In a small study of healthy college-aged volunteers in which participants were randomly assigned to placebo or daily intake of a standardized energy drink, researchers evaluated the effect of the ingredients in the energy drinks on designated behavioral tasks that involve motor skills, judgement, and stamina.4 The findings of the study were somewhat vague, however, it appeared that taurine attenuated the effects of caffeine, thereby moderating the ‘buzz’ typically reported with heavy caffeine intake but extending its effects of increased concentration and energy.

Taurine also plays a significant role in skeletal and cardiac muscle contractility, making it important in the management of most cardiovascular functions. These functions are of a protective nature due to taurine’s calcium channel blocking function.5 This same action controls hypertension at the vascular level by reducing vasoconstriction and decreases the incidence of cardiac arrhythmias.

In a small but compelling study, researchers found improvements in exercise and metabolic measures after 2 weeks of oral supplementation with taurine.6 Researchers enrolled 29 patients with left ventricular ejection fractions (LVEFs) of less than 50% who were categorized as Class II or III by the New York Heart Association Functional Classification.6 Study participants were randomly assigned to protocols of either oral taurine supplementation or placebo. Each patient was evaluated at the beginning of the two-week trial and at the end with a standardized or modified Bruce exercise tolerance test and for LVEFs and metabolic equivalents (METS). In the group receiving taurine supplements, results after 2 weeks were statistically significant across all measures, most notably for an increase of 20% in distance achieved with the Bruce exercise tolerance test and of 30% in METS, in comparison with placebo groups.

This article originally appeared on Clinical Advisor