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What is Green Coffee Bean Extract?

Green coffee extract is simply raw or unroasted coffee beans that have been crushed and the active ingredients extracted. Raw coffee beans, as the name suggests, are green seeds that have been removed from the pulp and casing. Once they mature they turn brown or red, and have lost some of the beneficial compounds.

Where Does Green Coffee Extract Come From?

Coffee is one of the most widely drank beverages across the world, and as such the coffee plant is cultivated in many countries. It originated in Africa, but was introduced to the Americas in the 1700s, which now produce nearly half of the world’s total coffee beans.

The plant itself can grow up to 10m in height and produces fruit, which contain the beans or seeds, for up to 20 years in some species. It is cultivated in rows, often in association with fruits trees in order to produce optimal conditions. Generally the fruits are handpicked, and then dried to be stored or processed.

Green Coffee Extract Health Benefits

High blood pressure is one of the leading causes of heart attack, kidney failure and stroke, and taking green coffee extract has been shown to reduce it in those that have elevated levels. One study indicated that taking 480mg of green coffee extract containing 140mg of chlorgenic acid for a period of 12 weeks can reduce blood pressure by 7-8%, and several other studies have noticed downwards trends in blood pressure when taking the supplement.

Green Coffee Extract Benefits for Body Building

Chlorinergic acid, the active compound in green coffee extract, has been shown by some studies to induce weight loss in overweight individuals. When given over a 12 week period the average weight loss was 5.4 kg, compared with 1.7 kg in the placebo group. A secondary study demonstrated that there was a trend over 3 lots of 8 weeks for the subjects to lose weight during the coffee extract period. This data indicates that it may induce weight loss in already lean individuals as well, without having an effect on muscle mass.

Green coffee extract may also contain low levels of caffeine, a well known stimulant and fat burner. It tends to show a linear effect on weight loss – meaning that small amounts will produce a small weight loss, and large amounts will produce a larger weight loss. However, as the caffeine content of green coffee is modest, it is unlikely to be the compound responsible for most of its fat burning effects.

Side Effects, Safety and Negatives of Green Coffee Extract

There are no negative consequences to taking green coffee extract, aside from its caffeine content. The side effects would be the same as with any caffeine containing product, and can include insomnia, restlessness and increased heart rate, as well as stomach upset and headaches. However it would be extremely difficult to consume enough of the extract to produce an overdose.

Green Coffee Extract Recommended Doses and Ingredient Timing

The amount of green coffee extract is highly dependent on brand, since each is more or less concentrated and contains different percentages of the active ingredients.

As a general guide, the compound known to cause weight loss, chlorinergic acid, needs to be taken at levels of 120-300mg a day to be effective. Therefore a supplement with 20% chlorinergic acid would equate to 600-1500mg a day for weight loss.

Green Coffee Extract Supplements

Green coffee extract can be bought in capsule form. It is also found in some fat burners such as EHP Lab Oxyshed and MuscleTech Hydroxycut Hardcore Elite.

Stacking Green Coffee Extract

Green coffee has little to no negative interactions with other products. As a weight loss supplement it may be ideally stacked with other fat burning ingredients such as green tea to enhance the effect. As this ingredient contains some caffeine, it is advisable to be aware of the levels in other products you may be taking so that your overall caffeine intake can be controlled.

Vinson JA. Burnham BR. & Nagendran MV ‘Randomised, double blind, placebo controlled, linear dose crossover study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of a green coffee bean extract in overweight subjects’ Diabetes, metabolic syndrome and obesity: targets and therapy volume 5 2012
Onakpya I. Terry R. & Ernst E. ‘The use of green coffee extract as a weight loss supplement: a systematic review and meta’analysis of randomised clinical trials’ Gastroenterology Research and Practice 2011
Watanabe T. et al. ‘The blood pressure-lowering effect and safety of chlorogenic acid from green coffe bean extract in essential hypertension’ Clinical Hypertension 2006

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