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GABA Improves Decision-Making Under Stressful Conditions

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Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) that tends to calm down or inhibit your frazzled, over-excited nerves, literally.  This calming down of your “wired” wires in turn leads to GABA’s well known benefits with respect to relaxation, relief from anxiousness, and initiation of sleep.

GABA and Action Cascading

Research (γ-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) administration improves action selection processes: a randomised controlled trial. Steenbergen L, Sellaro R, Stock AK, Beste C, Colzato LS. Sci Rep. 2015 Jul 31;5:12770.) has also shown that this key brain chemical improves our performance when we are under stress.

Let me explain: To accomplish a task, real-life conditions require us to develop and implement action-plans to respond rapidly to fast-moving auditory and visual inputs. The more serious the threat, the more important it is for us to quickly select the appropriate behaviors in order to survive. The technical term for this phenomenon is Action Selection Processing, or Action Cascading.

The study in question is exciting because it shows, for the first time, that supplementing with GABA derivatives can help us prioritize and sequence our actions, and thereby survive the moment.

GABA: A Review

GABA is the major inhibitory neurotransmitter found in our central nervous system. It is our most potent calming brain chemical and is critical for counter-balancing excitatory neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, norepinephrine, adrenalin, and glutamate. These so-called excitatory neurotransmitters are critical to launch an acute stress response (the fight or flight mechanism) and have been, since our early days as humans, necessary to survive an immediate threat to our survival. Such sudden bursts of stress chemicals and hormones are designed to last only moments, long enough to fight or flee.

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These days, we humanoids are bombarded constantly with modern versions of these threats to our existence: deadlines, bosses, spouses, children, sick and elderly parents, mortgages, crappy diets, chronic sleep deprivation, and environmental toxins. These contemporary stressors activate the same physical and mental mechanisms, leaving us in a constant state of high-alert. This state of unrelenting alarm keeps our brains and bodies a brewing, bubbling cauldron of excess stress hormones and neurochemicals. In the face of this assault on our already super-sensitive nervous systems, GABA production cannot keep pace and our levels fall, putting us at risk for anxiousness, impulsiveness, hair-trigger emotional responses and, often, attempts to self-medicate with alcohol and marijuana.

The new research establishes yet another reason – optimization of action cascading – to supplement with GABA, especially when we are under more stress than usual. Unfortunately, when GABA is taken orally, GABA levels in the brain do not increase, presumably because the substance itself cannot pass the blood-brain barrier and enter the central nervous system. For this reason, oral GABA supplements cannot replicate the effect of tranquilizing drugs, even though they work through a GABA-related mechanism. That’s why we use GABA Boost.

GABA Boost

Directions: Take 1-2 capsules up to 3 times per day or as directed by your health care professional.

WARNING: Women who are pregnant or lactating should consult their physicians before using this product. Keep out of the reach of children.

Phenyl-GABA (β-Phenyl-γ-aminobutyric acid) crosses the blood brain barrier to reduce excitatory activity.

L-Theanine has been studied extensively for its ability to reduce the uptake of the excitatory amino acid glutamate and regulate how much serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine are excreted.

L-Taurine inhibits and modulates neurotransmitters in the brain and helps to stabilize cell membranes. Taurine is a potent activator of extra-synaptic GABA(A) receptors in the thalamus.


Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine HCL) 10 mg 769% Daily Value

GABA Boost Synergistic Blend 625 mg

Phenyl-GABA (β-Phenyl-γ-aminobutyric acid)
L-Theanine & L-Taurine

Other Ingredients: Vegetable Cellulose, Vegetable Magnesium Stearate

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Meet Dr. Dave

Dr. David Scheiderer MD, MBA, DFAPA, is the Chief Medical Officer and Director of Education for Integrative Psychiatry, Inc. 

An accomplished clinician, educator, and lecturer, Dr. Dave has established himself as a key opinion leader in the fields of both mainstream psychiatry and functional medicine. Dissatisfied with the patient outcomes using only conventional treatments, he began treating his patients by addressing biological imbalances with lifestyle improvements, nutrition and nutraceuticals to get better outcomes. His integrative approach provided much improved results. Dr. Dave is passionate about helping the community he serves by personalizing treatments and educating the public about mental health and healthy aging. He has formulated several of our supplements and sat on the advisory board for many others, ensuring the products we carry are based on science and experience and have the best efficacy rates and highest ingredient quality available.

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