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The Chemistry of Calm

Posted by Dan Hunter on

Bad drivers. Screaming children. Looming deadlines. Barking dogs.


There are many potential sources of stress in our lives. Excessive negative stress has a draining impact, taking a toll on our relationships, health, performance at work; really, all aspects of our lives.

These stressors, along with lack of sleep and excess caffeine, are triggers for the body to produce a chemical called cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone released by the body as a response to stress. The presence of cortisol in our bodies can be a very good thing - for instance, it’s what helps us break the sleep cycle and get going in the morning. However, too much cortisol can have devastating impacts on the body.

Symptoms of excess cortisol include:

  • Feelings of stress and anxiety
  • Impaired learning
  • Weakened immune system
  • Increased free radicals in cells (increases risk for cancer!)

What can be done about cortisol? Getting more sleep and cutting out caffeine sound great in theory, but in today’s world this just isn’t always possible. But managing excess cortisol and dealing with its negative effects can be done - and indeed, is only one Take5 shot away!

Take5’s all natural, drug-free blend starts with GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid), an amino acid found in the brain (and also foods such as tomatoes, sunflower seeds, and kimchee). GABA regulates neural excitability by inhibiting the production of cortisol, limiting the stress response. It is also responsible for regulating melatonin production (melatonin causes drowsiness).

Take5 also contains L-theanine,  an amino acid found in green tea. L-theanine is the reason that green tea has been used as a relaxant for thousands of years! L-theanine promotes the production of GABA while improving GABA effectiveness, and has been shown to be even more effective that taking GABA directly! L-theanine also down-regulates excess cortisol and catecholamines (part of the fight-or-flight response), and increases production of dopamine (responsible for the “reward” response in the brain).

The third active ingredient is magnesium. Magnesium also regulates cortisol, and functions as a nerve and muscle relaxant. It also assists in the manufacture of hormones such as serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, sending signals to the brain that convey the “positive sensations of satiety, satisfaction, and relaxation”.

Vitamins B6 and B12 are included for reasons beyond their notable health benefits. Vitamin B6 is necessary for the utilization of GABA and dopamine. Vitamin B12 is crucial in the production of GABA, dopamine and myelin. Myelin effectively insulates neurons to keep nerve impulses working properly.

Taken together, these five ingredients have been shown to reduce anxiety while promoting a feeling of wellness. We hope that you’ll “Take5” the next time life has you stressed!

Daniel Hunter, BE Chemical Engineering, MS Management of Technology