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GABA, also known as the the amino acid γ-aminobutyric acid, is the most abundant inhibitory chemical messenger within our central nervous system, in fact, 30 to 40% of brain neurons use GABA as a neurotranmistter.

GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is an amino acid that plays a role as a neurotransmitter by inhibiting the transmission of nerve impulses, especially in situations of nervousness, helping to calm states of excitation. GABA is therefore a "natural sedative" for the brain.

Its presence within the nervous tissue guarantees a balance between excitation and neural inhibition, something vital in the maintenance of sensory, cognitive and motor functions.

Taking the above into account, we would be right in thinking that imbalances in GABA related functions may trigger the development of various neurological and psychiatric disorders, such as anxiety, depression, insomnia or even drug addiction.

According to clinical studies, it has been shown that GABA dietary supplements contribute to promoting relaxation and calming nerves, especially in situations of arousal, anxiety, or stress. It also reduces worry and obsessive thoughts, and promotes a deep and restful sleep.

New research is currently under way to verify the possible link between low levels of GABA receptors and depression, as well as motor neuron problems and seizure disorders.

GABA, unlike painkillers and common prescription psychiatric drugs, has no risk of dependence or the other harmful side effects of these medications.

The health benefits of GABA

As we get older, GABA levels in the brain reduce, therefore GABA activity is lower.

This, among other factors, may be the trigger for the emergence of various disorders and diseases associated with ageing, such as an increased vulnerability to stress, depression, sleep disorders and even loss of cognitive faculties (memory, coordination, etc.).

Moreover, GABA promotes the synthesis of growth hormone (GH), one of the most important hormones in the body, which is produced and secreted by the pituitary gland.

Growth hormone is, among other things, vital for increasing muscle mass and also has significant anti-ageing properties which are very beneficial for the prevention of various diseases.

GABA is a natural food complement, with soothing effects, which can be a great alternative to various drugs such as sedatives (anxiolytics, painkillers) and sleeping pills.

Among the multiple benefits of GABA receptors are the following:

  • They reduce anxiety
  • Calm the nerves
  • Fight insomnia
  • Reduce irritability
  • Promote the release of growth hormone
  • Aid the functioning of the immune system

Reduction of stress and anxiety

The health benefits of GABA are the result of a synergistic process:

  1. GABA blocks nerve transmission of motor neurons in tense situations. It functions as a receptor that inhibits and reduces anxiety. This helps the person feel more relaxed and get better sleep.
  2. Nervousness and lack of sleep can weaken the immune system, triggering the emergence of all kinds of diseases and health problems. GABA helps keep the immune system in tip-top conditions.

Normally, the most common symptoms of stress are:

  • Irritability
  • Fear
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Increased susceptibility to disease and suffering more health problems

Benefits of GABA for depression, epilepsy and other disorders

Depressive States appear to be accompanied by a low level of GABA. Clinical investigations have found other benefits of this neurotransmitter in improving various health problems, including depression, epilepsy, convulsions and motor neuron disorders, such as Parkinson's disease and Tourette's Syndrome.

A study conducted in 2006 found that women who suffer from postpartum depression have low levels of GABA receptors.

A similar study, showed that patients who suffer from chronic depression also have low levels of this neurotransmitter. However, studies that measure the real effects of dietary GABA supplements on the reduction of depression still haven't been done.

More clinical studies are currently underway to assess the properties that GABA supplements may have on seizures, since it has been shown that people who suffer from seizures or epilepsy have low levels of these receptors.

The latest research has shown that reduced levels of GABA are associated with motor neuron disorders, such as Tourette's syndrome, and Parkinson's. A study published in 2014 suggests that increased levels of GABA improves movement control and reduces seizures in patients with Tourette's syndrome.

GABA and pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS)

Several studies show that there are low levels of GABA in plasma and cerebrospinal fluid in persons with mood disorders. It has been detected that women suffering from premenstrual syndrome have lower levels of GABA, compared with women who do not suffer from these symptoms. 

Therefore, taking a GABA product can help in coping with this disorder and in improving women's moods during this period.

