Many people suffer from insomnia or restless sleep. They have problems falling asleep or waking up frequently and too early. About 30% of adults do not sleep well.
You may have heard about GABA and how it can help you sleep better. Gamma-aminobutyric acid has other interesting properties for the brain. Let’s take a look at its benefits.
Presentation of GABA.
What is GABA?
GABA is gamma-aminobutyric acid. It is a natural amino acid that acts as a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. Non-proteinogenic amino acids, including GABA, have many important functions in the body, the main one being to act on nerve receptors.
General Information On GABA.
Gamma-aminobutyric acid is not a drug in the strict sense of the word, but rather a food supplement. Normally, we should be able to get enough GABA from our diet, but this is not always the case due to diets or unbalanced diets.
One of the foods richest in GABA is butter, especially organic or farm butter. We know that saturated fats have been demonized in recent years and that few people consume them. GABA deficiencies are in a way programmed.
In addition to butter, this amino acid is found in the following foods:
What Are The Effects Of GABA?
GABA is the most abundant of all neurotransmitters and acts on nerve receptors. Glutamate, epinephrine, and dopamine are among the excitatory neurotransmitters. GABA, on the other hand, blocks certain signals in the brain and reduces the activity of your nervous system.
Therefore, GABA is considered an inhibitory neurotransmitter that reduces the excitability of neurons. This means that stimuli reaching your nervous system are slowed down and your body is relaxed.
When your nervous system is functioning optimally, glutamate and GABA activity is in balance. Conversely, if there is no balance between these products, you may experience anxiety, insomnia, or difficulty concentrating.
GABA is formed from the non-essential amino acid glutamate – both in the brain and in the pancreas.
GABA receptors are transmembrane proteins in nerve cells. When a GABA molecule binds to a protein in your brain, it inhibits the excitation of your nerve cells and has a calming effect. This helps relieve feelings of anxiety or stress and can bring relaxation and mental balance.
How Do You Recognize A Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid Deficiency?
People with certain medical conditions may have lower levels of GABA. For example, a 2012 study at John Hopkins University School of Medicine found that children with ADHD have lower levels of GABA than others.
What are the symptoms of GABA deficiency? Here are the main ones:
- Movement coordination problems (for example, Parkinson’s disease).
- Increased sensitivity to pain.
- Lack of concentration.
- Muscle cramps.
- Muscle tension.
- Panic attacks.
- Sleep disorders.
- Mood disorders (e.g. depression).
Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid To Fight Stress, Reduce Fear, And Promote Sleep.
Do you know what it’s like to be constantly stressed, thinking non-stop, rushing from one appointment to the next, traveling a lot, or working on multiple tasks and projects at once? You may be at risk of burnout.
Your brain has to process every impulse, every impression, and every piece of information it receives. Your body can’t relax properly. This makes it harder for you to calm down at night and get a good night’s sleep. The next day, you are irritable, nervous, and suffer from a lack of concentration, due to a bad night.
In order for your body and mind to function optimally and for you to be able to focus on your work, regeneration, and a good night’s sleep are necessary. GABA can help in this regard: thanks to its calming effect on nerve cells, it prevents stress signals from reaching the brain and slows down the excitement process.
In 2006, an article from two studies reported that participants who took a GABA supplement during a stressful event felt more relaxed than those who took a placebo or L-theanine (another nootropic-type supplement). The relaxing effects of GABA were felt within an hour of taking the product.
In 2018, 40 participants in a study took 300 mg of GABA an hour before bedtime and felt they fell asleep faster than participants who received a placebo. Sleep quality also improved after four weeks of treatment.
As you probably know, sports and exercise are good ways to boost your mood. Researchers studied this in 2010 and looked at GABA levels during exercise. They concluded that GABA levels decreased by nearly 20%. Therefore, athletes have an increased need for it.
Another stress-related study from 2009 found that eating chocolate with 28 mg of GABA reduced stress in participants performing a problem-solving task. So mental exertion also tends to reduce the amount of gamma-aminobutyric acid available
Finally, in another study conducted in Japan in 2011 that looked at stress and fatigue, researchers gave 30 participants a drink containing either 25 mg or 30 mg of GABA to study the effects. The result was a reduction in mental and physical fatigue during a problem-solving task. However, the 50 mg drink was slightly more effective in the participants than the lower dosage.
