GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid) is an amino acid that plays an important role as a neurotransmitter in our body. It has gained popularity as a supplement because it has the potential to improve the mood and sleep quality of users [1][2]. These effects are possible because it can block impulses between nerve cells in the brain [3]. Despite being a naturally occurring amino acid, GABA is only found in very small amounts in our diet [12]. As a result, many people opt for a GABA supplement.

GABA is also known as:
Gamma amino butyric acid

Functions of GABA

Can reduce stress and improve mood
Several studies have now shown that GABA supplements may reduce stress and improve mood [1][4][5][6][7]. Research has also shown that it can have a relaxing effect, and that it can reduce the anxiety of users [6][7]. This research has also shown that it can improve immunity under stress conditions [6]. These effects are not surprising, since people with long term mood problems have lower GABA levels than normal [7][8][9][10].

Sleep improvement
GABA has been used for many years to improve sleep quality. Research has since shown, that it can indeed help improve the sleep quality of users [2][8]. Researchers state that it can improve both sleep quality and sleep effectiveness [2]. These effects are also not surprising, since GABA levels can be up to 30% lower in people who suffer from insomnia [8][9][10][11]. The data seems promising, but it still needs to be investigated further.

Sports performance in men
GABA may also have a positive effect on the sports performance of strength training men. Two studies have now shown that using GABA can increase growth hormone levels in strength-training men by up to 375% [13][14]. This increase can, among other things, cause a greater increase in muscle mass in weight training men. In addition, the improved sleep quality and stress reduction can also contribute to better sports performance.

Other functions
GABA can potentially have many other positive effects. For example, one study has shown that it can potentially reduce work-related physical and psychological fatigue [3]. In addition, according to some clinical studies, GABA supplements may also help to lower high blood pressure [15][16]. Finally, it can potentially improve cognitive performance. However, this still needs to be investigated further.

Who can use GABA ?

GABA is mostly used by people who want to reduce the feeling of stress and improve their mood. In addition, it is also often used to improve sleep quality.

How should I use GABA ? / Dosages

Based on current knowledge, dosages of up to 750mg are recommended. This dosage can be used 1 to 3 times throughout the day in order to improve mood. In order to improve sleep, one dose should be consumed 1 hour before going to sleep. For an optimal effect, it should be consumed on an empty stomach. Mix dosages with ~100ml of water or juice.

How does this supplement work ?

GABA plays an important role as a neurotransmitter in our body. It can block or inhibit certain brain signals and reduce activity in the nervous system. This allows it, among other things, to reduce stress, improve sleep quality and put us in a better mood.

However, it is currently not known to what extent GABA supplements can cross the blood brain barrier to ensure optimal effect. There are studies that state that this is possible. However, there are also studies that state that this is not possible. Given the current studies and the many positive user experiences, it is suggested that it can cross the blood brain barrier to some extent. It is also stated that it can cross the blood brain barrier without problems when users have a deficiency of GABA in the brain. In addition, GABA supplements may also work because there are GABA receptors in the intestines, and because the blood brain barrier may be permeable by GABA in certain brain areas.

Stacking / combining GABA

GABA can be combined well with other supplements, such as: vitamins, creatine and amino acids. Users often choose to combine it with: L-arginine, L-theanine, 5-HTP or vitamin B6. These combinations are not random and often have good reason. For example, L-arginine makes it easier for GABA to cross the blood-brain barrier [17]. In addition, L-theanine and 5-HTP can help to further improve the calming effect and quality of sleep [18][19].

Safety & competitive use

Safety
Research has now shown that GABA is not only effective, but also safe to use [2]. The study in question, states that people with sleeping problems can benefit from a GABA supplement without experiencing serious side effects [2]. Nevertheless, the recommended doses should not be exceeded. After all, if the recommended amount is exceeded, side effects may occur.

Correct use
A dietary supplement can contribute to a healthy and active lifestyle. However, it should not be a substitute for a healthy lifestyle and a varied diet. The recommended dosage should not be exceeded, since side effects may occur otherwise. Temporary side effects of GABA can include: stomach pain, headache and drowsiness. In rare cases, these side effects can also occur with normal dosages. If side effects occur, consumption should be discontinued.

As with any supplement, we advise users to consult a physician before use. In particular if you use medication or have health complaints. This product should not be used in combination with alcohol or other GABA enhancers. In addition, this supplement should not be used by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Furthermore, this product should not be used by persons under 18 years of age and must be kept out of the reach of children. Keep this product in a cool and dry place to maintain the quality.

