So what is Chlorogenic Acid?
Chlorogenic acid is a phenolic acid found in coffee. CGA accounts for the majority of the organic acid concentration in coffee. It is absorbed in the body through the intestines after consuming it in coffee or via several other sources.
CGA’s are produced by the coffee plant to help protect it much like ourselves from oxidative stress.
The CGA family is fascinating because they appear to have significant biological activity. For starters, here are a few things we believe CGAs can do:
- Regulate glucose and gut microbiota in the body
- Decrease the risk of heart disease
- Diminish the risk of developing type 2 diabetes
- Help reduce hypercholesterolemia and help reverse non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
Primary Sources of Chlorogenic Acid
Chlorogenic acid is not only found in coffee – Many plants produce CGA’s but none more so than coffee, except for the Ilex plant, from which mate. You will also find it in many other herbs, fruits, and vegetables.
Some minor sources include (but are not limited to!):
A few other plants which contain CGA in particularly high quantities (although not approaching coffee) include:
Health Effects of Chlorogenic Acid
As mentioned, chlorogenic acid’s most famous effect is to help the body with glucose absorption and gut regulation as it slows the movement of sugars into the blood and also promotes the uptake of sugars from the liver therefore reducing the level of glucose in the blood. However, the effects of chlorogenic acid are vast – and wide-reaching.
Tests have shown that CGA helps to lessen anxiety responses, seeming to confirm its anxiolytic effects. It seems to work its magic through protecting against oxygenation, as well as activating benzodiazepine receptors.
Chlorogenic acid has antihypertensive properties – it can reduce high blood pressure.
CGA is Anti-inflammatory
The substance helps reduce inflammation in the body, which minimizes the risk of developing a range of health problems, including autoimmune diseases, arthritis, and diabetes.
Improves Mood and Cognition
Studies show that caffeinated coffee with sufficient CGA boosts your mood and amplifies your cognitive processes. And it is not just the caffeine – decaffeinated coffee also enhanced these factors, though to a lesser degree.
May Help with Weight Loss
As you probably expect – if you are trying to lose weight, drinking coffee may help. Beyond the stimulant effect of caffeine, chlorogenic acid has anti-obesity properties all of its own. Used for a long enough time, the compounding effect of consistent CGA and caffeine intake can help you lose weight – and keep it off.
DNA Protective Effect
As mentioned, CGA is an antioxidant, which means it fights free radicals and slows oxidative stress in the body. To that end, chlorogenic acid can help reduce the effects of aging.
Some theories suggest CGA can reduce the risk of getting cancer by lessening the chance of DNA cell mutations, possibly preventing tumor development. There have been studies on this, but it is still an area that requires further investigation.
Side Effects of Chlorogenic Acid
While it may have numerous benefits in moderation – consuming too much chlorogenic acid can cause problems. Most prominently, the Gastroenterology field is still debating the digestive risks. However, many drinkers claim coffee with excess chlorogenic acids can trigger acid reflux or (worse) gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Like caffeine, CGA reduces the risk of heart disease but can also increase heart rate if over-consumed.
Other side effects to watch out for include:
- Indigestion or gastric reflux
Drinking coffee – in general – ramps up your stress hormones such as cortisol and norepinephrine. So keep a close eye on your body, especially if starting a new regime.