What is GABA? Benefits and Ways to Improve Its Levels

Are you looking to decrease your anxiety levels, boost your mood, and improve sleep? you want to improve your GABA levels. Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain’s primary inhibitory neurotransmitter.

It calms the neurons and keeps the brain from getting overexcited. Though our body naturally produces this neurotransmitter, its reduced levels are linked to neurological disorders like anxiety, depression, insomnia, and PMS.

Fortunately, there are some ways to extend your GABA levels. Here’s an entire guide to GABA, how it works, its uses, and benefits.

What is GABA?

Gamma-aminobutyric acid may be a neurotransmitter that performs the vital job of sending chemical messages through the brain and therefore the systema nervosum and regulates communication between the brain cells.

GABA plays an important role in behavior and the body’s response to worry by reducing the activity of the neurons. GABA helps control fear and anxiety.

Lower levels of GABA within the brain are linked to schizophrenia, depression, sleep disorders, and anxiety.

How does the body manufacture GABA?

GABA is manufactured in tissues from glutaminic acid through the enzyme glutaminic acid decarboxylase, catalyzed by the active sort of vitamin B6, pyridoxal-5-phosphate acting as a cofactor. The beneficial microbes within the gut also synthesize GABA.

Benefits of GABA

  1. Reduces anxiety and improves mood

GABA performs the critical job of reducing nerve excitability, which results in emotions excitability and fear. this is often the rationale why low levels of GABA can cause anxiety disorders.

According to a 2004 report published within the American Journal of Psychiatry, abnormality in GABA neuronal function results in human anxiety disorder (1).

Another study by the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons found that lower levels of GABA can cause panic disorders and mood and anxiety disorders (2).

Several studies have also shown that taking GABA supplements increases alpha brain waves, promotes relaxation, boosts mood, reduces stress and provides anxiolytic activity in both stressed and healthycare subjects.

  1. Improves sleep

According to the Division of Sleep Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard school of medicine, patients with primary insomnia have 30 percent lower GABA levels (3).

Research has shown that GABA can play an important role in improving sleep quality and duration.

It is well established that activation of GABA(A) receptors favor sleep (4). GABA features a sedative effect which naturally induces sleep.

According to one 2005 study published within the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology, simultaneous intake of GABA and AVLE shortened sleep latency by 4.3 minutes and increased non-REM sleep time by 5.1 % (5).

In fact, supplementation with GABA extracts also can help counter sleep disturbance induced by caffeine (6).

  1. Helps affect depression

People that are diagnosed with depression typically have low levels of GABA (7). Treatment of depression also improves GABA levels.

According to a study published within the American Journal of Psychiatry, when patients with severe depression underwent a course of electroshock (ECT), there was a big increase in their occipital cortex GABA concentrations (8).

Thanks to its antidepressant properties, GABA could also be an efficient treatment for depression.

  1. Relief from PMS

The PMS refers to a gaggle of symptoms like anxiety, insomnia, mood swing, and cravings that affect women before menstruation. consistent with research, GABA levels are disrupted by menstruation, and that they decline during the cycle (9).

Research seems to suggest that GABA is often wont to provide relief from the symptoms of PMS. Various studies have shown that GABA is often wont to provide relief from pain and muscle cramps (10, 11).

  1. Improves ADHD

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is characterized by symptoms like impulsivity, hyperactivity, and difficulty in concentrating. Studies have found that children with ADHD have lower levels of GABA concentration.

A study from The Johns Hopkins University of drugs, Baltimore, found that GABA concentration is reduced in children with ADHD as compared to typically developing control subjects (12).

Taking GABA supplements alongside the normal treatment for ADHD can help improve the symptoms.

  1. Helps decrease inflammation

In addition to its anti-anxiety properties, GABA also helps in inhibiting inflammation. Chronic inflammation can cause diseases like cancer, arthritis, and even heart condition. So, GABA could also be helpful within the treatment of those diseases.

According to a 2011 animal-based study, when researchers gave GABA supplements to mice, it reduced the danger of developing rheumatic arthritis, and therefore the mice that did develop arthritis had milder symptoms (13).

  1. Elevates somatotropin

Human somatotropin (HGH) increases muscle strength, lowers the danger of heart condition, improves body composition, and creates stronger bones.

