Chlorogenic Acid

Last Updated: September 28, 2022

Chlorogenic acid is found in coffee mostly and a lot of plant compounds; it holds promise in many aspects of health and cognition similar to bioflavonoids and shares some effects similar to caffeine but less potent. May decrease the absorption of dietary carbohydrate.

Chlorogenic Acid is most often used for.

Don't miss out on the latest research


Sources and Structure



Chlorogenic acid is a quinic acid conjugate of caffeic acid[1] found in high levels in coffee beans and varying forms of coffee. It is also in:

  • Coffee[2] and Green Coffee;[3] in which 1L of coffee contributes 500-800mg Chlorogenic acid (250-400mg caffeic acid)[4] An average coffee drinker tends to consume 0.5-1g of chlorogenic acids daily.[5]
  • Fruits such as apples, pears, eggplant, tomatoes, and blueberries.[6][7] Strawberries as well.[8]
  • Bamboo[9]
  • Potatoes[6]
  • Hawthorn[10]
  • Athrixia Phylicoides[11]


In Coffee and Green Coffee

Green Coffee water-soluble extract has been used multiple times in hypertensive persons to reduce blood pressure[12][3] in dosages below 200mg. This is contributed to chlorogenic acid, and specifically its metabolite called ferulic acid, decreasing blood pressure[13] and improving vasoreactivity.[14]

Although benefit can be seen with Chlorogenic acid from coffee, supplementation may be a better option. A compound produced during roasting of coffee beans called HHQ can inhibit the actions of Chlorogenic Acid in vivo;[15] coffee without HHQ shows dose-dependent decreases in blood pressure as a result of Chlorogenic acid, which does not occur with HHQ-containing coffee.[16][17]

Despite sufficient levels of Chlorogenic acid in coffee, supplementing the same dose might confer more benefits due to a higher bioactivity of chlorogenic acid


Structure and Properties

Structurally, Chlorogenic Acid is a combination of two molecules. It is a caffeic acid molecule bound to a Quinic Acid moiety; the combination is referred to as Chlorogenic Acid, and all three molecules can be bioactive after chlorogenic acid ingestion.[18]


Chlorogenic acid can bind to Bovine Serum Albumin in in vitro assays.[19]

During cooking, chlorogenic acid (via its metabolite caffeic acid) can bind to amino acids to form pigmentation under basic conditions.[20]


Pharmacology and Metabolism


Intestinal Digestion

Chlorogenic acid itself does not appear to be taken up in the small intestine, and only up to 8% of it by weight is hydrolyzed into caffeic acid and subsequently absorbed (in rats).[21] Chlorogenic acid is highly not actually detected in plasma after ingestion, only its metabolites,[22] although some human studies do note small percentages of ingested chlorogenic acid in the urine after 2g of consumption (1.7%).[23]

However, if chlorogenic acid reaches the colon there is a chance that the gut microflora can break the quinic bond and release caffeic acid.[24] Chlorogenic acid can also be absorbed at a low amount in the colon,[5] Colonic metabolism and absorption of chlorogenic acid seems to be where most bioactivity occurs.[6]

While in the intestines, chlorogenic acid can bind to and hinder the uptake of dietary zinc[25] as well as non-heme Iron.[26]


Bioactive metabolites

When chlorogenic acid is digested, it undergoes metabolism into various bioactive metabolites. One study noted 12 urinary metabolites totaling 55.8% of the oral dose.[23] As mentioned previously, about 1.7% of the ingested chlorogenic acid can leave the urine unchanged, and thus the metabolites are most likely the cause for bioactivity in the body.[23]

Ferulic acid can be produced from chlorogenic acid, and one study noted about 0.8% of a 2g oral dose was detected in the urine as ferulic acid.[23]

Caffeic acid was noted as a urinary metabolite at 1% of the oral dose.[23] Dihydrocaffeic acid appears to be in similar amounts.

