GABA is Such a Silly Word – What Does It Mean?
GABA is short for “gamma-aminobutyric acid”, which plays an irreplaceable role in the brain and your nervous system. To understand the benefits of GABA and how it functions for your brain, we need to dig deeper into science. So, we are oversimplifying its functions to better highlight how amazing this neurotransmitter is. GABA is a neurotransmitter released by the neurons in your brain. It functions as an “inhibitor,” which means it slows
down the firing of brain cells that may be overreacting, helping to bring about a state of relaxation or calmness. It also functions to balance Glutamate (Glutamic Acid), which is also a neurotransmitter that is produced by your body. It functions by sending signals to your brain to support cognitive function, memory, learning, energy production and other brain functions. Glutamic acid can overproduce, causing the inability to relax, overexcitement and even neurological and mental disease. Think of GABA as the way to balance the scales.

Many different factors may interrupt the delicate balance between the two neurotransmitters. Too much glutamic acid can result in anxiety disorders, headaches, muscle tension, and even pain. In these cases, GABA goes to work to reduce the rate in which those excited neurons are firing. If you have insufficient GABA, you cannot regulate those overexcited neurons. Some studies indicate that GABA-deficiency may be one of the underlying causes of insomnia. GABA may also have a positive effect on the action of brain waves and how they function, which helps the mind to become more balanced and improves cognitive functioning. Besides the balancing effect of GABA for stress, mood, anxiety and depression, it also shows promise for pain management. This action occurs because it counteracts the high amount of Glutamic acid that is produced when your body is in pain and helps to calm the nerve responses.
Where Does GABA Come From?
For all of the fascinating attributes of GABA, where it comes from and how you can increase your body’s GABA production is equally important. However, the biggest controversy with GABA supplements is their ability to pass what is called the blood-brain barrier to get absorbed into the bloodstream and onto the brain where it provides its benefits. This was mostly due to the use of the synthetic forms of the supplement. However, more reputable companies, such as Natural Factors, are using a form of GABA called PharmaGABA™, which is a highly concentrated bioactive form. It is 100% naturally manufactured
through a fermentation process that utilizes “Lactobacillus hilgardii”– the bacteria used to ferment vegetables in the preparation of the traditional Korean dish known as kimchi. If you are interested in trying this supplement, look for Natural Factors Stress-Relax Chewable GABA or Natural Factors Stress-Relax GABA Capsules. There are also some supplements, through their pharmacology and their actions within your body, that may help to increase your GABA production. They include Kava Kava, Ashwagandha, L-Theanine, L-Taurine and Lemon Balm. GABA supplements may interact with some medications by increasing or decreasing their effectiveness, such as high blood pressure medications or antidepressants.
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