Have you never heard of Gaba or would you just like to acquire more background knowledge? Then you are exactly right here.
As the main neurotransmitter in our nervous system, Gaba plays an important role in the body. Not only does it affect how we feel, it also affects our health. A Gaba deficiency can, for example, be the cause of your sleep disorders or your high blood pressure.
You can find out exactly how Gaba is related to your sleep, blood pressure or even depression in the following sections. In addition, we got to the bottom of the connection between Gaba and muscle building and have summarized the most important information from various studies for you.
We have answered the most frequently asked questions about Gaba and its effects in detail for you. Topics such as sleep, stress, dosage and possible side effects in relation to Gaba are analyzed in detail. Below you will also find ways to increase your Gaba level and what alternatives there are to the Gaba preparation.
the essentials in brief
- Gaba is the main neurotransmitter in our nervous system and can affect our emotions. The amino acid is formed by the pancreas and the brain itself and is contained in small amounts in our body. In addition, the Gaba level can be increased with the help of Gaba teas or Gaba capsules.
- Gaba is used as a relaxation or sedative and can counteract stress, sleep disorders and anxiety. Gaba is also often used for depression and is therefore also referred to as an antidepressant.
- In addition to sleep and stress, Gaba also has positive effects on blood pressure. Taking it lowers blood pressure, which can counteract high blood pressure. The preparation can therefore be very helpful for overweight people who often suffer from high blood pressure.
Gaba and its effect: What you should know
In the following section we have summarized all the important information about Gaba and its effects. The most frequently asked questions are answered in detail and help you to acquire more background knowledge about Gaba.
What is Gaba?
Gaba — the main neurotransmitter in your nervous system — is why your emotions sometimes play tricks on you. It affects how you feel. Other neurotransmitters include serotonin and dopamine, which also affect your feelings.
Gaba also stands for gamma-aminobutyric acid. In German also gamma-aminobutyric acid. As the name suggests, these belong to the group of (non-proteinogenic) amino acids.
Gaba is produced by our body itself in the pancreas and in the brain from glutamate. Glutamate is also an important neurotransmitter in our central nervous system.
Glutamate is also an important source of energy for the intestines.
Gaba can be taken in different forms. Gaba teas and Gaba capsules are the most commonly used. The combination of tea and capsules is also a good way to get to the daily Gaba amount. Of course, the preparation can also be taken in the form of tablets or powder.
What effect does Gaba have?
In order to understand how Gaba works in our body, you should know the following about our brain: In our brain, stimuli are transmitted via synapses and exchanged with nerve cells. The information is then passed on to the brain.
Since Gaba is the most important neurotransmitter in our brain and is therefore active in the central nervous system, it can intervene in transmission. Gaba can block the transmission of certain signals or allow information to be transmitted more slowly. For example, fear stimuli that have been picked up cannot be passed on or can even be blocked.
Gaba allows the body to relax and has a calming effect on our nervous system. Gaba is therefore often taken as a relaxation or sedative (1). For this reason, Gaba is also often referred to as an anti-stress hormone. But not only for relaxation, also states of anxiety can be counteracted with Gaba.
Because it is interesting to know that Gaba strengthens the alpha waves in our brain and at the same time the beta waves are weakened. Alpha waves create a relaxed or relaxed attitude in our body. These waves also often make us daydream (2).
Studies have also found that Gaba can relieve pain as well as relieve spasms (3). Thus, Gaba can not only be taken for the purpose of relaxation, but also for complaints of slight pain.
When should Gaba be taken?
Taking Gaba is particularly useful if you want to relax. It can therefore be very helpful for people who have a lot of stress.
Do you suffer from insomnia or have trouble falling asleep? Then the preparation can counteract this. Studies have also found that it can lead to longer sleep durations as well as increase REM sleep (4). In addition to a longer sleep duration, Gaba can also significantly reduce the time it takes to fall asleep. The onset of action can take place after a short period of ingestion and improve your night's sleep.
In addition to counteracting stress and insomnia, taking Gaba is also often used for depression.
Studies have found that Gaba can serve as an antidepressant (5). By increasing the Gaba level, depressive behavior and moods can be counteracted. In the case of depression, it is advisable to take a high dose of Gaba. This corresponds to approx. 300-600 mg per day.
How do I know if I have a Gaba deficiency?
