Derived from the amino acid cysteine, Taurine is a conditionally essential amino acid that plays a role in several prominent physiological processes, many of which are related to exercise. It’s predominantly stored in the brain, heart, and skeletal muscles, which gives insight into its benefits.
First and foremost, taurine functions as a cell volumizer in skeletal muscle where it helps “pull” additional water and nutrients into the muscle, essentially turning it into a sponge. The end result of the additional nutrients is better performance, greater endurance, and some stellar “water-based” pumps.
Secondly, since vast reserves of taurine are found in the heart, it should come as no surprise that taurine has a significant impact on blood flow. Research has shown that taurine relaxes blood vessels (vasodilation), which increases blood circulation to muscles and therefore improves muscle pumps and performance. Greater blood flow also translates to improved muscle protein synthesis by increasing the amino acid delivery into muscle tissue they can be used for growth and repair.
Finally, taurine also functions as a major inhibitory (“downer”) neurotransmitter in the brain. Because of this, taurine is often used in sleep supplements and to improve mood.