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How To Increase GABA Naturally

Have you been thinking about taking GABA supplements? Or maybe you’ve seen them on the shelves but aren’t quite sure what they are or if you even need supplements. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Read on to find out more about what GABA is, its benefits, and how you can increase GABA naturally.

Key Takeaways

  • Eat foods that are high in GABA. This includes fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, and yogurt.
  • Take GABA supplements. GABA supplements are available over-the-counter and can be taken in capsule or powder form.
  • Practice relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing. These techniques can help to reduce stress and anxiety, which can lead to increased GABA levels.

Introduction

Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) supplements have become a popular natural treatment for those who struggle with stress or anxiety. This is because research has found that GABA is essential for keeping our central nervous system calm and relaxed. (Source)

In fact, it’s believed many mental health conditions can be attributed to low levels of GABA. While the exact cause for this is unknown, conditions such as schizophrenia, autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression are all associated with low GABA activity in the brain. (Source)

However, GABA has many functions aside from just keeping us calm. It also plays a significant role in our sleep, appetite control, blood pressure, and immune system.

Having low levels of GABA can have negative effects in these areas and some believe supplements may help.

However, there is limited research available on the benefits of taking GABA supplements for conditions aside from anxiety, and further studies on this are warranted.

What Is GABA?

What Is GABA

GABA is an essential neurotransmitter and naturally occurring amino acid found in our gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that are essential for our body to function.

GABA is a special type of neurotransmitter that acts to block messages or slow down the speed of the messages sent to our nervous system particularly when it comes to feelings of anxiety or stress.

It is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain of adults and it helps to allow the brain more time to process and react to certain situations and feelings. This can help the brain to slow down, re-asses and reorganize thoughts and feelings as needed which can reduce the symptoms of stress and anxiety. (Source

Your brain has special proteins known as GABA receptors for these neurotransmitters and when they attach to these receptors they inhibit a calming effect.

There are two different types of GABA receptors: GABA-A and GABA-B. GABA-A receptors mediate fast inhibitory signals while GABA-B receptors produce slow and prolonged inhibitory signals. (Source)

While GABA is considered an inhibitory neurotransmitter, during the early stages of prenatal development, GABA acts as an excitatory neurotransmitter.

This means during this time GABA “excites’ ‘ the neurons by causing them to fire off messages quickly. Examples of other excitatory neurons are glutamate, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. During the postnatal stage, it switches to inhibitory. (Source)

GABA Benefits

GABA is best known for its benefits in helping to keep us calm. This is because GABA helps to slow down messages to the brain so that you are able to process without feeling overwhelmed or anxious.

GABA’s calming effects may be helpful for more than just anxiety and stress. In fact, GABA may also provide benefits towards sleep. Because it can slow down messages to the brain, GABA can help you relax in preparation for a good night’s rest. Additionally, GABA is essential in regulating rapid-eye movement (REM) and non-REM sleep. (Source)

GABA also works as a natural angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor which can help relax your blood vessels and improve blood pressure. ACE inhibitors prevent the body from making angiotensin 2 which narrows blood vessels and can cause high blood pressure levels which can put extra strain on your heart and make you more susceptible to heart disease. (Source)

Newer research on GABA shows it may even help regulate our metabolism and appetite. While the exact mechanism of actions is not well known, it’s hypothesized that GABA helps to control your hunger and satiety cues to help prevent overeating. (Source)

GABA also helps reduce inflammation and may help lessen the body’s inflammatory response to increase healing time and lessen allergic reactions. This may be particularly helpful in those who suffer from autoimmune conditions and research on this is ongoing. (Source)

Understanding GABA Deficiency

GABA Deficiency

You may be at risk for GABA deficiency if you are deficient in certain nutrients such as B vitamins. Vitamin B6 is particularly important as it is required to break down glutamate which is an essential precursor to the synthesis of GABA. Additionally, prolonged stress can increase your risk for GABA deficiency as this depletes B vitamins. (Source

