GABA - What is GABA? What are the potential benefits?


Unique health benefits of organic GABA oolong tea - T CHING

GABA oolong tea has all of these qualities, but it is also one of the richest food sources available for natural GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid) – an important amino acid that functions as a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system.

GABA, as a health supplement, is being used by many pharmaceutical companies these days for a variety of health disorders as well as by some commercial food and drink companies as a popular additive.  Some of the health benefits being promoted for GABA supplements include:
–  Reduces high blood pressure
–  Relieves stress and anxiety
–  Deceases hypertension
–  Increases mental alertness
–  Increases memory retention
–  Increases energy levels and exercise endurance
–  Promotes weight loss
–  Acts as an antibacterial
–  Alleviates alcohol withdrawal symptoms
–  Prevents and cures hangovers
–  Offers anti-aging properties
–  Improves sleep
–  Improves skin elasticity and de-emphasizes wrinkles
–  Increases sexual performance
–  Aids in overcoming depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders
The Japanese originally “discovered” GABA tea and have long recognized the health benefits of it as a key source of GABA.  In fact, it has almost become a staple part of the Japanese diet.
GABA tea is made naturally by exposing the tea leaves to nitrogen – instead of oxygen – during the oxidation process.  The result is a heavily oxidized oolong tea (approximately 70-80%) that has a pleasant, slightly sweet taste, almost more like a black tea flavor than a regular oolong.

GABA Tea and the Hype around its Health Benefits - World Tea News:

GABA has been credited with contributing to lower stress levels, improving sleep, and reducing depression and anxiety.

What does it have to do with tea?
Some teas, such as oolong, have high levels of GABA. Some processors are creating “GABA tea” by oxidizing tea in a high-nitrogen, oxygen-free environment instead of oxygen during oxidation. This process was introduced in Japan in the 1980s when Dr. Tsushida Tojiro discovered that anaerobic conditions encourage the conversion of glutamate to GABA. That country sells many GABA-enriched foods and beverages like rice, soy milk and cookies.

Beverage Science: Finding GABA in Tea - Fresh Cup Magazine:

The good news is that GABA occurs naturally in Camellia sinensis. And, thanks to discoveries by Japanese scientists, there’s a processing method to significantly increase GABA in teas. Credit is given to Dr. Tsushida Tojiro for discovering, in 1987, that when freshly picked tea leaves are exposed to anaerobic conditions (meaning without oxygen) the glutamic acid in the leaves is converted into GABA and processing the leaves in a nitrogen-rich atmosphere results in significantly higher concentrations of GABA. Further study revealed increased levels of glutamic acid in tea leaves that were shaded for ten to fifteen days before picking which, in turn, leads to even higher concentrations of GABA.
Today true GABA tea, available as green and oolong, is made in Japan and Taiwan. The freshly picked leaves are placed in stainless steel vacuum drums. Oxygen is removed and replaced with nitrogen. For the highest GABA concentration the leaves remain in the container for eight to ten hours, heated above 104 degrees Fahrenheit. The container is then shaken continuously for up to three hours under aerobic conditions (oxygen is introduced). These steps might be repeated several times prior to steaming or rolling which is followed by a final drying of the tea leaves. As with all tea production, other methods certainly do exist.

GABA Tea - Taiwan Tea Research and Extension Station