References

  1.  Nakamura, H., Takishima, T., Kometani, T., & Yokogoshi, H. (2009). Psychological stress-reducing effect of chocolate enriched with γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in humans: assessment of stress using heart rate variability and salivary chromogranin A. International journal of food sciences and nutrition60(sup5), 106-113.
  2. Byun, J. I., Shin, Y. Y., Chung, S. E., & Shin, W. C. (2018). Safety and efficacy of gamma-aminobutyric acid from fermented rice germ in patients with insomnia symptoms: a randomized, double-blind trial. Journal of clinical neurology (Seoul, Korea)14(3), 291.
  3. Bowery, N. G., & Smart, T. G. (2006). GABA and glycine as neurotransmitters: a brief history. British journal of pharmacology147(S1), S109-S119.
  4. Kanehira, T., Nakamura, Y., Nakamura, K., Horie, K., Horie, N., Furugori, K., … & Yokogoshi, H. (2011). Relieving occupational fatigue by consumption of a beverage containing γ-amino butyric acid. Journal of nutritional science and vitaminology57(1), 9-15.
  5. Yoto, A., Murao, S., Motoki, M., Yokoyama, Y., Horie, N., Takeshima, K., … & Yokogoshi, H. (2012). Oral intake of γ-aminobutyric acid affects mood and activities of central nervous system during stressed condition induced by mental tasks. Amino Acids43(3), 1331-1337.
  6. Abdou, A. M., Higashiguchi, S., Horie, K., Kim, M., Hatta, H., & Yokogoshi, H. (2006). Relaxation and immunity enhancement effects of γ‐aminobutyric acid (GABA) administration in humans. Biofactors26(3), 201-208.
  7. Luscher, B., Shen, Q., & Sahir, N. (2011). The GABAergic deficit hypothesis of major depressive disorder. Molecular psychiatry16(4), 383-406.
  8. Gottesmann, C. (2002). GABA mechanisms and sleep. Neuroscience111(2), 231-239.
  9. Plante, D. T., Jensen, J. E., Schoerning, L., & Winkelman, J. W. (2012). Reduced γ-aminobutyric acid in occipital and anterior cingulate cortices in primary insomnia: a link to major depressive disorder?. Neuropsychopharmacology37(6), 1548-1557.
  10. Meyerhoff, D. J., Mon, A., Metzler, T., & Neylan, T. C. (2014). Cortical gamma-aminobutyric acid and glutamate in posttraumatic stress disorder and their relationships to self-reported sleep quality. Sleep37(5), 893-900.
  11. Winkelman, J. W., Buxton, O. M., Jensen, J. E., Benson, K. L., O’Connor, S. P., Wang, W., & Renshaw, P. F. (2008). Reduced brain GABA in primary insomnia: preliminary data from 4T proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS). Sleep31(11), 1499-1506.
  12. Briguglio, M., Dell’Osso, B., Panzica, G., Malgaroli, A., Banfi, G., Zanaboni Dina, C., … & Porta, M. (2018). Dietary neurotransmitters: a narrative review on current knowledge. Nutrients10(5), 591.
  13. Powers, M. (2012). GABA supplementation and growth hormone response. Acute Topics in Sport Nutrition, 59, 36-46.
  14. Powers, M. E., Yarrow, J. F., Mccoy, S. C., & Borst, S. E. (2008). Growth hormone isoform responses to GABA ingestion at rest and after exercise. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 40(1), 104.
  15. Inoue, K., Shirai, T., Ochiai, H., Kasao, M., Hayakawa, K., Kimura, M., & Sansawa, H. (2003). Blood-pressure-lowering effect of a novel fermented milk containing γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in mild hypertensives. European journal of clinical nutrition57(3), 490-495.
  16. Shimada, M., Hasegawa, T., Nishimura, C., Kan, H., Kanno, T., Nakamura, T., & Matsubayashi, T. (2009). Anti-hypertensive effect of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-rich Chlorella on high-normal blood pressure and borderline hypertension in placebo-controlled double blind study. Clinical and experimental hypertension31(4), 342-354.
  17. Shyamaladevi, N., Jayakumar, A. R., Sujatha, R., Paul, V., & Subramanian, E. H. (2002). Evidence that nitric oxide production increases γ-amino butyric acid permeability of blood-brain barrier. Brain research bulletin, 57(2), 231-236.
  18. Hong, K. B., Park, Y., & Suh, H. J. (2016). Sleep-promoting effects of the GABA/5-HTP mixture in vertebrate models. Behavioural brain research, 310, 36-41.
  19. Kim, S., Jo, K., Hong, K. B., Han, S. H., & Suh, H. J. (2019). GABA and l-theanine mixture decreases sleep latency and improves NREM sleep. Pharmaceutical biology, 57(1), 64-72.

Author

Mario Klasens Author XBR

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