GABA is a neural chemical naturally synthesised in the brain cells and promotes the mental state of calmness, relaxation and sense of intense focus in an individual. The supplements of GABA are meant to possess therapeutic properties by aiding in the reduction of acute anxiety levels and also battle conditions of stress and depression. It has also been found to demonstrate improvements in sleep deprived persons and facilitates weight loss.
How does GABA work?
GABA is an important neurotransmitter associated with regulation of psychological and neurological state in the body. It goes by the name of Gamma Amino Butyric Acid since chemically it is an amino acid. This inhibitory neurotransmitter is synthesised from another non essential amino acid in the brain called glutamate and also from Vitamin B6. The chemical primarily works by naturally stimulating the brain cells to enhance their self regulatory system of preventing over-excitation of nerves, in response to a stimulus from outside the body. Despite possessing so many positive qualitites, solely the use of GABA supplements has proven to be useless in combating high levels of anxiety and insomnia.
GABA maintains equilibrium between the secretions of the emergency hormones from the adrenal glands, namely epinephrine and norepinephrine which are involved in battling fight and flight conditions of the body. This balance creates a sense of rest, relaxation and eliminates chances of irritability. It has been noticed that lower levels of GABA production are associated with disruptions in sleeping cycles, symptoms of depression and stress. The compound has even shown promising results by promoting growth and development in individuals by stimulating the human growth hormone or hGH.
GABA vs. the Blood-brain barrier:
There many doubts being raised in the steroids and drug forums about the efficiency of GABA as an anti-depressant by itself, yet not satisfying customers with the end results. Different clinical trials were carried out and one of the major reasons behind this inefficiency of GABA alone was found to be associated with the blood-brain barrier. Blood-brain barrier is a biological system that aids in the demarcation of circulated blood being able to enter the brains tissues. Thus when you consume food for the purpose of letting the nutrients reach your brain cells, they have to cross this blood-brain barrier in order to influence the neurons to work accordingly.
The problem with GABA is that if you consume the supplements orally via tablets or pills, it will get absorbed into the bloodstream and may even circulate to the brain, but will not actually be able to overcome the blood-brain barrier. Thus at the final stage, GABA fails to influence the brain tissues in promoting calming effect at times of stress. GABA is naturally produced in the brain, but even that is not enough to facilitate maintenance of higher levels of GABA for combating anxiety states.
As GABAS is proven to be useless, neuroscientists have developed the idea of taking GABA supplements alongside some other supplement that will promote the levels of GABA in brain cells and also help to cross the barrier. Naturally available boosters of GABA processing are L-theanine, a natural phytochemical present in green tea, Phenibut and Picamilon promote sense of relax and calm during stressful conditions by crossing blood-brain barriers and stimulating the neurons to fight anxiety.