GABA enriched chocolate against stress?

Walter van den Broek
July 5, 2010

At first Dr Shock was baffled. Mixing precious chocolate with chemicals? What a waste. Apparently cocoa has about 52 mg of GABA per 100 gram cacao. GABA is the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain and it has been shown to have an acute psychological stress-reducing effect in humans and a tranquilizing effect on sleeplessness, depression and autonomic disorder observed during the menopausal or presenile period. Because cacao is mixed with milk, sugar and some other ingredients the quantity if GABA in chocolate is less than in cacao, possibly reducing the stress reducing effects in human.

In a recent study, they enriched chocolate with GABA and did a placebo controlled crossover trial to the effect of GABA enriched chocolate on psychological stress. Stress was induced by a arithmetic task and they measured heart rate variability and cortisol concentration in saliva to measure psychological stress.

Chocolate enriched with GABA (GABA chocolate) was composed of 38.5% sugar, 7.8% defatted cacao, 29.8% fat, and 0.28% GABA.

The cortisol, one of our stress hormones didn’t increase after the task in the GABA sessions and those taking the GABA chocolate made a quick recovery in heart rate variability to the normal state from the stressful state. GABA doesn’t permeate the blood-brain barrier, so it’s positive effects on stress in this trial as well as in others has to be explained by it’s effects on the peripheral nervous system.

Based on this study chocolate enriched with GABA had a psychological stress-reducing effect, but does it still taste the same? May be chocolate with Jack Daniels is a better option

ResearchBlogging.org
Nakamura, H., Takishima, T., Kometani, T., & Yokogoshi, H. (2009). Psychological stress-reducing effect of chocolate enriched with γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in humans: assessment of stress using heart rate variability and salivary chromogranin A International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, 60 (s5), 106-113 DOI: 10.1080/09637480802558508

 

2 Responses to “GABA enriched chocolate against stress?”

  1. [...] (well, old) anxiety drug:  chocolate. Read more from Psychiatry, Public Health blog, Dallas, Psychiatry, Texas Click here to [...]

  2. Elsewhere | Mental Notes on July 11th, 2010 at 1:01 pm
  3. What a great idea! I have depression and I get cravings for chocolate which I obey at all times..Just before I read your post I was reading up on GABA and the depressing effect having too little brings. I was doing this because I have foolishly taken Modafinil in the past to perk me up. This drug-as you may be aware-has the affect of inhibiting GABA and makes one depressed-if taken for too long. So I discovered the other type of depression (suffered-I guess-in Bi-polar), much worse than the type caused by lack of Serotonin. Apologies for off loading this on your page, but what you had quoted about GABA confirmed my hunch about my trial with Modafinil. I now take GABA supplements to restore my depleted reserves. Someone else who reads your page may be helped if they read your article and scroll to my ramblings. Thank you.

  4. sounds_scrummy on February 14th, 2012 at 10:38 pm
  1. [...] (well, old) anxiety drug:  chocolate. Read more from Psychiatry, Public Health blog, Dallas, Psychiatry, Texas Click here to [...]

  2. Elsewhere | Mental Notes on July 11th, 2010 at 1:01 pm
  3. What a great idea! I have depression and I get cravings for chocolate which I obey at all times..Just before I read your post I was reading up on GABA and the depressing effect having too little brings. I was doing this because I have foolishly taken Modafinil in the past to perk me up. This drug-as you may be aware-has the affect of inhibiting GABA and makes one depressed-if taken for too long. So I discovered the other type of depression (suffered-I guess-in Bi-polar), much worse than the type caused by lack of Serotonin. Apologies for off loading this on your page, but what you had quoted about GABA confirmed my hunch about my trial with Modafinil. I now take GABA supplements to restore my depleted reserves. Someone else who reads your page may be helped if they read your article and scroll to my ramblings. Thank you.

  4. sounds_scrummy on February 14th, 2012 at 10:38 pm

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