Neuroscientists have created a new category of non-alcoholic ‘spirit’ designed to mimic the feel-good effects of alcohol.
Gaba Spirits has been developed by Gaba Labs, a pioneering team of scientists led by professor of neuropsychopharmacology David Nutt, which aims to develop beverage ingredients that take consumers ‘beyond ethanol’.
The scientists have chosen to specifically target the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) system in the brain, which is known for producing a calming effect.
Gaba is thought to play a major role in controlling nerve cell hyperactivity associated with anxiety, stress and fear.
Speaking to The Spirits Business, Nutt explains: “You’ve heard of dopamine, you’ve heard of serotonin, but there’s 100 times more Gaba in the brain than either of those transmitters. And Gaba and glutamate are the two transmitters in the brain that actually make the brain do the work.
“Gaba is the fundamental neurotransmitter in the brain, and it turns out that the most of the desired effects of alcohol by [the majority of] people are mediated through Gaba.”