Effect of GABA-fortified oolong tea on reducing stress in a university student cohort

Tina Hinton, Herbert F. Jelinek, Vincent Viengkhou, Graham A. Johnston, Slade Matthews

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


GABA-containing tea has gained popularity as an accessible intervention to reduce the impact of chronic stress-induced autonomic imbalance and increased risk for cardiovascular disease despite a lack of evidence concerning the γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) content in a cup of the tea and its effects on physiological and psychological stress as measures of cognitive function. We aimed to measure the effects of GABA-fortified tea consumption on heart rate variability (HRV) and stress in 30 participants using a pre-post cohort study design. Ten minute lead II ECG recordings were analyzed with Kubios software. Frequency domain parameters including total power, high and low frequency power, along with heart rate, were determined. A control group that consumed a non-fortified tea was included in the research. Statistical analysis was by two-way ANOVA for two-group comparison with time as an interaction and a significance level of p < 0.05. Oolong tea consumption led to a significant decrease in the immediate stress score and a significant improvement in HRV. We conclude that autonomic imbalance and HRV in people with acute stress is significantly reduced following a cup of GABA fortified oolong tea and highlights the complex interaction between autonomic nervous system function and mood.

Original languageBritish English
Article number27
JournalFrontiers in Nutrition
StatePublished - 26 Mar 2019


  • Autonomic nervous system
  • GABA
  • Heart rate variability
  • Oolong tea
  • Stress


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