Yerba mate (yer-bah-mah-tay) is an addition to the range of herbal brews used to boost weight loss.
This herb is native to South America.
The aqueous extract of this plant is formulated into four different beverages: chimarrão, maté cocido, tererê and maté tea.
Each of these beverages differs in preparation but they are derived from the leaves of the plant.
Drinking this beverage with friends is a social practice in Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil. Yerba mate is rich in vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants.
It contains three stimulants: caffeine, theobromine, and theophylline.
Each of these is active constituents of tea, coffee, and chocolate.
6 Benefits Of Yerba Mate in Weight Loss
Here is what research has to say about the role of yerba mate in weight loss
1. It prevents obesity at genetic levels
To observe the effectiveness of yerba mate against obesity, an experimental study consisting of an animal model of high-fat diet induced obesity was designed.
It was observed that the high-fat diet led to a significant increase in the activity of genes that are linked with obesity.
However, treatment with yerba mate brought the expression of these genes at normal levels and prevented weight gain.
Yerba mate also reduced fat deposition and fats present in the blood.
Adipogenesis is the development of fat tissue. Yerba mate is proven to downregulate activity of genes that support adipogenesis.
What does this mean? Yerba mate influences the activity of genes involved in fat metabolism and deposition in a way to reduce weight gain.
2. Yerba mate influences fat metabolism
AMPK pathway or AMP-activated protein kinase regulates energy at the cellular level and of the whole body. Activation of this pathway stimulates the burning of calories to generate energy.
It supports the breakdown of fats. Research says that drugs that activate this pathway can help treat obesity.
Yerba mate extract supplementation is proven to reduce body weight and fat depot by influencing glucose, insulin and leptin levels in rat model.
The molecular mechanism involved in this effect is activation of AMPK pathway in fat tissue.
What does this mean? AMPK pathway is a popular target for many anti-obesity drugs. Yerba mate extract manipulates this pathway to promote weight loss and burning of calories.
3. It boosts metabolism and burns calories
Yerba mate is considered as a thermogenic agent (drugs that produce energy by stimulating metabolism).
Results of a clinical trial report that acute yerba mate consumption increases exercise performance and it enhances the rate at which calories are burned by exercise.
Yerba mate treatment in animals leads to reduced food intake and higher energy expenditure (burning of calories) by boosting the metabolism rate.
A dietary supplement consisting of caffeine, green tea extract, yerba mate extract and other active ingredients was tested for its effectiveness in promoting metabolism.
This supplement boosted resting energy expenditure (use of calories for vital functions like breathing) up to 4 hours after consumption and increased focus and energy.
What does this mean? Yerba mate extract stimulates metabolism and enhances the rate at which calories are burned.
4. It curbs belly fat by regulating blood sugar
Yerba mate has hypoglycaemic property (blood sugar lowering property).
Visceral fat is the harmful fat that is stored around organs in the abdominal cavity. This fat accumulates when your insulin fails to break down glucose and gets stored as fat in the abdomen.
Yerba mate tea lowers blood glucose effectively, thus validating its use in treating diabetes.
Extract of this herb interferes in glucose absorption by decreasing the expression of the gene SGLT-1 in the intestines.
SGLT-1 helps in keeping glucose out of the intestines and kidneys.
Another mechanism by which this herb influences glucose metabolism is by reducing insulin resistance and thereby facilitating glucose uptake.
What does this mean? Yerba mate balances glucose and insulin level which helps in controlling appetite and burning abdominal fat.
5. Yerba mate controls appetite and hunger hormones
Delayed gastric emptying gives you a feeling of fullness and reduces subsequent food intake.
A herbal supplement containing yerba mate extract was evaluated for its effect on weight loss.
This supplement prolonged gastric emptying up to a period of 1 hour and reduction in weight was observed within 10 days.
The same herbal supplement in combination with soluble fibre or alone is proven to significantly reduce calorie intake and control appetite.
Leptin is a hormone that promotes satiety and controls appetite. Obese individuals suffer from leptin resistance.
A research study reports that 30 days treatment of yerba mate prevents leptin resistance.
It promotes satiety and reduces food intake. Overall this mechanism prevents obesity.
Yerba mate tea is proven to promote satiety by increasing the level of GLP-1. GLP-1 or glucagon like peptide-1 is a protein secreted by the intestines. It regulates appetite and influences body weight.
The study demonstrated the fact that yerba mate tea promoted satiety by increasing the levels of GLP-1 and modulating leptin levels.
What does this mean? Yerba mate controls appetite by delaying gastric empyting and promoting activity of satiating hormones.
6.It reduces cholesterol
Research proves that yerba mate reduces accumulation of fats in fat cells and influences lipid (fat like compounds found in the body) metabolism in the liver and fat tissue.
This leads to a reduction of cholesterol and other lipids in the blood.
Yerba mate makes it effective use of its antioxidant property in reducing cholesterol.
Two enzymes that yerba mate targets to reduce blood lipid levels are:
- Lipase: It is an enzyme that breaks down fats and converts them to lipids which are stored in the blood and fat tissue. Yerba mate inhibits activity of this enzyme.
- Adiponectin: It is a protein that regulates the breakdown of glucose and fats and is secreted by fat cells. Obese individuals have low levels of adiponectin. Yerba mate increases the levels of adiponectin.
Obviously, these are not the only enzymes that the herb manipulates to achieve a lipid-lowering effect, but activity of these enzymes plays a significant role in lipid metabolism.
This cholesterol-lowering effect produced by the herb helps to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis.
What does this mean? Yerba mate’s antioxidant property helps in regulating enzymes involved in cholesterol metabolism leading to reduced blood lipids.
How to Take Yerba Mate for Weight Loss?
Yerba mate is traditionally brewed as a tea and consumed from a gourd via a metal straw. Yerba mate tea bags and capsules are available.
A time period of 1 month at least is necessary for visible effects
Most studies conducted with regards to yerba mate have made use of herbal supplements containing 112mg of yerba mate extract. Doses up to 1000 mg have proven to be safe.
A study focused on the effect of yerba mate on diabetes reports consumption of 330 ml of roasted mate tea 3 times a day.
It is advisable to consult a health practitioner before taking any herbal supplements or capsules containing yerba mate.
Since yerba mate contains caffeine, high consumption of yerba mate could lead to caffeine poisoning.
Headaches, increased heart rate, and blood pressure, insomnia are some of the rare side effects caused by yerba mate consumption.
It is said that one stands the risk of developing cancer if the mate is consumed over a long period of time. It should be avoided in case of pregnancy and lactation.
One should avoid yerba mate, if they are already consuming stimulants, birth control pills, and anti-depressants.
Yerba mate has a number of properties that can aid in weight reduction.
It has the active constituents of 3 famous natural stimulants- tea, coffee, and chocolate.
But most of the studies conducted on yerba mate are on animal models.
Some studies have been focused on yerba mate’s beneficial effects on diabetes and the positive results do bind a promise that this herb does have potential in regulating body weight and metabolic profile.