printable article

Originally published March 3 2010

GABA Reduces Stress

by Melanie Grimes

(NaturalNews) GABA is the abbreviation for the compound Gamma Amino Butyric Acid. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter discovered in 1950. It is related to the amino acid, glutamic acid, a nutrient known to improve sleep. GABA reduces stress and helps the brain prepare for better sleep by activating brain receptors and calming nerves.

GABA and Human Growth Hormone
GABA stimulates the anterior pituitary gland and helps increase Human Growth Hormone (HGH). Body builders are known to take GABA for this reason. A study at the University of Milan showed that GABA supplementation induced a five-time increase of growth hormone into the blood stream.

GABA in the Brain
GABA helps stabilize the theta waves of the brain. In a clinical trial in Japan, GABA was shown to increase alpha waves and decrease beta waves. GABA was tested against water (placebo) and L-theanine and only the GABA showed the change in brain wave activity.

How Neurotransmitters Work
At the end of the nerve is a sac. When stimulated, the sac releases neurotransmitters. These chemicals then help the nerve impulse to cross the space between the nerves, called the synapse. This is how nerves and brain tissue communicate. Neurotransmitters are responsible for most body functions, including emotions, movement and the ability to experience pain.

GABA Deficiency
When the brain runs out of neurotransmitters, the signals between the nerves slow down. This is what happens under stress. Symptoms of a GABA deficiency include anxiety, low sex drive, headaches, heart palpitations, and even seizures. GABA affects epilepsy and Parkinson's disease as well.

Foods That Contain GABA and Glutamine
GABA is contained in many complex carbohydrates, such as pasta and grains. GABA can also be synthesized by the amino acid glutamine. Foods high in glutamine include bananas, halibut, lentils, oats, rice bran, walnuts, broccoli, beef liver, almonds, and spinach. Powdered glutamine can also be purchased as a nutritional supplement.

Taurine and Glycine
Two other amino acids have been shown to work with GABA to help its absorption. Taurine helps synthesize GABA. Both taurine and glycine are made in the body but can be supplemented to help with GABA production.

B6 is Needed for GABA Absorption
Vitamin B6 is also needed for GABA synthesis. Taking the B vitamins as a complex is recommended.

Recommended Dosage of GABA
The recommended dosage of GABA is 1000 to 2000 mg a day. GABA has difficulty crossing the brain/blood barrier, so vitamin companies are searching for other methods of delivery, for instance adding GABA to oil-based solutions. Other suggestions to aid absorption are to increase the precursors, taurine, glycine and glutamine, and let the body manufacture GABA itself.

About the author

Melanie Grimes is a writer, award-winning screenwriter, medical journal editor, and adjunct faculty member at Bastyr University. She also teaches homeopathy at the Seattle School of Homeopathy and the American Homeopathic Medical College.
A trained homeopath, she is the editor of the homeopathic journal, Simillimum, and has edited alternative and integrative medical journals for 15 years. She has taught creative writing, founded the first Birkenstock store in the USA and authored medical textbooks.
Her ebook on Natural Remedies for the Flu is available at:
Follow her blog at

All content posted on this site is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. Truth Publishing LLC takes sole responsibility for all content. Truth Publishing sells no hard products and earns no money from the recommendation of products. is presented for educational and commentary purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice from any licensed practitioner. Truth Publishing assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. For the full terms of usage of this material, visit