Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Are Caffeine & Guarana Synergistic?

Caffeine is a bitter, white crystalline xanthine alkaloid that acts as a psychoactive stimulant drug and a mild diuretic. Caffeine is also part of the chemical mixtures and insoluble complexes guaranine found in guarana, mateine found in mate, and theine found in tea; all of which contain additional alkaloids such as the cardiac stimulants theophylline and theobromine, and often other chemicals such as polyphenols which can form insoluble complexes with caffeine.
In humans, caffeine is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant, having the effect of temporarily warding off drowsiness and restoring alertness. Beverages containing caffeine, such as coffee, tea, soft drinks and energy drinks enjoy great popularity. Caffeine is the world's most widely consumed psychoactive substance, but unlike many other psychoactive substances it is legal and unregulated in nearly all jurisdictions. In North America, 90% of adults consume caffeine daily. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration lists caffeine as a "Multiple Purpose Generally Recognized as Safe Food Substance".
1. The precise amount of caffeine necessary to produce effects varies from person to person depending on body size and degree of tolerance to caffeine. It takes less than an hour for caffeine to begin affecting the body and a mild dose wears off in three to four hours. Consumption of caffeine does not eliminate the need for sleep: it only temporarily reduces the sensation of being tired.
2. With these effects, caffeine is an ergogenic: increasing the capacity for mental or physical labor. One study showed a 44% increase in "race-pace" endurance, as well as a 51% increase in cycling endurance, after a dosage of 9 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight. Additional studies have reported similar effects. Another study found 5.5 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body mass resulted in subjects cycling 29% longer during high intensity circuits.
3. Caffeine citrate has proven to be of short and long term benefit in treating the breathing disorders of apnea of prematurity and bronchopulmonary dysplasia in premature infants.
4. Caffeine relaxes the internal anal sphincter muscles and thus should be avoided by those with fecal incontinence.
Caffeine and Health
Current research on how caffeine affects a variety of health issues is summarized below. Keep in mind that most experts agree that moderate use of caffeine is not likely to cause any health problems.
1. Studies have looked at the effects of caffeine on heart health. Moderate caffeine consumption does not appear to adversely affect cardiovascular health.
2. Caffeine appears to increase the excretion of calcium, a mineral needed for healthy bones. Calcium is particularly important to prevent osteoporosis, a bone disease characterized by loss of bone strength and seen especially in older women (although men get it too). Moderate caffeine intake does not seem to cause a problem with calcium, as long as one is consuming the recommended amount (adult men and women should be taking between 1,000 and 1,200 milligrams of calcium, depending on age and gender).
3. In the past there have been concerns that the caffeine in coffee may cause cancer. Research has shown that caffeine in coffee does not cause breast or intestinal cancer. However, not enough research has been done to determine if caffeine in coffee is involved in urinary bladder or pancreatic cancer. Taken in moderation, it is unlikely that caffeine will cause cancer.
4. Evidence suggests that, at levels over 500 milligrams per day, caffeine may delay conception. Moderate caffeine consumption does not appear to be of concern to women trying to get pregnant. Moderate consumption is also important for a healthy pregnancy. Excessive caffeine intake has been associated with miscarriages and low birth weight babies.
5. Because children have developing nervous systems, it is important to moderate their caffeine consumption. For children, major sources of caffeine include soft drinks and chocolate.
6. Caffeine may be useful as part of a weight control program because it increases the rate at which the body burns calories for three or more hours after being consumed.
7. Caffeine's ability to improve physical performance is well known among well-trained athletes. Through a mechanism that is not completely understood, caffeine seems to increase endurance and speed in some situations. Excessive use of caffeine is restricted in international competitions.

Guarana seed extract:
Guarana is an herbal stimulant that contains a form of caffeine called guaranine, which is 2.5 times stronger than the caffeine found in coffee, tea and soft drinks. What makes guaranine unique from caffeine found in beverages is its slower release. That's because the guarana seed is fatty (even in powder form) and is not readily water-soluble. Therefore the body does not quickly absorb it. Since the guaranine is released slowly, the energy boost that is experienced from guarana is not like that of coffee with its sudden rush and quick drop-off. Rather, it continues to escalate over hours.
While caffeine from beverages provides a short-lived energy burst that overheats and excites the body, guaranine has a cooling action that revitalizes and relaxes. This is because guarana contains other components that modify the activity of this substance. The end result is more beneficial to the body than tea or coffee.
1. Caffeine accelerates the effectiveness of CLA, thus making CLA a more potent fat burner. Guarana has been shown to stimulate the migration of lipids so fat can be burned as energy.
2. It is also an appetite suppressant.
3. Guarana aids in a temporary, natural increase in body temperature and metabolic thermogenesis through nutritional stimulation of the body's ß receptor pathway, which can induce the breakdown and release of stored body fat, thereby allowing stored fats to be turned into energy.
4. Thermogenesis refers to the body's production of heat, a normal part of metabolic processes. Thermogenesis can be enhanced by certain nutritional substances. When stimulated through appropriate dietary supplementation, thermogenesis is also a mechanism that increases metabolic rate. Stored body fat, if released and available for use, can provide the fuel for this increased metabolic rate.
5. Other active constituents of guarana are theobromine and theophylline, which are called xanthines (a class of thermogenic substances found in coffee, tea and certain beans). They have some effect on increasing metabolic rate, suppressing appetite and enhancing both physical and mental performance. They also act as muscle relaxants and possess diuretic properties.
6. It is reported to help overcome heat fatigue, detoxify the blood and is useful for flatulence and obesity.
7. In body care products, it has been used for its tonifying and astringent properties, and in the treatment of cellulite.
8. Guarana increases mental alertness, fights fatigue, and increases stamina and physical endurance.

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