Life is full of unavoidable stress. How we handle this stress determines how well we can operate throughout the day.
Moreover, mental fatigue plays a larger role in how we are able to handle our stress levels. Allowing stress to manipulate our thoughts and emotions can inevitably have a negative impact on our lives as well as our training. When our stress levels are high, anxiety sets in and the result is never pretty.
If you are finding yourself battling anxiety, there a number of ways you can help combat it:
1. Give your head a rest. Your brain cannot function and process stressful situations unless it has the energy to do so. Ensuring that you obtain
adequate sleep will allow you to focus on what’s most important.
2. Prioritize. When you know what matters most, the little things that bother you will seem so insignificant.
3. Make time for yourself. Everyone deserves at least one hour per day to reflect. Reflection is calming, and allows you to put the day’s events into focus while planning for what’s to come.
4. Walk it off, like a stubbed toe. Sitting and letting your anxiety stir will not help you release any anxiety. Get out for a walk, a run or even a bike ride. The exercise will leave you feeling energized.
5. Feed your brain muscles. Other than lifestyle adjustments, you can also turn to the amino acid taurine to help enhance your central nervous system, enable you to think more clearly and most importantly, relax.
What is Taurine?
Taurine, a conditionally essential amino acid, is the second most abundant amino acid in muscle tissue next to glutamine. This amino acid, like glutamine, is considered conditionally essential as it is produced naturally in the body. However, with intense training or increased mental stress your body’s supply can become depleted. With regards to anxiety, studies have found this amino acid to have a protective effect on the brain. Inside the brain it performs a number of important functions while helping to enhance the central nervous system.
This amino acid has been found to have a protective effect on the brain. Found through lab tests on mice, it was illustrated that taurine can significantly reduce anxiety, while helping to improve mental focus. Similarly, it is believed to play a role in activating receptors in the brain’s thalamus, located deep in the brain’s center. Here taurine helps to regulate transitions between sleep and wakefulness. The benefits of taurine supplementation are endless. In addition to treating anxiety, it has also played a significant role in treating epilepsy, hyperactivity and seizures.
The Benefits of Taurine
The benefits of taurine do not end at brain function. Taurine also plays an important role in achieving and maintaining a healthy body composition.
Firstly, taurine helps to regulate the body’s mineral balance in terms of calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium and also plays an integral role in helping your body with fat digestion and fat-soluble vitamin absorption.
When used as a training supplement, taurine acts is a cell volumizer, as well as an insulin mimicker. Its function in the muscle is similar to that of creatine – it draws water into the muscles resulting in additional nutrient absorption. As a result, muscles become more hydrated, helping to prevent muscle protein breakdown, leading to increased protein synthesis. The increase transport of electrolytes can also ward off any muscle cramping that can occur through endurance training.
In addition to life stress, training-related stress can also have a negative impact on your body’s supply of taurine. If you train seriously on a regular basis, your body and mind will benefit from supplementing with this amino acid.
Available in powder form from ALLMAX Nutrition, taurine is best absorbed when taken prior to meals. As a training aid and recovery tool, taurine can be mixed with ISOFLEX whey protein isolate and taken immediately following intense exercise. The result is muscle and strength gains, better rest and increased mental focus. This is your brain on taurine.
- Balch, Phyllis A. Perscription for Nutritional Healing; Fifth Edition. Penguin Group, New York: 2004, 63.
- Kim, Sung-Jin, Zhang, Cheng Gao. ‘Taurine Induces Anti-Anxiety by Activating Strychnine-Sensitive Glycine Receptor in Vivo,’ in Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism. August 29, 2009, 380.
- Sung-Jin Kim, Cheng Gao Zang, 383.
- Medical News Today. Scientists Close in on Traurine’s Activity in the Brain. Jan. 18. 2008. www.medicalnewstoday.com
- Nutritional Supplement Review. Taurine: Nonessential Micronutrient. www.nutros.net/nrs-02015.html