What is GUARANA?
Guarana berries from South America have high caffeine content and are known for their stimulating effects, including an increase in cognitive capacity and physical vigor, resulting in a lucid energy boost different from the effects of caffeine from coffee. Long used by natives for stamina while hunting, guarana’s effects are smooth and gradual and not accompanied by significantly higher blood pressure, nervous sensations, anxiety, jitters or a crash.
What is MACA?
The maca plant—also from South America—exhibits an anti-tiredness effect and can reduce the effects of stress when taken regularly and has been used as both a food and a traditional medicine in the region for over 2000 years. It contains high amounts of protein and has been known to energize the central nervous system.
(Polo, 2006) The fruit is a capsule with septicidal dehiscence and a developed peduncle. When immature, it has a dark green color, and when ripe, its color ranges from yellow-orange to yellow-red to bright red. The seeds (one to four per fruit) are dark brown with a crustaceous texture, and they are partially enveloped by a chalky white aril, which anatomically represents a sarcotesta that seems to protect the embryo against moisture loss.
(Schmidt, 1941; Souza et al., 1996; Embrapa Agropecuária Ocidental, 2001; Smith and Atroch, 2007) The open mature fruit exposes the white aril. The dark seed, in contrast with the red colour of the shell, resembles a human eye, which represents a striking feature for the identiﬁcation of guarana.
(Cabral, 1932; Lyra, 1953; Souza, 2010) When dried or roasted, the seeds can be used to produce commercial products with high caffeine content (2.5 to 6%); the caffeine content of guarana seeds is 2 to 5 times higher than that of Arabica coffee seeds.
(Henman, 1982, 1986; Koﬁnk et al., 2007).The seeds are the commercially useful part of the plant because of their content of purinic alkaloid caffeine (1,3,7-tri- methylxanthine), to which the stimulant property of guarana is attributed.
(Henman, 1986; Bempong and Houghton, 1992; Espinola et al., 1997; Mattei et al., 1998; Basile et al., 2005; Heard et al., 2006). In recent years, several studies in the ﬁeld of pharmacology have been focused on conﬁrming the effects attributed to this plant and revealing the mechanism of action of its components, especially the alkaloids and tannins
Although many effects have been proven, few studies have managed to discover the active principle responsible. However, most studies attributed bioactive effects to more than one substance.
(Henman, 1982; Mattei et al., 1998; Heard et al., 2006; Dalonso and Petkowicz, 2012b). The stimulant property on the central nervous system is mainly attributed to guarana′s alkaloids because their mechanism of action is known, although catechins may also be involved; these are present in high con- centrations in guarana cotyledons.
Mattei et al. (1998) found that guarana protects against the physiological and psychological effects of stress. Because of a synergistic relationship among its components, guarana can pro- vide beneﬁts over time for overall health, especially for cognitive performance.
(Krewer et al., 2011b). It is possible that the protective effects and beneﬁts of guarana for human health will increase with chronic dosing.
(Lo´ pez-Fando, Go´ mez-Serranillos, Lock, Upamayt, & Carretero, 2004). Administration of maca can reduce the eﬀects of stress, including combating the increase in corticosterone and all the parameters related to this increase, such as the size of adrenal glands and the stress-induced ulcers, and eliminate the decrease in free fatty-acids and glucose levels in plasma, produced by stress.
(Lo´ pez-Fando et al., 2004; Rubio et al., 2006b; Yu & Jin, 2004) Maca powder has also been shown to exhibit an anti-tiredness eﬀect, and can increase the duration of mobility in forced swimming tests of mice .
Maca is abundant in protein, unsaturated fatty acids and minerals. Its highly nutritious nature is proposed as one reason for its eﬀect on vitality and combating tiredness.
(Lo´ pez- Fando et al., 2004) The reason behind maca’s mitigation of stress eﬀects is unclear. It is hypothesized that maca may lead to activation of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis to increase adaptogens, and by this means increase generalized resistance to various noxious and stressful stimuli.