Gamma-amino butyric acid or GABA is a neurotransmitter that acts to reduce communication between nerve cells in the brain, producing a calming effect. GABA supplements are sold as pills, liquids and powders. The powder form can be mixed into beverages or water before you take it. GABA powder might be beneficial, but before you use it, discuss its safety with your doctor.
GABA powder might make it easier to fall asleep by lowering the activity of neurons in the brain. GABA powder might also increase the amount of human growth hormone in the body, which might improve sleep cycles and decrease disruptions in sleep, according to Invigorate360.com. Some small studies have shown the benefits of GABA for sleep, but more research is necessary. Discuss taking GABA powder for insomnia with your doctor.
Might Prevent Seizures
Epilepsy is typically treated with medications or surgery. Some epilepsy medications increase the levels of GABA in the brain. GABA might impact seizures by reducing the firing between neurons, according to the WholeHealthMD website. The studies that used GABA powder itself to treat epilepsy have not demonstrated success; you should never take GABA as a substitute for conventional epilepsy medications. Talk to your doctor before using GABA if you have epilepsy or another condition that predisposes you to seizures.
Improves Chronic Pain
GABA inhibits the transmission of pain impulses throughout the body, as reported in January 2008 in ScienceDaily. In some diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis, the brain's natural GABA is ineffective, which leads to constant and unfiltered pain signals. GABA powder might lower the number of pain impulses and lessen feelings of pain. The supplement might also decrease stress levels, which could potentially reduce pain, according to WholeHealthMD. Your health care provider might suggest that you try GABA powder to improve chronic pain.
People with depression or anxiety might have low levels of GABA in the brain. GABA powder, taken as a supplement, is thought to increase GABA levels in the blood, according to the Denver Naturopathic Clinic website. However, little evidence exists to prove that GABA supplementation actually increases the level of GABA in the brain, and GABA supplements actually have difficulty crossing the blood-brain barrier, according to NaturalNews.com. Caution is required because some researchers believe that increasing GABA levels in people with depression might trigger further depression, according to an August 1995 article in the "Journal of Affective Disorders." Despite this theory, some health care providers suggest GABA powder because of anecdotal evidence that suggests improvement in mood, as noted on WholeHealthMD. You should not substitute GABA powder for any prescribed medication for anxiety or depression.
- Invigorate360.com: GABA -- Inhbitory Neurotransmitter that Naturally Induces Sleep
- WholeHealthMD: GABA
- NaturalNews.com; GABA Reduces Stress; Melanie Grimes; March 2010
- Denver Naturopathic Clinic: GABA: Gamma-Amino Butyric Acid
- ScienceDaily; A Step Forward In Targeted Pain Therapy; January 2008
- "Journal of Affective Disorders"; GABA and Mood Disorders: A Brief Review and Hypothesis; F. Petty; August 1995