|If this is true and sore is the new sexy, the combination of taurine + BCAA's may turn you into an ugly worm.|
If I am asking you whether you have taken both in conjunction as a means to reduce post-workout delayed-onset muscle soreness and the expression of purported markers of muscle damage, on the other hand, I'd expect only few people to raise their hands... right?
Sometimes it's worth taking another look
The currently available literature on the beneficial effects of BCAAs on DOMS is pretty inconclusive. If you restrict your review of the literature to studies using resistance training as a trigger for muscular damage (Jackman et al. (2010), Howatson et al. 2012; etc.), it does yet appear warranted to say that the chronic ingestion of a high dose of BCAAs can ameliorate the peak in delayed muscle soreness after 24-48h.
In the previously referenced 2012 study by Howatson et al. we are talking about a ~50% reduction after 24h and a 25% reduction after 48h. Both statistically and physiologically relevant, but if the decrease in maximal voluntary contraction had not been blunted, as well, it'd been another instance of much ado about nothing. Similar beneficial effects have been observed with taurine, as well:
Taurine & caffeine make another super-stack; but only at the right ratios | learn more
- Silva et al. observed in a rodent model of skeletal muscle damage in response to eccentric exercise that taurine decreases the oxidative stress, in association with decreased superoxide radical production (Silva. 2011)
- learn more in previous SuppVersity articles about taurine
"For the ECC protocol, subjects were seated on a bench with their arm positioned in front of their body and resting on a padded support, such that their shoulder was secured at a flexion angle of 0.79 rad (45°) and their forearm was maintained in the supinated position throughout the exercise. Subjects were repeatedly weight-loaded uponWhat we could not necessarily be sure of is whether these effects would also add up in those 12 untrained male subjects (22.5 ± 3.8 years) who were assigned to the taurine + BCAA group.
dumbbell lowering to achieve a 90% MVC (34.3 ± 1.3 Nm). Subjects performed six sets of five repetitions of elbow extension from the flexed position at 90° to the fully extended position slowly over 5 s, while maintaining a constant speed of movement by following a verbal metronome provided by the investigator." (Ra. 2013)
|Figure 1: Post workout muscle soreness, left; post workout arm circumference in response to cell swelling, right (area under the curve for the 96h after the eccentric exercise test; based on Ra. 2013)|
"Synergy" is the name of the game
If you take a parting look at the data in Figure 2, you should actually be able to understand why the combination of branch-chained amino acids and the sulfur amino acid taurine works so well: One excels where the other has only minor effects.
|Figure 2: CK, left, and 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8-OHdG), right (area under the curve for the 96h after the eccentric exercise test; based on Ra. 2013)|
- Jackman, S. R., Witard, O. C., Jeukendrup, A. E., & Tipton, K. D. (2010). Branched-chain amino acid ingestion can ameliorate soreness from eccentric exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 42(5), 962-970.
- Ra, S. G., Miyazaki, T., Ishikura, K., Nagayama, H., Komine, S., Nakata, Y., ... & Ohmori, H. (2013). Combined effect of branched-chain amino acids and taurine supplementation on delayed onset muscle soreness and muscle damage in high-intensity eccentric exercise. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 10(1), 51.
- Silva, L. A., Silveira, P. C., Ronsani, M. M., Souza, P. S., Scheffer, D., Vieira, L. C., ... & Pinho, R. A. (2011). Taurine supplementation decreases oxidative stress in skeletal muscle after eccentric exercise. Cell biochemistry and function, 29(1), 43-49.
- Zhang, M., Izumi, I., Kagamimori, S., Sokejima, S., Yamagami, T., Liu, Z., & Qi, B. (2004). Role of taurine supplementation to prevent exercise-induced oxidative stress in healthy young men. Amino acids, 26(2), 203-207.