GABA: Amino Acid Neurotransmitters

Glutamate and GABA are the major neurotransmitters in the brain. In this article, we will take a closer look more at Glutamate and GABA health benefits.

GABA for Headache

Stress and an unhealthy lifestyle can both lead to serious illnesses down the line. Stress can be caused by a number of different factors such as work-related issues and personal concerns. On the other hand, an unhealthy lifestyle can be triggered by various life stressors and difficult personal circumstances such as poor time management, extreme workload or responsibilities, and demanding family life or setup. It is not surprising then that people will look for supplements and products that can help them with the aforecited concerns. One such product is GABA. If you want to know more about GABA, read on and find out if there are indeed health benefits associated with the said supplements.

GABA: A Brief Overview

GABA or Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid is an amino acid that is naturally occurring and that works in the human brain as a neurotransmitter. This means that GABA acts as messengers within the human brain. GABA is considered as a neurotransmitter that is inhibitory because it can block or inhibit signals from the brain and help lower nervous system activity and sensitivity. Once GABA is linked to its receptors in the brain, it can give off a calming effect that can ease feelings of fear, stress, anxiety and even prevent the occurrence of seizures.

Due to the said benefits of GABA or Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid to the human body, it has seen a rise in popularity in terms of it being a health supplement. Fortunately, GABA is available in numerous fermented food items such as tempeh, miso, and Kimchi.

Why should people take GABA or Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid Supplements?

As mentioned earlier, GABA or Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid has a number of health benefits for patients which resulted in individuals considering the said amino acid as a form or supplement. Most notably, GABA supplements are used to combat stress and lower levels of anxiety. These health benefits can also help address other stress-related health conditions such as depression, and immune system that is weakened, and poor sleep quality.

Certain health conditions will also have patients with lower GABA levels such as depression, panic disorders, anxiety, ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Parkinson’s disease or other movement and mobility disorders, and seizure disorders. Patients with the said condition sometimes take supplements with GABA to help alleviate their symptoms. Theoretically and on paper, this makes a lot of sense. Unfortunately, further studies are needed to firmly establish that the above-mentioned benefits can indeed be provided by GABA or Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid Supplements.

What are some of the health benefits of GABA or Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid Supplements?

As mentioned earlier in the article, further studies are needed to firmly establish the health benefits of Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid or GABA supplementation. While the amount of GABA that reaches the brain after being consumed is still being verified and tested by scientists, there are some researches and anecdotal evidence to support the possible health benefits of Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid or GABA supplementations. Listed below are some of the health benefits of the said amino acid:

  1. Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid supplements may be effective against anxiety- An article published in 2006 stated that individuals who took this supplementation felt more relaxed when a stressful event occurred compared to those who did not. It was also noted by the article that the relaxing effect of GABA supplements was much strongly felt by participants to the study within an hour or taking Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid.
  2. Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid supplements can help address high blood pressure or hypertension- Other small studies conducted showed that or Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid supplements can lower or decrease blood pressure. In the said study conducted in 2003, those who took in products with fermented milk and GABA showed lower levels of blood pressure after one (1) month. Another research conducted in 2009 also showed that those who took supplementations with GABA managed their blood pressure levels especially for those with borderline high blood pressure.
  3. Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid supplement can help people suffering from insomnia- Research conducted in 2018 showed that individuals who took GABA supplements one (1) hour before sleeping can sleep better compared to those who did not or those who just took a placebo. Improved overall sleep was also observed after four (4) weeks of treatment.
  4. Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid supplements can help people fight off fatigue and stress- A Japanese-based study conducted in 2011 showed that people who took in some form of beverage containing GABA showed improved problem-solving skills and better resistance against physical and mental fatigue. An older study conducted in 2009 also showed that GABA laced chocolate lowered the stress being experienced by patients. However, these studies are years old and may require further updated studies and other methodologies to better establish the effects of GABA.

What are some of the adverse effects of Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid supplements?

While Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid supplements have impressive health benefits, people should be aware of the possible side effects of the said supplement or amino acid. Listed below are some of the common side effects of Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid supplements:

  1. A weakness of the muscles
  2. sleepiness
  3. Headaches
  4. a stomach  that is upset

Another reminder or advice for patients is not to take supplements or items with GABA when driving or operating certain forms of machinery due to the sleepiness side effect of the said amino acid. People should also be wary of the possible side effects or interactions of Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid supplements with other health products or medications. It is important that patients thinking of using Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid supplements talk to their doctor or healthcare professional first. This is because they can give the patients a better idea of how different drugs can interact with this supplement.

Patients should keep in mind that while Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid has possible health benefits, further research is needed to establish what Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid can really do as a supplement. Some of the studies are small and conducted years ago and some updated studies may shed light on the benefits of Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid.

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