The online sphere is abuzz with the latest trends and claims surrounding yerba mate, a traditional South American beverage celebrated for its potential in weight loss by elevating GLP-1 levels—a mechanism reminiscent of certain pharmaceuticals like Ozempic. Yet, what precisely is yerba mate, and does scientific evidence uphold its efficacy in leveraging GLP-1 to shed those excess pounds? Let's review the proof and what you need to know. Affiliate Disclaimer: This website contains affiliate links, meaning I may earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase at no additional cost to you. I appreciate your support!
What Is Yerba Mate?
Yerba mate is a traditional South American drink made from the leaves of the Ilex paraguariensis plant. It holds cultural significance in countries like Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay, where it is often consumed socially and as a daily pick-me-up. Those in Uruguay consume the most of this beverage, averaging between 17 lbs to 22 lbs (8 kg and 10 kg) per person annually.
Like coffee and green tea, yerba mate leaves contain between 40 and 80 mg of caffeine per cup. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, leading to increased alertness and energy levels. For this reason, yerba mate should not be consumed close to bedtime. The amount of caffeine can vary depending on how the beverage was made.
Tea made in Uruguay tends to have the highest concentration of caffeine, averaging about 80 mg per 5 oz (150 ml) cup. Hot beverages that are brewed longer generally have more caffeine.
However, yerba mate also contains other compounds like theobromine and theophylline, contributing to its unique physiological effects that advocates claim result in a smoother, more sustained energy boost than coffee.
Yerba Mate Nutrition
Some nutrients found in 8 oz (240 ml) of the tea are as follows.
|Percent Daily Value
Can Yerba Mate Help Weight Loss?
Some research studies have hinted that weight loss could be a side effect of yerba mate. As summarized in this video, several clinical trials reveal people taking yerba mate supplements may lose between 1 and 2 pounds more than placebo takers when those supplements are used for between six and twelve weeks.
While yerba mate's capacity to promote weight loss by stimulating GLP-1 synthesis gains traction on social media, it's important to highlight that the plant's leaves also harbor chlorogenic acid, an antioxidant polyphenol recognized for its anti-obesity properties that is commonly found in green coffee beans.
What is GLP-1?
Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) is a hormone that explains one of the mechanisms behind diabetes medications such as Ozempic (also known as semaglutide). Secreted by specialized cells (called L cells) in the small intestines upon food consumption, GLP-1 plays a pivotal role in various physiological functions, including…
- Insulin helper: It tells the pancreas to release insulin, which helps move sugar from the blood into cells for energy.
- Sugar regulator: GLP-1 inhibits the release of the hormone glucagon, which raises blood sugar levels.
- Food speed regulator: It slows how quickly food moves from the stomach to the intestines. This prevents blood sugar spikes and helps regulate appetite.
- Appetite manager: GLP-1 talks to the brain to make us feel full after eating. This can help us eat less.
How Do Diabetes Drugs Like Ozempic Work?
Ozempic is a medication called a GLP-1 agonist. This means it binds to GLP-1 receptors on cells and mimics the actions of the GLP-1 hormone. In other words, its actions are similar to those of the naturally produced hormone.
These synthetic mimic compounds may also have health effects. For example, one review, reported that GLP-1 agonists appeared to reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and other major cardiovascular problems by between 12% and 14%.
However, one downside to these medications is their exorbitant price tag, which is about $1000 monthly. Another risk may include gastroparesis or stomach paralysis, a medical condition in which the stomach stops or reduces the passage of food into the intestines. Gastroparesis can even cause problems for people having surgery.
Thus, given the drawbacks, it makes sense for people to wonder if a kinder, gentler GLP-1 agonist might exist in nature.
Does Yerba Mate Raise GLP-1? The Proof.
Social media is flourishing with claims, including some from doctors, asserting that yerba mate tea elevates GLP-1 levels in the body. If these assertions hold true, it could position yerba mate as a potential natural alternative to medications like Ozempic for managing diabetes and weight loss. Here is the proof.
