Is Caffeine Healthy | Whey Better Blog | Nutrology

Is all caffeine the same? Yerba Mate vs Caffeine Anhydrous

Caffeine is a controversial ingredient among consumers with studies claiming both positive and negative health benefits. So is caffeine healthy or not? Well like car commercials and contracts, the devil is in the details.


Natural vs Synthetic Caffeine

Studies have shown that moderate intake of caffeine in a natural form such as yerba mate (1-4 cups daily or about 75-300mg of caffeine), have positive health benefits including reduction in risk of mortality from heart attack, reduction in risk of type 2 diabetes and lowering risk of colon cancer. If you have hypertension it is recommended you stick to less than 125mg daily since all caffeine can raise blood pressure, offsetting potential health benefits.

Interestingly not all caffeine consumption shows positive health benefits. Researchers found that a rapid infusion of synthetic caffeine anhydrous increased blood sugar levels and reduced insulin sensitivity by up to 15%. The "caffeine shock" raised plasma stress hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine which promote insulin resistance, increase risk of type 2 diabetes and increase risk of mortality from heart attack.

So why do the two different forms of caffeine show such radically different health benefits?

Natural sources of caffeine are very rich sources of Chlorogenic Acids, a phytonutrient that slows caffeine absorption rate and changes gut hormones responsible for insulin secretion, resulting in lower blood sugar levels. Natural sources of caffeine are also a good source of magnesium which enhances insulin sensitivity, lowers blood pressure and reduces risk of type 2 diabetes.

Synthetic caffeine anhydrous is produced by dehydrating the caffeine and stripping away all other organic compounds. Caffeine anhydrous is quickly absorbed into the circulatory system reaching peak plasma levels within 30 minutes. The rapid absorption and lack of organic compounds like Chlorogenic Acid induce the "caffeine shock" effect.


Bottom Line

  • Naturally sourced caffeine, like yerba mate found in our Beet Natural and Beet Active performance drinks has the ability to give you a great energy boost, lower blood sugar levels and provide a thermogenic effect, making it a great supplement choice. Avoid energy drinks or supplements that use caffeine anhydrous as they do not provide positive health benefits and can actually increase risk of type 2 diabetes.


Joanne Tull Co-Founder Nutrology

Joanne Tull, former Fitness America, Fitness Canada and Fitness Universe finalist. Joanne is a Co-Founder of Nutrology, the naturally based sports nutrition company that has innovated clean label nutritional products used by thousands of athletes, including elites in the NFL, MLB, NHL and Professional Boxing. Having appeared on ESPN, Fox Sports and TSN after finishing a storied athletic career as a state champion, collegiate and national level gymnast. Joanne’s common sense approach to nutrition will educate and motivate people on how to live a healthy lifestyle while balancing career, kids and fitness goals.


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