Green Coffee Bean Extract - Weight Loss and Side Effects

Green (unroasted) coffee beans, the source of the extract used in University of Scranton study
Green (unroasted) coffee beans, the source of the extract used in University of Scranton study | Source

A recent study conducted by the University of Scranton on 16 overweight young adults and presented at the American Chemical Society national meeting on March 27, 2012, has demonstrated that, despite maintaining similar caloric intake levels, test subjects who consumed an extract made from green (unroasted) coffee beans lost considerably more weight than control subjects. Test subjects lost an average of 17.5 lbs (7.75 kg), or about 10.5% of their body weight over the course of 22 weeks. The study's findings were published in the journal Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome, and Obesity.

Those consuming higher dosages (1050 mg of GCA, a standardized extract) of green coffee extract lost more than those consuming lower (700 mg) dosages. Scientists have not determined which component of the extract aided in dropping the excess weight, although some have speculated that polyphenols and chlorogenic acid, which green coffee beans have in abundance. However, the extract is notably bitter, and difficult to drink without substantial dilution in water.

Currently available extracts

Green coffee bean extracts are already commercially available. Most are standardized to contain a certain percentage of chlorogenic acid. Two important notes:

  • Caution should be used in consuming any green coffee bean extract, since many have high levels of caffeine as well.
  • Extract like this high in polyphenols should not be consumed with dairy or other high-calcium foods, since these foods can block the absorption of polyphenols by the body.

Other side effects

Extracts of green coffee beans have most of the alcohol- and water-soluble components you would find in the beans themselves, namely caffeine, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, and several other polyphenols, which are naturally-occurring phytochemicals, or substances found in plants.

Extracts containing caffeine have the same effects as other substances (coffee, tea, colas, energy drinks, etc.) that have caffeine. If you are sensitive to caffeine and want to limit caffeine intake, you should inquire about caffeine levels before considering consumption.

Other health effects are probably associated with the chlorogenic and caffeic acids, among other polyphenols, present in unroasted coffee. A survey of scientific studies on green coffee extract and its primary components turns up the following:

  • A study published in Hypertension Research in 2004 showed that laboratory rats fed green coffee extract demonstrated enhanced circulation and blood vessel function, and significantly lower homocysteine levels (a marker for cardiovascular disease).
  • A study published in Clinical and Experimental Hypertension in 2006, a low dose (140 mg) of GCA, the green coffee extract used in the weight loss study, administered to hypertensive subjects resulted in a significant reduction in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels, without any observed side effects.

While it's always wise to exercise caution when taking supplements for weight loss—the expected weight loss might never occur, and there might be unanticipated side effects—green coffee bean extract seems to be relatively safe when consumed in reasonable quantities, and its other benefits to cardiovascular health might make the supplement worthwhile to take just the same.

Please consult your doctor before beginning any supplement regimen. This article is provided for informational purposes only.

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Comments 8 comments

Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica

Thanks for this Livelonger. I was surprised that the green coffee extract actually might help with hypertension. I was expecting elevated levels instead. That's good to hear because I am hypertensive so most weight loss supplements are not for me.


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 4 years ago from San Francisco

Quite interesting, I'm not really looking to lose weight, but I am most certainly interested in absorbing polyphenols, and I didn't know that calcium-high foods could be an encumbrance to it! That's rather troublesome. I can't imagine a meal without insane amounts of tofu or cheese.


livelonger profile image

livelonger 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

Cardisa: Yes, I think terpenes like cafestol and kahweol, and caffeine, can exacerbate hypertension issues, but presumably they've been removed from the extract, since it does seem to alleviate high blood pressure.

Simone: Interesting, huh? I guess adding cream/milk to your coffee or tea isn't that good an idea, at least when it comes to getting the most health benefits of the polyphenols.


cclitgirl profile image

cclitgirl 4 years ago from Western NC

Interesting hub here, J. Though, I like what Simone said: I definitely love cheese and I like some tofu. Hehe. I hadn't heard of these, but I'll look into it should my computer habits take over my life and I don't get enough exercise. Ha!


livelonger profile image

livelonger 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

CC: Me, too. In fact, outside the non-vegetarian domain, I'm a food lover myself. :)


AliceFSpencer profile image

AliceFSpencer 4 years ago from Texas

Thanks live longer I was just doing a little reseach on this for a friend well written and very informative the dairy was a good tip to know voted up!!


livelonger profile image

livelonger 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

Thanks, Alice!


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

Very interesting research regarding green coffee beans and their effect on the body. I had not heard of this. Green tea...yes. I guess it makes sense. I hope that they continue doing research in areas like this. Up votes!

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