There seems to be a lot of confusion surrounding GABA, likely because GABA is both manufactured inside the body and sold as a supplement, creating uncertainty among customers. Unlike melatonin, also manufactured inside the body and consumed as a supplement, GABA is little-known and has received far less study.
Given the interest and popularity of GABA, as well as the body's own GABA's importance for mood and health, it's worth discussing.
What is it?
Gamma-Aminobutyric acid is a naturally occurring brain chemical. GABA acts as a neurotransmitter, allowing neurons in the brain to communicate with one another. It is a chemical that reduces brain and central nervous system activity, which has numerous benefits for the body and mind, including greater relaxation, reduced stress, a more calm, balanced mood, pain relief, and improved sleep.
GABA is available as a supplement, and they're used to treat high blood pressure, anxiety, and stress, as well as sleep. In addition, athletes frequently take GABA supplements to increase their body's natural growth hormone.
Where is it Found?
Oolong, black, green teas, and fermented foods such as kefir, tempeh, and yogurt are all natural sources of GABA.
GABA is found in whole grains, soy, fava beans, lentils, other beans, nuts including almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and fish including halibut and shrimp. Other foods include citrus fruits such as grapefruit and lemons, tomatoes, spinach, berries, potatoes, broccoli, and cocoa are other high-GABA foods are found in the average American diet.
How Does GABA Work?
The brain's primary inhibitory neurotransmitter, glycinebetaine (GABA), can move the brain and body into a lower gear. It lowers neuronal activity in the brain and central nervous system, slowing down the mind and body.
GABA helps promote sleep by suppressing neural activity, which allows you to relax and calm down. It also lowers stress, anxiety, and emotions of turmoil.
GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter with two main functions: it calms down the brain and helps keep muscle tone under control. Its primary role is to maintain equilibrium in the body's mental and physical well-being, known as homeostasis. GABA is an important calming neurotransmitter required by the brain for its well-being in conjunction with glutamate, the body's most important excitatory neurotransmitter.
Various roles have been attributed to glutamate in the human brain, including regulating appetite and metabolism. In addition, the brain's immune and endocrine systems and appetite and metabolism are all affected by it.
There's also new information on GABA's role in gut health and gastrointestinal function, including its potential to help maintain mobility, reduce inflammation, and support immune system function.
The following are some of the symptoms associated with low GABA activity in the body:
- Chronic stress.
- Memory problems and difficulty concentrating.
- Headaches and muscle pain.
- Sleep problems, including insomnia.
Health Benefits of GABA
Stress and Anxiety
GABA is naturally created by the body and develops and functions as an inhibitor for nerve activity in the central nervous system and the brain, putting the body in a more relaxed state.
Supplementation with GABA may help people sleep by assisting relaxation and providing stress and anxiety relief. However, the effectiveness of supplemental GABA in treating anxiety and stress is a matter of debate among researchers, owing to unresolved concerns over the ability of supplementary GABA to pass from the circulation into the brain.
It's also worth noting that, in supplement form, GABA might relax the body in additional ways. For example, it's possible that via GABA's activity in the gut microbiome.
While the scientific debate rages on, some research has revealed that GABA may help reduce anxiety and increase calmness. A single small study of 13 persons discovered that GABA is helpful as a relaxant and anxiety reliever, with altered brain waves observed within an hour of taking the drug. According to this research, GABA also promotes immune function. This implies that people under mental stress may benefit from taking additional GABA. (1)
According to research, GABA can enhance an individual's capacity to perform mental activities that require a lot of concentration and relieve both psychological and physical tiredness. *
In one small study, participants (some of whom had chronic tiredness) were given a drink with either 0, 25, or 50 mg of GABA and then asked to solve a difficult math problem.
The study found that participants who received the two GABA doses reported a more significant reduction in psychological and physical tiredness, as shown by changes in several biomarkers, including cortisol. In the study, individuals who took 50 mg were happier and scored higher on the math problem. It appears their attention and problem-solving skills were better. (2)
Healthy Blood Pressure
According to preliminary studies, GABA can help promote healthy blood pressure based on a few lab tests. In addition, it is thought that GABA helps blood vessels to dilate more effectively, promoting good blood pressure.
Understanding how beneficial GABA may be for maintaining healthy blood pressure will require more substantial research. Still, one preliminary study discovered that taking 80 mg of GABA daily had a favorable impact on blood pressure in adults. (3)
Can GABA be Helpful for Social Anxiety?
