Green coffee bean extract has been a hot topic in the weight loss supplement industry over the last few years. The process of roasting coffee beans is thought to reduce a chemical known as chlorogenic acid, which is found in high amounts in the pre-roasted (green) coffee bean variety. Chlorogenic acid is the compound that researchers examined when they began making claims to potential health benefits. The mechanisms of action are not completely understood (Vinson, 2012), but some studies have proposed that the specific weight loss benefits involve a modification in the way the body metabolizes glucose or blood sugar.
There’s a bit of controversy from the literature as to whether this supplement is actually effective at helping individuals shed the pounds. The issues seem to revolve around whether the modest weight loss reported in the preliminary findings were actually a direct result of the drug or some other factor; as the studies cited used very small sample sizes-making it difficult to generalize across larger populations (Onakpoya, 2010).
Potential side-effects experienced by this drug have to do with its caffeine content and can include things like nausea, increased heart rate, nervousness and insomnia. In larger quantities, caffeine can also cause symptoms like headache, anxiety and irregular heartbeats. There are also safety concerns when used by specific populations such as pregnant/breast-feeding individuals, diabetics, and those with certain bleeding and bowel disorders (Mayo Clinic, 2013). It’s always best to check with your medical provider before starting any supplement regimen.
Additional studies with larger sample groups will be needed moving forward to not only determine the effectiveness of green coffee bean extract as a weight loss supplement, but its overall safety as well.
Vinson, J. et al., Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy 17, January 2012.
Onakpoya I., et al. The Use of Green Coffee Extract as a Weight Loss Supplement: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials
Gastroenterology Research & Practice; vol. 2011, August 2010.