Caffeine-rich seeds from Amazonian Guarana berries may be helpful for weight loss.
Guarana is widely used as a stimulant, particularly in drinks and dietary supplements. Guarana may aid weight loss through the interplay of several active compounds, which appear to:
- Increase fat oxidation, the body’s usage of fat for energy
- Raise energy expenditure through thermogenic (heat-generating) effects
- Enhance exercise performance; guarana is a potential ergogenic aid
Overviewrana (Paullinia cupana) is a tropical plant found in Brazil, which has been used for thousands of years by tribes in the Amazon for its medicinal effects. Guarana seeds are known for their high caffeine content (3-7%) – about twice of that found in coffee beans.1
As a result, its use parallels that of caffeine. Guarana is a popular ingredient in dietary supplements and soft drinks, and is used to help with a number of ailments ranging from low blood pressure to headaches. Guarana is also commonly used in weight loss aids, and may have some alertness-enhancing properties that, while not truly nootropic, may help to energize cognitive function.
Given that caffeine is one of the most researched substances in the world, Guarana as a whole has not seen much research. However, it may be more effective than caffeine alone because Guarana contains other compounds that may also be beneficial for weight loss – small amounts of theobromine, theophylline and catechins, as well as high tannin content (5-8.5%).2
- Caffeine, theobromine and theophylline are all methylxanthines – compounds that are known for their stimulating effects. Meanwhile, catechins and tannins are polyphenols – organic compounds found in plants that have a number of health benefits.