Consumers in Japan can buy a new Sicilian Rouge tomato that has been genetically modified to lower blood pressure and promote relaxation. maybe. Sanatech Seed has used CRISPR-Cas9 technology to increase the amount of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) – a natural neurotransmitter often sold as a dietary supplement for its purported calming effects. from natural:
Sanatech has been careful not to claim that tomatoes therapeutically lower blood pressure and promote relaxation. Instead, the company points out, by announcing that consuming GABA, in general, can achieve these effects and that tomatoes contain high levels of GABA. This raised eyebrows in some research circles, given the paucity of evidence supporting GABA as a health supplement.[…]
To support the claim that GABA promotes relaxation, Sanatech points to six studies in humans that examined the effect of GABA consumed orally on stress, mood, fatigue, or sleep. But a systematic review published in 2020 that examined all six of these papers as well as eight others on the topic came to a different conclusion. The authors, who hail from Japan, Australia, and the United Kingdom, summarized: “There is limited evidence for stress and very limited evidence for the sleep benefits of taking oral GABA.”
Sanatech tomatoes, called Sicilian Rouge High GABA, contain about four to five times more GABA than their conventional counterpart, [Sanatech CTO Hiroshi] Azura says. It’s not clear if that would lower blood pressure any more than eating regular tomatoes. Izora says Sanatech has not conducted this type of intervention study, although it plans to do so. The company is working to complete an additional notification with the Japanese government regarding the health benefit claim.
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