GABA: Your Brain's Own Anti-Anxiety Medication(My brother told me about this.)
GABA: Your Brain's Own Anti-Anxiety Medication
Feel Calm Without The Side Effects of Anxiety Drugs.
It's become almost an epidemic for people to feel chronically anxious, irritable or unfocused. For some, chronic anxiety can become debilitating. Low levels of GABA, gamma-aminobutyric acid, may be the culprit. A GABA deficiency can directly impact a person's ability to handle day to day or long term stress.
The calming, or "peacemaker" chemical in the brain, GABA induces relaxation, reduces stress and anxiety, and increases alertness. One of the four key neurotransmitters, GABA also keeps all the other neurotransmitters in check.
People with a GABA deficiency often experience:
- Anxiety symptoms
- Lower sex drive
- Disorders of the heart
How to naturally increase GABA:
While many people with anxiety take prescription medications such as Valium, Xanax or Ativan, benzodiazepine drugs that stimulate GABA receptors, these drugs often produce unwanted side effects.
The safest way to naturally boost your mood, and balance your brain chemistry is to eat food that increase the production of key neurotransmitters. And in the case of GABA, that means eating more complex carbohydrates. Complex carbs increase glutamine, an amino acid and precursor, (precedes the creation of) GABA. Try Introducing GABA-friendly foods into your diet and avoid eating excessive simple sugars, white flours and wheat products (besides whole grains).
Foods that increase GABA:
According to Dr. Braverman, author of "The Edge Effect," the following foods are high in glutamic acid/glutamate (forms glutamine, precursor to GABA):
- Almonds, tree nuts
- Beef Liver
- Brown Rice
- Oats, whole grain
- Oranges, citrus fruits
- Rice bran
- Whole wheat, whole grains.
Supplement with L-theanine to reduce anxiety:
If these foods don't appeal to you, you have food allergies or you don't feel enough of the GABA benefits, consider supplementing with L-theanine. This naturally occurring amino acid found in green tea is involved in the formation of GABA and has few, if any, side effects. L-theanine creates a calming affect in people without drowsiness while also increasing mental clarity.
L-theanine supplements are available at most health food stores. Be sure to buy Suntheanine®, the tested and patented form of L-theanine trademarked by Taiyo International, but available through several supplement manufacturers.
Vary the dose and frequency according to your symptoms. Most people find between 100 to 200mg 1 to 4 times a day as needed is effective.
How does GABA work to lower anxiety?
GABA controls your brain's rhythmic theta waves so you feel more physically and mentally balanced. Dr. Ray Sahelian, author of Mind Boosters explains, "GABA is the most important and widespread inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. Excitation in the brain must be balanced with inhibition. Too much excitation can lead to restlessness, irritability, insomnia, and even seizures. GABA is able to induce relaxation, analgesia, and sleep."
GABA creates a sense of well-being. "GABA is also involved in the production of endorphins, brain chemicals that create a feeling of well-being known as ‘runners high.'," explains Dr. Braverman. "Endorphins are produced in the brain during physical movement, such as stretching or even sexual intercourse." As endorphins are released, you begin to feel a sense of calm, often referred to as the Endorphin Effect.
Although feeling occasional anxiety is common, chronic anxiety is not and can lower your quality of life and negatively impact your immune system. Anti-anxiety medications often come with a long list of unwanted side effects and and risks. The amino acid L-theanine (Suntheanine®) may offer some people a safe and natural alternative.
If you're suffering from chronic anxiety, ask your doctor to test your neurotransmitter levels (urine test) and hormone levels (saliva is preferable). Hormones and neurotransmitters are interrelated in how they can affect mood regulation.
*Be sure to talk to your doctor before stopping a medication or combining supplements with current medications.