Depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders are becoming more prevalent in the US population.
Whether this is from an increase in awareness, in population, or daily stresses, it leaves many individuals searching for remedies and GABA might be one.
What is GABA?
GABA stands for Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid, and it is an important neurotransmitter in the central nervous system (CNS). In the brain, it works as an inhibitor, helping to reduce neural activity and excitability. What does this mean? It means that this supplement has a calming and sedating effect on the nervous system. Therefore, it may benefit individuals with depression, anxiety, insomnia, and other mood disorders.
The Effects of GABA:
Most of us have experienced the effects of GABA by drinking alcoholic beverages. Alcohol works on its receptors and together these help explain the “buzzed” feeling we get after a drink or two. At first, one might just be relaxed and more talkative. However, as drinking continues, the nervous system becomes more impaired (or inhibited). Further inhibition may lead loss to in coordination, clumsy movements, and slurred speech.
Who Does GABA Help?
Doctors often prescribe these supplements to individuals with moods disorders such as anxiety, depression, PMS, chronic pain, and bipolar disorders. However, the supplement can be beneficial to any individual who wishes to improve mood and nerve function.
While there is still inconclusive research on the effects of the supplements on the brain, many claim it does help. Some research suggests that the supplements cannot penetrate the blood-brain barrier and exert its effects on the central nervous system, but the reason may be genetics. Individuals that do report improvements may possess genetic individualities which allow for a greater passage of the supplement through the blood-brain barrier.
Should I Take GABA?
Unless a potential benefit can come from its supplementation, one should not spend extra money on GABA supplements. However, if conditions like moods disorders, chronic pain, and anxiety greatly affect daily life, then it should be considered. The chance of slim improvements in moods, pain, or anxiety may be possible if GABA resonates with the individual. Additionally, there is likely to be a placebo effect that improves mood (thinking it will get better may actually help it get better).
Get more with CORE! Our nutritionists and registered dietitian can make all the difference when deciding whether to take a supplement or not. Tests run by our nutrition staff can pinpoint where a deficiency exists, if you have any poor reactions to certain foods, and even if an excess of a nutrient or food exists.