GABA is an amino acid that is one of the most important neurotransmitters in the nervous system. This compound can reduce the excitability of nerve cells, facilitate concentration and positively affect post-workout regeneration. In addition, it can reduce the feeling of anxiety and improve the quality of sleep.

It is found in food and in the form of dietary supplements. Due to its relaxing properties, it is really popular with people exposed to long-term stress.

GABA - what is it?

GABA is a γ-aminobutyric acid, i.e. an organic chemical compound from the group of non-protein amino acids.

It is one of the main neurotransmitters that is synthesized from glutamate in the body. The highest content of gamma-aminobutyric acid in the human body can be observed in the hypothalamus and extrapyramidal system, which is located in the central nervous system and is responsible for the automatism of movements.

Sources of GABA in food

The human body produces gamma-aminobutyric acid to a limited extent, so it is worth using products rich in this compound on a daily basis. GABA can be found in:

  • green tea,
  • valerian,
  • soybean,
  • sprouted brown rice,
  • silage,
  • dairy products such as yogurt and kefir.

GABA action

GABA is a key inhibitory neurotransmitter that affects the central nervous system. When the concentration of gamma-aminobutyric acid increases, the opening of ion channels in the membrane of neurons occurs, as well as an influx of chloride ions into the cells. This causes hyperpolarization of the cell membrane, thus limiting the excitability of nerve cells and inhibiting impulse transmission between cells.

Maintaining an adequate level of gamma-aminobutyric acid in neurons is extremely important and ensures the proper functioning of the nervous system.

GABA can facilitate concentration and positively influence memory processes. It has a calming and relaxing effect. The compound may raise the threshold of excitability of nerve cells, limit their sensitivity to stimuli and reduce hyperactivity and contribute to muscle relaxation. GABA can reduce cortisol levels and improve the functioning of the immune system.

It can also have a hypotensive effect, help alleviate anxiety symptoms, reduce anxiety, and reduce the negative effects of stress. In addition, the compound can facilitate falling asleep and improve the quality of sleep and extend its total duration. In addition, its action may improve well-being.

Effects of GABA on athletes

Gamma-aminobutyric acid can support the deep sleep phase, known as REM sleep, which allows you to naturally increase the secretion of growth hormone, which can contribute to the increase in lean muscle mass, as well as affect the intensification of the process of burning excessive body fat.

GABA can also improve post-workout regeneration, which in turn shortens the time needed to return to full form. At the same time, the compound can inhibit the production of the stress hormone - cortisol, which has a catabolic effect on muscle cells.

GABA supplementation - for whom?

In addition to a balanced, varied diet and regular physical activity, it is worth considering additional supplementation with gamma-aminobutyric acid among people with sleep problems and suffering from insomnia, as well as among those who work shifts.

In addition, GABA can positively affect people exposed to long-term stress and suffering from anxiety symptoms. Dietary supplements rich in this compound are also recommended for athletes.

Deficiency and excess of GABA

GABA deficiency in the body can contribute to symptoms such as:

  • bad mood,
  • insomnia,
  • irritability,
  • impaired concentration,
  • increased susceptibility to stress.

It is common among people who abuse alcohol.

In turn, excess gamma-aminobutyric acid can cause:

  • excessive sleepiness,
  • lethargy,
  • lack of motivation,
  • chronic fatigue.

How to take GABA supplements?

Gamma-aminobutyric acid should be taken about half an hour before bedtime. Depending on the sources of knowledge, the recommended daily dose of the supplement is from 500 to 2500 mg.

It is worth taking supplements rich in gamma-aminobutyric acid along with piperine or phosphatidylcholine, which increases the degree of bioavailability of the compound. It also seems beneficial to simultaneously take preparations containing hops and valerian, as well as vitamin B6, which supports the proper functioning of the nervous system.

Contraindications and side effects of using gamma-aminobutyric acid

Currently available evidence suggests that gamma-aminobutyric acid does not contribute to the cause of severe adverse side effects. In rare cases, it can cause dizziness, shortness of breath and indigestion.

There is also a lack of detailed information on the interaction of GABA with drugs or other dietary supplements. However, it is known that the preparation should not be combined with pharmaceuticals that affect the nervous system, i.a. with antidepressants.

Due to the fact that gamma-aminobutyric acid causes drowsiness, it is not recommended to take the supplement before or while driving.

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