What is the first ingredient you look for whenever you buy any energy drink or sports drink? Yes, definitely- CAFFEINE! Now, what if you find TAURINE as one of the ingredients listed in the same energy drinks or sports drinks?
Our most accepted guess is that you won’t seem to mind as taurine and caffeine are considered essentially the same components.
Well, we are here to turn down the myth. Taurine and Caffeine are two completely different biological compounds pertaining to different functional and health properties.
Then what’s the catch on taurine vs caffeine? Can these two terms be used interchangeably? What’s the difference between caffeine and taurine?
Keep reading to know!
What is Taurine?
Taurine is basically an amino acid that is used by muscles, the brain, the heart, etc. for many important metabolic processes inside our body.
According to a review article published in Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, Taurine helps in-
- Fat metabolism prevents oxidative stress
- Maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance
- Anaerobic metabolism thus improves respiratory function
- Preventing anti-inflammatory responses after workout sessions
- Improving insulin sensitivity and carbohydrate metabolism
- Strengthening immune system
Taurine, although found in the body, is also required by the diet and the major sources are meat, fish, dairy products, etc.
Taurine, according to many kinds of research, is an essential ingredient of different energy drinks, soda, and sports drinks. It is known to prevent muscle soreness and cramps and promote quick recovery after exercise.
What is Caffeine?
Caffeine is a popular natural stimulant known to activate and increase the release of adrenaline and the activity of other neurotransmitters, mainly norepinephrine and dopamine in the blood which in turn stimulate better alertness and focus.
That is why caffeine is considered the first choice when it comes to keeping yourself awake. But overdose of caffeine can be very harmful to the body causing many metabolic health disorders including neurological issues.
Cacao beans, green tea, and coffee beans all contain this compound. Caffeine may be a beneficial element in energy drinks and pre-workout supplements known to energize and strengthen the body.
Taurine vs Caffeine: Know the difference
For most of us out there assuming both taurine and caffeine have an energizing effect, the ice breaker here is that taurine is instead, more of a relaxing amino acid whereas caffeine is the one that actually provides the energizing effect.
Taurine is naturally a component that helps in neurological development and mainly caters to improving health functions, mainly cardiovascular functions.
On the other hand, caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, which may help you overcome stress, anxiety, and depression. It can also assist you in overcoming exhaustion for a brief amount of time. This will help you keep active for a while.
However, both taurine and caffeine do not have any major nutritional value and excess consumption of both can be detrimental to your overall health.
Pros and Cons of Taurine
1) Improves athletic performance
Being one of the most popular and effective supplements for exercise and workout immunity, taurine is claimed to have a positive effect on endurance performance by enhancing muscle function ( contraction) and preventing muscle fatigue and muscle cramps thus allowing athletics for practicing or performing for an extended period of time.
2) Improving heart health
This is one of the key benefits of consuming taurine. A lot of studies reverted to a confirmed conclusion that taurine poses positive effects on the cardiovascular health of an individual. It prevents hypertension and keeps the blood pressure in control.
Moreover, those with heart disease can increase their athletic potential, exercise for longer periods of time, and even lower their cholesterol by taurine supplementation.
3) Fat metabolism
Taurine can be a good choice for someone looking to reduce body fat as it helps in metabolizing the fat stores thus cutting down on extra fat while helping in building lean body mass.
This way, taurine supports good heart health by preventing conditions like heart plaque, the incidence of stroke or heart attacks, etc.
1) Not favorable to consume in combination with caffeine
Studies say taurine is generally a safe supplement to consume and contains very few side effects since it’s naturally produced but the major concern lies in its consumption along with caffeine, generally in certain energy drinks. The two compounds together can cause severe health issues.
2) Not beneficial as an energizing component
This is to again note that taurine does not have an energetic effect on your body. Instead, it is a relaxing amino acid and can make you feel calm and even tired.
That’s why it is a part of many post-workout recovery drinks. So, if you consume an excess of it in context to it containing any stimulating effect, then that’s a dead end.
