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Author Topic: Is taurine the new legal cocaine?  (Read 11076 times)

Offline Cut Chemist

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Is taurine the new legal cocaine?
« on: 09/07/2007 08:53:09 »
I'm a chemist, and I'm fairly interested in biochemistry.  Some friends of mine are excited about this relatively new compound that has recently invaded every convenience store in the United States in the form of "energy drinks" (Red Bull, SoBe and the like.)
They've been asking me about...

Taurine.

Here's the wikipedia link...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taurine


My research has produced many differing views. 
Here are a few questions...


First ... Is taurine really an amino acid???

The structure of taurine has an amine and a sulfonate functional group, which is considered a sulfonic acid, however an amino acid (by definition) should contain a carboxylic acid.  Taurine has no carboxylic acid.  Is it truly considered an amino acid?  Or is this some marketing scheme to make everyone think it is natural and not harmful?


Is taurine beneficial?

Several sites I've visited have suggested that taurine should be taken everyday, similar to vitamins.  I do not understand the physiological role enough to determine if this is true.  What is taurine's natural function?  Is it good to take daily doses of taurine??
(I know that body builders do but what about an average person?)


Is it harmful??

Other sites suggest that if you take it everyday you will develop a dependence and become addicted.  (This seems like it would be logical)  Still others say that it may increase the heart rate, and could damage the heart.  I realize that its relatively new, but has anyone heard of someone becoming addicted to taurine??  Is it as bad for the heart as most stimulants are?? 

What (if there are any) are the adverse side effects??

 
Thanks in advance for the info/suggestions...
« Last Edit: 05/07/2016 08:49:10 by chris »


 

Offline chris

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Taurine: the new legal cocaine ???
« Reply #1 on: 09/07/2007 09:30:45 »
Taurine is a neurotransmitter in some neurones, or if not a direct transmitter then a "co-transmitter". A quick look on pubmed revealed all sorts of exciting references related to protection against free radicals and neuronal recovery after lead poisoning. In short, I think I need to go and read a few reviews before I can offer any sort of balanced opinion.

I buy the point about amino acids though - it doesn't have a carboxylic acid and therefore does not fulfil the normal definition of an amino acid in terms of the 20 amino acids specified in the genetic code. These, as you say, all follow the standard pattern of an R-group linked to a carboxylic acid and an amino group.
 

Offline Cut Chemist

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Taurine: the new legal cocaine ???
« Reply #2 on: 09/07/2007 11:14:15 »
If Taurine is a neurotransmitter, or even a co-neurotransmitter,
then it could be (or probably should be) addictive,
as most drugs that are neurotransmitters or neurotransmitter analogs are addictive.

But perhaps it has its benefits....
(other than being a stimulant)
 

Offline jameshan01

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Re: Taurine: the new legal cocaine ???
« Reply #3 on: 05/07/2016 06:48:16 »
taurine can relieve anxiety, it is an amino acid, but i think it is not a cocaine
 

Online Bored chemist

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Re: Taurine: the new legal cocaine ???
« Reply #4 on: 05/07/2016 13:06:42 »
If Taurine is a neurotransmitter, or even a co-neurotransmitter,
then it could be (or probably should be) addictive,

Can you name any neurotransmitters that are addictive drugs?
 

Offline chiralSPO

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Re: Is taurine the new legal cocaine?
« Reply #5 on: 05/07/2016 14:43:28 »
I don't think that taurine is anywhere close to cocaine. Maybe, maybe similar to caffeine, but I am unaware of any substantial phsysiological or psychological effect. It is an amino acid, and was first isolated from a bull testicle (hence the "taur" in taurine). People thought that this extract of bull testicle must somehow imbue the drinker with strength/energy etc., but a far as I know it is unproven.

I don't think taurine can cross the blood-brain barrier (what prevents all sorts of compounds from acting as drugs in our brains, otherwise we would get high from eating steak).
 

Offline tkadm30

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Re: Is taurine the new legal cocaine?
« Reply #6 on: 22/07/2016 10:58:48 »
Cocaine-induced neurotoxicity can damage hippocampal neurons; In contrast, taurine exert a neuroprotective function on glutamate-mediated excitotoxicity.

See:
Cocaine challenge enhances release of neuroprotective amino acid taurine in the striatum of chronic cocaine treated rats: a microdialysis study.(2009) doi: 10.1016/j.brainresbull.2008.12.014
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19166917
 

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Re: Is taurine the new legal cocaine?
« Reply #6 on: 22/07/2016 10:58:48 »

 

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