GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is an amino acid that does not build proteins. It acts on nerve cells in out body as a "brain hormone" (neurotransmitter). Neurotransmitters are the link betweem two nerve cells. Some stimulate each other and some inhibit each other. The main inhibitory neurotransmitter is GABA, which relaxes, slows you down, makes you sleepy, helps you cope with stress and can provide restful sleep.
Studies have been examined the effects of GABA on stress management in the following ways. When we are stressed, in addition to the physical signals, our brain starts to work in a completely different way if we put an electrical current conducting device in the top of our head we get a completely different signal at the rest and under stress. Several studies have found that GABA has the effect of reducing this particular signal, which can have a calming effect.
Because GABA improves the quality of sleep, it can greatly increase growth hormone levels in people who sleep little. It is during sleep that growth hormone (GH) is released, this hormone is responsible for muscle building and wound healing, and is considered the main anabolic hormone. Studies have reported on the effects of GABA on growth hormone. It may be optimal for regularly exercising individuals who want to gain muscle but have difficulty sleeping.
So GABA (in tea or supplement form) can help with stress management and can have a calming and sedative effect. It can be useful for anyone who is stressed and not sleeping well. It can also help build muscle in people who don't sleep well.
GABA is found in many foods:
- Teas (ooyong, zha zou, green tea and the like)
- Fermented foods
The recommended intake of GABA is not established, studies have used doses of 3000-5000 mg. No studies have been done on the upper tolerable limit.