Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a major calming brain chemical or neurotransmitter. Clinical studies show that the natural form of GABA that is in Thorne’s PharmaGABA can decrease the brain’s stress-related beta waves and increase the production of its alpha-waves, creating a profound sense of physical relaxation while maintaining mental focus. Other studies have shown reduced pupil diameter, heart rate, and two natural biomarkers of stress – salivary cortisol and chromogranin A – all signs of relaxation. In addition, studies also indicate GABA can enhance sleep. In a head-to-head, double-blind trial of natural PharmaGABA versus synthetic GABA, the synthetic GABA did not demonstrate these positive effects. PharmaGABA-250 offers 250 mg of natural GABA per capsule, while PharmaGABA-100 offers 100 mg per capsule. Both are non-habit forming.
In a recent study of the effect of nutrient supplementation on muscle mass, 21 males, average age 39, who did not exercise regularly, were given 10 grams of whey protein or 10 grams of whey protein plus 100 mg of PharmaGABA daily for 12 weeks. Both groups participated in twice weekly 60-minute strength training sessions that consisted of leg presses, leg extensions, leg curls, chest presses, and pull-downs. Total body lean muscle mass increased significantly in the whey protein-plus-PharmaGABA group compared to the whey-only group.
The natural GABA in Thorne’s PharmaGABA suite is produced via a fermentation process that utilizes Lactobacillus hilgardii, the same bacteria that is used to ferment cabbage in the preparation of the traditional Korean dish known as kimchi.