‘GABA GABA Hey!’ The Neurotransmitter of Connection, Communication and Creativity - Professor David Nutt talks ‘connection and creativity cocktail’ and how biohacking your GABA nerve system can help us come together and connect with our inner muse-
You and me baby aint nothin’ but mammals? Humans are uniquely positioned in the animal kingdom when it comes to our ability to express our feelings and ideas. A dog can express unconditional love to its owners—or, if you’re a cat owner, perhaps unconditional disdain—and some animals certainly appear more creative in their mating rituals than others. Whether expression and connection stemmed from the need to breed or to pass on information crucial to survival; human expression has evolved to the creative and is an enormous part of who we are as a species.
How do you express yourself? Science has struggled to explain human creativity because it’s a difficult thing to pin down, but we know that creativity is neurodevelopmental. There are genes at play, neurology too, but environmental and social interactions throughout our lives shape our brains. ‘In fact, creativity and authentic self-expression has such a positive impact on our wellbeing and mental health, that centuries humans have been enhancing the release of their inner muse, with mind-and-mood-altering substances.
Recent studies show that around 1 in 10 adults use drugs or alcohol to enhance their creative output, and nearly half of all adults use alcohol to support connection, conversation, and lower inhibitions in social situations. What’s GABA got to do with it? Well, the GABA neurotransmitter enables the flashes of insight and leaps of logic that underlie creative self-expression, improving our ability to solve problems and lets our ideas flow.
Professor David Nutt, Chief Science Officer at GABA Labs and a prominent force driving change in the alcohol space said:
"Many artists and creatives throughout history have used substances to enhance their creative output, but we're only now beginning to understand why and how this works at a neurological level by asking ourselves what is the science behind how substances can impact our brains and neurotransmitters in a positive way to help communication and creativity thrive?
Whilst there are positives to using substances to inspire communication and creativity, it is important to note that alcohol is not the safest method to promote sociability, because it can also lead to impaired judgment, risky behaviour, and addiction. The negative effects of alcohol on the body and mind are well documented, and individuals should be cautious about using it as a means of enhancing creativity or communication.”
Intoxication creation: Ancient Greeks and Romans used wine to stimulate creativity and conversation during symposia (drinking parties). Ancient Chinese communities consumed opium to enter states of heightened consciousness and creative inspiration. Some indigenous cultures around the world have used psychoactive plants like ayahuasca and peyote in spiritual rituals to connect with the divine, explore the subconscious mind, and inspire art and music; and the Surrealists, a group of artists in the early 20th century, experimented with drugs like mescaline and opium to stimulate their creativity and explore the depths of the unconscious mind.
In more modern times, jazz musicians in the 1940s and 50s used marijuana to relax and inspire their improvisational performances. The Beat Generation of the 1950s and 60s used drugs like marijuana and LSD to explore new realms of consciousness and inspire their writing and poetry. The hippie counterculture of the 1960s embraced the use of LSD and other psychedelics as a means of spiritual exploration, creative inspiration, and communal connection. The rave and electronic dance music (EDM) culture of the 1990s and 2000s embraced the use of MDMA (ecstasy) as a means of enhancing the communal and sensory experience of music and dance; and contemporary artists like Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin have spoken openly about their use of drugs and alcohol as a means of inspiration and coping with the pressures of the art world.
David Orren, CEO of GABA Labs, whose mission is to change the face of social drinking, said:
“Throughout history, humans and cultures have used various substances, such as drugs, alcohol, and hallucinogens, to bio-hack their brains and inspire creativity. Many famous artists and writers, such as Ernest Hemingway and Vincent Van Gogh, were known to use substances to enhance their creative output.
However, this phenomenon is not limited to artists alone. In various social settings, alcohol has been used to support connection, conversation, and lower inhibitions. We know that alcohol can help inspire creativity and lower inhibitions, but in today’s day and age and with so many scientific advances, is there a less harmful way that humans can open more to human connection and inspire their inner muse?”
Professor David Nutt, Chief Science Officer at GABA Labs and a prominent force driving change in the alcohol space added: “The GABA neurotransmitter has a crucial role to play in promoting creativity and communication, and we're only scratching the surface of what we can learn about its potential impact."
What is GABA?
- GABA is a naturally occurring stress response mechanism that is active in all plants and animals.
