From an article in The Guardian (july 1, 2000):

Alongside this self-perpetuating inferno of public awareness is an oral mythology that has grown up among Red Bull customers themselves. Take the ingredient taurine. "Because of its name," says Broe (from the Red Bull company), "a lot of people think it's an extract of bull's testicles, or bile from bulls' stomachs. In fact, the glucuronolactone and the taurine we use are both pharmaceutically produced. But the minute the word of mouth dies - the minute it isn't liquid Viagra or legal cocaine - the minute it doesn't contain more caffeine than 12 espressos, then it's, like, would the last person out turn off the lights. The whole essence of Red Bull marketing isn't that we tell people what it is and why they should be drinking it. It's a word-of-mouth thing, and that's the kind of marketing you can't pay for."
and from the Red Bull web site:
Frequently Asked Question: What exactly is taurine?
"Taurine is a conditionally essential amino acid, which naturally occurs in the body. At times of extreme physical exertion, the body no longer produces the required amounts of taurine, and a relative deficiency results. Taurine acts as a metabolic transmitter and additionally has a detoxifying effect and strengthens cardiac contractility."

That said, the effects of a single cup of filter coffee, with a couple of spoonfuls of sugar, will provide as much stimulation as an over priced premium energy drink containing taurine.

Taurine is a vitally important amino acid for cats, necessary for proper digestive system, liver, and renal function among other things.

In a cat's natural diet, the necessary taurine would come from the heart, liver, and other internal organs of its prey. Commercial cat food, though, must usually be fortified with taurine, since the processing of those wonderful meat by-products tends to eliminate much of the natural taurine content.

Because taurine is so vital to the proper functioning of a cat's digestive system, a single meal without an appropriate taurine content can be enough to make a cat very sick, or even kill it. This is why cats should never be allowed to eat dog food -- though it may smell and taste good to the cat, dog food isn't specially taurine-fortified the way cat food is.

Taurine is also known as 2-aminoethanesulfonic acid (C2H7NO3S). Taurine is a crystallizable amino acid found naturally in combination with bile acids. Conditionally listed as an essential nutrient for mammalian development, it is found in mammal’s milk. It is commonly added to kitten food for the development of the cat’s retinas, as well as added to some human infant formulas at the same concentration found in human milk, also for retinal development. The JP-8 grade conforms to the Japanese standards of JP-8, the common world standard for Taurine. It is derived by organic synthesis.

CAS: 107-35-7

HAZARD: Toxic by ingestion.


  • Additive to pet foods
  • Wetting agents
  • Biochemical research
Taurine is one of the most abundant amino acids in the body. It's found in the central nervous system, skeletal muscle and is very concentrated in the brain and heart. Vegetarians with an unbalanced protein intake, and therefore deficient in methionine or cysteine may have difficulty manufacturing Taurine.

Taurine functions in electrically active tissues such as the brain and heart to help stabilise cell membranes. Taurine seems to inhibit and modulate neurotransmitters in the brain and helps to stabilise cell membranes. It also has functions in the gallbladder, eyes, and blood vessels and appears to have some antioxidant and detoxifying activity. Taurine aids the movement of potassium, sodium, calcium, and magnesium in and out of cells and thus helps generate nerve impulses. Zinc seems to support this effect of Taurine. There have been reports on the benefits of Taurine supplementation for epileptics. It has also been found to control motor tics, such as uncontrollable facial twitches. Taurines' effectiveness in epilepsy has been limited by its poor diffusion across the blood-brain barrier.

In Japan, Taurine therapy is used in the treatment of ischemic heart disease. Low Taurine and magnesium levels have been found in patients after heart attacks. Like magnesium, Taurine affects cell membrane electrical excitability by normalising potassium flow in and out of heart muscle cells. Supplements decrease the tendency to develop potentially lethal abnormal heart arrythmias after heart attacks. People with congestive heart failure have also responded to supplementation with improved cardiac and respiratory function.

Taurine is necessary for the chemical reactions that produce normal vision, and deficiencies are associated with retinal degeneration. Besides protecting the retina, Taurine may help prevent and possibly reverse age-related cataracts. Low levels of Taurine and other sulphur containing amino acids are associated with high blood pressure, and Taurine supplements have been shown to lower blood pressure in some studies.

Taurine has been related to an increase in the metabolism of fats. Most drinks containing Taurine are high in sugar and unsuitable for dieters, however a range of "diet" sugar-free drinks have hit the market which contain the same levels of Taurine. Recent UK tests have shown that these drinks, combined with a structured diet (such as Weight Watchers™), can help the dieting process. The results have helped make Vodka and Diet Red Bull the alcoholic choice of dieters.

Tau"rine (?), a. [L. taurinus, fr. taurus a bull. See Taurus.] Zool.

Of or pertaining to the genus Taurus, or cattle.


© Webster 1913.

Tau"rine (?), n. [So named because it was discovered in the bile of the ox. See Taurus.] Physiol. Chem.

A body occurring in small quantity in the juices of muscle, in the lungs, and elsewhere, but especially in the bile, where it is found as a component part of taurocholic acid, from which it can be prepared by decomposition of the acid. It crystallizes in colorless, regular six-sided prisms, and is especially characterized by containing both nitrogen and sulphur, being chemically amido-isethionic acid, CHNSO.


© Webster 1913.

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