‘More’ could mean ‘too much’

Study Title
A double-blind, placebo-controlled, multi-dose evaluation of the acute behavioural effects of guaraná in humans.
Study Authors
C. F. Haskell, D. O. Kennedy, K. A. Wesnes A. L. Milne, A. B. Scholey
Study Model Human
Abstract Link https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16533867


Guarana is a supplement I now take frequently to avoid drinking coffee all the time (cause I don’t feel that great after coffee anyway). Inspired by Haskell et all and their article “A double-blind, placebo-controlled, multi-dose evaluation of the acute behavioural effects of guaraná in humans” (link) it is time to show benefits of this gem from Amazon.

Guarana is well known as a stimulant present in many energy drinks (always second to caffeine though). It is true that guarana contains caffeine but it is only 2.5-5% of guarana’s dry weight, with standardised supplements reaching 10-12% caffeine content. Guarana is packed with other potentially active psychoactive compounds as it includes saponins and tannins.

Animals studies showed that lower doses (but not higher ones) of guarana improved memory deficits in rats and swimming time in mice. This theme of lower doses performing better was also observed in Haskell’s study, so keep an eye on this.

The study compared 4 doses of guarana: 37.5 mg, 75 mg, 150 mg and 300 mg and placebo (0 mg). Compared with placebo, secondary memory performance was enhanced by the 75 mg dose and the 37.5 mg dose, but not higher doses of 150 mg and 300 mg. The secondary memory tasks included: delayed word recognition, delayed picture recognition, immediate word recall and delayed word recall.

In addition, alertness and contentedness levels increased significantly following all doses of guarana. It’s good to be alert, but anyone who drunk too much coffee at some point in their life will agree – it can get a bit too intense, with caffeine making you jittery.

Let’s not go overboard with guarana then. Memory gets better at lower doses while your alertness improves too, so maybe it’s better to buy a lower dose supplement instead of that ‘ultra strong’, ‘high potency’, ‘maximum dose’ product on sale – the decision is yours.

Would you ditch your daily coffee habit to try guarana instead?

Dr Bart Alright


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