Coffee Affection is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Taurine vs Caffeine: Comparing the Effects on Your Body and Mind

taurine vs caffeine

You’ll often see Taurine and caffeine listed in the ingredients in many energy drinks and dietary supplements. But how do they affect the body? Do they have adverse effects? In this article, we’ll cover each substance and explain how it can affect your body and mind.

divider 6

Overview of Taurine

Many of us are at least somewhat familiar with L-taurine, commonly referred to simply as “Taurine”. It is a common ingredient in many energy drinks such as Red Bull and Monster. Though it is not classified as a stimulant, studies do show that it may help athletic and cognitive performance.

L-taurine is classified as an essential amino acid, and these make up the building blocks of larger molecules that our bodies use as proteins.

However, Taurine is a “non-essential amino acid”, so we don’t have to eat taurine — our body can make it on its own. But you can get taurine from supplements and from eating meat, eggs, and fish. Taurine is responsible for transporting nutrients like magnesium and potassium to muscles and other tissues, and it plays a significant role in the body’s functioning.

It’s commonly added to beverages, such as energy drinks because of its antioxidant properties and its ability to support our cardiovascular and cognitive functions.

taurine powder on a wooden spoon and in a glass bowl
Image Credit: Imagepocket, Shutterstock


Benefits to the Musculoskeletal Benefits

Taurine has shown to be beneficial to our muscles, especially after physical activities. It’s an integral part of muscle regulation functions. It can help reduce post-workout fatigue and protect against muscle damage. You’ll find that it’s commonly used in diet beverages and workout supplements because of this.

Supports Brain and Heart Health

Taurine is naturally found in our brains and hearts and research has shown that taurine levels in the brain may be associated with a lower risk of developing age-related neuro-disorders. Multiple research studies have found that taurine supplementation could significantly improve cognitive function and modulate stress and decrease anxiety.

Studies have also shown that it can help improve cardiovascular function by lowering blood pressure and supporting nerve growth.

Helps Maintain Eyesight

Taurine has also been shown to help maintain optimal eye function. This popular amino acid can be found in large quantities in the eye area and has been proven to protect the retina from deterioration and degeneration.

person holding a can of energy drink
Image Credit: FotoDuets, Shutterstock


Medication Interference

Taurine may interfere with medications that depend on this specific enzyme to metabolize drugs–such as antiepileptic and antidepressant drugs. So, it’s best to consult your physician before consuming this product if you’re currently taking medications.

Heart Problems

Taurine has been shown to cause heart palpitations and irregular heartbeat when consumed in excessive amounts. The recommended amount for supplementation is about 500-3000 milligrams per day.

Stomach Pain, Vomiting, and Nausea

Taurine has also been known to cause stomach issues such as vomiting, pain, and nausea when consumed in large amounts or by people with digestive issues such as IBD (or those with stomach sensitivities).

divider 3

What is Caffeine?

Caffeine is a natural stimulant that can be found in cocoa and coffee beans, tea, and guarana fruit. It’s most commonly used to maintain mental alertness but can be used to treat headaches and pain. Surprisingly, caffeine is also used to prevent mild headaches after epidural anesthesia.

Caffeine has also been shown to improve mood and increase concentration. For many people, it’s usually safe to consume high amounts of caffeine on occasion, even though its effects are only temporary.

However, you shouldn’t exceed the daily recommended intake of caffeine, which is 400 milligrams per day according to the FDA. And high amounts are recommended for teenagers, pregnant or nursing women, or people with heart issues.

Also, over time, caffeine tolerance can develop in people who drink it regularly. To maintain the same effects, you’ll need to increase their caffeine intake.

caffeine powder
Image Credit: Casimiro PT, Shutterstock


Fat-Burning Properties

Caffeine can alter the body’s preferred metabolism from glycogen (stored carbs) to fat by increasing levels of active hormones, epinephrine, and norepinephrine in your blood. These hormones cause fatty acids to be released, assisting with weight loss.

Assist With Exercise Recovery

Our bodies lose a lot of glycogen when we perform strenuous workouts. Caffeine can stimulate a sort of “re-synthesis”, which is crucial for recovery. To stimulate glycogen building, athletes often use caffeine and carbohydrates after working out.

Support Cognitive Performance

Caffeine increases alertness and energy. Recent research has shown that caffeine intake is associated with increased verbal memory and reaction time.

a man with a cup of coffee
Image Credit: Evgenia Terekhova, Shutterstock


It’s Addictive

One of the biggest drawbacks to daily caffeine consumption is its ability to cause addictive behavior–which can be risky for anyone with heart-related health conditions. It can also cause withdrawal symptoms such as insomnia, irritability, and headaches.

Raises Blood Pressure

Caffeine can temporarily increase your blood pressure. Even if you don’t have high blood pressure normally, consumption in large amounts can elevate your levels substantially.

Can Cause “Crashes”

High consumption of caffeine within a small period is known to cause what’s referred to as a “caffeine crash”. Essentially, it includes insomnia, headaches, and the inability to concentrate. You might have experienced this if you’ve consumed over 2-3 cups of coffee within 4 hours (or consumed too many energy drinks).

divider 4


It is important to note the differences between caffeine and taurine. Caffeine is a stimulant that is derived from any plant they source and can also be made synthetically. It’s concerned due to its ability to improve mental alertness and mitigate headaches. However, it should be consumed with caution, as too much can have adverse physiological effects.

Taurine, on the other hand, is technically an amino acid that can be found in the body or supplemented. It’s commonly added to energy drinks and diet supplements because it’s been shown to support cardiovascular recovery and cognitive abilities. The negative effects of taurine seem to be minimal as long as it’s consumed in moderation.

See also: Craft vs Specialty Coffee: Major Differences Explained

Featured Image Credit: Left – HandmadePictures, Shutterstock | Right – d97jro, Pixabay


Kate MacDonnell

Kate is a lifelong coffee enthusiast and homebrewer who enjoys writing for coffee websites and sampling every kind of coffee known to man. She’s tried unusual coffees from all over the world and owns an unhealthy amount of coffee gear.

Read more

Related posts

Other Categories