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GABA as a dietary supplement – ​​State of play in 2023

Posted by Rana Rahman on

GABA as a dietary supplement – ​​State of play in 2023

Does GABA as a dietary supplement work? For what type of indication could it work? This is the purpose of this article, because GABA supplementation does not have only one use.

What is Gaba?

γ-Aminobutyric acid or GABA is a neurotransmitter, that is to say a chemical substance that brain cells use to communicate with each other.

Each neurotransmitter has a more precise mission, and in the context of GABA it is an inhibitory effect to the extent that GABA can limit brain activity, but once again, confining GABA to this sole effect would be very reductive since it is also involved in maintaining good vision, in sleep management, or in the production of muscle fibers.

Neurotransmitters are molecules essential for the proper functioning of our brain and our body. They play a crucial role in the proper functioning of the brain and the management of emotions.

However, the activity of a neurotransmitter is not clearly linked to a disorder such as depression, which therefore means that it is not enough to take a medication that will inhibit or on the contrary boost a neurotransmitter to be able to relieve this disorder, for example depression.

We could draw a parallel with adaptogenic plants for neurotransmitters. Our body must constantly adapt to our environment and our neurotransmitters are on the front line thanks to their ability to adapt to each situation (stress, fear, pleasure, sleep, etc.).

The human body has six main neurotransmitters essential for the proper functioning of the brain:

  1. Serotonin involved in our feeling of pleasure
  2. dopamine which is a neurotransmitter acting on our motivation, our resistance to stress and our internal reward system,
  3. acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that triggers muscle contraction and stimulates attention,
  4. endorphins which reduce pain and improve tolerance to stress and anxiety,
  5. orexin, a key neurotransmitter in the production of energy and the maintenance of a good level of alertness and concentration and
  6. therefore GABA, the anxiolytic neurotransmitter, involved in the quality of our sleep and our feeling of relaxation.

Where is GABA found in our body?

Mainly found in our central nervous system, GABA is also found in the intestines, stomach, bladder, lungs, liver, skin, spleen, muscles, kidneys, pancreas and reproductive organs.

To date, these are the organs where GABA has been identified but we do not yet have an exhaustive view of its complete presence in the body, nor probably, a complete view of its role.

The benefits of GABA supplementation

GABA and its role in reducing stress and anxiety . This is probably its main use at the moment, GABA's ability to reduce stress and anxiety. If we have too little GABA in our body, we are likely to experience various symptoms, including fatigue and anxiety.

This is because GABA limits brain activity, including neurotransmissions responsible for feelings of panic, anxiety, worry, stress, depression, or fear. Additionally, γ-aminobutyric acid also affects brain activity by changing brain waves.

Thus, the presence of GABA increases the brain waves associated with a state of relaxation (alpha waves) and decreases those associated with stress, panic attacks and anxiety (beta waves).

Gaba helps balance brain activity in combination with another neurotransmitter, glutamic acid, a precursor of γ-aminobutyric acid, meaning it is necessary for the production of GABA.

The latter will create energy in the brain (metabolization of glucose) it is an excitatory neurotransmitter, while GABA will act as an inhibitor, these two neurotransmitters are complementary while having an opposite role, they will work together to balance brain activity.

Corollary of its effect on stress and anxiety, GABA plays a direct role in falling asleep due to the ability of γ-aminobutyric acid to slow down neuronal activity, which creates favorable conditions for a faster falling asleep and falling asleep phase. Several studies have shown that people suffering from insomnia generally have a GABA level 25 to 35% lower than people with a so-called normal sleep phase.

GABA is a natural GH booster . HGH is a peptide hormone secreted by the pituitary gland and with a primordial role in the growth and maintenance of skeletal muscle because it stimulates protein synthesis in muscles and cartilage.

GABA will directly influence the production of growth hormone, even if we do not yet know precisely the mechanism of action. Studies show that GABA supplementation increases GH production, which in turn increases protein synthesis in muscle fibers.

As a corollary of muscle growth, GABA consumption will mechanically reduce fat storage . With GABA acting as a catalyst for growth hormone, protein synthesis will be improved, and therefore lean mass gain .

Many practitioners of strength sports, bodybuilding or fitness or even crossfit, therefore consume GABA associated with taking a protein isolate , in order to develop their muscle growth, rather in a lean program, without impact on the mass rate. oily.

Take GABA as a food supplement?

Some people sometimes feel like they can't fall asleep or relax because they have too many things on their minds. This is particularly the case in the event of overwork linked to a family or professional situation, or an upcoming sporting event, for example.

However, this is where GABA intervenes by regulating brain activity by inhibiting the release of neurons, which generates a feeling of calm and relaxation.

For people subject to chronic stress, anxiety disorders, fear or panic states, it has been shown that many of these disorders are the result of disinhibition of the brain's amygdala resulting from suppression of the GABA system. by chronic stress.

Taking a GABA supplement will not be able to solve everything, but on the other hand consuming a product like Stimium Gaba , in addition to the possibility of taking breaks during the day to recharge your batteries, practicing breathing exercises or even meditation, see Expressive activities (dancing, singing, sports, etc.) will make it easier to rebalance your neurotransmitters, and therefore to regain personal balance.

Taking dietary supplements with GABA is important because it is a substance that is not easily found in food. Thus, it is mainly fermented products such as kefir, sauerkraut which will contain GABA or even the consumption of green tea which will reinforce the natural production of GABA but in proportions which are often insufficient to compensate for a GABA deficit.

We would ideally recommend the consumption of these ingredients, GABA supplementation as well as the practice of a sporting activity which will generally lead to endogenous production of GABA.

Lack of GABA, deficiencies.

What are the causes of a GABA deficiency? In most cases, a deficit in GABA levels can be directly attributed to lifestyle and in particular stress, poor diet, lack of sleep, overconsumption of caffeine as well as certain intolerances (such as gluten). are main causes of alteration of GABA levels in the body.

An imbalance in the intestinal flora or a deficiency in vitamin B6 can also be the cause of a deficiency in the production of GABA.


GABA as a food supplement, absence of side effects

Taken in the doses recommended by European regulations, the side effects of food supplements containing GABA are uncommon and not serious. However, for people taking blood pressure medication to prevent epileptic seizures, it is advisable, as with all food supplements, to consult their doctor.

Although no contraindications have been demonstrated, pregnant women are also encouraged to talk to their doctor, although many women take GABA to manage their pregnancy with less stress.

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