If your day-to-day life is highly stressful, or even if you feel a little bit stressed, you’re certainly not alone. According to the 2010 General Social Survey (GSS), more than a quarter of Canadian workers report finding even a regular day “quite a bit” or “extremely” stressful (1).
Stress can have a huge impact on our lives, with numerous studies showing that stress is linked to poorer mental and physical health. Stress may even change the structure and function of our brains (2,3). As such, minimizing our exposure to stress is considered a pillar of good long-term health and happiness, helping us reduce the risk of anxiety, depression, insomnia, fatigue, and even heart disease and diabetes (3,4,5).
The problem, of course, is that some stress is simply unavoidable. So what can we do to take control and keep our cool at times of stress?
GABA – A natural way to promote relaxation
The natural compound gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA) is ideal for anyone feeling overwhelmed or overcommitted, or anyone suffering from extreme stress related to work, family, money, school, or any number of causes. GABA offers a non-drowsy way to calm the mind and better cope with daily stresses and strains.
GABA is an important neurotransmitter found throughout the brain and central nervous system, where it acts as an inhibitor, preventing overactivity in nerve cells (neurons) (6). GABA can naturally increase alpha brain wave activity – the type of brain waves associated with feelings of relaxation, calmness, mental clarity, and focus (6). It also decreases the production of beta brain waves associated with nervousness and stress (6).
Natural Factors Stress-Relax GABA is a natural source of this key neurotransmitter and works quickly and effectively to help increase relaxation, improve sleep, and enhance mental clarity and focus without causing negative side effects. Synthetic GABA has not demonstrated the same benefits as natural GABA, which is why Stress-Relax uses Pharma GABA™, a unique, clinically tested form of GABA produced by fermentation.
Natural Factors offers a range of ways to support relaxation, including Stress-Relax Mental Calmness, which provides 100 mg of easily absorbed L-theanine as Suntheanine®. L-theanine is an amino acid known to aid relaxation without inducing drowsiness. It can be converted by the body into GABA and has been shown to enhance alpha brain wave production in order to induce a calm, relaxed, and focused mental state, as well as to support memory (8,11,12). L-theanine is also converted into other neurotransmitters including serotonin and dopamine, which are associated with enhanced mood, and impulse and appetite control (8,12).
GABA and Tranquil Sleep
Although non-drowsy, GABA and L-theanine can help calm a racing mind, meaning that many people find these natural supplements helpful for getting better sleep. In fact, many pharmaceutical sleeping pills act on the same receptors as GABA, although these conventional drugs also have the negative effect of disrupting sleep patterns, preventing us from entering the deepest stages of sleep (7,10). GABA and L-theanine, on the other hand, are non-addictive, enhance mental clarity, and have been shown to significantly improve sleep quality (7,8).
For anyone looking specifically for natural sleep support, Natural Factors also offers Stress-Relax Tranquil Sleep to help relieve mild insomnia and calm nervousness. This comprehensive formula includes Suntheanine®, melatonin, and 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), and is a completely safe, highly effective, and non-habit forming alternative to conventional sleeping pills.
Tranquil Sleep works in harmony with your body’s natural sleep hormones to promote restful sleep (9), so you wake up refreshed and alert, and are better able to cope with whatever life throws at you.
Natural Factors Stress-Relax® GABA offers a non-drowsy way to promote relaxation. GABA can help you keep your cool and improve mental focus.
- Statistics Canada, What's stressing the stressed? Main sources of stress among workers. Accessed January 20, 2016. Available: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/11-008-x/2011002/article/11562-eng.htm#bxn2
- Sauro MD, et al. Stress, glucocorticoids, and memory: a meta-analytic review. Stress: The International Journal on the Biology of Stress. 2003 Dec;6(4):235-45.
- McEwen BS. The neurobiology of stress: from serendipity to clinical relevance. Brain Research. 2000 Dec 15;886(1-2):172-189.
- Kudielka BM & Wüst, S. Human models in acute and chronic stress: assessing determinants of individual hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis activity and reactivity. Stress: The International Journal on the Biology of Stress. 2010 Jan;13(1):1-14.
- Kivimäki M, et al. Work stress in the etiology of coronary heart disease: a meta-analysis. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health. 2006 Dec;32(6):431-42.
- Abdou AM, et al. Relaxation and immunity enhancement effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) administration in humans. 2006; 26(3):201-8.
- Gottesmann, C. GABA mechanisms and sleep. 2002; 111(2):231-9.
- Lyon MR, et al. The effects of L-theanine (Suntheanine®) on objective sleep quality in boys with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Altern Med Rev. 2011 16(4):348-54.
- Kunz D, et al. Melatonin in patients with reduced REM sleep duration: two randomized controlled trials. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2004 Jan;89(1):128-34.
- Pagel JF, & Parnes BL. Medications for the Treatment of Sleep Disorders: An Overview. Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry. 2001; 3(3):118-125.
- Nobre AC, et al. L-theanine, a natural constituent in tea, and its effect on mental state. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2008; 17 Suppl 1:167-8.
- Wakabayashi C, et al. Behavioral and molecular evidence for psychotropic effects in L-theanine. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2012; 219(4):1099-109.