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Why Is Guarana Bad?

author image Brenda Barron
Brenda Barron is a writer, editor and researcher based in Southern California. She has worked as a writer since 2004, with work appearing in online and print publications such as BabyZone, "Cat Fancy" and "ePregnancy." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from California State University, Long Beach.
Why Is Guarana Bad?
Why Is Guarana Bad? Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

What is Guarana?

Guarana is a substance often added to energy drinks that's derived from seeds of a Brazilian or Venezuelan shrub. These seeds are loaded with caffeine and are used in pills, drinks and supplements. Although it's effective for an energy boost and weight loss, guarana can have nasty side effects.

Typical Side Effects

Caffeine is known to have side effects. Because guarana contains higher levels of it than coffee, a few unpleasant effects are to be expected. Commonly reported ones include being jittery, restless or nervous, a boosted heart rate, more frequent urination, insomnia, appetite loss, headaches, nausea and heartburn.

Possibility of Allergic Reaction

As with any substance used for medicinal or supplemental purposes, there is the possibility of an allergic reaction to guarana. You'll know you're having an allergic reaction if swelling sets in at your lips, throat or tongue and you develop hives. Seek medical advice immediately.

Severe Side Effects

In some cases, serious side effects can also develop in those who take guarana. For instance, vomiting, stomach pain, seizures, irregular heartbeat, dizziness and problems urinating are signs that something is seriously wrong and you should seek medical attention right away.


Guarana can be dangerous for those with pre-existing conditions or those who take certain medications as well. If you have high blood pressure, kidney disease, heart disease, an overactive thyroid or diabetes, you shouldn't take guarana. Likewise, if you take diet pills such as ephedra, you should avoid taking guarana. The combination can cause hemorrhage, heart attack, stroke or even death.

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