TEA & AUTISM – What’s the connection?


A new study has shown that our Amber GABA Oolong may help people with Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC). We meet Dr Anna Joyce who is one of the researchers of the study to discuss the study and what this might mean for future research.


(if anyone wants to read the full study without paying then I can send on an individual basis but cannot share publicly – please email requesting a copy of the study)

GABA (gamma-amino butyric acid) is a neurotransmitter which helps to balance out hyperreactivity in the brain and has been implicated in the control of conditions such as anxiety and sleep disorders. GABAergic neurons are thought to have a crucial role in emotional processing, sensory discrimination and this may impact motor skills.

Features of Autism tend to be over-excitability of the senses (visual, tactile and auditory) which can affect sensorimotor skills (balance, dexterity, stress, sleep and emotional processing. Since GABA is the main neurotransmitter for reducing over-excitability, it stands to reason to figure out how GABA is involved in ASC (Autism Spectrum Condition).

It turns out that people with Autism have much lower GABA levels in their brains than typical brains. This is due to structural and functional differences in the parts of the brain which produce GABA as well as a likelihood that the conversion process of Glutamate to GABA is impaired in people with ASC. Therefore, the sensory overloading in people with Autism is likely to be related to this reduced GABA and supplementing with GABA may be useful.

We supplied Coventry University with a selection of teas and tisanes with varying GABA and L-Theanine levels to use in a study with children with Autism and they have had very encouraging results.

Statistically, participants who drank Amber GABA Oolong tea daily had an overall improvement in manual dexterity, balance, reduction in stress, less sensory excitability and a reduced level on the Autism Spectrum Scale. This is compared with a placebo tisane that actually had some GABA content and therefore may actually have even better results compared with drinking no tea or tisanes at all.

This is a small feasibility study so it is far from conclusive but certainly warrants larger studies. A sensible conclusion for anyone with Autism or who have children with Autism is that it is worth trying to supplement with a few cups of GABA tea every day – it cannot be harmful so give it a try!

Normal Oolong tea contains around 10-30mg of GABA per 100g. For a tea to qualify as GABA tea it must contain at 150mg of GABA per 100g. Our Amber GABA has been tested to have over 200mg. The farmers achieve this by alternating the leaves between air and a vacuum environment during the oxidation phase. This is done over a matter of hours and naturally increases the GABA levels in the tea leaves.



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