What is Guarana Seed Extract?

April S. Kenyon

Guarana seed extract is taken from the seeds of the climbing guarana plant found in the Amazon basin of Brazil and other regions of South America. It contains a stimulant, referred to as guaranine, which is similar to caffeine. The content of this stimulant is almost twice as much as the amount of caffeine found in coffee beans. Guarana is often used as an energy booster, a dietary supplement, and a flavoring agent. It is thought to improve cognition, ease aching muscles, boost energy levels, and suppress the appetite.

Some energy drinks contain guarana seed extract.
Some energy drinks contain guarana seed extract.

The indigenous people of the Amazon rain forest, the Guaraní, used the plant for a number of medicinal purposes. The seeds of the guarana plant were used to help ease the pain of arthritis, treat diarrhea, reduce fatigue, and suppress the appetite. A tea was created from the crushed seeds of the plant. This powder is much like the guarana seed extract used in many beverages and supplements today.

Chewing gum containing guarana seed extract.
Chewing gum containing guarana seed extract.

Guarana seed extract is sometimes added to certain foods as a flavoring agent. It can be found in chewing gum, ice cream, sodas, and chocolate. This ingredient is often added to sodas, juices, and energy drinks to help reduce fatigue and boost energy levels. It is also thought to increase cognitive memory and enhance mental alertness. Some cereal and power bars may also contain guarana seed extract as both a flavoring agent and an energy booster.

Guarana seed extract is taken from tropical guarana berries.
Guarana seed extract is taken from tropical guarana berries.

In addition to its role as an energy enhancer, guarana is also used in a number of dietary supplements and weight loss plans. The plant’s natural appetite suppressing properties, combined with its ability to increase stamina, make guarana a popular ingredient in many diet pills, supplements, and other weight loss products. Guarana seed extract helps promote weight loss by controlling the appetite and increasing metabolism so that more calories can be burned at a faster rate.

Much like caffeine, guaranine can be beneficial in helping to treat various ailments. Some of its medicinal properties include treating headaches, relieving aches associated with arthritis, and inhibiting some allergies. Guarana can also be used to reduce intestinal gas and promote digestion.

Some caution should be used when consuming any product with guarana seed extract. Side effects can include insomnia, anxiety, irritability, nausea, hyperactivity, and an increased need to urinate. Guarana seed extract also contains blood thinning properties. Extra caution should be taken by pregnant women and individuals prone to blood clots. When used in combination with aspirin or blood thinning medications, guarana seed extract can be extremely dangerous.

People who are native to the Amazon River basin have long used guarana seed extract as a stimulant.
People who are native to the Amazon River basin have long used guarana seed extract as a stimulant.

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Discussion Comments


Guarana seed extract doesn't work too well for me. Yes, it gives some energy in the beginning but then my energy levels plummet, much like after having too much caffeine and sugar. It causes jitters too. I don't know if it's the brand I'm using because I have a friend who loves this supplement and says it works great for her without side effects.


@ddljohn-- No, I have not heard of guarana seed extract being used for cancer. I use this supplement for energy and I think it is the main reason most people use it.

Before guarana seed extract, I was drinking at least four cups of coffee a day to keep me going. I have a thyroid problem and diabetes and both make me very tired. I'm usually exhausted by 2pm. Since I have started taking the extract, I feel so much better and I don't get tired in the afternoon. I also feel more focused. I have better concentration at work.

Although I have benefited from this supplement, I should warn that there can be side effects. It shouldn't be used without doctor approval.


I read somewhere that guarana seed extract may help fight cancer. Does anyone here know about this or has anyone used guarana seed extract for this purpose?

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