Guarana (Paullinia cupana) is a plant native to the Amazon basin, specifically Brazil. The large seeds are a significant source of caffeine and are particularly popular in Brazil as an energy source and a soft drink mixture. Additionally, guarana seed extract seems to be an ingredient in many energy drinks sold in the U.S. and is found in some weight loss products. On average, guarana seed contains about twice the caffeine as coffee (approx. 2%-4.5%). This is a water soluble extract containing approx 9%-10% caffeine. Guarana’s effects resemble those of caffeine, and the FDA has classified it as “generally recognized as safe”. Like caffeine, too much guarana can cause anxiety and heart-related issues. People with heart conditions and women who are pregnant are advised against taking guarana or similar products. But it has been reported by users that guarana can assist with mental alertness, energy, weight loss, antioxidant consumption and even cardiovascular protection.
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