About half (49.5%) of ingested chlorogenic acid is metabolised into hippuric acid, and one molecule of chlorogenic acid might be able to produce two molecules of hippuric acid, via metabolism of both the caffeic acid and quinic acid moieties.[23] This appears to be a colonic metabolite, as persons without a colon did not have this molecule in their urine.[23]

Other possible metabolites that have been noted are vanillic acid, benzoic acid, and 3-hydroxyphenylpropinoic acid.[27]


Interactions with Oxidation

As assessed by Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC), caffeic acid appears to have similar anti-oxidant potential as chlorogenic acid, and dihydrocaffeic acid has a significantly greater capacity.[28]


Interactions with Heart Health



Coffee consumption per se is associated with higher Homocysteine levels in even healthy persons,[29] and it seems both caffeine[30] and chlorogenic acid[31] are partly to blame. Homocysteine is seen as a biomarker of cardiovascular disease, and when it increases whatever causes heart diseases tend to also increase.[32]

It is currently not known whether coffee ingestion merely increases the biomarker for cardiovascular disease, or whether it can increase risk.[32][31]


Blood Pressure

In regards to coffee and blood pressure, it is well established that caffeine can cause transient (lesser than 3 hour) blood pressure spikes in the hypertensive; however, long-term associations with coffee and blood pressure are unclear according to a recent meta-analysis.[33]

It seems that caffeine is slightly pro-hypertensive compound whereas chlorogenic acid and its metabolites exert a potent anti-hypertensive effect. Green coffee extract (with a high chlorogenic acid content) has been shown to reduce blood pressure in humans[12][3] and this effect is contributed to the metabolite ferulic acid, which increases vasoreactivity[13] and general blood pressure lowering ability.[14]


Interactions with Obesity


Mechanisms of Action

Chlorogenic acid may be able to induce body fat loss via acting as a PPARa agonist, and increasing body heat produced.[7] It may also reduce proliferation of new fat cells through its anti-oxidant effects.[34]




Stimulation and Activity

Chlorogenic acid appears to have a weak psychostimulatory effect in rats, vicariously though caffeic acid and m-coumaric acid.[27] Ferulic acid and 3-hydroxyphenylpropinoic acid had no effects. The degree of increased ambulatory activity was approximately one third that of caffeine at physiologically relevant dosages.[27]



Chlorogenic acid, as well as coffee (both caffeinated and decaf) is able to act as an anti-oxidant in neurons against Hydrogen Peroxide induced stress.[35][36] The effect appears to be mediated through upregulating the anti-oxidant enzyme known as NQO1.[36]

Coffee is known to be associated with protection against Parkinson's Disease over a long period of time as evidence by epidemiology,[37] and this historically has been thought to be due to the caffeine content. Chlorogenic acid may also preserve dopaminergic neurons by suppressing neuroinflammation.[38]



There has been a noted correlation between coffee ingestion and less fat mass in both rodents and humans, results which are confounded with the inclusion of caffeine which may suppress fat gain over time. Additionally, there may be social differences between coffee drinkers and non-coffee drinkers leading to weight discrepancies.

There is some evidence, however, that this association between coffee and weight (inverse relation, more coffee being linked to less fat mass) extends to decaffeinated coffee; excluding caffeine as a variable.[39] Laboratory results, however, suggest that most of the weight loss effects of coffee are done via caffeine (as coffee compared to decaffeinated coffee exerts significant differences in fat mass reduction).[40][41]

There appear to be no differences in lipid metabolism, lipolysis, or direct anti-obesity mechanisms which can be contributed to chlorogenic acid rather than coingestion of caffeine[39] which lays suspicion that the correlation between decaffeinated coffee and weight loss lays not in human biochemistry, but mere caloric displacement (drink calorie free coffee instead of having a treat) or perhaps vicariously through improved glucose tolerance. Either that, or doses in coffee are too low to exert appreciable effects.


