Guarana: uses, properties and contraindications

Guarana is an energy food, rich in antioxidants, with interesting health benefits. What are the main uses? Discover them!

Guarana: uses, properties and contraindications

Last update: July 17, 2022

Guaraná, scientific name Paullinia cupana, is a climbing plant that grows in the Amazon. For centuries, the tribes of this region have used the fruit and other parts of the plant for various therapeutic purposes. Especially, It is valued for its abundant supply of stimulants, such as caffeine, theophylline, and theobromine.

Indeed, as detailed by a publication in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, is an ingredient used in the production of energy and sports drinks, due to its ability to improve the functions of the nervous system, heart and muscles. Do you want to know more?

Uses and properties of guaraná

The Guarani (Paullinia cupana) It is a plant with a flexible and long stem, the fruit of which resembles the seed of a nut. In the Amazon region, the natives use this food to prepare a stimulating drink with characteristics similar to tea or coffee. To be more precise, its seeds provide up to 6% caffeine.

According sharing information about Journal of EthnopharmacologyToday, 70% of guarana production is destined for the energy drink and soft drink industry. The remaining 30% is pulverized to be consumed in capsules or diluted.

It is even added to cosmetics. And what are its properties?

Helps reduce fatigue

One of the most important properties of guarana comes from its caffeine content. As one said article published in International food research, the seeds of this ingredient provide between 4 and 6 times more caffeine than coffee.

It is therefore a good option to increase energy levels and reduce fatigue. In one study shared in the magazine Appetitea group of people who took a vitamin supplement with guarana reported feeling less fatigue when performing various tests.

Advertisements for energy drinks promote their use to improve physical and academic performance, although there are also risks in consuming them in excess.

Supports weight loss

Guarana supplements do not miraculously work in weight loss.

However, its consumption as part of a healthy and balanced diet provides certain benefits. More specifically, the test tube studies suggest that this fruit helps suppress genes that help make fat cells.

In addition, its abundant caffeine content speed up metabolism, which results in the body’s greater ability to burn calories at rest. Although more human studies are needed, the results are considered promising.

Promotes digestive health

Guarana compounds have been used in natural medicine as allies for stomach health. To be more exact, It is considered a remedy to calm diarrhea. Due to its content tanninsacts as an astringent and limits the amount of fluid secreted in the intestines.

Meanwhile, its caffeine contribution helps stimulate intestinal peristalsiswhich activates the contractions of the intestines and colon to relieve constipation.

Helps take care of visual health

The rich antioxidant content of guarana is beneficial for eye health. According to a magazine publishing Diseasesthese substances help to curb the effects of oxidative stress, which reduces the risk of cataracts, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration.

In investigation revealed by Functional Foods Journal, participants who regularly consumed guarana had better self-reported insight compared to those who did not.

In addition, this food has been observed to help reduce the DNA damage and ocular cell death compared to placebo. In any case, further studies in humans are needed.

Protects cardiovascular health

The caffeine and catechins contained in guarana have a positive effect on cardiovascular health. coinciding with a shared studio in International Journal of Vitamin and Nutrition Research, these compounds have antiplatelet properties and, therefore, reduce the risk of thrombosis and heart disease.

In turn, as stated by one research on Lipids in Health and Diseaseguaraná helps a reduce cholesterol oxidation by up to 27% square (LDL).

Has analgesic effects

Guarana has been used as a coadjuvant to calm many types of pain. Its analgesic properties are derived from its caffeine content, a stimulant that blocks adenosine receptors (responsible for the sensation of pain).

Nail opinion divided in Cochrane Library details that caffeine significantly enhances the effects of painkillers. For this reason, it is common to find it in the formula of various drugs for this purpose.

Contributes to skin care

In the cosmetics industry, guarana is used to improve the formulation of creams, lotions, soaps and anti-aging products. The reason? caffeine, antioxidants and antimicrobial properties help care for the skin.

Nail review disclosed in Pharmacology and physiology of the skin comments that caffeine stimulates fat breakdown and, therefore, promotes the reduction of cellulite. In addition, it helps protect the dermis against ultraviolet (UV) rays and slows down the aging process.

Other study details that guarana significantly reduces age-related skin damage, thanks to its high contribution of antioxidants.

Has antimicrobial properties

The antimicrobial properties of guarana are largely explained by its content of tannins, catechins and caffeine. A study in the magazine Molecules details that the extracts of this ingredient help fight microorganisms such as Streptococcus mutans, present in dental plaque.

Previous studies determined that it also works against other bacteria, such as Escherichia coli, associated with episodes of diarrhea and digestive illnesses.

It has antitumor properties

The ace to research evaluated the antitumor potential of guarana. In this way, it has been observed that it can protect against DNA damage and inhibit the growth of cancer cells. However, These studies were done in a test tube and on animals, so human trials are needed.

Many of the effects of guarana are attributed to its caffeine content, thus likening it to the potential benefits of coffee, in some cases.

Risks and contraindications of guaraná

In general, guarana has a good safety profile. The studies point out that it has low toxicity when used in low or moderate doses.

However, when consumed in excessive amounts, it is associated with the following side effects:

  • Anxiety.
  • Insomnia.
  • seizures
  • Nervousness.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Headache.
  • Heart rhythm disorder.

In addition to the above, it should be remembered that caffeine can generate addiction. In addition, is contraindicated for pregnant women, because of the risk of miscarriage or abnormalities in the foetus.

Other contraindications are as follows:

  • History of caffeine allergy.
  • Children under 12 years old.
  • People with peptic ulcers.
  • Patients being treated with antidepressants.

It should be noted that Guarana does not replace a healthy diet or medical treatments. Before taking supplements of this type, it is best to consult a doctor or specialist.

What to remember from guarana?

Guarana is valued for its energizing power and abundant antioxidant content. At present, it is a widely used ingredient in the preparation of sports drinks or energetic. Besides, it is also used in cosmetics and natural medicine.

Due to its content of stimulants, especially caffeine, its intake is associated with better productivity, better mood and a lower risk of disease. Even so, its consumption should be moderate, preferably under the supervision of a professional.

You might be interested…

Leave a Comment