Guarana extract is derived from the seeds of small red fruit grown on
large shrubs found in the Brazilian Rain Forest. These shrubs can grow
to a height of forty feet.
Ancient South American Indian tribes would dry and roast the seeds, crush
them, and then mix it into a paste with water. The paste was used mainly
as an astringent, a stimulant, and in treating chronic diarrhoea.
Today the plant is used worldwide for it stimulant and thermogenic properties.
How it Works
One of the main ingredients in guarana extract is a form of caffeine
called guaranine. Unlike caffeine, guaranine is slow to release and doesn’t
give the initial quick burst of energy and then the quick let-down. Since
the seed is fatty and not water-soluble, it is not quick to absorb in
the body so the energy boost will escalate over a number of hours instead
of all at once. This makes the active ingredients in guarana more beneficial
for the body.
Guarana extract is reported to increase mental alertness, helps to fight
fatigue, and increase stamina and endurance. Millions of people believe
it also helps to overcome fatigue, helps to fight against premature aging,
and detoxifies the blood. Other reported benefits of guarana extract are
that it combats flatulence, obesity, dyspepsia, and used to fight against
arteriosclerosis. Guarana extract is also used as an ingredient in some
shampoos for oily hair and as a treatment for hair loss.
In 1989, scientists discovered that guarana extract inhibited platelet
aggregation which means the extract prevents blood platelets from forming
clots and helps to breakdown clots that have already formed. This preventative
action helps to reduce the risks of heart attacks and strokes.
A Brazilian research group found that guarana extract also has antibacterial
properties which fight against E. coli, Salmonella and dysentery.
The thermogenic properties of guarana extract increases the body’s
natural temperature and metabolic rate thereby increasing weight loss.
It does this by inducing the breakdown and release of stored body fat
and converting it to energy. This process helps the individuals with weight
loss and weight management.
Studies released in the June, 2001 Journal of Human Nutrition Diet reported
that participants given the guarana extract during a 45 day study lost
11.22 more pounds than the participants who were not given the extract.
This study strengthens its claim of benefiting individuals who are trying
to lose weight and those attempting to maintain their current weight.
How Safe Is It?
In the United States, guarana holds a “Generally Regarded As Safe”
(GRAS) status from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A 1998 toxicology
study showed that guarana is nontoxic even at a dose of 2 grams of guarana
per kilogram of body weight.
Since guarana extract contains a high concentration of caffeine, it could
cause heart palpitations or irregular heart rhythms for people who are
sensitive to caffeine.
Other reported side effects include insomnia, restlessness, anxiety,
and elevated blood pressure.
With its many health benefits, it’s no wonder the popularity of
guarana extract has been steadily increasing worldwide. It has been recommended
that between 500-1000 mg be consumed three times daily to maximize the
benefits of guarana extract.
Please consult your doctor or health professional before changing your
diet or before starting to take health supplements.