Interactions with Carbohydrates


Carbohydrate uptake

Chlorogenic acid, at 1g intake, is able to reduce insulin and glucose spikes following a meal without affecting overall levels of insulin or glucose significantly.[42]

Longer term intake can reduce carbohydrate uptake, with the most promising result being 6.9% reduced glucose absorption in the intestines.[43]


Diabetes risk

Many in vivo studies note that coffee reduces the risk of diabetes and improves glucose tolerance[44][45][46], which is at odds with studies that suggest caffeine impairs glucose tolerance in healthy individuals. The causation for this difference lies in chlorogenic acid, which appears to exert more of an anti-diabetic effect than caffeine exerts a pro-diabetic effect when dosed in accordance with a cup of coffee.[47]

Although there is some work that suggests no relationship between coffee ingestion and improved glucose tolerance[48][49], the majority of evidence seems to lean towards the 'anti-diabetic' conclusion regardless of caffeinated or decaffeinated.[47][50] The anti-diabetic effects seem to be greatest in the elderly and those who combine caffeine ingestion with weight loss.[39]



One of the mechanisms of chlorogenic acid and diabetes prevention could lay in its actions as an alpha-glucosidase inhibitor[51] which reduces the rate or amount of carbohydrate uptake.[52]

Additionally, chlorogenic acid can increase muscular glucose uptake by two means. It can directy stimulate AMPK (non-insulin dependent) as well as phosphorylate Akt (stimulate GLUT4).[53] Direct causation of this may lie with the metabolite of chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, as chlorogenic acid per se does not increase AMPK phosphorylation in vitro.[54] The specific isoform being activated is AMPKa2.[54]

Chlorogenic acid and related caffeic structures can inhibit the enzyme glucose-6-phosphatase (G6P) in vitro and potentially reduce the amount of glucose produced by the body, which can be seen as therapeutic for glucose control in diabetics.[55] 0.5-1mM of chlorogenic acid, in vitro, has been shown to reduce 40% of active G6P in liver cells[56] and oral administration of 3.5mg/kg bodyweight in rats did not change when the peak of blood sugar after feeding occurred (Tmax), but lowered the severity of the peak (Cmax) and overall exposure to glucose (AUC).[56]

Seems to be a pretty effective carb-blocker; and one that is not well-absorbed where it blocks carbs in the small intestines. Which is good, you don't want to absorb something that should stay in the intestines to do its job.


Nutrient-Nutrient Interactions


Oral Hypoglyemic agents

The metabolites of chlorogenic acid, ferulic acid and p-coumaric acid, can potentiate the effects of thiazolidinediones and metformin on increasing glucose uptake into cells.[57] Additionally, the agonism of PPARy by chlorogenic acid and metabolites may be useful in alleviating the known side effects of these medications on fat metabolism and serve as adjunct treatments.[57] These synergisms with ferulic acid extend to muscle cells as well as fat cells.[58]

Vanillic acid, a minor constituent of the metabolites, seems to be able to work against metformin; this is unlikely to occur in vivo from chlorogenic acid supplements due to the high concentration needed.[59]


Safety and Toxicology

There have been reports of allergies to Green Coffee Beans and thus the extract, although this does not seem to be due to chlorogenic acid.[60] It has been investigated as to whether it is the causative agent in numerous herb-related instances of harm (due to it being in many plants) but does not appear to be causative of harm in and of itself.[61][62]

Doesn't appear to be harmful at all, and a lack of case studies despite chlorogenic acid being very prominent in food sources. That being said, a lack of evidence precedes any conclusions.

