GABA: A step closer to tranquility

               The human brain receives millions of signals which it efficiently processes in a fraction of a second. There is a massive yet intricate network of nerve cells known as neurons that are engaged in receiving these signals, sifting them, and processing the wanted ones. This task of carrying messages is continuously carried out by particular chemicals in our body that scientists call ‘neurotransmitters’. The job of the neurotransmitters is to carry messages from one nerve cell to the other. The neurotransmitters are responsible for either blocking a particular signal or activating it so that your body responds to those signals accordingly. Hence, either your brain function will slow down or speed up as a response to a particular signal.  

One such important neurotransmitter is GABA, which is an acronym for gamma amino-butyric acid. GABA is a non-protein amino acid that acts as a chemical messenger in the human brain. As the most common inhibitory neurotransmitter, it performs the job of slowing down the decline of brain functioning that usually accompanies aging (ClevelandClinic, 2024).

Discover GABA: Your Ultimate Relaxation Companion

GABA is omnipresent in the human nervous system. It occurs in the brain and the enteric nervous system that encompasses the gastrointestinal area. Some scientists also believe that it performs through the gut-brain connection. GABA offers several benefits to the body and mind. GABA is hence a flagbearer of sound sleep, stress relief, and calmness. In a life full of stress and challenges, we all crave tranquility and sound sleep at some point and GABA offers you this calming effect (Hepsomali et al., 2020; Guimarães et al., 2024). 

Although produced in the human body, GABA can also be obtained from some vegetables such as tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, sprouted grains, sweet potatoes, and certain fermented foods (ClevelandClinic, 2024). What is more exciting is having the benefits of this chemical through a dietary supplement in a scientifically-approved dose! It is an approved food additive and hence GABA-enriched foods such as sweets, tea, beverages, and dairy products have emerged in the market (Sun et al., 2022).

What to know about the benefits of GABA?

Here is an understanding of the many benefits of GABA. 

     “Improved sleep patterns”

Dr. Merrill Mitler, a Sleep Expert, Developmental Psychologist, and Scientific Consultant at the Commonwealth Health Research Board quotes “Sleep services all aspects of our body in one way or another: molecular, energy balance, as well as intellectual function, alertness, and mood” (Mitler, 2023). A tired body and mind fail to perform well. Hence optimizing sleep health is important for the body and mind. (Schneider, 2020) Quality sleep helps individuals heal and have a better mind and body. In a book chapter, the authors explain the mechanism of GABA in inducing sleep (Wisden et al., 2019). They say that the sleep-producing network in the brain uses the receptors that harbor GABA to inhibit the wake cycle, thereby promoting calmness and sleep. Several clinical studies provide evidence that GABA supplements induce natural sleep, provide an early onset of sleep, and also help in the maintenance of sleep.

“Calm and relaxed body and mind” 

Sit back, take deep breaths, and relax. In today’s dynamic and demanding world, it is easier said than done. However, GABA is here to help! GABA helps your brain to calm down and induces relaxation (Abdou et al., 2006). GABA effectively provides a relaxing effect. Therefore, scientists found that GABA supplements in humans help to reduce worry and improve calmness. It functions by reducing the excitability of the nerve cells through its inhibitory properties. Moreover, these effects of GABA also aid in improving immunity (Abdou et al., 2006).

“Relief from stress” 

An author of a review article explains how GABA is important in anxiety and otherstress disorders (Möhler, 2012; Guimarães et al., 2024). Repetitive stress results in anxiety and may aggravate depression. GABA plays a significant role in this pathophysiology. GABA is responsible for functioning in neuronal circuits in certain areas of the brain that modulate stress and anxiety symptoms. Increasing the GABA levels in these areas may enhance the signals that result in reducing stress and anxiety. GABA analogs have already proven to be potential stress busters and anxiolytics clinically (Nuss, 2015) Hence, GABA supplements can very well function in stress reduction. 

“The mood changer

Researchers have proven that disruption of GABA activity can result in emotional imbalance and cause hyperexcitability or depressive thoughts (Prager et al., 2016). Hence, promoting the GABA effects can lead to improvement of mood by controlling depression and correcting emotional imbalance.

Ongoing research

Scientists are testing the effects of GABA on maintaining blood pressure in animals and the results are encouraging for hypertensive rats. Lesser GABA concentration in the brain has been associated with a reduction in working memory performance compared to those having higher GABA levels. Therefore, the effect of GABA on improving the cognitive functions of the brain is being studied extensively. Clinical trials are underway to support these promising findings in animals. 