How To Increase The Amount Of GABA Available?
As we have seen, this amino acid can be provided by food, provided that we choose foods that contain it. Today, GABA supplements are also available in tablet or capsule form. These products are generally not reimbursed.
Social security does not cover them, but you can consult your mutual insurance company about this. The capsules can be kept without problem until the date indicated on the bottle.
You should know that some fermented foods contain GABA. This is the case of oolong tea and to meet growing demand from consumers, teas particularly rich in gamma-aminobutyric acid has been produced since the 1980s.
You can also consume yogurt, kefir, kimchi, miso, and tempeh. The body can produce GABA from foods that contain L-tryptophan, serotonin, or glutamate. The neurotransmitter serotonin is particularly important for the effectiveness of GABA, as serotonin stimulates its synthesis.
Other foods that stimulate GABA production:
- Brown Rice.
- Brown Rice.
- Beef Liver.
- Parmesan Cheese.
- Wholemeal Products.
- Wheat Bran.
Of course, you can also buy a bottle of capsules.
Dosage: How To Use This Treatment?
If you consume your GABA through food, you have no need to worry about overdosing. One of the most enjoyable ways to increase the amount of gamma-aminobutyric acid available in your body is to drink tea. Be sure to choose your supplier carefully, so that it is really a GABA Oolong, and preferably choose an organic or pesticide-free tea.
On the other hand, if you opt for food supplements, choose preparations from a recognized and reliable laboratory. If necessary, ask your pharmacist or doctor for advice.
In What Form And How To Take GABA?
GABA is available in capsule, powder, or tea form. The cheapest way to take GABA is through tea. However, the dose is lower, so capsules and powder are probably more cost-effective.
If you choose powder, simply dilute it in a glass of water. Capsules should also be taken with liquid.
In capsules, there are usually two strengths: 250 mg and 750 mg. The lower dosage can be taken throughout the day, also in the morning for more serenity and to boost brain activity and concentration. The higher dosage should be reserved for bedtime, as it induces an easier falling asleep.
Risks And Dangers.
If you consume GABA tea, there is no risk of overdosing. As mentioned above, it is best to choose organic or pesticide-free tea to avoid ingesting toxic substances.
Research on the possible side effects of dietary supplements containing GABA is very sketchy to date. However, some people have experienced the following problems:
- Stomach Pain.
- Muscle Weakness.
This may be a problem with the dosage. The best solution is to cut the tablets in half to reduce the dose and therefore the effects. As with many dietary supplements, a period of experimentation with one’s own body is necessary to find the right product, the best time to take it according to the desired effect, and also the right dose.
Moreover, the interactions of drugs with GABA have not been clearly studied. If you want to try GABA, be sure to talk to your doctor first. However, gamma-aminobutyric acid can be thought to potentiate the effect of sleeping pills, as can melatonin, if you take it to help you fall asleep.
Caution is recommended for pregnant women.
Advice On GABA.
You can find GABA in pharmacies offering food supplements, but the product is still not well known in France and you will have to search a little. It will be easier to find on the shelves of online pharmacies.
The simplest solution, if you want to supplement with GABA, is to buy your products on the Internet, but make sure you choose a reliable source.
GABA In Tea.
Buy for example the GABA Wu Long from Gaia Gardens, an original, delicious, and organic tea.
Sunday Natural is also a reliable importer of tea: for example the GABA Oolong from the Lala Mountains in Taiwan.
GABA In Capsules, Oil Capsules, And Powder.
You can find it on Amazon or in online health food stores, such as Onatera or Nature et Forme.
Fairvital laboratories offer GABA in several forms, in capsules, but also in powder for sports practice:
You will also find GABA from Solgar Laboratories.
GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain and is a natural amino acid. As a chemical messenger to specific receptors, GABA plays an important role in our bodies and our lives. If you suffer from stress, anxiety, and sleep problems, GABA supplementation may help you as it has a calming and soothing effect on you, contributing to your well-being.
Consider discussing taking GABA with your doctor; we also recommend analyzing your sleep behavior and optimizing your nighttime environment. Get into the habit of creating sleep rituals to help you relax at night and set the mood for a restful night.
Other substances complement the action of GABA, such as sedative plants or melatonin.