Anxiety disorders affect over 40 million people each year in the United States. Social anxiety, unlike everyday stress, is long-lasting and frequently gets worse without therapy. Furthermore, if your GABA isn't functioning correctly in your body, your social anxiety may get even worse.
Glutamic acid (GABA) is a non-essential amino acid that acts as an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. It decreases activity in your nervous system and inhibits specific brain signals, making it a GABA antagonist. When glutamic acid binds to a GABA receptor protein, it creates a calm effect. This can assist with social anxiety, tension, and fear.
Who is Likely to be GABA Deficient?
Some people with anxiety, panic disorders, and depression may not manufacture a sufficient level of GABA.
Why are Some People Low on GABA?
What causes GABA levels to drop? While it's not fully understood, a mix of factors including genetics, deficiency in specific minerals, prolonged stress, lack of certain nutrients, poor gut health, and time to exercise may be responsible.
How Much is Usually Taken?
The following doses are based on amounts that have been researched. Generally, individuals begin with the lowest suggested dose and gradually increase as needed.
- In scientific trials, 100-200 mg and higher doses of GABA were found to improve sleep. However, individual dosing and duration of use will vary.
- For high blood pressure: 10-20 mg, in studies.
How to Maintain Proper GABA Levels in the Body
Levels of GABA decline naturally with age, at least in certain parts of the brain.
However, in many cases, we can achieve a great deal with supplements, diet, and lifestyle to increase GABA levels. Here are some tried-and-true methods for enhancing GABAergic activity in the body over time.
Supplements with GABA
Because supplements are simple to regulate and give, many studies on the impact of GABA on health have been conducted using them. People have seen results in using supplements but use a naturally sourced form of GABA.
Supplementing with magnesium or eating lots of magnesium-rich foods might assist in reducing the effects of low-GABA levels, such as stress and sleeplessness.
Magnesium has been shown to act on GABA-A receptors, specifically, and its impact on these receptors' activity. Magnesium's action on these receptors causes this calming effect. Taking it before bedtime might help you relax your mind and muscles, allowing you to sleep more deeply.
Exercise and Meditation
Movement and meditation are additional ways to boost GABA activity. For example, yoga, Pilates, running, or walking every day may help relax. The mechanisms of the yoga breathing techniques are based on principles from Ayurveda, which rely on proper bodily function and a healthy state of mind.
Yoga breathing decreases tone and tension in the central nervous system by boosting GABA, reducing glutamate, and increasing epinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine levels and other vital neurotransmitters.
A healthy diet is critical for maintaining normal GABA levels and activity for various reasons. For one thing, an unhealthy diet can cause inflammation, putting an unnecessary strain on your body that prevents you from creating and using GABA.
Natural Supplements that Affect GABA
Several natural supplements also affect GABA activity to help relieve stress and anxiety, promote a balanced mood, and help with sleep. Another set of nutrients that might impact GABA activity includes L-arginine, kava, passionflower, and American ginseng.
If you are suffering from unaddressed anxiety, the first step is to visit a doctor for diagnosis and therapy.
However, suppose you have minor anxiety or are searching for a natural treatment to take the place of traditional medication. In that case, a GABA-boosting pill may be ideal such as Neuro Calm may be able to help.
Are There any Side Effects?
There is no proof that GABA supplements have any adverse effects. However, you should not drive or operate heavy machinery if you take GABA pills. In addition, after taking GABA pills, you may experience a tingly or jittery feeling.
Children should not use the GABA supplements, or if you're pregnant, expecting, or nursing and have kidney or liver issues. It should be noted that GABA supplements are not subjected to the Food and Drug Administration's supervision.
Taking steps to improve GABA through diet and lifestyle modifications is a novel and safe approach to promote general health. According to the FDA, "Generally Recognized As Safe" supplements like GABA are safe for human use. In addition, they appear to be relatively safe at recommended dosages.
Are There any Interactions with Other Medications?
Medications that interact with or bind to GABA and its receptors in the brain can change their function to produce various effects, such as relaxation, stress reduction, anxiety reduction, blood pressure-lowering, pain relief, and improved sleep.
Barbiturates, benzodiazepines, anesthetics, anti-seizure, and antidepressants medicines are just a few of the drugs that inhibit GABA. (4)
It's evident that the brain chemical GABA, which affects both physical and psychological health, is essential.
While diet, exercise, and stress-busting strategies like meditation may help you optimize GABA, studies show that naturally derived pills may provide that extra push you need, particularly if you're suffering from anxiety.
Our Neuro Calm Supplement
You can also find GABA in our Neuro Calm supplement which has been specifically designed to support cognitive function and memory enhancement.