Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) occurs in the brain naturally and can also be in some foods.
GABA is a neurotransmitter amino acid in the brain, and it functions as a chemical messenger. It is an anti inhibitory neurotransmitter, which inhibits various brain signals and decreases activities in the nervous system. GABA binds to the GABA receptor in the brain and causes calming effects. The effects help you feel better when stressed, anxious, in fear, and it also acts as an anti-seizure. Due to the positive effects of GABA, there are many GABA supplements.
Benefits of Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA)
The significant benefit of GABA is producing a calming effect on the brain. GABA supplements help in the state whereby your brain produces low levels of GABA neurotransmitters. People with anxiety and depression tend to have low GABA in the brain. Therefore, GABA supplements increase the GABA level in the brain, thus, reducing anxiety and depression.
Anxiety and depression cause a lack of sleep and a weak immune system. Other than anxiety and depression, GABA supplements help people with various medical conditions. The medical conditions include:
- Panic disorder
- Low moods
- Movement disorders
- Hyperactive disorders
- Relieves pain from injuries
- Increase tolerance to exercise
- Burns fat
- Improves quality of sleep
- Treats premenstrual symptoms
People with the mentioned disorders have reported improvement after taking GABA supplements. There is no such scientific proof of the benefits of GABA supplements. However, scientists are trying to prove that taking GABA supplements triggers beneficial changes to the brain.
Uses of Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA)
There are various uses of GABA supplements, although the effectiveness is not much known. Other than being a relaxant, GABA has other health uses.
Below are some of the various benefits of GABA:
1. Anxiety management
Naturally produced GABA works by diminishing brain activity and causing relaxation. However, when the level of naturally produced GABA reduces, you are at risk of suffering from anxiety. According to studies, patients with anxiety disorder got a sense of relaxation after taking GABA supplements.
After one hour of taking the supplements, patients feel calm and relaxed. Electroencephalogram (EEG) is used to measure the effects of GABA supplements. EEG measures the patient’s brain wave after taking a wave, and the alpha waves increase after taking GABA supplements.
2. Controlling high blood pressure
GABA supplements help to reduce the symptoms of hypertension. High blood pressure puts you at increased risk of getting a stroke, heart failure, and heart attack. Patients diagnosed with high blood pressure can take GABA supplements and monitor their condition.
Within four weeks of taking GABA supplements, the patients report a slight drop in blood pressure. Studies show that patients with borderline high blood pressure reported improvement after using chlorella for 12 weeks. Chlorella is an alga that is rich in GABA and works as a GABA supplement. High blood pressure results from lack of sleep, which is because of lack of peace of mind. Therefore, with improved levels of GABA in the brain, the brain activity will be under control, and you will feel relaxed. In turn, this stabilizes your blood pressure.
3. Treatment of insomnia
Insomnia is always a result of stress resulting from work, school, or health issues. If you have lost a loved one or are suffering trauma, you might end up overthinking at night and lack sleep. For you to have a night of quality sleep, you need to have a relaxed mind. You cannot have a peaceful mind when stressed because stress reduces the level of GABA in the brain.
When you have insomnia, your GABA levels are 30% lower than those of people who do not have sleep disorders. When you take GABA supplements or fermented food with GABA components one hour before going to bed, you will fall asleep faster.
Additionally, a few weeks after starting treatment with GABA supplements, your sleep quality and sleep time improve significantly.
4. Lowers risk of obesity
Obesity is a serious health condition, and it puts someone at the risk of getting hypertension and cardiovascular diseases. GABA supplements lower the chances of obesity by reducing the level of body fats. To feel the effects of GABA supplements, you need to take the treatment for eight weeks and abstain from exercise.
5. Reduces stress and fatigue
GABA reduces the action of neurons and brains and alleviates symptoms of stress. It leads to overworking of your mental system, which causes mental fatigue. However, when you take GABA supplements, the level of GABA in your brain increases and causes relief from stress.
In 2011, a study in Japan showed that when people take a beverage that contains GABA supplements, it reduces mental stress and fatigue. Also, people who perform problem-solving tasks get relief from stress when they take chocolate that contains GABA. Additionally, people performing the experimental task get relief from mental stress by taking GABA supplements capsules.
Gamma Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) Dosage
The dosage for sleep, stress, and anxiety begins from 100-200 mg of GABA, and the doses might be higher depending on your level of stress. Most patients take 10-20 mg for high blood pressure. You need to get a recommendation from your doctor if you are under high blood pressure medication.
You need to take the GABA supplements 30 minutes before sleep, 15 minutes before engaging in a stressful activity, or anytime you feel anxious. You can get GABA supplements in capsules and pills form.
Before purchasing GABA supplements, it would be best to check the labels and ensure you know all the other ingredients. The supplement fact label provides health information, which includes the number of active ingredients.
Other than GABA supplements, there are a variety of foods that contain substances that influence the action of GABA in the brain. They include:
- Beans and lentils
- Red wine
- Bone broth
Gamma-aminobutyric acid plays an essential role in our bodies by causing relaxation of the mind. When stressed, the level of GABA drops, which might lead to anxiety and depression. Nevertheless, GABA supplements can help restore the GABA levels in the brain. However, the uses of GABA supplements are not so clear, and scientists are still carrying out research.