Nidia R. Carrero, MD


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New York, NY 10010

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January 25, 2013

Is there really an energy drink that is healthy and beneficial?

Caffeine is a bitter, white crystalline xanthine alkaloid that acts as a stimulant drug. Caffeine is found in varying quantities in the seeds, leaves, and fruit of some plants, where it acts as a natural pesticide that paralyzes and kills certain insects feeding on the plants. It is most commonly consumed by humans in infusions extracted from the seed of the coffee plant and the leaves of the tea bush, as well as from various foods and drinks containing products derived from the kola nut. Other sources include yerba maté, guarana berries, guayusa, and the yaupon holly. In humans, caffeine acts as a central nervous system stimulant, temporarily warding off drowsiness and restoring alertness. Beverages containing caffeine include coffee, tea, soft drinks, and energy drinks.

Kola nuts are perhaps best known to Western culture as a flavoring ingredient and one of the sources of caffeine in cola and other similarly flavored beverages. Guarana is used in sweetened or carbonated soft drinks and energy shots, an ingredient of tisanes or contained in capsules. Generally, South America obtains most of its caffeine from guarana. Yerba maté plant is grown and processed mainly in South America, more specifically in northern Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Southern Brazil.

People who consume caffeine in moderate amounts are less likely to have Type 2 Diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and Dementia and have fewer cases of certain cancers, heart rhythm problems, and strokes.

Health Benefits of Caffeine

  • Stimulates the release of dopamine, which helps us focus
  • Increases lipolysis to use fat for energy
  • Increases athletic performance
  • Decreased incidence of diabetes
  • Decreased incidence of neurocognitive disorders
  • Decreased incidence of liver cancer
  • Decreased incidence of stroke
  • Decreased incidence of heart arrhythmias
  • Decreased incidence of basal cell carcinoma
  • Decreased incidence of depression
  • Strong antioxidant capacity
  • Boost sex drive

These benefits are due in part to these sources of caffeine containing:

Vitamins A, C, E, B1, B2, Niacin (B3), B5, B Complex
Minerals: Calcium, Manganese, Iron, Selenium, Potassium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Zinc
Additional Compounds: Carotene, Fatty Acids, Chlorophyll, Flavonols, Polyphenols, Inositol, Trace Minerals, Antioxidants, Tannins, Pantothenic Acid, 15 Amino Acids; and Theophylline

Here's what research has found out about some of the possible benefits of coffee, tea, and caffeine:

  • Some researchers suggest that the caffeine in coffee may increase the body's sensitivity to insulin. (This is a good thing; insulin is a hormone made by the body to control blood sugar.) A recent review of nine studies on coffee consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes supports the idea that habitual coffee consumption is associated with a lower risk of the disease. Other research has found that some compounds in tea may increase insulin activity in fat cells by as much as 15 times. Other research has reported that caffeine impairs the metabolism of glucose (a type of sugar found in carbohydrate foods) in people with type 2 diabetes. • Chlorogenic acid, a compound in coffee that has antioxidant activity, may improve the body's metabolism of glucose.
  • Drinking four or more cups of coffee a day has been linked to a reduced risk of colon cancer (compared with drinking no coffee at all). Studies in animals have indicated that an antioxidant in coffee may protect against colon cancer.
  • Studies looking at coffee and heart disease risk are all over the map. One study found that drinking two or fewer cups of coffee a day reduced the chance of a first heart attack or chest pain, while drinking more coffee appeared to have the opposite effect.
  • Tea contains powerful antioxidants (Polyphenols, which are in the flavonoid phytochemical family) that may help protect against cancer, heart disease, and stroke. A Dutch study found that men who ate and drank the most flavonoids (black tea was the major source) had a much lower risk of heart disease.
  • Preliminary research suggests that the flavonoids in green tea may help reduce cancer risk.
  • More research is needed on this, but it has been suggested that green tea may help boost metabolism and lower body fat.
  • According to one study, older women (aged 65-76) who drank tea had higher bone mineral density measurements than women who did not drink tea. The authors propose that the compounds in tea may improve bone mineral density and that drinking tea may protect against osteoporosis. By comparison, another study noted that consuming more than 300 mg of caffeine per day sped up bone loss in the spines of postmenopausal women aged 65-77.
  • While fruits and vegetables are thought to be the richest sources of health-promoting antioxidants, a recent study found that coffee is the main source from which most Americans get their antioxidants.

