Gamma Amino Butyric Acid shortened as GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter present in the brain. GABA slows down the brain and provides a calming effect on the body. It is called an inhibitory neurotransmitter because it inhibits activity, signals of brain. GABA can be pretty useful in periods of stress, panic, seizures, fear, or anxiety. Due to these beneficial effects of GABA, it is taken in the form of supplements too.
GABA receptors are widely present in our brain and they have different biochemical as well as physiological properties. There are two types of GABA receptors i.e GABA A and GABA B. When GABA binds to its receptors, the receptors change their shape, allowing ions to pass through them. Negative chloride ions enter, leading to reduction in excitability.
Do people with mental health issues have low levels of GABA?
People with certain medical issues might have low levels of GABA. These include panic/anxiety disorders, mood disorders like depression, ADHD, diseases associated with cognition likeParkinsons.
Other diseases for which GABA might prove to be beneficial:
- Insomnia: In a study, 300mgs of GABA consumed helped increase sleep quality but more studies need to be conducted in this area as the sample size of this study was small.
- High blood pressure: A few studies have shown the efficacy of GABA in reducing blood pressure.
- Diabetes: According to a study published in February this year in Diabetes Research news, GABA helped in regulation of insulin by modulating beta cell activity.
GABA is also used as a food additive:
GABA might also be added to sports drinks, snack bars, protein drinks as it helps in relieving stress and anxiety. It can also help in reducing exercise related fatigue and help in workouts too.
Some side effects that might be seen with GABA consumption are:
- Feeling sleepy
- Stomach pain/bloating
- Muscular fatigue
Should GABA be consumed?
The recommended dosages of GABA have not been established yet. There has not been enough research established in order to find out the effectiveness of this neurotransmitter consumption yet. It is better to consult a medical professional before consuming GABA supplements.