. 

If you’ve been drinking the run-of-the-mill energy drinks from your corner gas station, we challenge you to give Ethan’s a shot (literally!) and see how you feel.


Taurine is an amino acid and a common ingredient found in energy drinks. While some research shows that taurine improves physical endurance and cognitive performance, other studies show that it has no effect at all on these things. More research is needed to support the effect of taurine on mental and physical performance. 

Ethan’s Clean Energy only uses ingredients that are researched and heavily backed by science. Instead of energy drinks that add ingredients without a purpose, give Ethan’s Clean Energy Shots a try and feel the difference in your energy, mental clarity, and exercise performance.


Taurine is added to energy drinks for its potential benefits on energy levels and exercise performance. It may enhance mental focus, reduce fatigue, and improve endurance.

Authored By

Kristen Carli

Kristen Carli is the owner of Camelback Nutrition & Wellness. She graduated from University of Arizona with a BA in psychology and then received a BS in dietetics from Arizona State University. After completion of the dietetic internship, she continued her education by receiving a MS in Human Nutrition from University of Western States. Having a passion for nutrition communication, she writes for many food and nutrition outlets as well as regularly develops recipes for food brands and media companies. Her nutrition expertise has been featured in InStyle, Bustle, Livestrong, The List, MyFitnessPal and many others. Additionally, Kristen is often featured via local TV segments sharing nutrition tips and tricks. She was selected to act as a Produce for Better Health Foundation Fruit and Vegetable Ambassador in Action, helping to promote the health benefits and importance of consuming fruits and vegetables, as well as a FoodMinds upwaRD winner for 2022, honoring up and coming media dietitians. You can find her reading, running, and exploring new restaurants with her husband and baby boy.

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