GABA and growth hormone increase

Several scientific studies demonstrate that taking GABA supplements increases the release of GH and thereby also stimulates the development of muscle mass and accelerates the recovery process.

The taking of this amino acid, along with proper physical training, aids in the increase of muscle, fat loss and better recovery. The results of taking GABA may be seen after taking it for 8 weeks.

Another advantage of GABA supplements for athletes, is that it functions as a pain inhibitor.

Competition athletes that habitually take GABA products, usually perceive a reduction in the pain associated with training. Therefore, this amino acid increases the pain tolerance threshold.

Who can be helped by GABA supplements?

GABA supplements help people who feel weak, have a low state of mind, feel depressed or are experiencing any of these symptoms:

A clinical study on the efficacy of dietary GABA supplements found that anxiety was considerably reduced after its ingestion . During this study it was observed that the 13 subjects who took GABA had reduced anxiety levels and showed a more relaxed state in less than an hour.

In another clinical study, it was observed that taking GABA in nervous situations not only produced a lessening of fear but that it also helps increase immunoglobulin levels. This shows that GABA nutritional supplements also improve the immune system.

Several studies show that taking GABA can be a key tool for the treatment of addiction to drugs such as cocaine, heroin, alcohol and nicotine.

It is very beneficial for women with PMS, who often have depressive episodes.

Athletes can also benefit from taking this amino acid, because it aids the release of growth hormone (which means that it helps the body to recover after training, develope muscle mass more easily, and lose fat more quickly).

Studies on the benefits of the consumption of GABA nutritional supplements still haven't been finalised, but it has been demonstrated that people who take them on a regular basis experience a reduction in the state of anxiety, and can fall asleep more easily.

How can we naturally increase GABA levels?

Alternatively, those who cannot take GABA may take plant extracts and dietary supplements that also increase gamma-aminobutyric acid in the brain. These include:

  • Extract of lemon balm and valerian.
  • L-theanine.
  • Magnesium. Magnesium links with gamma-aminobutyric acid receptors and activates them.
  • Taurine. According to a clinical study published in 2008, taurine increases GABA levels.
  • Pasiflora. Passion flower extract also has a calming effect and helps to increase the level of GABA in the brain.

Does GABA have side effects?

An excessive intake of GABA can cause fatigue, tiredness and drowsiness. In this case, the dose should be reduced and the side effects will immediately disappear. People experiencing fatigue when taking GABA during the day should take a GABA dietary supplement, preferably before bedtime.

GABA toxic interactions

GABA can cause interactions if taken along with some antidepressants or other psychotropic drugs prescribed for patients suffering from bipolar disorder. In this case GABA should not be taken.

To date, no serious side effects of taking GABA have been observed. However, there may be isolated cases of people who perceive an itching sensation in the skin, breathing problems as well as a slight increase in heartbeat, although not to a worrying degree.

Pregnant or lactating women, as well as persons under continued medical control should consult their specialist before taking it.

There are no studies on the effects of GABA in pregnant and lactating women, but it is recommended not to take it for safety reasons.

GABA therapy should be done under strict medical control at all times.

Recommended dose for GABA

GABA dosage should be tailored to each specific personal situation. For the treatment of anxiety, the recommended dose is 100 to 200 mg daily, divided into three portions, one of which must be before bedtime. Starting with a smaller amount and gradually increasing the dose according to the observed results is recommended.

To promote the release of growth hormone, GABA should be taken immediately before going to sleep, not during the day. This is basically because the release of growth hormone takes place two hours after falling sleep.

The sedative effect produced by GABA makes sleep very refreshing. It is also essential to wait at least 45 minutes after your last meal before taking GABA.

To achieve a calming effect, this amino acid should be taken during meals. GABA may also be a suitable product for children with hyperactivity symptoms and/or concentration problems.

However, a doctor should be consulted first.

Other names for GABA

GABA is also known as Phenibut acid and γ-aminobutyric acid, beta-phenyl acid and gamma - butyric acid.

Buy GABA supplements online

At our online shop HSNstore, you can buy GABA products at the best prices, to help relax body and mind during nervous situations and to help promote a restful sleep.