GABA

Background

Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid – GABA is a naturally occurring amino acid neurotransmitter with central nervous system (CNS) inhibitory activity. GABA’s function is to bind to neurons and reduce their activity, working as a natural calming agent. Such effect results in the reduction of anxiety and promotes relaxation. GABA is produced in the brain from glutamate and the process is catalyzed by the active form of vitamin B6 and the enzyme glutamate decarboxylase (GAD).[1]

Benefits

GABA is a neurotransmitter that helps send messages between the brain and the nervous system. The health benefits of GABA supplementations are numerous ranging from improving your mood, ability to focus, promoting relaxation, and helping to control stress. Supplementing GABA may have some nootropic benefits. The GABA benefits include –

  • Relieves Anxiety and Depression [3]
  • Improves Mood [4]
  • People report It enhances Concentration
  • Promotes Sleep [7]
  • Relieves Symptoms of PMDD [8]
  • Decreases Inflammation [9]
  • Improves Focus in ADHD [10]
  • Increases Levels of Growth Hormone [11]
  • Reduces Blood Sugar in Diabetics [12]
  • Helps people with Epilepsy and Spasticity Syndromes [13]

GABA is known as a natural calming agent. It is the second most prevalent neurotransmitter in our brains and is vital for proper brain functioning. It also helps our bodies make endorphins that make us feel happy and offer us a sense of general well-being.[2]
GABA can work effectively as a natural relaxant and its effects can be seen within 1 hour of its administration to induce relaxation and diminish anxiety. Moreover, GABA administration can enhance immunity under stress conditions.[5]

How it works

GABA is one of the more potent depressive neuroactive peptides in human brain tissue and it is involved in a wide range of suppressive and depressive activities intimate with the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). It is synthesized directly from the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate via the enzyme glutamate decarboxylase and can be reverse transformed to glutamate via the tricarboxylic acid cycle. However, highly important in the brain, oral ingestion of GABA is complex due to its difficulty in crossing the blood brain barrier.[6]
GABA or Gamma-aminobutyric acid, converted from the principal excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate in the brain, plays a role in regulating neuronal excitability by binding to its receptors, GABA-A and GABA-B, and thereby causing ion channel opening, hyperpolarization and eventually inhibition of neurotransmission.
Chronic brain syndromes can also be marked by deficiency of GABA; GABA has many promising uses in therapy. Cerebrospinal fluid levels of GABA may be useful in diagnosing very serious diseases. Vitamin B6, manganese, taurine and lysine can increase both GABA synthesis and effects, while aspartic acid and glutamic acid probably inhibit GABA effects. The brain’s principal inhibitory neurotransmitter, GABA, along with serotonin and norepinephrine, is one of several neurotransmitters that appear to be involved in the pathogenesis of anxiety and mood disorders.[1]

Considerations

GABA may have some known side effects, all of which appear to be mild when taken in moderate doses. Side effects include increased heart rate, rapid breathing, tingling or tickling sensations on the skin, and drowsiness. GABA side effects normally go away as soon as onset.
Due to GABA’s inability to cross the blood-brain barrier, it is not understood to be able to reliably provide effects. Some people use GABAergic supplements such as Lemon Balm or Theanine if GABA supplementation does not work for them.

Recommendations

The appropriate dosage for GABA may vary from person to person. Many users find it beneficial to take between 250mg-750mg, two or three times a day. Some who take GABA for insomnia usually take between 500mg-750mg once, right before bedtime. However, you are not recommended to take GABA in dosages exceeding 1500mg per day.

Sources