Guarana: Uses, Dosage, Side Effects & Health Benefits

Guarana is a popular, therapeutic ingredient used in modern drinks, foods, and supplements. Yet it’s also got a deep history that takes it all the way back to the ancient Amazon basin.
In this article, we’ll look at exactly what Guarana is and what it can do for your health. We’ll also reveal how it could help with weight loss and look after your appearance too.
Keep reading to find out all the things this South American fruit has to offer.

What is Guarana?

Guarana is a fruit named after the Guarani tribe, who discovered they could use its seeds to make a therapeutic drink. It’s been traditionally used by indigenous Amazonian communities for thousands of years for everything from mental energy to vitality. Other reasons people use guarana is to boost athletic performance, and treat problems like diarrhea, heart issues, and joint pains. Some of these are supported by science whereas others are more anecdotal.


A mature guarana fruit is actually really small. It’s only about the size of a coffee berry, and kind of looks like a human eye. It has a black seed surrounded by a white casing, enclosed in a red shell.


To turn guarana into a useful extract, you need to remove the seeds and then dry them out. They’re then crushed and processed into the powder used in supplements, food, and energy drinks.


One thing that makes guarana stand out is its impressive stimulant content.


Studies show that guarana seeds can contain up to 6% caffeine, which can be six times more than coffee beans (1), as well as theophylline and theobromine. No wonder so many energy drinks tend to use it.


But there’s more to these Amazonian seeds than giving you a buzz. Guarana is also rich in antioxidants, which help to keep cells healthy and neutralize free radicals.


Other reasons people use guarana is to boost athletic performance, and treat problems like diarrhea, heart issues, and joint pains. Some of these are supported by science whereas others are more anecdotal.


Either way, guarana has a pretty impressive profile of benefits. So, let’s look into how it gets to work inside your body.


How does Guarana work?

Guarana is rich in the stimulant’s caffeine, theobromine, and theophylline. As their name suggests they stimulate your central nervous system, heart and muscles.


This is why guarana is so popular in energy drinks, foods, and supplements. While it doesn’t provide much in the way of calories, it can make people feel more awake and alert.


Naturally, the caffeine content has other benefits for weight loss too. Once inside your body it ignites thermogenesis and fires-up calorie burning, and also helps you unlock and use fat for fuel.


We’ll cover exactly how these things work below. While guarana definitely has more than a handful of unique benefits for your health, we’ll just concentrate at the main ones for now. First, let’s investigate how it helps fight fatigue.


Fighting fatigue

Scientists say that caffeine plays the biggest role in guarana’s fatigue-fighting ability (2). Although there are other stimulants inside the tiny seeds, this is the busiest of the bunch.


Caffeine can help you to feel energized and alert by blocking adenosine receptors. This is important because adenosine is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, meaning it reduces levels of other neurotransmitters like noradrenaline and dopamine, which keep you feeling uplifted and “ready to go” (3).


Consequently, caffeine boosts the neurotransmitters that make you feel energized and focused flowing freely. While this isn’t ideal if you’re trying to sleep, it’s useful if you lag throughout the day, or feel slower because of a low-cal diet.


In short, stimulants like caffeine help to block neurotransmitters that make you feel sleepy.


Weight loss

Okay, so we know how guarana works in terms of overcoming tiredness. But what about weight loss?


Guarana’s caffeine content can also benefit weight loss. Yes, that same compound that can keep you energized is also great for burning extra body fat.


Boosts metabolism

Caffeine is a known thermogenic, meaning it can naturally increase your metabolism. Thermogenic compounds like caffeine can even do this without any extra effort from you.


All you need to do is consume it, and let science do the rest. You don’t need to go outside for a run or hit the gym for it to work.


According to one study, caffeine can make your metabolism jump by 3-13% over a 12-hour window (4). Another study showed how caffeine can increase fat burning by 29% in people who are already lean, and 10% in those who are obese (5).


Put plainly, if you were to sit in one spot all day and not move an inch, you’d still burn more calories by consuming caffeine alone.




Better fat breakdown

Remember how we talked about caffeine stimulating the central nervous system? Well, it turns out that it promotes a release of epinephrine, also known as adrenaline.


Believe it or not, this rush of adrenaline can benefit fat breakdown. Even if you can’t feel it happening.


Epinephrine travels through your blood stream until it reaches fat tissue. Then when it arrives, it signals these tissues to breakdown and release their fats into your blood (6).


You can then use these triglycerides for energy. This is essentially how you use up excess body fat when following a calorie-controlled diet.


That last part is really important. It won’t matter what you eat, or what supplements you take – it’s how much you eat that’s most important. You simply cannot lose body fat if you’re consuming more calories than you need. Any extra will most likely be stored as fat for later.


Is guarana safe?

Guarana is considered safe when taken in respectable amounts.


However, it’s essential that anyone looking at guarana remembers it contains caffeine. It’s really easy to overlook this fact, because many people see guarana on a label and forget to break down it’s components.


Experts say that you should be able to consume up to 400 mg/day of caffeine without adverse effects (7). Naturally, this amount might be lower if you’re sensitive to stimulants, which we considered when creating Hourglass Fit.


We also understood that women are more sensitive to caffeine than men. So we chose to use a conservative 100 mg of guarana, rather than the large dose found in other, more aggressive supplements.


