Gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA is a neurotransmitter using the central nervous system to cause an inhibitory or quieting effect on the nerves. If your child has taken ADHD, you may consider alternatives to stimulant medications that carry the risk of side effects. Research suggests you that dietary supplements such as GABA may diminish the symptoms of ADHD for some children, says the University of Maryland Medical Center.
GABA is one of many neurotransmitters or chemical messengers that relays messages in your child’s brain. The blood-brain barrier prevents GABA supplements from entering the nervous system. And it’s increasing the levels of GABA in the brain. Benzodiazepines such as Valium, function by promoting the ability of GABA to bind to specific receptor sites in the brain, causing relaxation, sleep and the suppression of seizures. GABA is not accessible in dietary sources but is available as a synthetic supplement. Supplements should only be given under the supervision of your child’s doctor
GABA and ADHD Research
The abnormal activity of dopamine and norepinephrine are relating to ADHD, says the University of Maryland Medical Center. These neurotransmitters influence mental and emotional functioning and produce a pleasurable response to stimuli such as food or love. Increased levels of GABA, glutamate and glutamine, or Glx, interact with the brain pathways that carry dopamine and norepinephrine. Research conducted at the Kyorin University Medical School in Japan indicated that GABA supplements increased mental focus and relaxation for sixth-graders. Although the research suggests that GABA may benefit some children with ADHD, the results from this small study cannot generalize to a larger population without further research.
The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center recommends a GABA dosage of 10 mg daily for treating hypertension and warns that a maximum safe dosage for children has not been established. In-depth studies have not been performing to test for serious side effects associated with the use of GABA supplements. The potential benefits of GABA supplements for your child should be explored with your child’s doctor.
Even though preliminary research suggests that neurotransmitters such as GABA may play a role in ADHD. Additional research is warranting to validate the benefits and risks of using GABA supplements for your child. Understandably, the side effects inherent with stimulant medications motivate many parents to seek novel treatment options for their ADHD children.