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The New Anti-anxiety Formula That Helps Keep Stress-related Conditions Like Depression At Bay

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Not all stress is bad and in small doses it can be a great motivator. As Dr Bruce Mc Ewan, professor and head of the neuroendocrinology lab at Rockefeller University, in New York, says: I think of stress as a word that we give to a challenge of any kind. And when we are challenged, our body system produces mediators, hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, which help to get us going and actually do all sorts of good things that keep us alive.

But long-term or chronic stress can lead to an over-exposure to these hormones, cautions Dr Mc Ewan, which if left unchecked can result in anxiety and soon leave you feeling unable to cope. Worse still, it can also eventually lead to physical illness.

According to the Stress Management Society, a UK-based non-profit making organisation that provides advice on stress and well-being issues, numerous studies show that long-term, chronic stress has a negative impact on health and is implicated in everything from fatigue and depression to high blood pressure and heart disease. Worryingly, around 30 per cent of us suffer from this kind of stress on a daily basis. 

To counter the ravages of negative stress, a new formula has been developed Balance for Nerves. It contains the calming mineral magnesium, along with other renowned anti-stress compounds including the B vitamins, hops, passion flower and two therapeutic amino acids glutamine and taurine.

Its been designed to help strengthen the nervous system, prevent the depletion of all-important stress-relieving nutrients (a common side effect of stress that often occurs regardless of how healthy your diet is), and generally helps you get through difficult times more smoothly.

Glutamine has a unique ability to cross the blood-brain barrier

The amino acid glutamine has been included in Balance for Nerves as it helps maintain brain function and is a precursor of GABA another amino acid that plays an important role in controlling stress.

GABA is not only an amino acid but a major inhibitory neurotransmitter (brain chemical) that influences brain function, helping to regulate and inhibit anxiety, muscle spasm and depression. In the last couple of decades, more and more evidence is emerging to suggest that a GABA deficit may be involved in mood disorders and that increasing levels of this substance may exert a mood stabilising effect.

Chronic stress syndrome and anxiety tremendously increase GABA requirements, says Dr Billie Jay Sahley author of GABA The Anxiety Amino Acid and The Anxiety Epidemic (Pain & Stress Publications).

GABA produces a calming effect on the brain by inhibiting the production of other brain chemicals [such as noradrenalin]. These other chemicals tend to increase the brains activities, causing a feeling of loss of control.

However, the problem with GABA is that it doesnt pass through the blood-brain barrier easily, so taking it as a supplement will not increase your brains GABA levels. Glutamine, on the other hand, does pass through the blood-brain barrier, and being a precursor to GABA is able to boost levels of this neurotransmitter in the brain. In fact virtually all of the GABA found in the brain is manufactured there.

Packed full of soothing ingredients that can help you master feelings of anxiety

The second amino acid in Balance for Nerves is taurine, which is also an inhibitory neurotransmitter. It has a calming effect on the brain by preventing brain cell over-activity and blocking the release of the stress hormone adrenaline. According to Dr Sahley, taurine, or a modified taurine, is so effective at combating stress that it may someday supersede synthetic tranquilisers, which can cause a wide range of harmful side effects including dependency.

Magnesium has been added to the formula as it is one of the most important minerals for helping your body cope with stress. Stress-related diseases which run rampant through modern society, like heart attacks and high blood pressure, are often accompanied by magnesium deficiency, says Dr Leo Galland, a leader in the field of nutritional medicine. When magnesium levels are low, the nervous system gets out of balance and the muscles become tight. This can lead to elevated mental stress. Interestingly, sufficient magnesium is required for efficient GABA production.   

Balance for Nerves contains five B vitamins: vitamin B3, B5, B6, B12 and folic acid. The B vitamins are well-known stress relievers that help keep your nervous system functioning properly. During times of stress and illness, your body uses larger than normal amounts of these vitamins, making it paramount to replenish them on a daily basis.

Vitamin B5 or pantothenic acid is of particular importance primarily because of its ability to produce anti-stress hormones in the adrenal glands. Vitamin B6, on the other hand, aids in the formation of several neurotransmitters including GABA, and also serotonin a brain chemical that plays a major role in mood regulation. Low levels of serotonin have been associated with several disorders, such as clinical depression, aggression and anxiety.

The herbs passion flower and hops known as nervines or nerve tonics have a long history of use in traditional medicine for relieving anxiety. In a double-blind four-week study, passion flower extract was found to be just as effective as oxazepam (Serax), a conventional anti-anxiety drug which can cause drowsiness, slurred speech and dizziness as side effects. In addition, hops have been shown to have mild sedative properties, and are often combined with stronger sedative herbs in natural sleep formulas. 

What to take for best results

 The recommended dosage for Balance for Nerves is two capsules taken once or twice a day.

Contraindications: Balance for Nerves should not be taken during pregnancy. You should consult your doctor prior to using it if you are already taking a sedative or tranquiliser.


1. I-Shin Shiah and Lakshmi N. Yatham. GABA function in mood disorders: An update and critical review. Life Sciences 1998;63(15):1289-1303.

2. Waagepetersen HS, Sonnewald U, Schousboe A. The GABA paradox: multiple roles as metabolite, neurotransmitter, and neurodifferentiative agent. J Neurochem 1999;73:1335-42.

3. Akhondzadeh S, Naghavi HR, Vazirian M, et al. Passionflower in the treatment of generalized anxiety: a pilot double-blind randomized controlled trial with oxazepam. J Clin Pharm Ther 2001;26:3637.


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