2.^Andrade KS, Gonçalvez RT, Maraschin M, Ribeiro-do-Valle RM, Martínez J, Ferreira SRSupercritical fluid extraction from spent coffee grounds and coffee husks: antioxidant activity and effect of operational variables on extract compositionTalanta.(2012 Jan 15)
3.^Watanabe T, Arai Y, Mitsui Y, Kusaura T, Okawa W, Kajihara Y, Saito IThe blood pressure-lowering effect and safety of chlorogenic acid from green coffee bean extract in essential hypertensionClin Exp Hypertens.(2006 Jul)
6.^Gonthier MP, Verny MA, Besson C, Rémésy C, Scalbert AChlorogenic acid bioavailability largely depends on its metabolism by the gut microflora in ratsJ Nutr.(2003 Jun)
7.^Cho AS, Jeon SM, Kim MJ, Yeo J, Seo KI, Choi MS, Lee MKChlorogenic acid exhibits anti-obesity property and improves lipid metabolism in high-fat diet-induced-obese miceFood Chem Toxicol.(2010 Mar)
11.^Chellan N, Muller CJ, de Beer D, Joubert E, Page BJ, Louw JAn in vitro assessment of the effect of Athrixia phylicoides DC. aqueous extract on glucose metabolismPhytomedicine.(2012 Apr 17)
12.^Kozuma K, Tsuchiya S, Kohori J, Hase T, Tokimitsu IAntihypertensive effect of green coffee bean extract on mildly hypertensive subjectsHypertens Res.(2005 Sep)
13.^Ochiai R, Jokura H, Suzuki A, Tokimitsu I, Ohishi M, Komai N, Rakugi H, Ogihara TGreen coffee bean extract improves human vasoreactivityHypertens Res.(2004 Oct)
14.^Suzuki A, Kagawa D, Ochiai R, Tokimitsu I, Saito IGreen coffee bean extract and its metabolites have a hypotensive effect in spontaneously hypertensive ratsHypertens Res.(2002 Jan)
16.^Yamaguchi T, Chikama A, Mori K, Watanabe T, Shioya Y, Katsuragi Y, Tokimitsu IHydroxyhydroquinone-free coffee: a double-blind, randomized controlled dose-response study of blood pressureNutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis.(2008 Jul)
17.^Ochiai R, Chikama A, Kataoka K, Tokimitsu I, Maekawa Y, Ohishi M, Rakugi H, Mikami HEffects of hydroxyhydroquinone-reduced coffee on vasoreactivity and blood pressureHypertens Res.(2009 Nov)
19.^Jin XL, Wei X, Qi FM, Yu SS, Zhou B, Bai SCharacterization of hydroxycinnamic acid derivatives binding to bovine serum albuminOrg Biomol Chem.(2012 May 7)
20.^Yabuta G, Koizumi Y, Namiki K, Hida M, Namiki MStructure of green pigment formed by the reaction of caffeic acid esters (or chlorogenic acid) with a primary amino compoundBiosci Biotechnol Biochem.(2001 Oct)
21.^Lafay S, Morand C, Manach C, Besson C, Scalbert AAbsorption and metabolism of caffeic acid and chlorogenic acid in the small intestine of ratsBr J Nutr.(2006 Jul)
22.^Azuma K, Ippoushi K, Nakayama M, Ito H, Higashio H, Terao JAbsorption of chlorogenic acid and caffeic acid in rats after oral administrationJ Agric Food Chem.(2000 Nov)
23.^Olthof MR, Hollman PC, Buijsman MN, van Amelsvoort JM, Katan MBChlorogenic acid, quercetin-3-rutinoside and black tea phenols are extensively metabolized in humansJ Nutr.(2003 Jun)
24.^Couteau D, McCartney AL, Gibson GR, Williamson G, Faulds CBIsolation and characterization of human colonic bacteria able to hydrolyse chlorogenic acidJ Appl Microbiol.(2001 Jun)
27.^Ohnishi R, Ito H, Iguchi A, Shinomiya K, Kamei C, Hatano T, Yoshida TEffects of chlorogenic acid and its metabolites on spontaneous locomotor activity in miceBiosci Biotechnol Biochem.(2006 Oct)
28.^Ishimoto H, Tai A, Yoshimura M, Amakura Y, Yoshida T, Hatano T, Ito HAntioxidative properties of functional polyphenols and their metabolites assessed by an ORAC assayBiosci Biotechnol Biochem.(2012)
29.^Urgert R, van Vliet T, Zock PL, Katan MBHeavy coffee consumption and plasma homocysteine: a randomized controlled trial in healthy volunteersAm J Clin Nutr.(2000 Nov)
