Anxiety and depression are prominent psychiatric illnesses in today’s society. Currently available neuropsychiatric medicines are either simply not effective for many patients or present serious side effects. ExcitaCalm GABA L-Theanine Topical Cream combines two substances that are prominent in the literature as potential treatments for anxiety and depression: The neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid, abbreviated as GABA, and a unique amino acid, L-theanine.
GABA is produced in the body, particularly in the central nervous system (CNS), from its precursor, the common amino acid L-glutamic acid, or L-glutamate. An enzyme known as L-glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) converts L-glutamate into GABA. (Pyridoxal phosphate, or Vitamin B6, serves as a cofactor in this process). In the literature, GABA has been described as an inhibitory neurotransmitter. That is, it acts in the nerve synapses (junctions between nerve cells transmitting and receiving electrochemical signals) to decrease or modulate the electrochemical activities between these cells. It is interesting to note that L-glutamate, the GABA precursor, can act as an excitatory neurotransmitter. From a whole-body standpoint, inhibitory neurotransmission by GABA has positive effects on neuromuscular relaxation. Accordingly, increased levels of GABA in the CNS can result in relaxant and anticonvulsant (antiepileptic) effects as well as alleviating symptoms of anxiety and depression. In fact, the concept that GABA deficiencies or dysfunctions contribute to various mood disorders and CNS diseases such as epilepsy (the GABAergic hypothesis) has become increasingly prominent in the scientific literature.
There are quite a few medications that act as GABA agonists, capable of increasing GABA concentrations by various mechanisms. One example is the benzodiazepines (trade names such as Valium ®, Librium ®, Halcion ®, Ativan ®, Xanax ®, and Klonopin ® among others) used to treat anxiety and other depressive disorders. They act by binding to certain GABA receptors; blocking these receptors essentially results in higher free CNS concentrations of GABA. However, the benzodiazepines often have major side effects, notably drug tolerance, in which doses must be ever increased to maintain effectiveness, and drug dependency or addiction. Other, newer neuropsychiatric agents, such as gabapentin (Neurontin ®) and pregabalin (Lyrica ®), are structural analogs of GABA. Initially designed and developed as anticonvulsants (antiepileptic agents) rather than as antidepressants or antianxiety agents, such drugs may either directly mimic the effects of GABA or act as GABA agonists by other mechanisms that may or may not involve GABA receptors. Regardless of mechanism, while these so-called GABAergic drugs may have fewer side effects than older medications, issues related to tolerance, dependency and addiction need to be addressed. Still, the use of these drugs highlights the importance of elevating GABA levels as a means of treating anxiety and depression. Another beneficial effect of elevated GABA levels is decreased neuropathic pain in persons suffering from such diseases as diabetic neuropathy and postherpetic neuralgia resulting from herpes virus infections.
The second ingredient in ExcitaCalm GABA L-Theanine Topical Cream is L-theanine (chemically, gamma-glutamylethylamide). Like L-glutamate, L-theanine is an amino acid, but don’t confuse L-theanine with the amino acid L-threonine. Unlike L-glutamate and L-threonine (as well as the other 18 amino acids commonly found in all living organisms) L-theanine is an uncommon amino acid, primarily found in the green tea plant (Camellia sinensis), plus two other Camellia species. As L-theanine is concentrated in the leaves, it is present in preparations of green tea consumed as a beverage around the world. Therapeutically, L-theanine has been used as a relaxant, but it also has potential in the treatment of anxiety and depression. For instance, in a Japanese study, human subjects administered L-theanine showed increases in an induced relaxation response, alpha-brainwave activity. Moreover, although the stimulant, caffeine, is found in green tea, L-theanine appears capable of at least partially counteracting the stimulant effect of green tea, owing to L-theanine’s relaxant attributes. In addition to being an uncommon amino acid, L-theanine has an unusual pharmacological property: Unlike the common amino acids, L-theanine can cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB). The BBB is a membrane that physically separates the blood vessels from the CNS, preventing many chemicals from passing into the CNS (and the brain) from the bloodstream. An intact BBB is important, as it helps protects the CNS from damage by chemicals and infectious agents. However, the barrier role of the BBB is a two-edged sword for persons suffering from anxiety, depression, and other brain and CNS disorders (including CNS infections such as meningitis and life-threatening physical diseases such as brain tumors). This is because many medicines with the potential for treating these diseases simply cannot cross through the BBB.
The mechanism(s) by which L-theanine might exert its relaxant, antianxiety and antidepressant effects have not been clearly elucidated in the scientific literature. With a chemical structure that is similar to that of L-glutamate, it has been suggested that L-theanine can act as a GABA agonist, capable of increasing CNS GABA levels. However, there have been conflicting results with respect to effects on levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Many antianxiety and antidepressant drugs, including Nardil ®, Moclodura ®, Elavil ®, Pamelor ®, Prozac ®, Paxil ® and Zoloft ® act by increasing serotonin levels through various mechanisms, but with numerous side effects. However, in separate experiments conducted by Professor Hidehiko Yokogoshi and colleagues at the University of Shizuoka, Japan, L-theanine could either increase or decrease serotonin levels in the brains of rats. It is speculated that these inconsistent effects may be related to the doses of L-theanine or to other variables in experimental design. One well-characterized biological effect of L-theanine is increased production of another neurotransmitter, dopamine. As L-theanine has the ability both to cross the BBB and increase dopamine levels, L-theanine could be useful for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, a movement disorder related to dopamine deficiency.
Beyond its uses in treating CNS disorders, L-theanine has been investigated as both an individual anticancer agent and as a potentiator of the activity of cancer chemotherapeutic agents. L-Theanine also has antioxidant activity (though less than that of green tea polyphenols) that may help to protect normal cells from oxidative damage by these same chemotherapeutic agents. The antioxidant properties of L-theanine, as well as reported antihypertensive activities, also may contribute to cardiovascular health.
Ingredients: Deionized Water, Medium Chain Triglycerides, Shea Butter, Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA), Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearic Acid, Lecithin, L-Theanine, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate, Potassium Sorbate, Xanthan
For external use only.
Massage three full pumps into thin area of the skin 2-3 times daily or as directed by your healthcare provider. (Temples, wrist, forearms etc.)
Store in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight