GABA Supplement Benefits: Reduce Anxiety and Elevate Mood with GABA

Imagine you just left the grocery store. You have too many bags to handle and you try carrying them anyway. You may be able to, but you feel off-balance, unstable, frantic and scared you may drop something. Have you ever experienced this? How about in your mind? Have you ever felt like there was just too much going on in your brain? The stresses of daily life and unusual circumstances can weigh heavily on a person and create a lot of mental stress, anxiety andreduce anxietyconfusion that can sometimes be too much to bear. Sure, you may be able to make it through, but at what cost? Going back to the grocery bag analogy, wouldn’t a grocery cart make it easier? What if you had someone from the store help you carry the bags out and limit the amount of bags you had to carry  at once? You can do the same thing with your mind when you’re feeling anxious, stressed out and overwhelmed

Inside the brain there are receptors and neurotransmitters. The neurotransmitters transport signals from one part of the brain to the other and the receptors receive the signal. These pieces serve many functions in the brain, but one noticeable function is the stress response. When you are under stress or feeling anxious there are a lot of stress signals being sent and received in the brain. And, as anyone that’s experienced stress or anxiety knows, the effects can compound. For instance, you get stressed about your job, then other situations that may be seemingly innocuous become stressful as well, then you’re worked up into a state of anxiety that shows no signs of slowing. Luckily, there are neurotransmitters in the brain that inhibit, or slow down, the neurotransmitters that cause stress. The main inhibitory neurotransmitter in the nervous system is GABA (γ-Aminobutyric acid). GABA  can be synthesized in the brain and can also be taken in through supplements[1].

GABA Supplement Benefits

GABA helps regulate the excitement of neurons in the nervous system [1]. To revisit the grocery store analogy again, imagine your brain trying to carry all the baggage from the day, GABA comes out with a cart and helps relieve some of the stress you feel from that baggage so you can cope in an effective manner. GABA is a popular supplement for regulating anxiety, helping depression, improving mood and treating ADHD. The benefits of GABA come as a results of a calming effect it provides. In clinical studies has been shown to be effective in relaxing patients and reducing anxiety within one hour of administration [2]. GABA is also used in the health and fitness community to promote lean muscle growth, reduce body fat and improve immunity under stressful conditions[2][3].

GABA Supplement Dosage for Anxiety

An effective dosage of GABA depends on many factors including age, weight, stress level and overall health. Recommended dosages range from 500mg to 1 gram spread equally throughout the day, with some doctors more specifically recommending GABA in 200 mg doses four times daily [4].

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamma-Aminobutyric_acid

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16971751

[3] http://www.webmd.com

[4] http://www.livestrong.com

L-Theanine and Caffeine: Benefits and Effects

Theanine and Caffeine from Tea

L-Theanine and Caffeine for Energy and Focus

Ever been so involved in a project you lost track of time and thoroughly enjoyed yourself? You weren’t tired, you didn’t feel forced, you weren’t watching the clock, and you had an intense amount of focus on whatever it was you were doing?

Congratulations, you were in the zone.

The “zone” or “flow” is a fantastic, coveted place to be when you’re working or trying to focus on any particular task. Two components of that state are focus and energy. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to get into a state of flow.

You may be focused for a bit, but start drifting because you’re tired. Or the opposite may be true – you may have energy, but can’t get your mind to settle on one task. There is a way to bring the two together more easily.

Energy Benefits of Caffeine Supplements

Finding energy isn’t difficult. Drink some coffee, pop a caffeine pill. Problem solved, right? Not necessarily. Caffeine supplements alone can definitively give you an edge on your energy levels, but the type of energy may not be what you want. Having a jittery, jumpy mental state can leave you with the temporary energy for running laps around a building and subsequently crashing – hard.

Focus with Theanine Supplements

L-Theanine is an amino acid . While occurring naturally in tea, L-Theanine extract  is most effective. L-Theanine is processed very efficiently by the body and crosses the blood brain barrier easily [1].

L-Theanine Benefits [2] [3]:

  • Mental relaxation
  • Reduced stress
  • Improved memory
  • Enhanced learning
  • Increased alpha-wave activity (waves produced in a relaxed awake state)

So, supplementary L-Theanine alone can improve your relaxed awake state. You will be able to think clearly and  easily sort through life.

L-Theanine and Caffeine

For thousands of years, monks have used L-Theanine and caffeine in tea to help with meditation. It’s unlikely they were aware of the individual components, but the combination has stood the test of time. Energy and motivation gained with coffee is harnessed by a smoothed over mental state with L-Theanine and creates an ideal environment for intense focus[4]. You get all the alertness and focus of caffeine supplements and none of the stressful anxiety.

