Unwind with GABA
With the leisurely summer days behind us for another year, September means back-to-business for most people. For some, the stress that accompanies the return to routine – or a brand new routine, such as starting university – can be overwhelming. Anxiety and insomnia can manifest as mild, vague apprehension, and occasional difficulty falling asleep to full-fledged panic attacks and sleepless nights. Fortunately there is an effective, natural remedy – Natural Factors 100% Natural GABA.
Gamma-amino butyric acid is the brain’s primary inhibitory (calming) neurotransmitter. It appears that many people with anxiety and insomnia have insufficient levels of GABA. Fortunately, GABA can be taken in supplemental form as a powerful tool to combat mild-to-severe anxiety and sleeplessness. This is why 100% Natural GABA capsules and chewable tablets are a member of Natural Factors Stress-Relax family of products.
Synthetic GABA supplements have been available for decades, but studies show this form of GABA crosses the blood-brain barrier poorly, limiting its efficacy. Natural PharmaGABA is a special form of GABA manufactured from Lactobacillus hilgardii – the bacteria used to ferment vegetables in the preparation of the traditional Korean dish known as kimchi. PharmaGABA appears to be able to cross the blood-brain barrier to produce relaxation and improve sleep quality.
GABA has been used for years in Japan as an aid to conquer stress and promote relaxation. It is a popular ingredient in functional foods and beverages as well as dietary supplements designed to produce mental and physical relaxation, without inducing drowsiness. It is particularly helpful in counteracting the effects of caffeine, allowing users to profit from the enhanced mental focus of caffeine without the coffee jitters.
Those who follow my work will know I am a big fan of the anti-anxiety benefits of the amino acid L-theanine, so you might be wondering, where does GABA fit in? Good question. GABA and L-theanine are biochemical cousins. They act by similar mechanisms, but GABA is stronger. For example, both nutrients ease anxiety by increasing alpha brain waves, the predominant brain activity of a person who is relaxed and focused. GABA, however, also significantly reduces beta brain waves (associated with agitation and hyperactivity), which helps explain its relatively greater calming effect. Stress-Relax Mental Calmness chewable L-theanine tablets are a good first choice for mild-to-moderate nervousness. PharmaGABA is appropriate for more severe stress-related tension and anxiety. It can be used for acute situational stress (e.g., at exam time), for more pervasive feelings of anxiety or as a sleep enhancer. The typical dose is 100 mg 1–3 times daily.
Kate Rhéaume-Bleue, ND is the author of the book Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox: How a Little-Known Vitamin Could Save Your Life (HarperCollins).