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PloS one

Guarana provides additional stimulation over caffeine alone in the planarian model.


PMID 25880065

Abstract

The stimulant effect of energy drinks is primarily attributed to the caffeine they contain. Many energy drinks also contain other ingredients that might enhance the tonic effects of these caffeinated beverages. One of these additives is guarana. Guarana is a climbing plant native to the Amazon whose seeds contain approximately four times the amount of caffeine found in coffee beans. The mix of other natural chemicals contained in guarana seeds is thought to heighten the stimulant effects of guarana over caffeine alone. Yet, despite the growing use of guarana as an additive in energy drinks, and a burgeoning market for it as a nutritional supplement, the science examining guarana and how it affects other dietary ingredients is lacking. To appreciate the stimulant effects of guarana and other natural products, a straightforward model to investigate their physiological properties is needed. The planarian provides such a system. The locomotor activity and convulsive response of planarians with substance exposure has been shown to provide an excellent system to measure the effects of drug stimulation, addiction and withdrawal. To gauge the stimulant effects of guarana we studied how it altered the locomotor activity of the planarian species Dugesia tigrina. We report evidence that guarana seeds provide additional stimulation over caffeine alone, and document the changes to this stimulation in the context of both caffeine and glucose.