GABA Tea, also known as Gabaron in Japan, is a tea that has a high content of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). It has been praised for its potential benefits in managing insomnia, high blood pressure, stress, and anxiety. The secret lies in its processing - it's crafted under anaerobic conditions (that's without any oxygen if you're wondering). This method is what gives the tea its high GABA content.
What does GABA mean
So, what exactly is GABA? Standing for gamma-aminobutyric acid, GABA is an amino acid our brains produce naturally. It serves as a neurotransmitter, facilitating communication between brain cells. GABA’s job is to lower the activity of the neurons in the brain and central nervous system, which can lead to feelings of relaxation and a reduction in stress levels.
In addition to the human brain, GABA can also be found naturally in Tea. GABA Tea, specifically, is the food and beverage with the highest content of GABA.
What's in GABA Tea
The GABA content in GABA Tea can vary depending on the quality of the tea. As a benchmark, you should look for at least 150mg of GABA per 100g of dry tea leaves.
Tea stems in GABA Tea have the highest GABA content, followed by the tea bud, second leaf, third leaf, and older leaves. So, if your GABA Tea contains a lot of stems, that's a good thing! Higher GABA content means higher quality GABA Tea.
You might also come across GABA Tea under other names, such as GABA Oolong Tea or Gabalong.
Interested in trying some GABA Tea? Follow this link.
What GABA tea looks like
To give you a visual, let's take a look at the variety we carry. Remember that other GABA teas might have slightly different shapes or colors.
Steeped leaf, dry leaf, and color.
Origin of GABA Tea
The roots of GABA Tea trace back to Japan, where the unique process for its production was developed. The key figure in the discovery of GABA Tea was Prof. Tsushida.
Back in 1987, he and his colleagues at the National Tea Research Institute were on a search to extend the shelf life of fresh tea leaves. Their approach? Packaging the harvested tea leaves under anaerobic conditions, just like fresh vegetables.
After examining the tea leaves, it's research found that the content of GABA and alanine in the tea had exponentially increased. The study also found that the glutamic acid and aspartic acid had almost disappeared.
Initially, the research was made with green tea but they later discover that the GABA levels increased also in black tea and oolong tea. The results of this started more experimentation with tea processing aiming at improving the natural GABA content of the tea leaf.
This innovative method eventually made its way to Taiwan, where the production of Gaba Tea has been fine-tuned for over a decade.
But as fascinating as the process and history are, it's equally important to discuss the effects of consuming GABA. When GABA is ingested orally, as in tea, it probably has little effect on levels of GABA in the brain. This is because it is unable to penetrate the blood-brain barrier or enter the central nervous system.
An excess of GABA in the body can also potentially lead to negative side effects, such as nausea or shortness of breath.
How does it affect the flavor
The processing of GABA Tea lends it a unique sour and tangy flavor. Over time, thanks to improvements in the GABA Tea making process, some GABA teas now boast savory notes and a pleasing aroma.
Why Drink GABA Tea
Besides its unique taste, GABA Tea packs a punch when it comes to health perks. The GABA in tea is all naturally occurring, not chemically made. This means you're treating your body to something it's already familiar with, but in new format (GABA exists naturally in the brain).
It's also important to mention that many of the benefits attributed to GABA teas are also associated with L-theanine, another compound found naturally within the tea plant. L-theanine has been shown to boost levels of GABA in the brain.
While high levels of GABA are thought to have health benefits more research is needed to confirm this. So, take the health benefits section with a grain of salt. We've got a whole blog post where we chat about all the possible benefits.
Curious and want to learn more? Please pop over to our Benefits of GABA Tea blog post.
The Bottom Line
As we get older, our bodies production of GABA decreases naturally. While it's found in various foods, GABA Tea is recognized as one of the richest sources of this amino acid. Not only does it offer a unique flavor profile, but it also potentially brings a host of health benefits to your table. And although drinking GABA Tea hasn’t been linked to any adverse side effects and it can be viewed as a supplement, self-diagnosis isn't recommended. We're firm believers in seeking professional advice when it comes to individual health matters.
Ready to try GABA tea?