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Use GABA as a calming supplement

Friday, February 25, 2011 by: Elizabeth Walling
Tags: GABA, stress, health news

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(NewsTarget) Feeling stressed? You`re not alone. In fact, being vaguely stressed, vexed, irritable, anxious and nervous seems to be an increasingly common state in this technological world. To combat this feeling of agitation, depression or unease, many turn to drugs (either prescription or recreational), alcohol, or therapy. But what if simply exercising more and eating a balanced diet, rich in the right kinds of foods and supplements like GABA, could make all the difference?

GABA is short for gamma-aminobutyric acid, and its role in the body is to slow down (calm) the firing nerves in our central nervous systems. It`s a neurotransmitter, and in most of us it should work just fine (although the effects of long-term stressful situations can interfere with natural GABA production, as can certain health conditions). GABA stimulates the pituitary gland to produce the human growth hormone. It`s also responsible for helping us produce those wonderful, mood-elevating endorphins.

Those of us lacking the correct amount of this compound in our bodies might experience manic behavior, anxiety, alcoholism, recklessness or even epileptic seizures. Bipolar disorder or even multiple sclerosis can also be linked to low GABA levels. Other symptoms of GABA deficiency include palpitations, headaches, irritability and decreased libido.

A diet rich in complex carbohydrates is essential for brain-health because they increase glutamine, an amino acid that is required for the formation of GABA. Try to include GABA-friendly foods in your meals and cut excess simple sugars, white flours and refined wheat products. Doing this, plus being active, can raise and maintain your brain`s GABA levels.

Foods that can help include nuts (like cashews and walnuts), certain fish such as halibut, bananas, deep green veggies like spinach and broccoli, beef liver, rice bran and citrus fruits like oranges. Green tea is high in L-theanine and helps boost GABA production naturally while giving you the benefits of a calmer mood, increased clarity and improved concentration with absolutely no side effects.

But what if that`s not enough? Today`s over-planted, impoverished soils produce vitamin and mineral-deficient fruits and vegetables. It takes a lot more of those now to get those USDA minimum daily requirements, unless you grow your own organically. The simpler solution, and the more accurate-dosage, may come from a strongly targeted supplement program.

At this time the jury is still out on just how effective supplements are. Some doctors and researchers claim ingested supplements don`t manage to cross the blood-brain barrier and are therefore a waste of money. It doesn`t seem like there are any notable negative side effects, though (unlike commonly prescribed pharmaceutical anti-anxiety drugs), so careful experimentation with 500-1000 mg once or twice a day may be worth consideration. In any event, always check with you doctor before taking any supplements.

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About the author

Elizabeth Walling is a freelance writer specializing in health and family nutrition. She is a strong believer in natural living as a way to improve health and prevent modern disease. She enjoys thinking outside of the box and challenging common myths about health and wellness. You can visit her blog to learn more:

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