The amino acid theanine is also essential in glutamate transport and having adequate levels of theanine may help to increase GABA levels. Theanine can be found in some foods, such as green and black tea as well as some varieties of mushrooms. Those with low GABA are more likely to experience mood disorders, insomnia, and irritability. (Source)(Source

If you are unsure if you are experiencing low levels of GABA speak with your doctor or healthcare practitioner. There are neurotransmitter tests available. Practitioners can also test for nutrient deficiencies and may be able to determine if a GABA deficiency is present based on symptoms and other lab work. (Source

How To Increase GABA Naturally

If you suspect you may be experiencing low levels of GABA, there are a few things you can do to increase your levels naturally.

Since glutamate is required for the synthesis of GABA, ensuring you have adequate levels of B vitamins should be your first line of defense, particularly vitamin B6 which can be found in supplement form as well as some foods.

Vitamin B6-rich foods include beef, poultry, seafood, liver, dark leafy greens, and fortified cereals. 

Aside from B vitamins, magnesium is also essential as it may help to boost the effectiveness of GABA. Additionally, magnesium can help improve sleep and anxiety symptoms which may appear as a deficiency in GABA. Magnesium is also available in many over-the-counter supplements. It can also be found in foods such as legumes, nuts, and seeds. (Source)(Source)(Source)

If you’ve got your nutrients covered, the next step to consider is exercise. Nitric oxide (NO), which is synthesized and released during exercise may help to boost GABA levels. (Source)

While all exercise has proven to be beneficial, yoga and meditation may be particularly helpful in increasing GABA levels naturally. Exercise also helps to naturally reduce blood pressure levels, improve sleep, and reduce anxiety symptoms which are often associated with low GABA levels. (Source)(Source)

Foods That Boost GABA

GABA food sources

If supplements aren’t your thing, altering your diet to include a certain variety of foods may be all you need to do to increase your GABA levels. 

Fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, and yogurt can help to encourage an increased production of GABA due to the presence of certain microorganisms.

According to research, the nutrients in these foods along with the beneficial organisms they provide allow for a natural synthesis of GABA in the body. Additionally, green tea, white tea, and Oolong tea contain high amounts of GABA naturally. (Source)(Source

Other foods that contain small amounts of GABA include peas, wheat, barley, brown and red rice, cruciferous vegetables, sweet potatoes, Shiitake mushrooms, chestnuts, and white Chinese tea. (Source)

While there aren’t many foods high in GABA, there are foods that encourage GABA production, including whole grains, beans, seeds, nuts, fish, cocoa, and certain fruits and vegetables such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, berries, spinach, and broccoli. (Source)

Supplements To Increase GABA

Some may find it easier to boost GABA by taking supplements, especially if you have found that you have low levels. GABA supplements are considered Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) however, there is limited research available on potential side effects of GABA supplements.

Of the research available, common side effects are mild and may include upset stomach, headache, sleepiness, and muscle fatigue. GABA supplements may increase fatigue and it is recommended to avoid taking them prior to driving a vehicle or operating heavy machinery.

GABA also has the potential to interact with certain medications. Always speak with your doctor or healthcare practitioner before adding a GABA supplement to your routine.

If you aren’t sure if you want to take GABA supplements, you can also consider supplements that encourage GABA production, such as those that contain vitamin B6, magnesium, and/or L-theanine.

If you plan to try out GABA supplements, be sure to choose your products wisely. Because supplements are not regulated by the FDA for safety and effectiveness, it’s up to the manufacturers to ensure their products are safe.

Always choose supplements from trusted brands that provide ingredient transparency as well as third-party testing for quality and purity, such as Human Tonik

Human Tonik’s Supergreen Tonik powder is the perfect ally to enhancing GABA function. It provides a rich source of L-theanine to encourage a natural boost in GABA as well as aiding in fighting off the flu and colds, boosting energy levels, supercharging your brain, improving your sleep quality and reducing stress and anxiety symptoms.