Of the commonly used stimulants in the world (yerba maté, coffee, tea, kola nut, cocoa and guarana), yerba maté triumphs as natures most balanced stimulant, delivering both energy and nutrition. The leaves of the yerba mate tree naturally contain 24 vitamins and minerals, 15 amino acids, abundant antioxidants.


  • Induces mental clarity- Yerba maté has the ability to quicken the mind and increase mental alertness and acuity. It also provides sustainable energy due to its complex combination of xanthine alkaloids and caffeine. Although its caffeine content is comparable to coffee, the stimulation is balanced by yerba maté's nutritional content. Clinical studies have shown that caffeine-sensitive individuals generally have very positive results and don't experience the hard side effects (jitters, stomach discomfort, and headache) commonly associated with caffeine.
  • Sustains Energy Levels/Reduce Fatigue-Yerba maté is a central nervous system stimulant. The metabolic effects of it appear to include the ability to maintain aerobic breakdown of carbohydrates during exercise for long periods of time. As a result, more calories are burned, thereby increasing cardiac efficiency and delaying the build-up of lactic acid. Additionally, yerba maté's blend of xanthine alkaloids (caffeine, theophylline and theobromine) provides sustaining energy.
  • Boosts the Immune System-The yerba maté plant contains a number of powerful phytochemicals called saponins. When studying the effect that saponins have on plants, it has been discovered that saponins are the plants active immune system and function as a natural antibiotic. Research looks very promising that the effects saponins are being transferred to the human body when ingested.
  • Helps Relieve Allergies- Linda Rector Page, N.D., Ph.D., notes that yerba maté is helpful in opening respiratory passages to overcome allergy symptoms. Shown to reduce the severity of some allergies and hay fever, yerba maté works by stimulating the adrenal glands to produce corticosteroids, which help suppress the inflammation and immune response due to allergies.
  • Aids in Weight Control- For many years now, physicians in Europe have been incorporating yerba maté in treatments for obesity. In 2000, a research team studying obesity at the Charlottenlund Medical Center in Denmark tested an herbal preparation of yerba maté, guarana, and damiana (YGD) for gastric emptying and subsequent weight loss. They concluded that the herbal preparation, YGD capsules, significantly delayed gastric emptying, reduced the time to perceived gastric fullness and induced significant weight loss over 45 days in overweight patients treated in a primary health care context. In addition, maintenance treatment given in an uncontrolled context resulted in no further weight loss, nor weight regain in the group as a whole. Guayaki recommends that the product be used as part of a program that includes a healthy diet and sufficient exercise.
  • Aids in Elimination-The indigenous people of South America traditionally use yerba maté to treat gastrointestinal disorders as eupeptic and choleretic agent. Research conducted by a team at Catedra de Farmacologia in Buenos Aires, Argentina found that yerba maté does in fact induce an increase in bile flow and enhance intestinal transit.
  • Diabetic Treatment-Yerba maté has been shown to inhibit the formation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs), with an effect comparable to that of two pharmaceutical grade AGE inhibitor drugs. The formation of AGEs plays a part in the development of diabetic complications.
  • Inhibits Lipid Peroxidation-A study conducted by Gugliucci and published in Biochemical Molecular Biology International (1995) claims low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or bad cholesterol) oxidation is inhibited by extracts of yerba mate. Oxidation of LDL is considered to be the initiating factor to the onset of atherosclerosis (thickening and hardening of the arteries).
  • Fights Bad Breath- Polyphenols found in tea and yerba maté have been shown to prevent both the growth of bacteria responsible for bad breath and the bacteria's production of odorous compounds.

With all the above considerations Isagenix has developed an energy drink that will surpass all others in the market. One that has been naturally caffeinated with yerba maté, contains no artificial flavors, and does not contain high amount of sugar. Naturally occurring caffeine, especially from antioxidant-rich sources like green tea or yerba maté, can increase your basal metabolic rate, helping you burn more fat and maintain weight loss. Caffeine can ward off drowsiness and restore alertness, optimize mental performance and enhance mood. It can also improve athletic performance. Caffeine acts as an ergogenic aid (any external influences that can be determined to enhance performance in high-intensity exercises) allowing athletes to train harder.

Michael Colgan, PhD, CCN Founder of the Colgan Institute and Isagenix Scientific Advisory Board Member.

Dr. Colgan states that “in over 30 years of our controlled studies, moderate doses of caffeine from green tea plant extracts, calculated for lean body weight, and used under specific conditions, yielded a significant improvement of 1-3 percent in running performance in a 10K race.”


