GABA Anxiety: GABA Anxiety Relief Tips
Gamma Butyric Acid, or the GABA anxiety cure: is it for real, or
just another attempt to funnel some of the billions of dollars
spent each year on prescription anxiety drug treatments to the
manufacturers of "natural" cures for anxiety?
GABA is one of a group of brain chemicals known as
neurotransmitters, which allow the nerve cells of the brain to
send messages. Those who promote the GABA anxiety relief
connection say that GABA works by "inhibiting", or slowing down,
the reactions of the brain cells which regulate our fear and
They make this claim because the family of benzodiazepine drugs,
like Valium and Librium, used to calm anxiety, act on the same
brain receptors affected by GABA anxiety alleviation.
The benzodiazepines, in fact, attach themselves to the same
receptors as GABA does, but in different places. In doing so,
they increase the GABA anxiety-diminishing effect. If there were
no GABA in the brain, Valium and Librium would be useless.
Those who are promoting the natural GABA anxiety cure seem to
think that anxiety sufferers could simply do away with their
prescription medications which increase GABA anxiety relief, and
replace them with supplemental GABA.
Many makers of nutritional supplements offer the GABA anxiety
cure in pill form. But research has shown that orally-ingested
GABA does not cross the blood-brain barrier very well. Some
proponents of GABA anxiety relief supplements suggest taking it
with Vitamin B-6, and some suggest taking it in megadoses to
ensure that enough of it gets to the brain to be effective.
And some manufacturers of nutritional supplements are
researching ways to combine GABA with an oil base, thinking that
will improve its passage through the blood-brain barrier.
The proponents of the GABA anxiety cure insist that, because
GABA is naturally produced in the brain, it cannot be harmful,
and that GABA supplements are a perfect alternative to
anti-anxiety prescription drugs. But questions remain.
Some claim that GABA will have very few side-effects, unless
taken in huge does; on the other hand, its inability to cross
the blood-brain barrier indicates that huge doses would be
needed for GABA anxiety relief to occur.
And large doses of GABA will have side effects. Among them are
flushing, a burning sensation in the extremities, shortness of
breath, fatigue, and, yes, even anxiety. And there are no
established dosage guidelines; most of those who recommend GABA
suggest a daily intake of between 250-1000 milligrams.
But, because anxiety sufferers come in all sizes, and have
varying metabolic rates, those guidelines are not overly useful.
GABA anxiety relief may be a reality, but anxiety sufferers
should approach it with caution.