Andrew Huberman on Yerba Mate: Everything You Need to Know

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You may have heard Professor Andrew Huberman mention yerba mate on one of his podcasts or interviews.

Yerba mate is a caffeine drink, much like tea, that is popular across South America.

The topic of yerba mate comes up quite often on the Huberman Lab podcast, particularly around discussions related to dopamine, fat loss, and sleep.

In this post, we will cover the health benefits of yerba mate, which yerba mate brand Huberman uses, and why he is such a strong proponent of yerba mate consumption.

Huberman’s Choice
Yerba Mate: Anna Park Yerba Mate

What is Yerba Mate?

Andrew Huberman Yerba Mate Gourd
Yerba Mate in Traditional Gourd

Yerba Mate is a traditional South American drink made from the dried leaves of Ilex paraguariensis, a species of holly native to the region.

The preparation of yerba mate involves steeping the dried leaves in hot water, much like tea.

Recommended brewing temperatures are lower than other teas, around 60 to 65 degrees Celcius.

Yerba mate has a distinctive flavor, often described as being somewhat similar to green tea but with a more herbal, grassy character.

It’s also well-known for its caffeine content.

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The caffeine level is typically somewhere between that of tea and coffee, making it a popular choice for a stimulating drink.

However, if you are brewing yerba mate in a traditional gourd or container, the caffeine content will likely be much higher.

The number of times you refill your yerba mate cup with hot water will also impact the amount of caffeine you consume.

In addition to caffeine, yerba mate contains a number of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Related: Andrew Huberman Water Intake and Filtration Recommendations

BeverageAntioxidant ContentCaffeine Content per 8ozNotable Nutrients
Yerba MateHigh30-50mgRich in Vitamins A, C, E, B1, B2, B3, B5, B Complex, Minerals
Green TeaHigh20-45mgVitamins B2, E, C; Beta-carotene, Minerals
Black TeaMedium40-70mgManganese, Potassium
Oolong TeaMedium30-50mgManganese, Potassium, Selenium, Fluoride
White TeaHigh15-30mgVitamins C, K, B1, B5, B6, Manganese, Potassium
Herbal Tea (e.g., chamomile, mint)VariesCaffeine-free typicallyVaries depending on the herbs used
CoffeeHigh95-200mgB2, B3, B5, Manganese, Potassium
EspressoHigh~63mg per shot (~1oz)B2, B3, B5, Manganese, Potassium
Energy DrinksVaries~80-150mgVaries greatly depending on brand and formula. Often fortified with B-vitamins, Taurine, Guarana etc.

Culturally, yerba mate has a significant role in social settings in many South American countries, particularly Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Southern Brazil.

Map of Latam countries that regularly consume Yerba Mate

It’s common for friends or family members to gather and share a mate gourd, each drinking from the same gourd and bombilla (a metal straw with a filter at the end).

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Which Yerba Mate Does Huberman Drink?

Huberman has said that Anna Park is the best-tasting yerba mate for him.

Tweet from Professor Huberman on Yerba Mate
Tweet from Professor Huberman on Yerba Mate

He does not personally like smoky-tasting yerba mate and has mentioned the potential links between smoked yerba and cancer.

Why Does Andrew Huberman Drink Yerba Mate?

While yerba mate is a healthy source of caffeine, Huberman’s father is actually Argentine, and half of his family lives in Argentina.

Argentine Background

Andrew Huberman Yerba Mate, Man Drinking Yerba Mate
Yerba Mate is popular among athletes and outdoor enthusiasts

It’s no secret that the country is very passionate about yerba mate.

It’s not only the caffeine drink of choice among Argentinians, but yerba also plays a culturally significant role in social gatherings with family and friends.

Sharing mate is a ritual that fosters conversation, connection, and community.

Related: Andrew Huberman’s Breakfast Routine

It’s a time for people to bond, catch up, and enjoy each other’s company.

The tradition originated with indigenous Guaraní tribes and was later adopted by European settlers in Argentina in the 16th century.

Today, drinking mate is ingrained in mainstream culture across all social settings.

It’s common to see Argentines walking around with a mate gourd and thermos in hand.

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GLP-1

Glucagon-like peptide one (GLP-1) is a significant and recently discovered hormone made in both the gut and brain that plays a key role in controlling appetite and feeding behavior.

Notably, GLP-1 works as an appetite inhibitor, and its increased presence is seen to reduce the urge to eat.

GLP-1 can also be stimulated by specific foods and substances, with yerba mate tea being a notable example.

Yerba mate also contains caffeine, of course, which contributes to fat utilization for energy.

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Some research suggests potential links between yerba mate and certain types of cancers, primarily associated with the smoked version of the tea, although these findings are inconclusive.

Note: Huberman recommends avoiding the smoked versions of yerba mate as they contain carcinogenic cancer-promoting compounds.

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Dopamine

Caffeine, in most forms, naturally spikes an individual’s dopamine levels for a period of time.

Huberman has often talked about how he consumes yerba mate or coffee before physical training, which he usually does in the early part of the day.

Yerba mate and some of its compounds can also help to preserve the survival of dopamine neurons in both the movement-related pathway and the motivation pathway.

He has self-reported that this doesn’t interfere with his sleep, and he finds it beneficial for his workouts.

Lastly, in a conversation about the origins of breakfast, Huberman mentioned his high caffeine tolerance from drinking yerba mate over the years.

He advocates delaying consuming caffeine until 90 minutes to two hours after waking.

Source: Controlling Your Dopamine For Motivation, Focus & Satisfaction | Huberman Lab Podcast #39

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FAQ

What yerba mate does Andrew Huberman recommend?

Huberman recommends consuming non-smoked yerba mate varieties.

Personally, he drinks Anna Park because he prefers the flavor to other brands.

Huberman has indicated that he does not have any financial ties with the brand.

Is yerba mate the healthiest drink?

Yerba mate is rich in nutrients and antioxidants, and it has potential health benefits, including improved mental focus, enhanced physical performance, and weight loss.

Is yerba mate the healthiest tea?

Yerba mate is packed with several beneficial compounds such as antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

Does yerba mate cause adrenal fatigue?

There is no current scientific evidence linking yerba mate consumption directly to adrenal fatigue. Yerba mate contains caffeine, which in excessive amounts can lead to symptoms often associated with adrenal fatigue, such as restlessness, insomnia, and increased heart rate.

Related: Andrew Huberman on Grounding: Everything You Need to Know

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About the Author

Drew Wilkins is a fitness and nutrition expert with a Master's in Biokinesiology (emphasis in Sports Science) from the University of Southern California and over a decade of experience as a personal trainer, nutrition consultant, and wellness coach. An avid surfer and soccer player, he brings a unique perspective to his research, advocating for a balanced approach to health that includes physical fitness, nutrition, and mental well-being.

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