In Summary

GABA is a blockbuster chemical that offers beneficial effects to your mind just by taking a daily dietary supplement. It promotes sound sleep at night, allowing you to kickstart your day with energy and creativity. Safe, pure, and potent supplements carefully produced in registered and approved facilities offer the best option for a stress-free mind that, in turn, helps improve your emotional, physical, and intellectual performance, making life much better and much more manageable. GABA thus ensures a better quality of life. If you're ready to reduce stress and anxiety and welcome a more peaceful life, consider trying GABA supplementation. Experience ultimate peace of mind with nature's calming agent and regain your sense of serenity amidst the chaos of modern life.     

 

Here at Pristine’s, we care about your health. Therefore, Pristine’s recommends that you consult with your doctor before embarking on any significant alterations in your eating habits, nutritional supplement intake, or exercise routine. Our blogs are not able, nor intended, to substitute for professional, personalized medical advice. We ask that you discuss any points of interest raised in these blogs with a trusted medical professional.

We wish you optimal longevity and health. 

 

Legal Disclaimer

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

DR. SWATI PUND, PH.D. PHARMACEUTICAL SCIENCES

Dr. Swati Pund is a Pharmaceutical Technologist with Post-Doctoral research experience at the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay, India.  She has more than 20 years of experience in pharmaceutical formulation research in industry as well as academia. She has published more than 15 peer-reviewed research publications and book chapters. She is currently engaged in providing pharmaceutical technology solutions and scientific communication.

 

 

 

References

  1. Pesheva, E. (2021). The Brain's Wiring Technicians. Retrieved January 22 from https://hms.harvard.edu/news/brains-wiring-technicians
  2. ClevelandClinic. (2024). Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA). Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved January 22 from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/22857-gamma-aminobutyric-acid-gaba 
  3. Hepsomali, P., Groeger, J. A., Nishihira, J., & Scholey, A. (2020). Effects of Oral Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) Administration on Stress and Sleep in Humans: A Systematic Review. Frontiers in neuroscience, 14, 923.
  4. Guimarães, A. P., Seidel, H., Pires, L. V. M., Trindade, C. O., Baleeiro, R. D. S., Souza, P. M., Silva, F. G. D. E., Coelho, D. B., Becker, L. K., & Oliveira, E. C. (2024). GABA Supplementation, Increased Heart-Rate Variability, Emotional Response, Sleep Efficiency and Reduced Depression in Sedentary Overweight Women Undergoing Physical Exercise: Placebo-Controlled, Randomized Clinical Trial. Journal of dietary supplements, 1–15.
  5. Sun, Y., Mehmood, A., Battino, M., Xiao, J., & Chen, X. (2022). Enrichment of gamma-aminobutyric acid in foods: From conventional methods to innovative technologies. Food research international (Ottawa, Ont.), 162(Pt A), 111801.
  6. Mitler M. M. (2023). Fifty-five years in sleep research: contributions, experiences, and progress. Sleep advances: a journal of the Sleep Research Society, 4(1), zpad021.
  7. Schneider L. (2020). Neurobiology and Neuroprotective Benefits of Sleep. Continuum (Minneapolis, Minn.), 26(4), 848–870.
  8. Wisden, W., Yu, X., & Franks, N. P. (2019). GABA Receptors and the Pharmacology of Sleep. Handbook of experimental pharmacology, 253, 279–304.
  9. Abdou, A. M., Higashiguchi, S., Horie, K., Kim, M., Hatta, H., & Yokogoshi, H. (2006). Relaxation and immunity enhancement effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) administration in humans. BioFactors (Oxford, England)26(3), 201–208.
  10. Möhler H. (2012). The GABA system in anxiety and depression and its therapeutic potential. Neuropharmacology, 62(1), 42–53.
  11. Nuss P. (2015). Anxiety disorders and GABA neurotransmission: a disturbance of modulation. Neuropsychiatric disease and treatment, 11, 165–175.
  12. Prager, E. M., Bergstrom, H. C., Wynn, G. H., & Braga, M. F. (2016). The basolateral amygdala γ-aminobutyric acidergic system in health and disease. Journal of neuroscience research, 94(6), 548–567.