This gentler amount should safe, effective, and cause side effects. We rely on a n all-natural well-researched formula to provide results. Not capsule over-filled with stimulants.


Bottom line – guarana is considered safe when used in sensible amounts. It also has a really low toxicity when taken in low and moderate doses (8).


Dosing considerations

Interestingly enough, there isn’t actually a recommended daily allowance for guarana. There isn’t even a recommended dose either.


Studies show that servings within 50-75 mg are enough to provide the Amazonian fruit’s prized benefits (9)(10). So, you really don’t need to take a lot to experience the effects you’re looking for.


Taking too much guarana can give you the same jitters and complications caffeine can. Therefore, we recommend you take a more conservative approach.


Health Benefits

Like we’ve already seen, guarana gets its reputation for giving people energy and supporting their weight loss. Yet it seems that the tiny fruit has even more to offer.


May improve heart health

We all know that taking too much caffeine is bad for your heart. But it turns out that moderate amounts of guarana could keep it healthy in the following ways…


First of all, research suggests that guarana can reduce the oxidation of bad (LDL) cholesterol by 27% (11). As a result, it should limit how much harmful plaque builds up in your arteries.


Earlier in this article we mentioned how guarana is rich in antioxidants. Well, these free radical neutralizers can boost cardiac health by improving blood flow, which could stop blood clots (12).


Might help anxiety

One study has shown that taking a product containing guarana can reduce anxiety (13). However, it was impossible to tell if guarana alone caused the results.




May have anti-cancer effect

Test tube and animal studies show that guarana could aid the fight against cancer.


One test tube study saw guarana slow down the growth of colon cancer cells. It also influenced the death of the cancerous cells (14).


Plus, according one animal study, mice which were given guarana had nearly 60% less cancer cells than the ones which were not fed the fruit. The scientists also saw an increase in cancer cell death that was almost five times greater in the guarana group (15)


Could improve skin

Guarana seeds are full of powerful antioxidants and antimicrobials. Cosmetic companies make the most of these too in their skin, hair, and scalp products.


Inside each of those tiny seeds are methylxanthines that can make your skin look young and vibrant. They can also help keep your complexion clear by curing pathogenic infections and make sure your hair is glossy.


Yes, guarana can even look after your locks and scalp too. You’ll find it in many anti-dandruff shampoos for this exact reason. What’s not to love?


Another way guarana can help you look and feel your best is via caffeine. It turns out that the common compound is great at supporting blood flow, which naturally transports all the essential nutrients to your skin (16).


Some of these nutrients are antioxidants that can help delay signs of aging (17). As a result, guarana can help your skin look younger and more radiant.)


If that wasn’t enough, some cosmetic brands are putting guarana in their products to treat cellulitis. Again, this is mainly because of the fruit’s high caffeine content, which can improve skin elasticity, as well as the other benefits we saw above (18).


It’s antibacterial

Guarana is full of compounds called tannins that are far from bacteria’s best friend. Fortunately for us, they (along with other phytochemicals) are great for killing bad bacteria. They even pose a threat to the notorious MRSA as well.


Studies show that compounds inside the Amazonian fruit can inhibit the growth of both E. coli and Streptoccus mutans (19)(20).


Plus, guarana also reduces inflammation and bacteria-induced hypersensitivity (21). This is thanks to its ability to reduce pro-inflammatory compounds.


Risks and Precautions

Most people experience the therapeutic and energizing effects of guarana without adverse reactions. When taken in a respectable amount it can be really low risk compared to its high reward.


However, side effects have been reported in some cases, especially when people have consumed a lot of the Amazonian fruit. Due to the high stimulant content, the symptoms can be compared to those from strong doses of caffeine (22).


Possible side effects from excessive guarana use include:


  •   Anxiety
  •   Low blood sugar in diabetics
  •   Diarrhea
  •   Insomnia
  •   Heart palpitations
  •   Upset stomach
  •   Nervousness
  •   Seizures
  •   High blood pressure
  •   IBS
  •   Incontinence


Try not to use guarana too close to bedtime as its caffeine could keep you awake. We always say that you should leave at least five hours between taking it and going to bed.


Understandably, the possible side effects above can be worrying too. That’s why we only used a sensible 100 mg of guarana in Hourglass Fit. We wanted to be able to offer all the benefits of this wondrous plant without the risk associated with excessive doses.


The Final Word

Guarana might be a tiny Amazonian plant, but it has huge health benefits. It’s been used for thousands of years and is now popular in modern foods and drinks.


Among guaranas abilities is helping people to feel alert, energized, and focused. It’s also a thermogenic, meaning it not only boosts brain power but calorie burning too.


How about guaranas ability to influence how well your body breaks down fat? Who knew a few small seeds from the rainforest could be so impressive?


But guarana’s many benefits don’t end at helping you lose weight. Scientists say it’s full of antioxidant and antibacterial properties, as well as having anti-cancer effects. Plus, many cosmetic companies are now putting guarana into their hair and skin products. Studies show it’s one of natures best ways to clear up your complexion, tighten skin, and keep hair glossy and grease free.


So far so good, guaranteeing you use guarana respectfully. Sticking with the doses provided in reputable products should allow you to get all the great benefits without added risk.