Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Coffee and Pain Relief, Day 2

I've been continuing my little experiment with coffee and pain relief, and I have another 24 hours of mostly pain-free living under my belt, since I started taking a green coffee bean extract product--with no expectation at all that it would relieve chronic muscle pain.

While my primary inclination is just to enjoy the day, I did take a little time to do a cursory search of the medical literature to see why the heck coffee bean extract might put an end to chronic muscle pain. (I am not positively sure that it does, but the pain relief started about 24 hours after I started taking the extract twice a day.) Turns out that products like this are a relatively good source of a compound called chlorogenic acid. The product manufacturers focs on chlorogenic acid as a "carb blocker" for weight loss programs, but there is also a body of research, preliminary though it may be, that it can block certain kinds of inflammation-related pain.

And I've had a lot of that the last year or so.

That's all I have for now. I'll post as there are further developments--or at least if I go into pain-free day #4.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Does a Cup of Coffee, or a Capsule of Green Coffee Bean Extract, Do More Than Just Get You Going in the Morning?

I've been experimenting with coffee and green coffee bean extracts the last few months. A client of mine got into the green coffee bean extract business, and gave me a bottle to try. These clients, the makers of Nutraphysics, really had weight loss in mind as the benefit of their product. I did lose weight, and I'll comment on that in a lot more detail in a later post. But the surprising thing was that the green coffee bean extract also seems to be a pretty good pain reliever.

As I posted in considerable detail last year, I suffered some serious vascular injuries last year. As a result, my hands and feet hurt pretty much all the time. But when I was experimenting with the green coffee bean product for weight loss--and also making sure I drank a cup of coffee every morning--the pain went into remission for a while. I didn't think a lot of it. Then a few days ago I noticed I had some capsules left so I just took them, too. Even when I don't start the day with my morning joe, I don't have the mild to moderate leg pain that had been plaguing me since I ended my coffee diet experiment.

And frankly, it didn't occur to me right way that the green coffee bean extract might be responsible for my pain relief.

I don't take other pain killers. Aspirin and NSAIDs can cause damage to joints and the gut. We all know about oxycodone and Vicodin addiction. That's not for me. Morphine does give me relief, but it also makes me goofy. But what is it about coffee, or more specifically green coffee bean extract that might--repeat, might--be giving me pain relief.

It's probably the chlorogenic acid (CGA). There's a little chlorogenic acid in roasted coffee beans, and about 3 times more in green coffee beans. A capsule of the extract is roughly equivalent to 10 cups of regular coffee (without the caffeine). And there is a considerable body of scientific literature, with which I was completely unfamiliar until a couple of days ago, that finds that chlorogenic acid is nociceptive. That is, it kilsl pain.

A study that came out in the print edition Journal of Natural Medicine in October 2013 (just a few days before this post was written) found that CGA relieved pain in a "model" of diabetic neuropathy. The study used lab rats, not people, but it's a start. And there have been studies that have found that CGA, although in this case, not derived from green coffee beans (not that would make a difference) is the active anti-inflammatory ingredient in some traditional herbs for pain relief.

I'm pretty sure that I'm on to something. I'll let you know how my experience with CGA from green coffee bean extract goes, and see if there aren't some clinical studies involving humans to ground the science. If you want to try some yourself (I don't make anything from your clicking on the link, it's just there for your convenience), visit the Nutra Physics homepage or see their product on Amazon.

Image Credit:

Thanks to Dirk Ingo Franke (own work), via Wikimedia Commons.


Bagdas D, Cinkilic N, Ozboluk HY, Ozyigit MO, Gurun MS. Antihyperalgesic activity of chlorogenic acid in experimental neuropathic pain. J Nat Med. 2013 Oct;67(4):698-704. doi: 10.1007/s11418-012-0726-z. Epub 2012 Dec 1.

Marrassini C, Acevedo C, MiƱo J, Ferraro G, Gorzalczany S. Evaluation of antinociceptive, antinflammatory activities and phytochemical analysis of aerial parts of Urtica urens L. Phytother Res. 2010 Dec;24(12):1807-12. doi: 10.1002/ptr.3188.