If you suffer from a Gaba deficiency, the following symptoms can occur:
|sleep problems||If you have trouble falling asleep, wake up frequently during the night, or your sleep duration is often too short, a Gaba deficiency can be the cause.|
|cramps||A Gaba deficiency can also manifest itself with frequent cramps or muscle tension in different parts of the body.|
|nervousness and restlessness||Frequent restless behavior or nervousness can be signs of a Gaba deficiency. Symptoms such as sweating, tremors or palpitations can also occur.|
|concentration||If you often find it difficult to concentrate or have problems with your memory, a low Gaba level can be the cause.|
|fatigue||Tired quickly during the day, despite getting enough sleep.|
|blood pressure||Elevated blood pressure can also be attributed to a lack of Gaba.|
|Pains||Frequently occurring pain in different parts of the body as well as increased sensitivity to pain.|
If you have one or more complaints, supplementing the preparation can counteract the deficiency. However, it is advisable to have the deficiency confirmed by a doctor and to rule out other causes.
How does a Gaba overdose manifest itself?
In principle, taking Gaba at a normal dosage is not dangerous. If a higher Gaba dosage is prescribed by the doctor, this is usually increased gradually. If the dosage quantity is not observed, an overdose can occur. An overdose can have a negative effect on the body. The following symptoms can occur:
- Problems with vision/hallucinations
- aggressive behavior
- increased heartbeat
- breathing problems
In the event of an overdose, you often feel a slight tingling sensation in various parts of the body. According to experience, the tingling usually occurs in the face. In addition, an overdose can quickly lead to the opposite of the desired effect: restlessness and insomnia.
An overdose of Gaba can have health consequences. (Image source: Michal Jarmoluk / Pixabay)
The consumption of other sedatives and sleeping pills in combination with Gaba can quickly cause similar symptoms. Incidentally, this can also lead to an increase in the potential for addiction.
In order to avoid an overdose, you should follow the instructions of your doctor or pharmacist when taking the preparation.
How effective is Gaba for insomnia?
More and more people are now suffering from insomnia and sleep disorders. However, sufficient sleep is an important factor for our health and should therefore not be underestimated. Sleep disorders can have various causes. A Gaba deficiency can be the reason why your body does not let you sleep peacefully. Not only can Gaba extend your sleep duration, but it also helps you fall asleep (6).
To confirm Gaba's effects on sleep, researchers looked at 16 patients with insomnia (a sleep disorder) and another 16 people without a sleep disorder. The Gaba content of both groups was determined and compared.
It turned out that people with insomnia had 30 percent less Gaba in their brains than people without a sleep disorder. The lower the Gaba value, the worse the subjects slept (7). This research is very impressive and clearly shows how important a healthy Gaba content is.
How does Gaba affect blood pressure?
In studies, the effect of Gaba has shown that the amino acid can lower blood pressure. Subjects with high blood pressure of 130 to 159 mmHg took Gaba daily for 12 weeks. Another group with elevated blood pressure also took only a placebo.
After the 12 weeks, it was found that the blood pressure of the people who took Gaba daily dropped significantly, in contrast to the group of people who took only the placebo (8). Thus, taking Gaba can counteract high blood pressure and prevent the resulting strokes.
Taking Gaba is also very interesting for overweight people. Overweight people have a lot of fat in their abdomen. Therefore, it often happens that the blood pressure is too high. This can be counteracted by taking it.
What effect does Gaba have on athletes?
In one study, athletes examined the connection between taking Gaba and muscle building. They came to the conclusion that taking Gaba leads to an increased release of growth hormone. To validate the study, a study was conducted with 11 strength athletes who took 3g of Gaba. The growth hormone release of the strength athletes was increased fourfold after training (9).
Unfortunately, it is not that easy for athletes and muscle growth. In order to be able to achieve something with this amount of growth hormone release, the body would have to have a very high level of testosterone in the blood at the same time.
Taking Gaba has no effect on muscle building in Natural athletes. (Image Source: Scott Webb / Pixabay)
However, such high testosterone levels are not possible for natural athletes who do not take anabolic steroids. For this reason, the effect of the increased growth hormone release is quickly lost again. If Gaba was taken regularly, the body would also get used to it quickly and would therefore no longer react to it at some point.
What speaks against using Gaba?
Since Gaba is produced by the pancreas or the brain itself and is contained in small amounts in our body, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with taking it. However, the prescribed dosage amount should not be exceeded and discussed with a doctor or pharmacist.
You should be careful when taking Gaba if you consume alcohol at the same time.
