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Green Coffee

Green coffee beans are raw, unroasted coffee beans. The roasting process seems to destroy some of the healthy, natural chemicals in the beans. Because of media attention, green coffee has become a popular supplement for weight loss.

Why do people take green coffee?

Some research shows green coffee may help with weight loss. A few small studies found that people taking green coffee lost 3 to 5 pounds more than people who weren't. Green coffee may act by lowering blood sugar and blocking fat buildup.

Green coffee also seems to help lower high blood pressure in some people. One small study in people with mild high blood pressure showed benefit over the placebo.

Optimal doses of green coffee have not been set for either condition. Quality and active ingredients in supplements may vary widely from maker to maker. This makes it hard to set a standard dose. Ask your doctor for advice.

Can you get green coffee naturally from foods?

Green coffee comes from the same beans people use for brewing coffee. The only difference is that the coffee beans are unroasted.

What are the risks?

Tell your doctor about any supplements you're taking, even if they're natural. That way, your doctor can check on any potential side effects or interactions with medications.

Side effects. Green coffee seems to cause few side effects. The caffeine in green coffee -- just like the caffeine in brewed coffee -- can cause symptoms that include:

  • Headache
  • Upset stomach
  • Anxiety

Risks. Because of its caffeine, extremely high doses of green coffee could be dangerous. Caffeine may not be good for people with conditions such as:

  • Glaucoma
  • Anxiety
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Osteoporosis
  • Bleeding disorders

Talk to your doctor if you have any medical conditions before using a green coffee supplement. Given the lack of evidence about its safety, doctors don't recommend green coffee for children or for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Interactions. If you take any medicines regularly, talk to your doctor before you start using green coffee supplements. Green coffee interacts with many medicines. Some of these include stimulants, blood thinners, and medicines for:

  • Heart problems
  • Weak bones
  • Lung diseases
  • Menopause
  • Depression
  • Schizophrenia

Don't take green coffee along with herbal stimulants or other supplements with caffeine.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on January 11, 2013

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