Stress has become a major part of our present day lifestyle and while everyone accepts it as something to do with the age and times we live in, many try to look for ways to reduce stress. People are opting for all sorts of methods to get rid of stress from their lives. Whether it is through relaxation techniques such as yoga or massage or through alternative methods, stress is something that we’d all love to lose. This is where GABA, or Gamma Amino Butyric Acid, which is an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system comes into picture.
Yes, GABA is being increasingly used to lower stress these days, but how? Let’s find out.
It seems as though everybody has heard of GABA and what it does, but few really know what it is and how exactly it can affect us. GABA was discovered in 1950 and has some well-known effects, primarily that of encouraging sleep and inducing relaxation. But how does it do this?
Well as said earlier, GABA is a neurotransmitter. This means that it is a chemical that helps nerves to communicate with each other. Neurotransmitters are responsible for most of our body functions, for the way we move and feel things, especially pain. When the level of neurotransmitters goes down in our body, it slows down the movement between the nerves and this is manifested in a number of ways in our body. From feeling anxious to heart palpitations and low sex drive, all these elements are classic responses to lowered levels of neurotransmitters in our body.
How GABA helps
GABA on the other hand takes care of all these issues and ensures that you get better sleep. It also considerably reduces the levels of stress. It calms the nerves and activates the brain receptors, consequently, ensuring that you can sleep feeling more relaxed.
GABA also affects brain waves, according to newer research that is emerging from Japan, showing that GABA is indeed an integral part of making our lives stress free. Now days people are resorting to GABA instead of Valium and other such sleeping pills, which can become addictive and habit forming.
Sources of GABA
While there are plenty of GABA supplements available in the market, there are also many natural sources from which GABA can be derived. However, it’s important to remember that the foods mentioned below do not contain GABA directly but contain glutamate or glutamic acid, which form glutamine in the body. From here, the next step is the synthesizing of GABA. Therefore, these foods are really important because they help in increasing the production of GABA in your body.
Among natural foods, here are some of the things that you can consume to increase GABA in your body – almonds, mackerel, halibut, whole grain oats, beef liver, walnuts, potato, brown rice, lentils and broccoli. These are some natural foods that can replenish the sources of GABA in your body. You can also consume powdered glutamine as a nutrition supplement if you like.
There are other supplements also available through which you can ensure that GABA production in your body doesn’t go down and you can take them either in powder or pill form.
Making GABA more effective
You can greatly improve the absorption of GABA in your body if you take supplements of taurine and glycine, which are amino acids known to enhance the production of GABA. Both these amino acids are made in the body but if you take their supplements, it will also positively affect the production of GABA.
An important point to note is that for GABA to be synthesized in your body, you need to have Vitamin B6 as well, so make sure you take B vitamins as a complex so that GABA is not affected.
How much is too much?
As with all other things, too much GABA can play havoc with your body so if you are taking external supplements you need to know how much is too much. Around 100 to 500 mg dosage two or three times a day ought to be enough. Taking more GABA than that can cause nausea and vomiting and lead to numerous other problems as well.
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