From Ergo Log
Men who are worried that their testosterone production will decline as they age, and with it their sexual performance, may react well to supplements containing taurine. Animal studies published by researchers at Shenyang Agricultural University in China in Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology suggest that this might be the case. The effective dose may be on the high side.
Strictly speaking taurine is not an amino acid, but the supplements industry and nutritionists refer to it as such, so we'll do the same. Here we go.
Organs including the liver, brain and testes synthesise taurine, but production slows down as we age. In previous publications the researchers showed that taurine supplementation boosted the secretion of LH and testosterone in lab rats. In their new publication, the Chinese report on the next step in their research.
The researchers did an experiment with three groups of elderly lab rats, aged 20 months. One group was given drinking water consisting of 1 percent taurine [Tau] for two months; another group was given drinking water that contained 1 percent beta-alanine [b-Ala]. In high concentrations beta-alanine can in theory force cells to eliminate taurine. A third group was given no supplementation [Con].
We're not sure what the exact human equivalent of the doses used would be, but a conservative estimate puts it at around 7-8 g per day. Whether this dose is safe in the long term we don't know.
After the supplementation period the researchers put the rats into a cage with sexually mature females and then counted the number of times the animals had an erection [ERF], how often they mounted the females [MF] and, erm, more of that kind of activity...
ERF = Erection frequency; MF = Mount frequency; IF = Intromission frequency; EJF = Ejaculation frequency.
Part of the explanation for the rats' increase in sexual capacity is shown in the figure above. The concentration of the enzyme NO-synthase, and above all of NO, increased in the penis of the rats that had been given taurine. So taurine is an NO booster.
Another part of the explanation for the pro-sexual effects of taurine is hormonal in nature. The taurine supplementation resulted in increased production of testosterone, LH and GnRH in the rats. It had no effect on the estradiol or FSH level.
The researchers believe that the increased NO concentration in the penis is a result of the higher testosterone level in the taurine group. We have our doubts. The testosterone level rose by just over 20 percent. That may be too little to explain the effect on the NO concentration.
"The present study demonstrated that taurine supplement could increase sexual response and function; stimulate the secretion of GnRH, LH, and testosterone; and elevate penis NOS and NO level in aged rats", the researchers conclude. "The results implied that taurine can enhance the sexual response and mating ability in aged male rats by increasing the level of testosterone and NO, but the exact mechanism needs to be further investigated."
Adv Exp Med Biol. 2013;776:347-55.