Adding Taurine, Carnitine and Creatine to 1.0

Before starting on 1.0, I had a fairly meat heavy diet. One or two servings of meat per day, chicken mostly with beef or pork a few times a week. Canned tuna at least once a week, but seafood was mostly a special occasion kind of treat.

When I started on 1.0, I felt like my energy levels were fairly consistent compared to my usual 2.5 meals of normal food. But I also felt like they were fairly low, just this constant mild fatigue. It became far worse when I would do anything mildly strenuous (30 minutes of walking on flat ground, 5 minutes walking up a San Francisco hills, 15 minutes of morning calisthenics). I assumed it was because I was practicing some calorie restriction to lose weight, but drinking more just before or after exertion wasn’t helping.

I started doing some laymen’s research, followed by some self experimentation, and I believe the amino acids taurine, carnitine and creatine are the solution. According to the mayo clinic, several mainstream nutrition sites and some vegetarian nutrition sites, these are moderately important to supplement in vegetarian diets. These amino acids are only found naturally in significant amount in meat. Taurine in particular is only in red or dark meat and organ meat.

While the body is capable of synthesizing them, they are considered “conditionally essential” because the body cannot always synthesize them at the necessary rate. This can lead to chronic fatigue and the exact kind of exhaustion from exertion that I and others have complained about.

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been adding the recommended amount for vegetarian supplementation (~1/4 teaspoon of each). For taurine and carnitine, this is about half of what the bottle recommends, for creatine it’s about an eighth. These are all generally considered workout and recovery boosters, so the recommended amounts are not in sync with more general dietary supplementation. In fact, taking what the bottles recommend daily is probably too much, and according to the Mayo Clinic and other sources could have some negative long term side effects. In their powdered form, I’ve calculated that this will cost (at list price) roughly $5 per person per month.

The difference was noticeable after 2 or 3 days. I needed less coffee to get through the day, I was out of the semi-constant brain fog I’d been stuck in and I actually started having an easier time falling asleep at night. And most importantly, I don’t get that running out of fuel feeling when I have to exert myself.

As far as flavor, I could barely notice it. Perhaps a hint of tartness. My wife has a much more sensitive palate, and she noticed it tasted a little more citrus and saccharine, but not in a deal-breaking way. But if you dump 1 or 2 tablespoons of %100 dark cocoa into the 2L pitcher, it completely overruns any other flavor and tastes like chocolate cereal milk.


Thanks for the info - it’s relevant to my interests. :slight_smile:

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I may have to try this… I’m noticing more meat cravings lately. and maybe this is why…

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I was getting some of those same cravings. After the added aminos, I find I’m back to only having strong cravings when I’m particularly hungry, and drinking more modified 1.0 sates them.

I have noticed that overall my appetite is a little stronger since modifying though. I’m not sure how concrete that connection is (like, heightened metabolism or something), or if it’s just the fact that I’m still consuming under 1500cal a day and my stomach is finally starting to demand a proper 2,000cal intake. I have also noticed that my weight-loss has flattened out the last couple weeks, but that could be the creatine which apparently increases water retention in muscles.

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I noticed my appetite increasing when I added more fats to my diet. It could be that it was the missing piece that let your body kick things into overdrive?

@OmegaJeff, have you measured these amounts in mg? And are you adding anything else, or considered anything else?

It comes to 1g each of taurine and carnitine, and 1,250mg of creatine. But from what I’ve been reading, with vegetarian protein sources you could safely double that.

I looked at other amino acids as well, but even though they all make contested claims to have supplemental benefits, none of them are considered ‘conditionally essential’ for vegetarians.

Also, even though the science is inconclusive regarding phytonutrients, I empty a lutein and lycopene capsule into each daily prep. Even though the benefits are still contested, they’re pretty cheap and there’s no known negative impact to a reasonable dose.

I have looked at other herbal supplements like green tea or green coffee bean extract, as well as ginko, ginseng and rhodiola. Despite their supposed benefits, it can be hard to find a good source for an affordable price. Kind of like the olive oil market, there’s a lot of allegations of fake or padded stock.

Oh, I also tend to take 200mg of theamine with my coffee (a mug of coffee has roughly 100mg of caffeine depending on roast and prep). I don’t add that to the soylent though, just take it on the side in the mornings when I drink coffee. You can also get caffeine pills with theamine in the right balance. It’s really effective at mitigating the side effects of caffeine and slowing it’s absorption to get a more even boost.

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Carnitine has just been linked to cardiovascular disease, due to toxins secreted by bacteria in the intestinal tract which use carnitine as a fuel source. It’s desperately unwise to deliberately consume carnitine on a regular basis, at this point.

Carnitine has been linked both to benefits and to diseases… Like many other things.

Calling it “desperately unwise” is a desperate overstatement.


I’ve read similar things that specifically cite creatine supplements as a risk factor for this bacteria. But those were looking primarily at fitness buffs who in some cases already had red meat heavy diets, and were taking an additional 5g-10g of creatine supplements each day with their workout. And even the study you’ve linked quotes: “This new research was well-done and compelling, but it’s too early to decide that this molecule, TMAO, causes atherosclerosis in humans or that this is responsible for some of the associations of meat intake and risk.”

Since 1.0’s proteins are vegetarian, there is no creatine in it at base. There is a certain amount that your body needs to function though, which research shows it is often unable to do so at the necessary rates during heightened exertion. The amount of creatine I’m adding, and suggesting, is 1/4th the amount recommended as a workout supplement, which most heavy workout buffs do twice daily. So, in effect, 1/8th the amount proven to pose a measurable increase in risk when used as a supplement.

A pound of red meat contains roughly 2.5g of creatine, so at 1.25g per 2,000cal, I’m basically simulating one serving of pork or red meat per day (or two servings of tuna or chicken). In the pathology studies of the supplement users who showed increased risk, we’re talking about the equivalent of eating 5 pounds of red meat each day, in addition to whatever actual foods they were consuming. My understanding of the mouse study, is that they were using similarly outsized portions.

Like anything that’s good for you, too much of it can be incredibly bad for you. There is a sweet spot that needs to be found, and mimicking a natural diet is usually the best place to start. Going to extremes of excess or deficit is almost always going to cause problems.


His beef was with carnitine, not creatine.

Did a little digging. All three are synthesized in the (human) body, and (probably) in sufficent quantities. Thus their classification as nonessential. I suggest that perhaps we should be looking at the precursors the body uses to synthesize these – perhaps there’s a deficiency there causing a domino effect.

Essential amino acids, particularly methionine, play a huge role in the synthesis of all three. Soylent gets its EAAs from the rice protein. If I’m not mistaken, didn’t a substitute rice protein have to be swapped in due to scaling issues? Even then, we don’t have real numbers of how much of each amino acid made it into the mix. I’m starting to think something fell through the cracks here.

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The problem with vegans/vegetarians trying to simulate meat eaters by supplementing creatine, taurine, and carnosine such that they get the same amount as meat eaters is that there is an underlying assumption that the amount that meat eaters get is optimal. It may be that meat eaters get too much and this may (or may not) be why there is a higher level of heart disease.

There have been one or two studies showing improved performance (e.g. cognitive function) due to creatine supplementation, but you can prove the same things for many other dangerous chemicals, e.g. consumption of refined sugar will result in improved cognition as will nootropic drugs like kratom and modafinil. Anabolic steroid consumption will help with muscle growth. But for most people, optimal diet is more than just one isolated chemical causing a rise in one performance variable. Optimal diet is about longevity as well.

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