Caffeine and L-Theanine Dosage

A highly recommended dosage of Theanine to caffeine is a ratio of 2:1 (2 parts L-Theanine for 1 part caffeine). If that sounds complicated at all, don’t worry; it’s not. Base the caffeine dosage on your normal caffeine intake and tolerance. For example, if you’re used to drinking a cup of coffee each morning and it has 100mg caffeine, combine 200mg L-Theanine. If you want to start small, you can use a small amount of caffeine, 50mg, and then 100mg of L-theanine. If taken on an empty stomach, the effects can be felt within 15-20 minutes and will add a few hours of blissful flow to your day. Since the combination has more of a focused energy effect than the sheer rush of caffeine alone, the effects, while noticeable, are much more subtle and provide a perfect background for any activity.

L-Theanine and Caffeine Online

Prices for caffeine and L-Theanine are fairly standard across the board. You can find green tea or coffee in any number of stores and on any number of websites.

The trick is in finding quality supplements.

Many sites do not use third-party testing and as such you cannot be sure if what you are purchasing is high quality or not. Many of the major online retailers do not disclose whether or not they use third-party testing, which poses an issues.

One site that recurs in my search is Powder City. Their prices are competitive (with some supplements significantly cheaper than other stores I’ve found) and they feature third-party testing for purity and quality of all products. Because of this, I purchase my caffeine and L-theanine from them.

Theanine and Caffeine Sources

[1] L-Theanine Wiki

[2] http://www.med.nyu.edu/content?ChunkIID=653856

[3] http://www.smartbodyz.com/L-Theanine-Information.htm

[4] http://jn.nutrition.org/content/138/8/1572S.full.pdf

Elevate Your Mood Naturally with 5-HTP

It’s no secret people today are feeling a bit down. TV, web and newspapers are plastered with headlines about the next impending disaster. Interspersed throughout those headlines you may conveniently find advertisements for prescription drugs designed to cure all your ills. Funny how that works, isn’t it?natural stress relief

But what if you need a boost and don’t want to deal with prescription drugs and the laundry list of side effects? That’s where 5-HTP comes in.

Here’s the actual secret: 5-HTP can elevate your mood, reduce anxiety, reduce cravings AND improve your sleep quality, naturally! In fact, clinical studies have shown 5-HTP to be as effective as prescriptions in eliminating depression [1].

5-HTP Supplement: So What is 5-HTP?

5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) is a naturally occurring amino acid. It’s the middle step between L-Tryptophan and Serotonin [2]. There’s a good chance you’re already familiar with these two components. L-Tryptophan is present in many foods and is what some like to say makes you feel tired after a big turkey dinner. That’s partially true. L-Tryptophan does promote relaxation, but there’s not enough in turkey to put you to sleep after a meal. Serotonin is a chemical produced by the brain that elevates and regulates your mood. You could call it a “feel good” mechanism in the body. Depression is mainly a function of low serotonin levels in the brain. When a doctor talks about “chemical imbalance” what they’re usually talking about is an imbalance in the amount of serotonin produced by your brain. Since 5-HTP is a precursor to serotonin and easily digested by the body, it is an ideal supplement for elevating serotonin and, ultimately, increasing how good you feel.

Benefits of 5-HTP

Think of 5-HTP as a way to set a higher baseline for your overall wellbeing. First, you can expect to feel an improvement in your day-to-day mood. Whether you’re a person that’s often depressed or just want to feel more balanced, this is a huge plus. If you have problems with anxiety, 5-HTP will help you relax. 5-HTP curbs cravings and reduces appetite[3]. Another widely-praised benefit of 5-HTP is improved sleep[4]. When you sleep, your body recovers physically and mentally. No sleep, no recovery. 5-HTP helps calm the brain at night, putting all those racing thoughts on hold so you can fall asleep faster and sleep better.  And when you sleep well, you arise feeling fresh and ready to start the day. The benefits of 5-HTP are harmonious. A good mood, healthy eating and a good night’s sleep all help one another.

How should you use 5-HTP?

Beginning with the lowest dose of a high quality 5-HTP supplement is recommended. 50mg two or three times a day (the same times each day) on an empty stomach. A good place to start is in the morning, about 30 minutes before lunch and before bed. After a week or two of 50mg, you can increase to 100mg if you don’t feel the effects you desire, but don’t go above 300mg/day.

 Sources

[1]http://pennstatehershey.adam.com/content.aspx?productId=107&pid=33&gid=000283

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5-Hydroxytryptophan

[3]http://www.smart-publications.com/articles/5-htp-the-natural-alternative-to-prozac-section-5

[4]http://altmedicine.about.com/cs/herbsvitaminsad/a/5HTP.htm