Chlorogenic Acid

A phytochemical, chlorogenic acid belongs to the class of hydroxycinnamic acids. This phytochemical is found in abundance in blueberries, coffee, strawberries, sunflower, pineapple and other fruits. Chlorogenic acid is believed to have a vital intermediary role in metabolism in plants. In addition, this phytochemical possesses a wide assortment of anti-microbial properties.

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Chlorogenic acid is an antioxidant which is found in elevated amounts in coffee. During tests undertaken with chlorogenic acid, it has been found that this phytochemical inhibits growth of tumours. In addition, this organic chemical also slows down glucose release into the blood stream and is apparently useful for people who want to lose surplus body weight.

It has been found that several polyphenols serve as antioxidants and chlorogenic acid possesses the ability to counteract many different classes of carcinogenic compounds even before they are able to cause damage to the DNA, thereby putting off the occurrence of mutations and also developing cancer. At the same time, this phytochemical works to slow down the oxidation of LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol, also known as "bad cholesterol", which harms the arteries and often results in atherosclerosis. It is believed that by restricting the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, chlorogenic acid helps to put off the development of cardiovascular disease.

Chlorogenic acid is basically an ester, which is formed from L-quinic acid and caffeic acid. Notwithstanding its name, chlorogenic acid does not contain any chlorine. In fact, scientists named the substance such following observation that the color of the acid changes to green, similar to that of chlorine gas, when it is oxidized. Chlorogenic acid is a vital factor for metabolism in plants. K. Freudenberg was the first to isolate this phytochemical from coffee beans way back in 1920. Chlorogenic acid as well as its isomers are also found in fruits, leaves and several other tissues of dicotyledonous plants.

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When coffee beans are roasted, the chlorogenic acid present in them is destroyed. Recently, it was discovered that oral intake of extracts from green coffee beans which are rich in chlorogenic acid content helps to lose additional body weight. At the same time, it also enhances glucose tolerance in humans.

Several population studies have helped to identify that people who consumed no less than five cups of coffee daily were less likely to develop type-2 diabetes. Additional research has hinted that the presence of chlorogenic acid in coffee and its effect on glucose metabolism is responsible for this. It is worth mentioning here that glucose is stored in our liver inside a polysaccharide called glycogen. This polysaccharide is an elongated, branched insoluble glucose molecule chain. During a process called glycogenolysis, glucose is released by the enzyme glucose-6-phosphatase into the blood stream from where it is carried to the different body organs.

Restriction or slowing down of glycogenolysis makes the body to use up the fat cells for energy required by it. While this lowers the glucose levels in the blood stream, it also helps to lessen the symptoms related to diabetes. In addition, reduction of the fat stored in the body also helps in losing extra flab.

There is ample proof of the fact that chlorogenic acid helps to inhibit glucose-6-phosphate. In fact, studies undertaken on animal as well as human liver extracts have corroborated this fact. Occasionally, some compounds respond to cellular extracts during studies undertaken in laboratories, but they are actually not taken up by the body. However, it was found that chlorogenic acid was present in the blood of people who drank coffee soon after they consumed the beverage. This is proof of the fact that our system absorbs this polyphenol.

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Owing to the biological effects of this polyphenol, chlorogenic acid is marketed in Europe in the form of a weight reducing agent. This supplement is prepared with chlorogenic acid extracted from green coffee, which is usually incorporated in the form of an ingredient in chewing gum, mints and coffee. However, it is important for people using weight loss agents to be careful regarding their use. They ought to thoroughly go through the information provided by the manufacturer on the product label regarding the weight loss properties of such weight loss supplements. The weight loss properties of chlorogenic acid are established as taking this polyphenol in the form of a supplement helps to inhibit glucose-6-phosphatase, which, in turn, decreases the amount of glucose present in the blood stream following meals. Nevertheless, for the purpose of safety, one should necessarily consult his/ her physician prior to taking any type of supplement to be sure if it is suitable for them.

Health benefits

Regular consumption of chlorogenic acid is known to offer several health benefits. Following a test undertaken by scientists at the Harvard University on over 80,000 women, it was found that women who consumed coffee every day had less chances of having gallstones compared to those who did not. During the study, researchers found that drinking only one cup of coffee daily did not have any effect, but consumption of two cups of coffee every day reduced the chances of developing gallstones by about 9 percent. Similarly, drinking three cups of coffee daily reduced the risks of gallstones by 22 percent, while consuming four or more cups of the beverage daily helped to reduce the risks of gallstones by a significant 28 percent.

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Chlorogenic acid offers various other health benefits and one of them involves the liver. Consuming this polyphenol via coffee on a regular basis helps to reduce the risks of several diseases related to the liver, including cirrhosis of liver and liver cancer.

This phytochemical is present in coffee beans as well as coffee. Many people claim that consuming this polyphenol via coffee helps to lower the levels of glucose in the blood stream, thereby potentially causing an anti-diabetic effect. In addition, chlorogenic acid is also considered to be an effective weight loss agent, as it has anti-obesity consequence.

It has been found that the extract obtained from green coffee beans contain about 50 percent of chlorogenic acid, which has been responsible for its growing popularity in recent times. Moreover, the elevated levels of this polyphenol in green coffee extract have also been found to slow down the action of glucose-6-phosphate, which is responsible for increasing the amount of glucose in the liver. In due course, chlorogenic acid may be helpful in reducing the chances of developing diabetes.

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It has been established that chlorogenic acid is effective in reducing weight. This polyphenol aids in inhibiting the rate at which our body takes up fat from the ingested foods. At the same time, chlorogenic acid augments metabolism, which, in turn, aids in the weight loss program. Consumption of coffee on a regular basis helps to enhance metabolism. All these health benefits are attributed to this extract from green coffee.

People, who want to enhance their chlorogenic acid intake regularly, should ideally use a supplement containing this polyphenol. Since unroasted green coffee beans are very bitter, it will be easier as well as prudent to take the supplement. At the same time, they should ensure that they opt for a supplement containing chlorogenic acid, which may be listed on the product label as GCA or Svetol. It is worth mentioning here that GCA denotes green coffee antioxidant. Preferably, you should use a supplement which contains no less than 45 percent of chlorogenic acid. Be careful not to purchase any supplement that contains any artificial ingredients or fillers.

Side effects and cautions

Although there are several health benefits of using chlorogenic acid, people who have allergic reactions to coffee, nursing mothers and pregnant women should strictly avoid this supplement. Moreover, prior to including this supplement in one's daily routine, it is essential for them to consult their physician to know whether or not chlorogenic acid is suitable for them.

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