healthcare provider discussing yerba mate and glp 1 with patient

Yerba Mate and GLP-1: The Effects on Blood Sugar and Weight Loss

Written on November 19, 2023 by Lori Mulligan, MPH. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.

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Yerba mate, also known as mate, is an herbal tea. It's a traditional drink in Latin and South America. It's made by steeping dried leaves from the yerba mate plant in hot water. Yerba mate can be served cold or hot. Like black or green tea, it has caffeine, which can make you feel more alert and focused.

Drinking yerba mate is not linked to health problems in most adults. In moderate doses, some studies suggest that the tea may have helpful effects on cholesterol, weight loss, the heart, inflammation, diabetes, and cancer risk. However, more research is needed.

Some studies suggest that people who drink large amounts of yerba mate for a long time may have a higher risk of some types of cancer. This includes cancer of the mouth, throat, and lungs. The higher risk is linked with drinking about one to two liters, or four to eight cups, of yerba mate a day. This risk may go up more if you also smoke cigarettes or regularly drink alcohol. People who are pregnant may want to check with a healthcare provider before drinking yerba mate.[2]

What Are Potential Side Effects of Yerba Mate?

The caffeine in yerba mate can cause side effects. These include [1]:

  • Upset stomach
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Feeling nervous or restless
  • Fast heartbeat

How Does Yerba Mate Promote Satiety or Fullness?

Yerba mate may promote fullness through a number of mechanisms, including the induction and/or enhancement of intestinal glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), modulation of serum leptin levels, and a potential direct central satiety stimulatory effect.[2]

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Evidence of Yerba Mate’s Effectiveness

Here are potential ways that yerba mate can positively influence your health.


Researchers reviewed the scientific literature regarding yerba mate’s influence on obesity and found that the use of yerba mate might be useful against obesity, improving the lipid parameters in human and animal models. In addition, yerba mate modulates the expression of genes that are changed in the obese state and restores them to more normal levels of expression. In doing so, it addresses several of the abnormal and disease-causing factors associated with obesity. Protective and ameliorative effects on insulin resistance were also observed. Therefore, it seems that yerba maté beverages and supplements might be helpful in the battle against obesity.[3]


A randomized, crossover, controlled study was carried out in healthy patients and those with moderately high cholesterol, non-smokers and non-vegetarians, men and women, with BMI 18–25 kg/m2. The effects of consuming three servings a day of yerba mate in boiled water for eight weeks were compared with a placebo drink during the same time.

Throughout the study, polyphenol-rich foods were restricted. Since yerba mate is rich in polyphenols, the researchers wanted to eliminate potentially confounding factors. Polyphenol-rich foods include blueberries, plums, cherries, apples, strawberries, black currants, black olives, dark chocolate, black tea, coffee, hazelnuts, and pecans. Some spices, including turmeric, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and cumin are also high in polyphenols as well.

At the beginning and the end of each intervention, urine and blood samples were collected. Dietary records and physical activity questionnaires were completed in each stage. Glucose, insulin, glucagon, C-peptide, glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP), glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1), resistin, and visfatin were analyzed.

Nutrient intake and physical activity did not show changes during the study. Fasting levels of glucose, insulin, glucagon, and GLP-1 significantly decreased after the yerba mate stage, showing glucagon a significant yerba mate interaction. These results suggest that sustained consumption of yerba mate may prevent type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, these outcomes indicate that the effects of yerba mate and GLP-1 in pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes subjects are worth further exploration.[4]

Everlywell Offers Testing for Diabetes and a Comprehensive Weight Loss Program

The home-collection hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) test is an easy way to measure how well you have been maintaining your blood sugar levels for the past 90 days. HbA1c is a measurement of the amount of glucose bound to the heme found in red blood cells. Blood glucose (commonly referred to as blood sugar) levels tested as a single measurement can vary significantly throughout the day based on many factors, including a recent meal or physical activity. An A1c test measures your average blood sugar over a span of 2-3 months. Healthcare providers use this test to help diagnose conditions that result in too much sugar in the blood, such as diabetes, prediabetes, and gestational diabetes.

Everlywell’s comprehensive Weight Care+ program pairs GLP-1 prescriptions with regular clinician care, lab testing, and support for related conditions.

Specifically, the Weight Care+ program includes:

  • Access to GLP-1 prescriptions for qualified candidates
  • Regular 1:1 virtual visits with a licensed clinician
  • Quarterly at-home lab tests or supplements
  • Lifestyle content and support for health conditions

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  1. Zeratsky K. A friend suggested that I try yerba mate tea to boost my energy. What is yerba mate? Mayo Clinic. 2/14/2023. Accessed on 10/14/2023.
  2. Shree S. Beneficial Effects of Yebra mate in Obesity. International Online Medical Council. Opinion (2023) Vol. 13, Issue 5.
  3. Gambero A, Riberio ML. The positive effects of yerba maté (Ilex paraguariensis) in obesity. Nutrients. 2015 Feb; 7(2): 730–750. Published online 2015 Jan 22. doi: 10.3390/nu7020730.
  4. Sarria B, Martinez-Lopez S, García-Cordero J, Gonzalez-Ramila S, Mateos R, and Bravo L. Yerba mate may prevent diabetes according to a crossover, randomized, controlled study in humans. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. (2020) 79(OCE2), E245.
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