Guarana (Paullinia cupana) is a plant with one of the highest caffeine contents. Extracts, typically referred to as “guarana”, are popular for use in energy drinks and supplements, particularly “weight loss” supplements. Guarana also contains various phytochemicals including theobromine, methylxanthine, and tannins.
In combination with pure caffeine, guarana increased 24 hour energy expenditure in humans by an average of 180 calories (750 kJ). Guarana may increase blood pressure. In animal studies guarana reduced severity of cancerous lesions in mice, showed antioxidant activity, and acted as a blood thinner in rabbits. See: Caffeine.
Guarana extracts and derivatives have varying quantities of caffeine. Depending on format (powder, paste, liquid solution), tested samples have been between 0.76% and 8.9% caffeine. Guarana products are not always strictly regulated or tested. Guarana supplements often contain multiple “natural” compounds which may interact with one another.
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