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 anxiety response.

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.

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