GABA is a supplement that I get asked about a lot, often from people who looked confused.
I think this stems from the fact that GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid) is both a chemical produced in the brain and a nutritional supplement. It is not nearly as well known as melatonin, another substance produced within the body that doubles as a supplement.
GABA supplements are starting to become popular among people who suffer from insomnia and anxiety. But I tell folks that it does so much more. Here’s the science behind it…
- Insomnia. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Neurology looked at 40 insomnia sufferers. Researchers gave half the subjects 300 mg of GABA an hour before they went to bed. Another group took a placebo. The GABA group fell asleep faster. And they reported better quality sleep.[i]
- Anxiety. Researchers gave brain scans to people suffering from anxiety. An hour after taking GABA, their brain waves slowed. This is a sign of lower stress levels. Subjects reported feeling more relaxed.[ii]
- Depression. Researchers at the University of Zurich found depression patients benefited when GABA was added to their medication. The scientists concluded that GABA could “serve as (a) potential antidepressant.”[iii]
- Pain. A research team from the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, looked at subjects who suffered spinal cord injuries. They found that GABA stopped chronic nerve pain. It relaxed the nerves and blocked excessive pain signals.[iv]
- Rheumatoid arthritis. Researchers from the University of California found that GABA reduced the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis in mice. And it relieved symptoms in rodents with the disease.[v]
- Cognition. A study in the journal Nature Neuroscience found that the ability to shift attention quickly from one thing to another is linked to the amount of GABA in the brain.[vi]
- Muscle. Human growth hormone helps increase muscle mass and strength. It’s also linked to stronger bones and lower heart disease risk. Researchers at Virginia’s Shenandoah University gave subjects 3,000 mg of GABA daily. The GABA subjects had a 400% increase in human growth hormone .[vii]
GABA is available online and in health food stores.
Side effects are usually minor, but may include headache and stomach upset. It also makes some people sleepy. So see how it affects you before driving.
There’s no reason to be confused about GABA… It’s strong medicine that can make you calmer, smarter, and stronger.