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GABA, also known as gamma aminobutyric acid, is one of the most powerful brain chemicals and neuro transmitters. It actually helps to regulate brain cells, chemicals and process. This, in turn, has a calming effect on the human body. However, there are also a number of additional supplements and substances which can help GABA to perform its job. Some of these are Theanine, Lemon Balm and Valerian.

Theanine:

This supplement is found in green tea and mushrooms. It is able to cross the blood brain barrier and helps to stimulate natural production of several calming agents within the brain, including dopamine and GABA. Essentially, it works to help GABA become even more effective. This leads to feelings of calm and relaxation throughout the body, without any kind of stimulant effect. 

Theanine also has a number of nootropic like effects. These include reducing mental and physical stress and improving memory and cognition (along with mental energy). Primarily due to the increased level of GABA it helps to reduce feelings of anxiety and over excitability. 

Lemon Balm:

This supplement is the extract from a plant found primarily in southern Europe and the Mediterranean region. While Lemon Balm is used in foods and as flavoring agents, it is also an effective supplement, as a mild sedative and calming agent. It relates to GABA to the extent that it actually blocks GABA receptors. In other words, this makes it more difficult for GABA to be re-absorbed by the brain, which increases the level of circulating GABA

Lemon Balm supplements have also been shown to improve mood and mental performance. It also is believed to work by inhibiting the absorption of acetylcholine and other powerful brain chemicals. Researchers have also found the extract to be a potent anti oxidant, helping to rid the body of toxins.

Valerian: 

This substance is an ancient plant that has been used since at least the second century AD. Some of its many uses include helping to treat sleep problems, anxiety and nervousness or restlessness. Scientists believe that it works by helping to increase the overall level of GABA in the brain. This then helps to regulate nerve cells and has an overall calming effect on the brain. It is on the Generally Regarded as Safe list of the US FDA, and has been known to help treat symptoms of mild anxiety in place of stronger and potentially dangerous chemicals and drugs. It is often taking in combination with Lemon Balm (and other herbs or supplements). 

Written by Joseph Carducci — December 28, 2012

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