Reduce Stress and Anxiety with GABA

Published on April 25, 2013 by Dr. Cameron Mcintyre

GABA is a supplement worth taking for dealing with issues of anxiety.  I have been using it in my clinical practice for many years for this very reason.

GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is a neurotransmitter made from the amino acid glutamate.  GABA acts as a main inhibitor to the brain and nervous system, functioning as an “engine brake” on the system in times of stress.  Low levels of GABA in the brain have been associated with restlessness, anxiety, insomnia and poor mood (1).

GABA has been shown to inhibit the excitatory impulses in the brain, including those responsible for panic, alarm, anxiety, worry and fear.  Classically, those who experience these symptoms are prescribed anti-anxiety medications like Ativan or another benzodiapene, for example.  While they can be clinically effective, these medications often create unwanted side effects.  This is where a supplement like GABA (bonus sizing now available!) can shine as it delivers the deficient neurochemical to help balance the brain and nervous system, without the related side effect concerns.

GABA has also been shown to promote a shift in the brain frequency by moving the brain out of a “beta state” (brainwaves associated with anxiety and stress), and into an “alpha state” (brainwaves associated with relaxation). This makes GABA a great consideration for those who have issues with insomnia (often part of the anxiety picture) as the alpha brain waves are the ones present at the start of a healthy sleep cycle.  Again, to use GABA here instead of a conventional sleep medication is often a good option, as you will avoid any potential side effects.

Do you feel overwhelmed by daily stresses? What do you do to cope with anxiety? Comment below or tweet us @AOR_Health!

As with all health concerns, liaising with your health care professional is a key component of the process.

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1.     1. Nemeroff, CB. The role of GABA in the pathophysiology and treatment of anxiety disorders.  Psychopharmacol Bull. 2003:37:133-146.

  • Dennis Simsek

    I've found GABA doesn't really help that much with my anxiety, but it does work great as a sleep aid! It's much better than sleeping pills too because it doesn't leave you feeling all drugged up in the morning.

  • Supp

    My son is 16 with ADHD and we are awaiting his blood test results for any deficiencies (vitamins, amino acids, iron, etc.). I am curious about what kind of GABA was prescribed or did your doctor tell you of a certain brand to buy at a health store? My son has been on Concerta for 5 years now and he seems to tolerate it now and it has not been working. He has been off Concerta for a month now, and i am using supplements trying to find the right combination that works for him. GABA is the only supplement that i have not tried yet. Poor grades with the Concerta and he is now experiencing tics, which is caused by the medication.