The original paper, published in 2011, showed that yerba mate, given to mice for three weeks, reduced food intake and body weight and raised GLP-1 levels. This is good; however, benefits seen in mice do not necessarily mean yerba mate raises GLP-1 levels in humans.
How Much Yerba Mate Might Raise GLP-1 In Humans?
The initial mouse study demonstrating the improvement in GLP-1 with yerba mate utilized dosages ranging from 50 mg/kg to 100 mg/kg, adjusted according to the animal's weight. When translated to human equivalents, these dosages correspond to approximately 4 mg/kg to 8.1 mg/kg. Let's explore what these amounts might entail for humans.
|150 lbs (68 kg)
|160 lbs (73 kg)
|170 lbs (77 kg)
|180 lbs (81 kg)
|190 lbs (86 kg)
|200 lbs (90 kgs)
Based on the table, an individual weighing 150 pounds might consider a daily intake ranging from 272 mg to 550 mg. Nonetheless, it's crucial to emphasize that these figures are estimations derived from a mouse study. Although mice are commonly utilized in clinical investigations, significant distinctions exist between their physiology and that of humans.
Does Yerba Mate Tea Have Side Effects?
The biggest downside to long-term use may be the development of cancer. Studies have associated regular consumption of yerba mate tea with an increased risk of various cancers, including esophageal, lung, bladder, and head and neck cancers.
How yerba mate might cause cancer is not understood; however, some have pointed to a combination of drinking the tea hot and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), carcinogenic compounds formed during the drying process of the leaves.
Natural Ways To Improve GLP1 Levels In The Body
More research is needed to figure out if yerba mate really helps with GLP-1. But even if it doesn't, there are other natural ways to do it. Here's a list of food and lifestyle changes shown to help your body produce more GLP-1.
Eat more fiber. Foods like fruits, veggies, and oatmeal have soluble fibers that feed good gut bacteria. These bacteria produce short-chain fatty acids, which trigger the release of GLP-1. Aim for at least the RDA of 25 grams of fiber per day, which is about one ounce.
Try resistant starches: Foods like bananas, rice, legumes, grains, and oats contain resistant starches. Research shows they can help increase GLP-1 secretion.
Include healthy fats: Nuts and seeds have monounsaturated fats that can boost this satiety hormone.
Up your protein intake: Lean proteins like turkey, fish, chicken, and beans can raise GLP-1. Aim for around 0.4 grams per pound of body weight or a bit more (0.6 to 0.7 g/lb) if you're older or exercise regularly.
Eat fermented foods: Foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, and kefir contain healthy bacteria that may enhance GLP-1 secretion.
Try probiotics: Probiotics found in supplements like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium can increase GLP-1 levels.
Stay active: Exercise, even simple activities like walking, can raise GLP-1 in both healthy and overweight individuals.
Get good sleep: Studies suggest that sleep apnea, a disorder that disrupts sleep, may lower GLP-1 secretion.
Consider cinnamon: Research indicates that consuming 3 grams of cassia cinnamon can enhance GLP-1 activity.
Green tea. Some research proposes that 500 mg of green tea extract raises GLP1.
Give berberine a try: Berberine shows potential in enhancing the synthesis and secretion of GLP-1. Some social influencers have likened Berberine to Ozempic, yet, as with yerba mate, those claims are far-fetched.
Yerba Mate GLP-1: Verdict
While social media influencers tout the benefits of yerba mate tea for enhancing GLP-1 synthesis, the verdict on its effectiveness remains uncertain. Even if it proves effective, would it truly promote weight loss comparable to costly diabetes medications like Ozempic? I maintain a healthy skepticism but await concrete evidence to inform my opinion.
What Do You Think?
Affiliate Disclaimer: This website contains affiliate links, meaning I may earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase at no additional cost to you. I appreciate your support!