Human Tonik does not use proprietary blends so you always know exactly what and how much of each ingredient you are getting. They also offer third-party testing with a 1-year guarantee.

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Lifestyle Changes To Enhance GABA Production

If you are searching for an all-natural approach to boosting GABA production, your best bet is to make a few lifestyle alterations.

First and foremost, be sure to maintain a balanced diet that is rich in essential vitamins and minerals from foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes. This helps to prevent a GABA deficiency.

Additionally, managing stress levels can help to avoid depletion of B vitamins. Practicing certain stress management techniques such as yoga, meditation, and/or deep breathing can help with coping with stress and improving GABA levels. If meditation isn’t your thing, good old fashion exercise will work just fine as well.

While it can be overwhelming to consider making multiple changes at once, the most important thing is consistency. Instead of changing your entire diet and/or exercise routine, start with one to two small changes and go from there.

After all, it won’t be beneficial for your GABA levels to stress about improving your GABA levels.

Conclusion

GABA is an essential inhibitory neurotransmitter in the adult brain. It is responsible for slowing or blocking messages being transmitted to the central nervous system which may provide potential benefits including reducing stress and anxiety symptoms, improving sleep, and improving blood pressure levels.

Low levels of GABA have been associated with an increased risk in developing certain mental health conditions. 

While there are many supplements available to boost GABA levels, you can also do it naturally by altering your diet to include a variety of nutrients for a more balanced intake, increasing physical activity, and participating in stress management techniques such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises.

If you struggle with balancing your diet, choosing a well-rounded and trusted supplement such as Human Tonik Supergreen Tonik may help you achieve your optimal GABA levels with less stress.

Their product range also provides a variety of other benefits that may interest you. If you’ve tried their products before or have any experience with boosting your GABA levels naturally, we would love to hear about your experience!

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FAQ

How Can I Restore My GABA Naturally?

Restoring your GABA naturally can be achieved through a combination of dietary choices, lifestyle changes, and supplementation.

Consuming foods rich in GABA or those that promote GABA production like fermented foods and green tea, along with foods high in flavonoids such as berries and citrus fruits, can be beneficial.

Supplements like Human Tonik’s Supergreen Tonik, which contains L-theanine known to boost GABA levels naturally, can be a great addition to your routine.

Moreover, adopting lifestyle practices such as regular physical exercise, meditation, and yoga can help, as these activities have been shown to increase GABA levels. Ensuring sufficient sleep is also crucial, as it has a positive effect on GABA levels.

Is There A Natural Way To Increase GABA In The Brain?

Absolutely, increasing GABA in the brain naturally involves a balanced approach that includes dietary choices, relaxation practices, and avoiding substances that can disrupt GABA production.

Consuming a balanced diet rich in nutrients that promote GABA synthesis is fundamental. Engaging in relaxation and mindfulness practices can help reduce stress, which is known to deplete GABA levels.

Utilizing natural supplements like Human Tonik’s Supergreen Tonik, rich in ingredients known to boost GABA levels, can be a significant help.

It’s also advisable to avoid substances such as alcohol and caffeine that can potentially disrupt GABA production.

What Stimulates GABA Release?

GABA release can be stimulated through various methods including consuming foods high in GABA or those that promote its production, and engaging in activities that promote relaxation and reduce stress, as these are known to stimulate GABA release.

Taking supplements containing ingredients like L-theanine, which stimulates GABA release, can be beneficial. Regular physical exercise is also encouraged as it can boost GABA levels in the brain.

What Are The Symptoms Of A Lack Of GABA?

A lack of GABA in the brain can manifest in several ways including increased anxiety and stress levels, given that GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that promotes relaxation.

Individuals may also experience sleep disturbances such as difficulty falling asleep and poor sleep quality. A lack of GABA can also affect mood, potentially leading to an increased risk of depression, given GABA’s significant role in mood regulation.

Other symptoms might include cognitive issues like difficulty concentrating and memory problems, as well as increased pain perception since GABA helps regulate the pain response in the brain.

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