Guarana, which is also known as Paullinia cupana, or Brazilian cocoa, comes from a plant found in the northern part of Brazil and Venezuela, in the Amazon rainforests. The plant is a small shrub, covered with bright red berry-like fruits which contain small black seeds that are rich in caffeine and other natural substances. Guarana extract is most commonly used in energy drinks, diet pills, and tea.
Guarana is chemically identical to caffeine, and has been used for thousands of years by natives of the Amazon to help maintain their stamina and increase their physical endurance. The extract and the seeds have 7 % more caffeine than most plants, including coffee beans. But, unlike the caffeine in coffee, the guarana extract is released more slowly, which provides longer and more stimulation.
The caffeine and other natural ingredients in the extract have been proved to increase the metabolism and burn fat by curbing the feeling of hunger, thereby reducing the appetite. This is the reason why guarana is being used as a primary ingredient in many weight loss products and supplements like diet pills. It not only benefits the body, but also the mind since it can improve the memory, mood, and alertness. Besides these, other uses of this extract include migraine relief, rheumatism and cellulite reduction, detoxification of the blood, reduction in the intestinal gas, etc.
Many of the guarana seed side effects are similar to the one's experienced by products containing high amounts of caffeine. They are classified according to severity as follows:
Just like in any caffeinated product, the most common guarana problems include insomnia, restlessness, loss of appetite, anxiety, increased heart rate, heart burn, shakiness, ringing in the ears, headaches, and nausea. These problems are mostly temporary in nature; however, if they persist, they require medical attention.
Most of the severe problems are commonly experienced by people with heart problems, high-blood pressure, diabetes, kidney diseases, or thyroid disorders. They include vomiting, stomach cramps, racing heart, dizziness, seizures, and stomach pain. These problems indicate that there is an overdose of the extract, and this should be brought to the attention of a medical professional immediately.
Another side effect is an allergic reaction. Allergies caused due to guarana are easily identified because of the symptoms of swelling of the throat, lips, and tongue, troubled breathing, and hives. It is very important to consult a doctor immediately if you see any of these symptoms.
The following people should not consume guarana as it can aggravate the side effects which can become serious, and in some cases, fatal:
- People with high-blood pressure or heart diseases should avoid the intake of the extract so as to prevent extra stimulation of the heart.
- Pregnant women should definitely avoid guarana since caffeine should not be consumed during pregnancy.
- Also, any person suffering from epilepsy, overactive thyroid, anxiety, insomnia, or kidney disease should not consume the extract to prevent aggravating the negative effects.
- When used for assistance in weight loss, the extract might easily be consumed along with products that contain ephedra. When the extract is combined with ephedra, there can be serious consequences including stroke, hemorrhage, and sudden death.
Most people may not experience any of the side effects; however, should you feel any, it is better to consult a doctor immediately. And the most important point is not to consume it in excess, as even the most harmless thing, when consumed in excess, will result in harm.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.