Guarana, DamianaGuarana is a fruit native to Northern Brazil and can also be found in parts of Venuzula. The plant features large leaves, clusters of flowers and the guarana fruit.  Natives have used the fruit for centuries to cure a variety of illnesses such as fevers, headaches and cramps. Its was also used as an energy booster.

It is also the main ingredient in a carbonated Brazilian soda that is considered by Brazilians to be the country’s national drink.  It has recently become a popular ingredient in weigh loss products and energy drinks because the fruit contains nearly twice the amount of caffeine found in coffee beans. guarana is also included in many weight loss supplements because it’s believed to boost the body’s energy levels, increase metabolism or thermogenesis and act as an appetite suppressant.

How does Guarana work?

Because it’s a caffeine-based product, it will work similarly to how other caffeine products work. That includes stimulating a process in the body called thermogenesis, which is the energy level at which it burns fats ingested into the body. Obviously the higher the thermogenic rate, the greater the body burns that fat. It also helps the body flush out and cleanse itself of foreign toxins.

As an energy booster, guarana breaks from a similar stimulant in coffee. Whereas coffee gives the body a quick burst then a sudden drop-off, guarana slowly releases—theophylline, theobromine and tannic acid—into the system over a longer period of time. This gives the body a longer lasting energy boost.

Guarana Research

We’ve discussed guarana as an appetite suppressant. A recent study showed that a two-group study—one given a mixture of guarana and yerba mate—lost an average of 11 pounds compared to the one pound per average the second, placebo driven, group showed. Several other studies also showed improvements in memory retention and physical endurance.

The USA generally views it as safe, but there are some side effects potential guarana users should be made aware of. These side effects are directly associated with other caffeine-based products. Those who are sensitive to caffeine, and those who have heart conditions, and suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure, anxiety and insomnia should also not take guarana.

What else should I know about Guarana?

Be careful with the type of guarana you go with because, depending on the type you get, its effectiveness could be lessened through dilution and improper amounts. That would just waste your money. There are many inexpensive extracts available that are simply a sampling of ground guarana seeds, not the actual extract taken from them. It’s the extract that really contains all the health benefits.