What are Polyphenols Present in Green Coffee and What Do They Do?

Green Coffee has been found to have numerous health benefits, such as can lower diabetes risks. This is because one of the active ingredients in coffee, chlorogenic acid reduces blood sugar levels. It also increases insulin sensitivity and decreases the stor­age of both fat and sugar (carbohydrate). One of these antioxidants has been of particular interest to scientists who are studying coffee beans: chlorogenic acid. Chlorogenic acid is a type of antioxidant known as a polyphenol. There are over 4000 different polyphenols. It is thought that many of the health benefits delivered by coffee are related to the presence of this plant compound. Green Coffee Bean extract is a concentrated source of dietary chlorogenic acid that has been shown to be a notable source of caffeine while simultaneously assisting in glycemic control and glucose metabolism.

There are multiple studies showing positive effects of the chlorogenic acid on metabolism and weight loss efforts.  One study involved human subjects who consumed a high dose of green coffee bean extract supplement (1050mg) for two weeks, a small dose green coffee bean supplement (700mg) for two weeks, and a placebo for two weeks. There were two-week periods in between when the subjects did not take any of the three supplements. The study showed the green coffee bean extract supplementation resulted in decreases in body weight, body mass index, body fat percent, and even small decreases in heart rate. There were no significant changes in the diet or exercise of the subjects and the changes happened when the subjects were taking green coffee bean extract. The possible weight-loss factor behind green coffee bean extract and the chlorogenic acid it contains may have to do with chlorogenic acid effects on sugar absorption from starch and on fat synthesis in the body.

What are Polyphenols?

Polyphenols are a category of chemicals that naturally occur in plants. There are more than 500 unique polyphenols. Collectively, these chemicals are known as phytochemicals.

Polyphenols can be further categorized into the following groups:

Produced from ground beans of the coffee plant, coffee actually contains more than 1000 different plant-derived chemical components. Polyphenols are one family of plant compounds that are abundant in green coffee as well as red wine, fruits and fruit juices, tea, vegetables, chocolate, and legumes. The properties of polyphenols have only been under investigation since the 1990s, but there is increasing evidence that they contribute to many aspects of our overall health.

Polyphenols are a rich source of dietary antioxidants. On average, people consume about 10 times more polyphenols than they do vitamin C. Green Coffee contains a type of polyphenol called chlorogenic acids, which are esters of quinic and cinnamic acids. 5-O-caffeoylquinic acid is the most abundant polyphenol present in green coffee. Laboratory studies have shown that this compound has potent antioxidant activity. It is not yet known whether this antioxidant activity has many benefits for the disease. In animals, chlorogenic acid reduces the incidence of liver cancer and colorectal cancer. More studies are needed to determine whether these findings also apply to humans.

Benefits of Polyphenols:

Polyphenols give fruits, berries, and vegetables their vibrant colors, and contribute to the bitterness, astringency, flavor, aroma, and oxidative stability of the food. In the plant, they protect against ultraviolet radiation, pathogens, oxidative damage, and harsh climatic conditions.

In the human body, polyphenols have diverse biological properties, including:

  • Fighting cancer cells and inhibiting angiogenesis (the growth of blood vessels that feed a tumor)
  • Fighting free radicals, and reducing the appearance of aging
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Protecting your cardiovascular system
  • Protecting your skin against ultraviolet radiation
  • Promoting brain health, and protecting against dementia
  • Supporting normal blood sugar levels
  • Promoting normal blood pressure


Overall, polyphenols appear to offer many promising health benefits. More research is needed before polyphenols can be recommended in supplemental doses, however.

For now, it is best to consume polyphenols in their natural form of plant foods. The green coffee is one that is rich in polyphenols.

As an aside, it is important to note that many studies of polyphenol-green coffee have been sponsored by companies.

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