The decrease during this hormone can delay puberty, hamper growth in children, and may also cause sexual dysfunction. Studies have shown that GABA supplements can increase the amount of somatotropin.

During a 2008 study, researchers gave eleven men either GABA supplements or a placebo which was followed by resistance training. The results showed that the lads who took GABA saw a 400 percent rise in their somatotropin levels (14).

How does one know if you’re low on GABA?

Low levels of GABA are linked to several anxiety disorders, mood swings, epilepsy, and pain. GABA deficiency also can cause insomnia and schizophrenia.

A person with low levels of GABA may have symptoms that include nervousness, panic, and feeling of dread. He can also feel overwhelmed without reason and guilty for creating everyday decisions.

A person with GABA deficiency also has difficulty in switching off his mind while trying to sleep.

What causes GABA deficiency?

Prolonged stress, inadequate diet, and even genetics may cause GABA deficiency. Serotonin may be a positive regulator for GABA receptor interaction.

So, low levels of serotonin also can cause a GABA deficiency. Genetic polymorphism also can reduce the efficacy of GABA neurotransmission.

Ways to extend GABA levels

  1. GABA supplements

GABA supplements are available at pharmacies, healthcare shops, and online. Since the dosage varies consistent with age, sex, and weight, you ought to ask your doctor for the right dosage.

  • For stress relief, you ought to take 750 to 800 mg of GABA divided over three or fourfold each day.
  • For anxiety, the recommended dosage is between 750 to 1,950 mg divided over 3 times each day
  • For ADHD, you ought to take up to 1200 mg each day, split over 3 times each day.
  1. Valerian root

Valerian root is usually used as a remedy for anxiety, insomnia, and menstrual cramps. Valerian root contains valerenic acid, which increases the discharge of GABA from the brain nerve end and prevents it from being taken back to the nerve cells.

Studies have also shown that valerian root improves both the standard and duration of sleep (15).

  1. Kava

The kava plant contains kavain and other psychoactive compounds that stimulate GABA receptors and help relieve anxiety (16).

According to one study, kava extracts were found to be as effective as diazepam within the treatment of hysteria (17).

  1. Magnolia Bark

Honokiol and magnolol, the active components of magnolia bark, act as positive allosteric modulators of GABA(A) receptors. They promote relaxation and alleviate anxiety, depression, and seizures.

  1. Magnesium

Magnesium increases GABA, which inspires relaxation and sleep. Healthycare magnesium levels protect healthcare, stabilize mood, keep stress in restraint, and promote better sleep.

You can increase magnesium levels in your body by eating foods like dark leafy greens, broccoli, legumes, seeds, and nuts.

  1. vitamin B6

GABA is synthesized within the body from the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate and vitamin B6, an important cofactor.

Inadequate levels of vitamin B6 can diminish GABA synthesis. vitamin B6 is found in foods like pork, poultry, fish, oatmeal, and rice.

  1. Exercise

Long-term exercise can enhance GABA synthesis within the brain and reduce stress. It also promotes well-being and reduces the danger of mental disease.

  1. Meditation and yoga

Various studies have shown that GABA levels are higher in people that practice meditation. Meditation also helps in lowering cortisol, which may inhibit proper GABA function. Yoga too is useful in increasing GABA.

Side effects of GABA

GABA is usually considered safe though it can have some mild side effects. These include sleepiness, tingling sensation, and shortness of breath. However, these side effects occur as long as you’re taking very high doses of the supplement.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women shouldn’t take GABA supplements as their effects haven’t yet been studied on such individuals.

If you’re already taking medication for depression, anxiety, and insomnia, consult your doctor before you begin taking GABA supplements.

Final thoughts

Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain’s primary inhibitory neurotransmitter that calms the neurons. it’s many essential functions within the body including reducing anxiety, improving sleep, treating depression, improving ADHD, and reducing inflammation.

You can enhance the GABA levels in your body by taking supplements or through natural remedies like valerian root, kava, magnolia bark, eating foods rich in magnesium and vitamin B6, and even exercising and meditation.

Though GABA supplements are safe for many people, you want to consult your doctors if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or if you’re already taking medication for depression or anxiety.