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Pros and Cons of Caffeine
1) Increase mental alertness and focus
Caffeine is known to serve as a stimulant in increasing and enhancing alertness and focus. It also helps in reducing anxiety and reduces stress
It also substantially cut down the incidence of fatigue. People generally also consume caffeine to keep themselves awake while working.
However, too much caffeine consumption has proven to increase health risks. So, it is advised to keep your caffeine consumption in moderation and try resorting to other ways to keep yourself awake other than caffeine.
2) Enhance sports performance
One of the major benefits of caffeine is experienced by people who are into sports or workouts. Caffeine is a major ingredient for all kinds of energy and sports drinks.
It also boosts stamina by improving your body’s ability to burn fat for fuel, according to studies. This allows your glycogen stores to last longer, giving you more fuel options during your workout.
3) Prevents chronic illnesses
This might turn out unexpected but caffeine does help to lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and may also prevent strokes and other heart ailments, the condition being you must consume it in utmost moderation.
Consuming way too much caffeine or coffee can lead to insomnia. The notion that it can keep you awake throughout the attack gets counter-attacked by the feeling of not being able to sleep at all during the night.
Thus, it hampers your sleep cycle which in turn disturbs your entire biological clock.
2) Frequent urination
If you are a coffee addict, you must have noticed yourself peeing more than normal in a day. Frequent urination is a common side effect of intaking excessive caffeine. So, if you are already into the phase, there’s still time and you can resort to cutting your daily cups of coffee to no more than two or three.
Also read: Why More Urine Is Produced In Winter?
3) Bowel problems
While caffeine is a bowel-friendly compound for many people, the fact that it can cause your bowel movement to disturb cannot be underestimated.
Caffeine appears to increase bowel motions by enhancing peristalsis, or the contractions that transport food through the digestive system. It’s hardly surprising, then, that high doses of caffeine can cause loose stools or even diarrhea in some people.
What’s Better: Caffeine or Taurine?
Caffeine and Taurine both have different properties. A moderate intake of both is advised from our end i.e, no more than 2-4 cups (400 mg) in a day of caffeine and around 500-3000 mg/day of taurine.
When it comes to safe consumption, taurine wins the bet here as it has negligible detrimental effects being a natural compound whereas caffeine goes to a downside if consumed in excessive amounts. However, if you want instant energy and stamina, caffeine in moderation is a fair choice to move forward with.
It’s not that one ingredient is bad over another. But scientifically, taurine has proved to be a better component than caffeine when it comes to regular consumption.
Overall, both caffeine and taurine work at their maximum best when consumed in favorable quantities. Caffeine is a stimulant and taurine is more of a relaxant.
While you can safely sip on either of these during your workout sessions, it is advised to avoid consuming both as a combination.
Does taurine counteract caffeine?
According to a study from Australia, Taurine does diminish the effect of caffeine in energy drinks and sports drinks. While caffeine drastically improves the reaction times, taurine has no effect on the sports performance of individuals. However, it counters the effect of caffeine by reducing the reaction time to a certain extent. However, more research is required to confirm this notion.
Does taurine keep you awake?
Out of all the preconceived notions, one is that taurine helps you keep awake. However, this is a misconception. Taurine, in fact, promotes better quality sleep! When you can’t relax or are concerned about going to sleep, taurine’s relaxing impact can help.
Since it is a natural compound and contains no potential side effects, you can consume taurine in optimum amounts for a good sleep.
Is taurine like caffeine?
No. Taurine and caffeine are two different biological compounds or substances. Caffeine is a stimulant that increases alertness and focus and enhances the adrenaline levels in the blood whereas Taurine is a relaxing amino acid that contributes to improving heart health and is a major contributing factor in enhancing sports performance. Both taurine and caffeine are an integral part of sports and energy drinks.
Is taurine stronger than caffeine?
Taurine and caffeine are, many a-times, used interchangeably when it comes to their functional properties but scientifically, caffeine is stronger than taurine.
Caffeine acts as a stimulant that activates the adrenaline levels in the blood and helps you stay focused and alert and keep you energized all day whereas taurine has no major energizing effects. It is more like a relaxing amino acid that helps in improving heart health and minimizing muscle damage and preventing cramps.