Effect of taurine and potential interactions with caffeine on cardiovascular function
Amino Acids May 2014, Volume 46, Issue 5, pp 1147-1157 Stephen W. Schaffer
The major impetus behind the rise in energy drink popularity among adults is their ability to heighten mental alertness, improve physical performance and supply energy. However, accompanying the exponential growth in energy drink usage have been recent case reports and analyses from the National Poison Data System, raising questions regarding the safety of energy drinks. Most of the safety concerns have centered on the effect of energy drinks on cardiovascular and central nervous system function. Although the effects of caffeine excess have been widely studied, little information is available on potential interactions between the other active ingredients of energy drinks and caffeine. One of the active ingredients often mentioned as a candidate for interactions with caffeine is the beta-amino acid, taurine. Although taurine is considered a conditionally essential nutrient for humans and is thought to play a key role in several human diseases, clinical studies evaluating the effects of taurine are limited. However, based on this review regarding possible interactions between caffeine and taurine,
we conclude that taurine should neutralize several untoward effects of caffeine excess.
In agreement with this conclusion, the European Union’s Scientific Committee on Food published a report in March 2003 summarizing its investigation into potential interactions of the ingredients in energy drinks. At the cardiovascular level, they concluded that “if there are any interactions between caffeine and taurine, taurine might reduce the cardiovascular effects of caffeine.” Although these interactions remain to be further examined in humans, the physiological functions of taurine appear to be inconsistent with the adverse cardiovascular symptoms associated with excessive consumption of caffeine–taurine containing beverages.