30.^Verhoef P, Pasman WJ, Van Vliet T, Urgert R, Katan MBContribution of caffeine to the homocysteine-raising effect of coffee: a randomized controlled trial in humansAm J Clin Nutr.(2002 Dec)
32.^Mennen LI, de Courcy GP, Guilland JC, Ducros V, Bertrais S, Nicolas JP, Maurel M, Zarebska M, Favier A, Franchisseur C, Hercberg S, Galan PHomocysteine, cardiovascular disease risk factors, and habitual diet in the French Supplementation with Antioxidant Vitamins and Minerals StudyAm J Clin Nutr.(2002 Dec)
33.^Mesas AE, Leon-Muñoz LM, Rodriguez-Artalejo F, Lopez-Garcia EThe effect of coffee on blood pressure and cardiovascular disease in hypertensive individuals: a systematic review and meta-analysisAm J Clin Nutr.(2011 Oct)
35.^Cho ES, Jang YJ, Hwang MK, Kang NJ, Lee KW, Lee HJAttenuation of oxidative neuronal cell death by coffee phenolic phytochemicalsMutat Res.(2009 Feb 10)
37.^Higdon JV, Frei BCoffee and health: a review of recent human researchCrit Rev Food Sci Nutr.(2006)
38.^Shen W, Qi R, Zhang J, Wang Z, Wang H, Hu C, Zhao Y, Bie M, Wang Y, Fu Y, Chen M, Lu DChlorogenic acid inhibits LPS-induced microglial activation and improves survival of dopaminergic neuronsBrain Res Bull.(2012 May 2)
39.^Greenberg JA, Axen KV, Schnoll R, Boozer CNCoffee, tea and diabetes: the role of weight loss and caffeineInt J Obes (Lond).(2005 Sep)
41.^Bracco D, Ferrarra JM, Arnaud MJ, Jéquier E, Schutz YEffects of caffeine on energy metabolism, heart rate, and methylxanthine metabolism in lean and obese womenAm J Physiol.(1995 Oct)
42.^van Dijk AE, Olthof MR, Meeuse JC, Seebus E, Heine RJ, van Dam RMAcute effects of decaffeinated coffee and the major coffee components chlorogenic acid and trigonelline on glucose toleranceDiabetes Care.(2009 Jun)
44.^Rosengren A, Dotevall A, Wilhelmsen L, Thelle D, Johansson SCoffee and incidence of diabetes in Swedish women: a prospective 18-year follow-up studyJ Intern Med.(2004 Jan)
46.^van Dam RM, Feskens EJCoffee consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes mellitusLancet.(2002 Nov 9)
47.^Greenberg JA, Boozer CN, Geliebter ACoffee, diabetes, and weight controlAm J Clin Nutr.(2006 Oct)
48.^Mackenzie T, Brooks B, O'Connor GBeverage intake, diabetes, and glucose control of adults in AmericaAnn Epidemiol.(2006 Sep)
50.^Huxley R, Lee CM, Barzi F, Timmermeister L, Czernichow S, Perkovic V, Grobbee DE, Batty D, Woodward MCoffee, decaffeinated coffee, and tea consumption in relation to incident type 2 diabetes mellitus: a systematic review with meta-analysisArch Intern Med.(2009 Dec 14)
51.^Benalla W, Bellahcen S, Bnouham MAntidiabetic medicinal plants as a source of alpha glucosidase inhibitorsCurr Diabetes Rev.(2010 Jul)
52.^Tunnicliffe JM, Eller LK, Reimer RA, Hittel DS, Shearer JChlorogenic acid differentially affects postprandial glucose and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide response in ratsAppl Physiol Nutr Metab.(2011 Oct)
56.^Bassoli BK, Cassolla P, Borba-Murad GR, Constantin J, Salgueiro-Pagadigorria CL, Bazotte RB, da Silva RS, de Souza HMChlorogenic acid reduces the plasma glucose peak in the oral glucose tolerance test: effects on hepatic glucose release and glycaemiaCell Biochem Funct.(2008 Apr)
61.^Li BQ, Dong X, Yang GQ, Fang SH, Gao JY, Zhang JX, Gu FM, Miao XM, Zhao HRole of chlorogenic acid in the toxicity induced by Chinese herbal injectionsDrug Chem Toxicol.(2010 Oct)
62.^Wu X, Yang H, Lin D, Zhang J, Luo F, Xu XComprehensive research and evaluation of chlorogenic acid allergyZhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi.(2010 Dec)