Understanding the Science Behind Kavalactones

Science Behind Kava Chemotypes | Root of Happiness

Lactones plus the kava root equals greatness. In this world full of noise and chaos, kavalactones can bring peace and calm. They give you relaxation when you feel tense. They give you an alert mind when you need to calm down and focus at the same time.

Kavalactones can even help you sleep better. But, what exactly are they?

Kavalactones Defined

The compounds that make up the chemotype of kava root are kavalactones. This root originates from the piper methysticum plant found only in the Pacific Islands. Farmers in locations like Hawaii and Fiji harvest strands of the roots, and export them to suppliers around the world.

Kava, when mixed with water, release psychoactive elements. There are about eighteen kavalactones known at this time. Out of those eighteen, kava typically only contains six types of them.

Kavalactones only make up about 15 percent of the kava root. Interestingly, kava root contains many non-kavalactone components. These include water that is most of the root and starch. Other non-kavalactone components are fiber, starch and protein.

Chalconoids or flavokavains are gaining a lot of interest from researchers due to its biological actions on the body. Some even state flavokavain A has benefits in fighting cancer cells. 

Kavalactone Types

The six common types of kavalactones associated with giving you the euphoric and calming affects you desire are: desmethoxyyangonin, dihydrokavain, yangonin, kavain, dihydromethysticin, and methysticin.

Depending on how the chemotypes are ordered, you can feel anywhere from slightly sedated to a deep sleep to a relaxed socially happy effect. Each kava chemotype has distinctive characteristics and knowing the difference between them all can help prevent any surprise effects.

Kavalactones work in specific areas of the body and the brain. Some boost energy, while others calm you down when you have too much energy. Some kavalactones help with pain relief, while others help you reach a sedative like effect.

Effects of Different Kavalactone Types

Depending on the mood and feelings you desire, knowing the specific kavalactone components will ensure you reach your goal. Keep reading to learn which kavalactones will meet your needs.

Increase Dopamine

Dopamine chemicals in the brain and gut, when boosted, give you a feeling of euphoria. You enjoy a small high while also feeling relaxed and calm.

A dopamine imbalance makes you feel overly tired, experience sadness for no apparent reason, and produces an inability to concentrate. You may also notice you can’t find pleasure in activities that normally you enjoyed.

The kavalactone desmethoxyyangonin is labeled with a “1”. Brain chemicals such as dopamine increase when triggered by the kavalactone desmethoyyangonin.

People who drink kava have reported feeling happier and more interested in socialization. Kava is also associated with helping you stay mentally aware and alert. Kava has qualities that help fight the effects of low dopamine.

Increase GABA

GABA is the chemical associated with reducing anxiety. It works on your nervous system to regulate emotions. GABA helps you counter excitability that is getting out of hand. This chemical is responsible for enhancing immunity and relaxing you during periods of feeling overwhelmed.

A deficiency of GABA can lead to irritable bowel syndrome, worry, fear, and tension throughout your body. Over time, a deficiency can lead to mood problems and even psychological disorders.

There are some kavalactones that help to increase GABA.

Dihydrokavain is “2” in the list of kavalactone types. This component enhances GABA chemicals in the brain, promoting relaxation and reducing tension in the body.

The Science Behind Kavalactones | Root of Happiness

Calms Nerves

Yangonin is listed as “3” and Kavain is “4”. These can work on the central nervous system to produce relaxing and calming effects. They may also help you get a good night’s sleep.

Many believe that Kavain is some of the best types of kava to mix for drinking. Meaning, kava powders with the number “4” in the first two or three numbers identifying the kavalactone will likely give you the best effects.

The central nervous system controls your thought processes and sensations throughout the body. Occasionally, these processes and sensations do not function properly, causing your body to have negative sensations.

Negative sensations can produce stress, insomnia, and pain to name a few. Drinking kava works with the nervous system to help calm you down. It is so relaxing it can help you get a better night’s sleep. Some claim kava helps relieve minor pains and aches.

Increase Serotonin

Dihydromethysticin is “5” and Methysticin is “6” in the lineup of kavalactones. Both increase serotonin chemicals in the brain. Many of the best kava varieties include either dihydromethysticin or methysticin in the first few numbers of the lineup.

Serotonin is found in the brain and central nervous system, but mostly in the gastrointestinal tract. A deficiency in serotonin can lead to depression and anxiety. Serotonin can regulate mood, appetite, and sleep.

Drinking kava has proven to enhance both mood and sleep, and controls appetite.

Finding Which Type Is Best for You

To avoid guessing which kavalactones you are getting when you consume kava, find a kava supplier with a good reputation. Consulting the American Kava Association is a great starting point. Any supplier registered through this association can be trusted to provide the best kava to consumers.

You can also purchase kava through kava lounges in your area, or kava stores. Many alternative nutritional stores supply kava also. However, they don’t always provide the kava with the most kavalactones.

It is best to have at least 30 percent kavalactones.

A good kava supplier can also work with you to find the correct dosage for your desired effects. They can also explain what to expect, including reverse tolerance, when trying kava for the first time.

Understanding kavalactones is well worth the effort when you are able to enjoy kava.

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