Psychological stress-reducing effect of chocolate enriched with gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in humans: assessment of stress using heart rate variability and salivary chromogranin A

Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2009;60 Suppl 5:106-13. doi: 10.1080/09637480802558508. Epub 2009 May 21.

Abstract

We studied the psychological stress-reducing effect of chocolate enriched with gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), on stress induced by an arithmetic task using changes of heart rate variability (HRV) and salivary chromogranin A (CgA). Subjects ingested 10 g chocolate enriched with 28 mg GABA (GABA chocolate); 15 min after the ingestion, subjects were assigned an arithmetic task for 15 min. After the task, an electrocardiogram was recorded and saliva samples were collected. HRV was determined from the electrocardiogram, and the activity of the autonomic nervous system was estimated through HRV. The CgA concentration of all saliva samples, an index for acute psychological stress, was measured. From HRV, those taking GABA chocolate made a quick recovery to the normal state from the stressful state. The CgA value after the task in those taking GABA chocolate did not increased in comparison with that before ingestion. From these results, GABA chocolate was considered to have a psychological stress-reducing effect.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Algorithms
  • Autonomic Nervous System / physiopathology
  • Cacao* / chemistry
  • Candy*
  • Chromogranin A / metabolism
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Functional Food*
  • Heart Rate
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Saliva / metabolism
  • Stress, Psychological / prevention & control*
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Time Factors
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / administration & dosage*

Substances

  • CHGA protein, human
  • Chromogranin A
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid