Never Fear, GABA is Here! : The Benefits of GABA

Never Fear, GABA is Here! : The Benefits of GABA

What are the benefits of GABA? Support Sleep, Stress, & More

GABA, scientifically known as gamma-aminobutyric acid, is an important messenger in the body, especially in the nervous system. One of the most meaningful duties of GABA is in regulating nervous system activation through its role in balancing nerve cell activity, encouraging relaxation and sharpening communication between nerve cells. Interestingly, the benefits of GABA don’t stop there. Its impact can also be seen outside the nervous system, including its roles in protecting kidney and liver health (especially in cases of chemical exposure), managing healthy blood pressure, and in the antioxidant system.1

In the brain, GABA functions as the main inhibitory neurotransmitter and it is estimated that close to 40% of the synapses in the human brain utilize GABA.2 It can be thought of as being like the brakes on your car, helping to slow things down when they get too fast and acting as a gatekeeper to control the level of activity between neurons.  Ultimately, GABA reduces the ability of a nerve cell to initiate, send, or receive chemical information to other nerve cells ensuring the nervous system communicates in a balanced and controlled way. Imbalances in brain chemistry involving low levels of GABA can result in:

  1. Challenges falling asleep at night

The role of GABA in the brain has been exploited by the healthcare industry for over 50 years. In fact, three different generations of strong but addictive chemicals have been developed to manage over-excitement of nerve cell activity by impacting the affinity of receptors on nerve cells for GABA.3 An expanding base of biomedical research supports a connection between low levels of GABA in the brain of those who have trouble sleeping vs those who do not.4

  1. Mental health and mood concerns, especially related to stress

 Functional challenges with the GABA system have been implicated in the development of many mental health conditions, with increasing evidence linking GABA levels to mood expression and mood stabilization.5 Researchers suggest that some mental health conditions have a link to stress and that stress increases vulnerability for challenges with mood regulation. Clinical data indicate that decreased GABA function can accompany imbalanced mood states.6  as well as other conditions.

  1. Physical discomfort pathways

Overactivity in the brain is thought to deplete GABA levels and cause elevations in the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate.7 Neurotransmitter imbalance impacts nerve cell activation thresholds and leads to excessive and unrelenting signal transmission. Individuals with chronic and intractable conditions involving extensive physical discomfort have been shown to have lower levels of GABA.8

GABA-rich tissues are found throughout the body, underscoring what an important molecule it is for healthy functioning of body systems. From its roles in shaping the dynamics of the neural network of the brain and spinal cord to supporting the digestive system, promoting a healthy stress response, and providing antioxidant support, GABA has proven itself a key player in achieving and maintaining long term resilient health and wellness.

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