When you’re deep in stress-out mode, it can be difficult to view your stress in a scientific, biological sense. Stress makes your emotions run high, so when you’re stressing-out, it’s hardly the time for a biology review.


But, understanding the science behind the stress can better equip you to handle stressful situations. It’s important to know what goes on inside your body when you feel stressed and the effects it has on your physical and mental health.


So, What is Stress?

Man with head in hands feeling stressed


Stress is our reaction to our internal and external environment, as well as our inner thoughts and feelings. Stress is our body's natural response to dangers. You may know it as the "fight or flight" mechanism.


This response involves a complex biochemical/hormonal process, and it begins in the central nervous system...


Excitatory and Inhibitory Neurotransmitters


Our central nervous system, (CNS), is a complex matrix of neurons, neurochemicals and hormones. There are two kinds of neurotransmitters (NT) – inhibitory and excitatory.


Excitatory Neurotransmitters are what stimulate the brain. Some excitatory neurotransmitters are dopamine, histamine and glutamine.


Inhibitory Neurotransmitters are the ones that create calm in the brain and create balance. Some inhibitory neurotransmitters are serotonin and GABA.


Inhibitory neurotransmitters work synergistically to counterbalance the excitatory neurotransmitters. These inhibitory NTs balance mood and are easily depleted when the excitatory neurotransmitters are overactive.


GABA and Serotonin Neurotransmitters

3D rendering of Neurotransmitters with electrical pulses


The inhibitory neurotransmitters serotonin and GABA downregulate the excitatory neurotransmitters.


Serotonin is the feel-good neurotransmitter. Serotonin regulates many other functions in the body as well, including pain control, digestion appropriation, carbohydrate cravings and the sleep cycle. Low levels of serotonin can also result in poor immune system function.


5-HTP (Hydroxytryptophan) is a naturally occurring amino acid and the chemical precursor to serotonin and melatonin.


GABA’s main function is to reduce anxiety. Of course, you are never calmer and more relaxed than when you are sleeping, and sleep is one of GABA’s foremost priorities.


GABA also has a hand in learning and memory. Have you ever experienced racing or repetitive thoughts like a hamster on a wheel? Especially at night when it’s time to shut it down? I like to think of GABA as turning off the hamster mind.


For those who have the genetic mutation of GAD1, too much GABA may have a reverse effect because it can convert into glutamine the excitatory neurotransmitter.


Types Of Stress

 A man clutching hands together in stress


There are many different types of stress:


⦁ Physical stress: exercise, hard labor, birth.


⦁ Chemical stress: environmental pollution, such as exposure to pesticides and cleaning solvents, and the personal use of chemicals, such as drugs, alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine.


⦁ Mental stress: high responsibility, long hours, perfectionism, anxiety, and worry.


⦁ Emotional stress: anger, fear, frustration, sadness, betrayal, bereavement.


⦁ Nutritional stress: vitamin and mineral deficiencies, protein or fat excesses or deficiencies, food allergies.


⦁Traumatic stress: infection, injury, burns, surgery, extreme temperatures.


⦁ Spiritual or Psychological stress: career pressure, financial or relationships; issues with your general state of happiness, life goals or spiritual mindset.


How To Calm Stress

Woman applying calming cream to hands


For individuals suffering from stress, anxiety, depression or insomnia, there are serious chemical imbalances in the brain that cause these symptoms.


Very often one can re-balance these disturbances by changing the body chemistry through diet and natural remedies such as Calming Cream by Neurobiologics.


Neurobiologix Calming Cream




Besides containing 5HTP, L’Theanine and magnesium, the new Calming Cream formula is now enhanced with Phenibut, which is the commercial name for beta-phenyl-gamma-aminobutyric acid.


For Those Who Have the Genetic Mutation Gad1


Phenibut is derived from GABA, but because the phenyl group has been added to GABA it is more easily able to penetrate the blood brain barrier, therefore it allows the low dose of phenibut to have a stronger impact on the brain to improve cognitive functions, lower anxiety and enhance sleep, as has been reported.


Best of Health!

Radhia Gleis


Radhia Gleis, PhD, Med, CCN, is a certified Clinical Nutritionist/Holistic Practitioner, Wellness Director for Martins Compounding & Wellness Pharmacies with three locations in the Austin area. Contact [email protected]