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Could Routine Cleanse Days Help You Live Longer? April 11, 2012

New research suggests intermittent fasting may reduce risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

One of the unique parts of an Isagenix system is its Cleanse Days. As anyone who uses Isagenix products knows well, performing routine Cleanse Days are at the heart of gaining the greatest health benefits. This is because Cleanse Days help “reset” cellular mechanisms in the body, sparking fat burning, detoxification, and a host of other positive effects.

A major characteristic of Cleanse Days—apart from supplementation with Cleanse for Life, the detox-promoting drink—is the abstinence from food, or intermittent water fasting. Now, evidence is growing that intermittent water fasting could be key to avoiding chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

While most people are aware of the strong evidence behind calorie restriction (as achieved on Shake Days) for reducing risk of chronic disease, recent studies are finding that it may be intermittent fasting (as on Cleanse Days) that is even more beneficial for ultimate longevity.

Previously, Dr. Benjamin Horne and colleagues at Intermountain Heart Institute in Salt Lake City found an association between periodic (or intermittent) fasting and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. The same research team has recently further extended their analysis and found an association with reduced risk of type 2 diabetes (diabetes mellitus), which is characterized by uncontrolled blood sugar.

The scientists pooled data from 648 patients undergoing an angioplasty procedure and found that risk of diabetes was lower in individuals that undergo routine, periodic fasting. Periodic fasting was not only linked to lower rates of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, but it was also linked to a lower fasting blood sugar level in individuals who did not have diabetes. The individuals pooled in the current study are reported to fast for 24 hours a month.

Not observed in previous studies, the authors reported that periodic fasting was also associated with a lower body mass index (BMI), a ratio based on an individual’s height and weight used as criteria for determining overweight and obesity.

The researchers pose a variety of mechanisms that may underlie the protective benefits that fasting provides:

  • Reduced levels of chronic oxidative stress and inflammation, which are potential factors in insulin resistance and eventual type 2 diabetes.
  • A “reset” of cellular sensitivity to glucose and/or insulin.
  • Increased levels of human growth hormone (HGH). In an earlier study, the researchers found that fasting for 24 hours increased HGH by 20 times in men and 13 times in women. The surge of HGH stimulates fat burning as it prevents muscle breakdown.

While the benefits of intermittent water fasting are promising, undergoing a prolonged fast (longer than two days) is not recommended. Prolonged fasting can bump the body into a state of starvation potentially causing loss of muscle and harming the body’s health.

Notably, the majority of subjects included in Dr. Horne’s research are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS). This population is ideal because many undergo monthly fasting as part of their religious practice. Of the patients pooled, 34 percent reported participating in routine monthly fasting.

LDS members are generally at a lower risk for several chronic diseases due to a cluster of preventative behaviors including abstinence from smoking and alcohol. Each of these behaviors had to be considered in the study. The association between periodic fasting and lower risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease remained significant after controlling for age, gender, and lifestyle behaviors.

Cleanse Days, as advocated by Isagenix, provide the health benefits of intermittent water fasting while also including Cleanse for Life, a supplement that comes with the added advantage of optimal dosages of vitamins, minerals, and actives from botanicals. These assist the body’s detoxification and cleansing processes.

When Cleanse Days are performed regularly (one or two days a week, or one day every other week), the body undergoes a variety of positive changes. There are various enzymes that are activated, mitochondria are shown to increase in number and become more efficient, oxidative stress is reduced (a hallmark of longevity), and fat is mobilized and used for fuel in the muscle and liver. Cleanse for Life also revs up detoxification and antioxidant enzymes for cellular health.

The positive biological changes created on Cleanse Days are enhanced when followed by Shake Days—rich in quality protein, good fats, low-glycemic carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. They lead to decreases in body fat (especially visceral fat), reduced levels of oxidative stress and inflammation, increased insulin sensitivity, and better maintenance of muscle. These are biochemical changes that lead to reduced risk of chronic disease and better health long-term.


Horne BD et al. Relation of Routine, Periodic Fasting to Risk of Diabetes Mellitus, and Coronary Artery Disease in Patients Undergoing Coronary Angiography. Am J Cardiol. 2012;xx:xxx. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2012.01.379.

Horne BD, et al. Usefulness of routine periodic fasting to lower risk of coronary artery disease among patients undergoing coronary angiography. Am J Cardiol. 2008. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2008.05.021

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