Alcohol consumption increases the formation of Gaba and increases the inhibitory effect even more. As a result, information is transmitted to our brain even more slowly and can lead to an inhibition of our brain activities (10). In combination with cannabis, taking the preparation can lead to memory lapses.
Pregnant women and people with kidney or liver problems should also be particularly careful when taking it.
What alternatives are there to the preparation Gaba?
There are various alternatives to the Gaba preparation that you can replace with food or take instead. In the following we would like to introduce you to two frequently used natural alternatives in more detail.
Gaba is hardly found in food, but your Gaba production can be boosted by taking glutamate, serotonin and tryptophan. These building blocks are found, for example, in foods such as broccoli, nuts, spinach, lentils and whole grain products. You can easily increase your Gaba level by consuming these foods.
Of course, Gaba can also be replaced by other sedatives. The following table should give you an overview of possible natural tranquilizers:
|passion flower||The calming effects of passionflower have been recognized as a popular tranquilizer for years. This relaxes the body and reduces anxiety and restlessness.|
|valerian||The valerian plant is a commonly used remedy for insomnia.|
|lemon balm||Lemon balm has a very calming effect on the body. The natural sedative is often taken as a tea.|
|hop||The hemp plant hops is often used as a sedative and sleeping aid. It relaxes the body and ensures a pleasant feeling of well-being.|
|lavender||The medicinal and spice plant lavender is also often used to reduce restlessness and anxiety. The smell alone can have a very relaxing effect on the body.|
These natural sedatives are ideal as an alternative to the Gaba supplement. A reasonable dose of the natural tranquilizers mentioned can also be taken by children.
The temporary intake of herbal sedatives is free of side effects and can be purchased in pharmacies and various drugstores without a prescription. Some plants can also be easily planted in the garden and prepared as tea, for example.
If you use other sedatives, you should first inform yourself well and discuss the intake and dosage with your doctor. You should be particularly careful with chemical tranquilizers. These can quickly endanger your health or lead to addiction.
Gaba has a calming and relaxing effect on the body. The preparation is therefore used as a relaxation or sedative. Scientific studies confirmed the connection between sleep and Gaba. For this reason, the calming amino acid is also often used as a sleep aid. In addition to sleep and relaxation, depression and high blood pressure can also be counteracted by taking it.
Taking the preparation is usually harmless, but isolated symptoms of an overdose or side effects can occur. Taking Gaba in combination with alcohol or cannabis consumption should be avoided, as this can lead to memory lapses.
There are various alternatives for the preparation. The ones commonly used are the intake of certain foods as well as other natural tranquilizers. If you use other sedatives, detailed information about the medication should be a prerequisite - especially in the case of stronger or chemical sedatives. Popular herbal tranquilizers like valerian, lavender, and hops are over the counter and are largely free of side effects.
- Yoto A, Murao S, Motoki M, Yokoyama Y, Horie N, Takeshima K, Masuda K, Kim M, Yokogoshi H (2012). Oral intake of γ-aminobutyric acid affects mood and activities of central nervous system during stressed condition induced by mental tasks.
- Abdou AM, Higashiguchi S, Horie K, Kim M, Hatta H, Yokogoshi H (2006). Relaxation and immunity enhancement effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) administration in humans.
- Enna SJ, McCarson KE (2006). The role of GABA in the mediation and perception of pain.
- Kim S, Jo K, Hong KB, Han SH, Suh HJ (2019). GABA and l-theanine mixture decreases sleep latency and improves NREM sleep.
- Moehler H (2012). The GABA system in anxiety and depression and its therapeutic potential. Neuropharmacology.
- Yamatsu A, Yamashita Y, Maru I, Yang J, Tatsuzaki J, Kim M (2015). The Improvement of Sleep by Oral Intake of GABA and Apocynum venetum Leaf Extract.
- Winkelman JW, Buxton OM, Jensen JE, Benson KL, O'Connor SP, Wang W, Renshaw PF (2008). Reduced brain GABA in primary insomnia: preliminary data from 4T proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS).
- Shimada M, Hasegawa T, Nishimura C, Kan H, Kanno T, Nakamura T, Matsubayashi T (2009). Anti-hypertensive effect of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-rich Chlorella on high-normal blood pressure and borderline hypertension in placebo-controlled double-blind study.
- Powers ME, Yarrow JF, McCoy SC, Borst SE (2008). Growth hormone isoform responses to GABA ingestion at rest and after exercise.
- Roberto M, Varodayan FP (2017). Synaptic targets: Chronic alcohol actions.