Taurine is a sulphur-containing amino acid, which is not incorporated into proteins, but does play a role in many important physiological functions, including retinal and neurological development, osmoregulation, modulation of cellular calcium levels and immune function.
Taurine is present in the daily diet and occurs naturally in food, especially in seafood and meat. Taurine is actively transported to all tissues and is the most abundant intracellular amino acid in the human body. Approximately 0.1 % of the total human body weight come from taurine. Taurine is excreted through urine and bile. The amount of taurine excreted daily varies from individual to individual, and in the same individual from day to day. In 1827, the German scientists Friedrich Tiedemann and Leopold Gmelin first isolated taurine from the bile of the ox (latin: bos taurus).
However taurine does not come from bulls. It is synthetically produced and one of the main ingredients in energy drinks. In 2009, in line with numerous health authorities across the world, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) – which is the risk assessment body for food in the European Union – concluded that the exposure of taurine at levels presently used in energy drinks is not of a safety concern. This was confirmed by the EFSA in its scientific opinion on the safety of caffeine (2015)