What Is the Difference between Guarana and Caffeine?

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  • Written By: Anna B. Smith
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 21 January 2020
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The difference between guarana and caffeine is that the former is a type of plant, and the latter is a chemical ingredient. Caffeine is one of the many chemical compounds naturally occurring in guarana plants. This ingredient was first called guaranine on the ingredient labels of products containing guarana. It is often used in energy boosting dietary supplements as an alternative to coffee.

This plant originates in South America and has been in use by Brazilian natives for many centuries for medicinal purposes. It is a climbing vine in the maple family and produces clusters of white flowers and dark fruits, ranging in color from brown to deep red. These fruits contain twice the amount of caffeine naturally that a single coffee bean does.

Guarana and caffeine were originally marketed as two separate and uniquely individual ingredients. Beverages and foods that commonly contain caffeine list this chemical on the ingredient label, such as chocolate, coffee, tea, and soft drinks. Energy and dietary supplements which contained guarana included the chemical ingredient guaranine on the label instead, and manufacturers claimed this as a more natural supplement and alternative method to caffeine for improving metabolic functions. Scientists later discovered that guaranine is the same ingredient as caffeine, and guarana products have since been appropriately labeled.


The effect of guarana and caffeine, its main ingredient, on the body is stimulation to both the nervous and cardiovascular systems of the body. One hour after being ingested, levels of this chemical appear at their highest in the blood stream, and their affects can linger for several hours following. Individuals who have taken caffeine tend to find their heart rate elevated, their blood flow increased, and their metabolic rate improved. This can create an overall feeling of being awake combined with an improved mood and greater attentiveness.

Some foods and beverages containing guarana and caffeine are attributed with weight loss abilities, and are believed to provide an aphrodisiac-like side effect. These claims are generally unsubstantiated and have little to no basis in scientific study. The overall increased metabolic rate of the body after ingesting caffeine can cause it to burn more calories than it would otherwise, and can create the sensation of an enhanced mood state. These are side effects, however, of the chemical's interaction with the heart and cardiovascular system and are not as a result of any hormonal influence on the body by caffeine.


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Post 3

@donasmrs-- I agree with you, guarana shouldn't be mixed with other stimulants. Some people take ephedrine with caffeine for energy and weight loss. But mixing ephedrine with guarana extract is dangerous, it can even cause death.

Post 2

@SarahGen-- I'm no expert on guarana or caffeine but I think that guarana has compounds other than caffeine in it. Guarana can definitely be used as an alternative to other forms of caffeine like coffee, but its effects might be a little different. This could be a good thing or a bad thing. Some people say that guarana provides longer and more sustained energy and others say that guarana has more side effects than caffeine.

I think that people who need extra caffeine can give guarana a try. But it should be a high quality, pure product and it should be used alone. I don't understand why some supplements and energy drinks have both guarana and caffeine. They're both caffeine and it doesn't make sense to mix two stimulants together. The chances of experiencing side effects will be higher.

Post 1

If guarana caffeine content is much higher than the caffeine in coffee beans, why isn't guarana more commonly used? Can't it be made into a hot drink like coffee?

I know people who drink cups and cups of coffee daily for energy and concentration. Some people have a higher tolerance for caffeine and a single cup of coffee just doesn't cut it for them. I think guarana would be a better alternative.

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