- GABA has been around for billions of years, and our bodies produces it naturally all the time, modulating our levels of relaxation and sense of harmony.
- Consuming high volumes of alcohol leads to all sorts of unpleasant effects but more moderate volumes of alcohol, around one or two units, raise our body’s GABA activity, which is understood to be the reason alcohol is so widely enjoyed.
- GABA Lab’s research led to the identification and combination of natural botanicals that together enhance GABA function from gut to brain.
- GABA Labs are continuing their pioneering research into GABA.
Here are five ways you can stimulate GABA in the brain through creative pursuits:
- Playing an instrument: Playing a musical instrument has been shown to increase GABA levels in the brain. So if you play an instrument or even learn a new one, it could have a positive effect on your brain chemistry.
- Painting or drawing: Engaging in creative activities like painting or drawing can help to reduce anxiety and increase GABA levels in the brain. It can be a relaxing way to let your mind wander and release any built-up tension.
- Writing: Writing, whether it be journaling, poetry, or fiction, can help to release GABA in the brain. Writing allows you to express yourself in a creative and non-judgmental way, which can help to reduce stress and anxiety.
- Dancing: Dancing is not only a great way to exercise, but it can also help to increase GABA levels in the brain. It requires focus, coordination, and creativity, which can all have a positive impact on your brain chemistry.
- Photography: Photography is another creative pursuit that can help to release GABA in the brain. It allows you to explore your environment and express your creativity through visual storytelling. It can be a great way to relax and unwind, while also stimulating your brain.
GABA Lab has launched the world’s first range of functional spirits, SENTIA, and is committed to exploring the potential of GABA in enhancing communication and creativity while promoting responsible and safe consumption practices. By combining cutting-edge neuroscience research with innovative spirit formulas, the two companies hope to unlock the full potential of the GABA neurotransmitter and promote a healthier and more effective approach to creativity and communication.
GABA Labs mission is to create innovative and unique botanical based functional spirits formulas that enhance the drinking experience and promote responsible consumption practices.
To find out more visit https://sentiaspirits.com/ // @sentiaspirits // https://gabalabs.com
For samples of SENTIA Red and Black, to interview Professor David Nutt, Chief Scientific Officer, or speak to David Orren, CEO, or for further information and hi-res images, please contact email@example.com
About SENTIA and GABA Labs
- Brand new to the spirits world, SENTIA has been created by an expert team of scientists and botanists using a powerful blend of botanical ingredients proven to stimulate the ‘GABA’ neurotransmitter activity.
- GABA is responsible for activating that ‘two-drink sweet spot’ sensation in the brain, designed to give drinkers everything we want from alcohol, without the alcohol (light, relaxed and positively social feelings).
- At the heart of SENTIA lies science and innovation from a team led by renowned British neuropsychopharmacologist Professor David Nutt. A prominent force for change in the alcohol space over the past 20 years, David recognized the need to offer a practical ‘solution’ for the increasing number of more mindful drinkers globally, who would like to enjoy the upsides of alcohol, without the alcohol.
- SENTIA is a exciting and innovative functional spirit. It can be enjoyed neat, over ice, with a premium mixer, or in a cocktail. It has been crafted from all-natural ingredients to offer a distinctive flavour journey.
- SENTIA Red and Black will soon make up a trio of Spirits that will launch over 2023, available directly from the brand, at all Planet Organic and via Amazon. RRP £29.00. SENTIA is rapidly becoming available in the premium on trade, off trade and health & wellness retailers throughout 2023.
- Taste: Sweet heady aromatics, rich herbal complexity, and bittersweet spiced berries.
- Moment: SENTIA Red is perfect for after-work intimate drinks and to wind-down for the weekend
- Mood: Designed to help you relax, connect, and harmonize
- Serve: Enjoy 25ml neat, over ice, with a premium tonic and an orange garnish or in a sophisticated cocktail.
- Taste: Spiced pepper warmth, smooth, earthy body, and smoky bitter finish
- Moment: SENTIA Black is for that lunchtime moment, or after-hours gathering, think socialising around a table with a group of friends or colleagues.
- Mood: Designed to stimulate the release of GABA for focus and conviviality
- Serve: Enjoy 25ml neat, over ice, with a soda, ginger beer, or in a sophisticated cocktail.
 Stavia Blunt, The Creative Brain in The Neurology of Music (2010)