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Gamma Aminobutyric Acid (GABA)

Posted on Dec. 30, 2005, 8:01 p.m. in Amino Acids

GENERAL DESCRIPTION:

GABA is a non-essential amino acid found naturally in beans, brewer’s yeast, dairy products, eggs, fish, legumes, meat, nuts, seafood, seeds, soy, whey, and whole grains. GABA functions as the most prevalent inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system (CNS). GABA is found in large amounts in the hypothalamus, this implies that the amino acid has a fundamental role in hypothalamic-pituitary function, and thus neuroendocrine metabolism. The hypothalamus is a region of the brain, which regulates the autonomous functions, such as sleep, body temperature and the activity of the pituitary gland. The pituitary is an endocrine gland that affects all hormonal functions of the body. It is the pituitary gland that secretes the much talked about growth hormone, however GABA is an excellent substitute for growth hormone and several clinical studies have found that ingestion of GABA, especially after exercise, stimulates the pituitary to secrete growth hormone.

ROLE FOR ANTI-AGING:

Because of its inhibitory effects upon the CNS, supplemental GABA can be useful for aiding relaxation. GABA can help to decrease epileptic seizures and muscle spasms by inhibiting message transmission in neurons. This helps control nerve cells from firing too fast, which would overload the system. As GABA stimulates the secretion of growth hormone from the pituitary, it can help to increase lean body mass. GABA also lowers blood pressure, helps control hypoglycemia, prevents anxiety, and promotes sleep.

DEFICIENCY SYMPTOMS:

There are no known signs of GABA deficiency.

THERAPEUTIC DAILY AMOUNT:

Refer to packaging.

MAXIMUM SAFE LEVEL: 500 mg per day

SIDE EFFECTS/CONTRAINDICATIONS:

Side effects can include a tingling sensation in the face and a slight shortness of breath shortly after taking the supplement. Both effects only last for a few minutes. GABA may cause drowsiness; therefore, it is best to take it shortly before going to bed. People with kidney or liver disease should consult their doctor before taking supplementary GABA.

  

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