What is Guarana?

When it comes to energy supplements, the king on the throne seems to be caffeine.  Yet, not many people understand that guarana might actually a better option as a stimulant based on your individual wants and needs.  If you aren’t familiar with guarana, it is also commonly called Paullinia cupana on some labels and it is a much more powerful stimulant as it contains theobromine, caffeine, and theophylline.  On top of the stimulant benefits, guarana also contains helpful antioxidants to help reduce free radicals in the body to maintain health, similar to that of green tea[1][2].  But the benefits don’t end there.  Because of the many benefits that can be had through the use of guarana, it’s a supplement I believe you should truly consider.

Guarana is found in many supplements these days – such as powders and beverages. 

Benefits of Supplementing with Guarana

As I mentioned above, guarana has stimulant properties that can help boost your overall energy levels.  But there are many other benefits that I have listed below that not many people know are associated with guarana supplementation. 

  1. Increase Cognition

Mental fatigue can plague the best of us and crush our productivity.  This can be detrimental while working your normal 9-5 as your mental performance needs to be heightened.  A decrease in cognition can also cause you to end up in a downward spiral of brain fog that can last all day.  Supplementing with guarana has been shown to combat mental fatigue and improve overall focus[3].  This added boost in mental energy and focus can help you get through the day and stay on top of your game both in the office and the gym.

  • Cellular Protection

Free radicals are something our body fights daily without us even realizing it.  When free radical damage is not prevented, it can cause illness and disease.  This is due to the free radicals damaging our body down at the cellular level which can cause the mutation or killing of healthy cells.  Through supplementing with guarana, you have the ability to increase the number of total antioxidants in the body which can seek out and destroy free radicals before they can do you harm[4].  Free radicals can come from various foods we consume, our (generally unhealthy) lifestyle habits, and even through our workouts themselves.

  • Improve Weight Loss

Weight management can be difficult for many and it’s for that reason we live in a nation that is plagued by obesity and those who carry around an unhealthy and excessive amount of body fat.  Due to the caffeine content found in guarana, you can increase your metabolic rate anywhere from 3-11%.  When you increase your metabolism, it puts you in a position to burn more calories throughout the day (even while at rest)[5].  This can aid in weight loss or weight management and help you maintain a healthy body weight and body fat percentage.

  • Reduction of Pain

Caffeine is known primarily for its energy-enhancement properties.  What many don’t realize is that caffeine also plays a key role in the reduction of perceived pain.  What caffeine in guarana can do is bind to and block adenosine receptors which are involved in the sensation of pain[6].  Has anyone ever told you or have you heard that when you have a headache you should take a pain-relief medication and drink something like a Mountain Dew with it?  It’s because of the caffeine content in the soda combining with the medication that enhances the overall effects.

  • Enhance Memory

To go along with the increase in cognition I mentioned above, supplementing with guarana can have a positive effect on your overall mood and alertness as well as your ability to remember and retain information[7].  Whether you are a student or work for a living, guarana can help you more easily learn tasks and perform better mentally.  This, clearly, could give you better overall cognitive performance.

  • Boost Energy Levels

The most common benefit known by many is the fact that guarana is a powerful stimulant.  It has been shown that guarana contains 4-6 times more caffeine than something like the coffee bean we are very accustomed to consuming through a morning cup of coffee[8].  This can help energize you throughout the day as well as be used as a pre-workout.

*While guarana does not have a set recommended dosage, it has been found that guarana is safe to use and even has health benefits with as little of a dosage as 50-75 mg[7].

Sources:

  1. Bittencourt, L.S., et al. (2013). The protective effects of guarana extract (Paullinia cupana) on fibroblast NIH-3T3 cells exposed to sodium nitroprusside. Food and Chemical Toxicology. 53, 119-125.
  2. Costa Krewer, C., et al. (2011). Habitual intake of guarana and metabolic morbidities: an epidemiological study of an elderly Amazonian population. Phytotherapy Research. 25(9), 1367-1374.
  3. Kennedy, D.O., et al. (2007). Improved cognitive performance and mental fatigue following a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement with added guarana (Paullinia cupana). Appetite. 50(2-3), 506-513.
  4. Peixoto, H., et al. (2017). Anti-aging and antioxidant potential of Paullinia cupana var. sorbilis: Findings in Caenorhabditis elegans indicate a new utilization for roasted seeds of guarana. Medicines (Basel). 4(3).
  5. Dulloo, A.G., et al. (1989). Normal caffeine consumption: influence on thermogenesis and daily energy expenditure in lean and postobese human volunteers. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 49(1), 44-50.
  6. Baratloo, A., et al. (2016). The role of caffeine in pain management: a brief literature review. Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine. 6(3).
  7. Haskell, C.F., et al. (2007). A double-blind, placebo-controlled, multi-dose evaluation of the acute behavioral effects of guarana in humans. Journal of Psychopharmacology. 21(1), 65-70.
  8. Souza da Silva, G., et al. (2017). Chemical profiling of guarana seeds (Paullinia cupana) from different geographical origins using UPLC-QTOF-MS combined with chemometrics. Food Research International. 102, 700-709.
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