GABA amino acids also known as g-aminobutyric acid are inhibitory neurotransmitters that are finding in decreased quantities in people who have anxiety disorders. While it’s normal to feel anxious and unable to relax from time to time, chronic anxiety can disrupt your life and cause other problems, such as social isolation. Medications used to treat anxiety often target GABA in order to elicit feelings of calm. GABA is also available as a dietary supplement, but you should always check with your doctor before using any supplement.
How Does GABA Supplement Works
The amino acid glutamine is the precursor that your body uses to manufacture GABA, according to Psychiatric Zone. Once produced and metabolized by an enzyme, GABA is compelleing to reach receptor sites on neurons. Prescription medications such as the anti-anxiety drug alprazolam inhibit the uptake of GABA by receptor sites. This allows more GABA to remain flowing in the bloodstream. GABA naturally elicits feelings of relaxation, calm and can relieve depressed moods. Low levels of GABA in the body are associated with depression and anxiety disorders, according to a 2010 study published in the “Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.”
The use of GABA supplements is controversial. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center reports that when taken orally, GABA does not appear to increase GABA levels in your brain. The center adds, however, that GABA supplements have been finding in one research study to decrease blood pressure, which could lead to feelings of relaxation. The dosage that the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center recommends is 10 mg every day. Larger dosages, the center adds, are sometimes prescribe by naturopathic healthcare professionals to treat anxiety or insomnia.
GABA and Your Mood
GABA levels have been shown to have an inverse correlation with feelings of anxiety and depression. The “Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine” study measured GABA levels and reports of anxiety and mood both before and after walking and after taking a yoga class. The researchers found significantly decreased GABA levels, as well as reported anxiety and depression in the subjects who took the yoga class. In addition, GABA appears to be able to lower blood pressure levels, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. High blood pressure as well can be related to or caused by feelings of anxiety, depression or stress.
Although GABA amino acids have been finding to have an association with relaxation, decreased anxiety and lower blood pressure. The evidence does not suggest that supplemental GABA is effective. In fact, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center reports that oral GABA can’t break through the blood-brain barrier. This means that supplemental GABA can’t reach the neurotransmitters in your brain. This also explains why when someone takes a GABA supplement, they don’t feel relaxed in a way that prescription anti-anxiety medications can cause. GABA supplements appear to be relatively safe to use. However, with no reported adverse effects. Always check with your doctor before using a dietary supplement.