Is taurine vegan? Are there vegan sources?

Taurine is vegan, as it’s simply an amino acid. But, it’s naturally found in foods that aren’t vegan. Vegans and vegetarians can take taurine from dietary supplement, which contain its synthetic form. Also, we can eat certain foods that boost the synthesis of taurine by the body.

Health benefits of taurine

Taurine is one of the most abundant amino acids in the brain, spinal cord, leukocytes, heart, muscle cells, and the retina! Also, it supports weight loss and burns belly fat, as it’s involved in energy metabolism.[1]

Is taurine vegan?

In fact, taurine is vegan, as it’s simply an amino acid. However, taurine in its natural form isn’t vegan. Only animal foods, such as meat, seafood, dairy, and eggs are naturally high in taurine.

Plants don’t contain any taurine. Actually, only some types of algae, and rare shrubs may contain small amounts of taurine. Certainly, vegans and vegetarians don’t take adequate amounts of taurine from dietary sources.[2]

The human body synthesizes some taurine, though. But, the produced dose isn’t always enough. The synthesis of taurine by the body requires adequate amounts of the essential amino acid methionine and the nonessential amino acid cysteine, as well as vitamin B6.

So, vegans and vegetarians have a high risk of taurine deficiency. They could benefit from taking taurine supplements. Synthetic taurine found in dietary supplements and popular energy drinks is actually vegan. You’ll find a wide variety of vegan taurine supplements on iHerb.

Vegan foods for increased synthesis of taurine

Most noteworthy, vegans should consume lots of foods high in methionine, cysteine, and vitamin B6 in order to help the body synthesize as much taurine as possible.

Vegan foods high in methionine

  • beans, such as soy beans, navy beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans.
  • nuts and seeds, such as Brazil nuts, pistachios, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, and flax seeds.
  • soy products, such as tofu and edamame
  • whole cereals, such as rice and quinoa.

Vegan foods high in cysteine

  • beans, such as lentils, soybeans, chickpeas. 
  • soy products, such as edamame.
  • whole cereals, such as oatmeal.
  • nuts and seeds, such as chia seeds, hemp seeds, and sunflower seeds.

Vegan foods high in vitamin B6

  • soy products, such as edamame, tempeh, and tofu.
  • nuts and seeds, such as pistachios, chestnuts, and sunflower seeds. 
  • vegetables, such as spinach, peas, potatoes, sweet potatoes.
  • fruits, such as avocados, and bananas.

Therefore, following a plant-based well-balanced diet, high in beans, nuts, seeds, and whole cereal could help vegans and vegetarians have normal levels of taurine.

Furthermore, vegans and vegetarians should regularly eat sunflower seeds. They can boost the synthesis of taurine, as they’re high in methionine, cysteine, and vitamin B6!

Do vegans need taurine supplements?

As a rule of thumb, taurine levels tend to be lower in vegans. Certainly, not all vegans or vegetarians are deficient in taurine. But, vegans have a higher risk of taurine deficiency!

Actually, the body can conserve taurine if it has low concentrations, as less taurine is excreted in the urine. On the contrary, people who have excess taurine in their blood, tend to excrete higher amounts of taurine in the urine.

In any case, you should consult your healthcare provider before taking taurine supplements.

Also, vegan athletes could benefit from taking creatine supplements. There are no vegan dietary sources for creatine either.