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25.11.2008


Animal study: taurine improves endurance

There's more science in energy drinks than you might think. That's the conclusion we come to, the ever sceptical compilers of this low-tech ergogenic web venue, after reading about a study from way back in 2002. The results of the study show that taking a supplement of taurine – standard ingredient in energy drinks – improves rats' endurance capacity.

Animal study: taurine improves endurance
The research was done by pharmacologists at the University of Florida. It was commissioned by the Japanese Taisho Pharmaceutical Company, which produces supplements, including products that contain taurine.

The researchers gave the rats drinking water that contained three percent taurine for a month long. A control group was given normal drinking water, without taurine. Another group was given the amino acid beta-alanine in their drinking water. This amino acid was believed to build muscle and improve performance, but the researchers didn't know that at the time. They used beta-alanine because it gets rid of taurine in the body.


Animal study: taurine improves endurance


The graph above shows the effect of both substances on the rats' endurance capacity. ET = taurine, ENT = beta-alanine.

Taurine, and to a lesser extent beta-alanine – increase the length of time that rats can run. When the researchers examined the rats' muscles after running, they saw that the taurine supplement had reduced the concentration of free radicals – TBARS. CON = rats that did not run and did not receive taurine; EC = rats that did run but did not receive taurine; ET = rats that ran and received taurine.


Animal study: taurine improves endurance


Variables such as LDH and CK – markers for muscle damage – also indicate that taurine has a protective effect. How taurine protects muscles the researchers do not yet know. Muscle cells contain large amounts of taurine, but the exact role of taurine in the muscle cells has not yet been elucidated.

Sources:
Amino Acids. 2002 Jun;22(4):309-24.