What are the uses for PharmaGABA?

In traditional medicine it is thought that GABA will not pass through the blood brain barrier, so taking it orally should not have an effect on mood. The research is insufficient to confirm uptake and absorption of GABA into the brain, however GABA can act directly on the CNS in a peripheral aspect (the gut). In addition, the hypothalamus (emotional neuroendocrine control center of the brain) is outside and not protected by the BBB, so these two factors can explain the gap between research and in practice. It is clear in the research that GABA is helpful for the treatment of anxiety as well as many case studies to demonstrate its effectiveness. 

PharmaGABA, is naturally manufactured via a fermentation process that utilizes Lactobacillus hilgardii – the bacteria used to ferment vegetables in the preparation of the traditional Korean dish known as kimchi. In contrast, the synthetic form of GABA is produced from pyrrolidinone – a compound not allowed for use in Japan as it is listed as a dangerous substance. The GABA content of synthetic GABA is about 99.6%, the remaining amount consisting of pyrrolidinone. 

PharmaGABA has been shown to produce relaxation as evidenced by changes in brain wave patterns, diameter of the pupil, and heart rate as well as reduce markers of stress including salivary cortisol and chromagranin A levels. In a head-to-head double blind trial with PharmaGABA, the synthetic GABA was not shown to produce these effects.7 It is possible that synthetic GABA, unlike natural forms of GABA, is not able to bind to GABA receptors. 
Once ingested, it appears that the PharmaGABA is absorbed easily and binds to GABA receptors in the peripheral nervous system leading to activation of the parasympathetic nervous system. This arm of the autonomic nervous system is responsible for producing what is referred to as the “relaxation response,” a physiological response that is in direct contrast to the stress or “fight or flight” response. This activation of the parasympathetic nervous system by PharmaGABA is measurable within 5 to 30 minutes after ingestion. 
This proposed mechanism of action is based upon an animal study8 showing that the blood pressure lowering effect of GABA is due to binding to peripheral GABA receptors as well as the results from a human study.9 Using a double blind, crossover design, 12 males (aged 21.7± 0.8yr) consumed a placebo or PharmaGABA-containing capsules (30 mg per meal) after an overnight fast. Parasympathetic nervous system activity was evaluated by means of heart rate variability power spectral analysis before and after administration for 30 and 60 minutes. There were significant increases in overall autonomic and parasympathetic nervous system activities after PharmaGABA ingestion indicating that PharmaGABA may induce relaxation effects by modulating autonomic nervous system activity. 
PharmaGABA is approved for use in Japan as an aid to conquer stress and promote relaxation. It is a very popular ingredient in function foods and beverages as well as dietary supplements designed to produce mental and physical relaxation, without inducing drowsiness. The most popular applications of PharmaGABA at present is in chocolate and coffee beverages. It is particularly helpful in counteracting the effects of caffeine.