GABA this!

Anxiety seems like a sort of reoccurring theme of the decade, and has a big presence on portaltopeace.com (a website that I’m working to develop).  Today alone, I received 10 Google alerts related to anxiety: from unforeseen new levels (among U.S. college freshman) and unusually high levels (Cairo and Israeli residents) to a fullblown epidemic in the workforce, according to psychotherapist Jonathan Berent, co-author of Work Makes Me Nervous.  Just thinking about it all really can make you nervous but there was good news today as well!

Many of us already suspected this but science has now found a direct connection between yoga and an increased presence of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. Like me, you may have never heard of GABA but you’ve been seeking it for a really long time. GABA is a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system responsible for reduced anxiety, increased relaxation, and enhanced muscle tone…everything on the short list, right? 

As announced in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, scientists compared the results of two exercise groups: healthy adults, who participated in 60-minute yoga sessions 3 times weekly (for 12 weeks) and a comparison group who did a metabolically matched walking program for the same length of time.  The yoga participants experienced greater improvement in mood, a decrease in anxiety and showed increased levels of GABA (!!) in the brain.  This demonstrated, perhaps for the first time, that long-term behavioral interventions can actually affect GABA levels.  What is really interesting is that pharmacological agents are frequently used to increase GABA activity in order to reduce anxiety and improve mood.  Obviously yoga is less risky and a greener alternative.  So reach for the mat instead of the pill?

 Thank you Brain Blogger for this great information.  Read more at: http://brainblogger.com/2011/02/08/strike-a-pose-to-reduce-anxiety/

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About Laura

Former PR person turned idealistic website neophyte
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One Response to GABA this!

  1. mary jane says:

    All the more reason for me to start yoga!

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