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Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) is one of your body’s primary neurotransmitters and acts to calm your central nervous system (CNS). Research has shown the GABA supplement to be effective in natural treatment for depression, anxiety, insomnia, and addiction [1]. Your body produces GABA naturally, which acts as a counter-balance to your body’s glutamatergic system—responsible for energy and activity. Basically, this means that GABA helps to calm your body and mind down, which promotes relaxation. A GABA deficiency is thought to play a major role in many chronic health conditions.

Learn how food may be fueling your chronic health issues: The Elimination Diet

Gaba Benefits

GABA supplements contain one of the most impactful compounds found in your brain, with the ability to greatly benefit your central nervous system. CNS depressants are common prescription drugs that act upon many GABA receptor sites in your brain, which have an overall calming effect. GABA supplements are a more natural way of achieving the same types of benefits, without the dramatic risks associated with pharmaceutical drugs. GABA represents one of many natural courses of treatment that have the potential to treat many systemic, chronic, and serious health conditions.

GABA supplements are a more natural way of achieving the same types of benefits, without the dramatic risks associated with pharmaceutical drugs

GABA supplements have been shown to serve as effective treatments for issues relating to overly-excited neural pathways, such as anxiety, depression, or insomnia. Researchers have found that GABA supplements can “act at lower doses, with fewer side effects than currently used drugs” [2]. This powerful revelation means that research has shown GABA to be more effective at treating many conditions that pharmaceutical drugs! In addition to the powerful benefits offered to the central nervous system, GABA has been shown to stimulate a 400% increase in human growth hormone production [3].

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Gaba For Sleep

GABA for Sleep
Deep Sleep Cellular Processes

Much of the benefits GABA lends towards treating anxiety naturally, plays a role in its ability to help promote healthy sleep. Nearly 1 in 5 people are affected by insomnia each year, which is an ever-growing number. This epidemic of sleep deprivation may very well be helping fuel the dramatic increase of chronic health conditions in recent years. Sleep is one of the most important factors in maintaining proper health, helping to fortify your immune system. Of the many stages of sleep that you go through each night, delta sleep (Deep Sleep) is regarded as one of the most important. It is during this stage that your body consolidates memory in both a psychological and immunological capacities. Simply put, your mind and body are both strengthened during deep sleep cycles. GABA is known to be one of the most-powerful natural sleep aids— able to help keep your body from being disturbed during this cycle. [4] [5]

Gaba For Anxiety

GABA supplement receptor site
GABA Receptor Sites

GABA is one of the most effective natural remedies for anxiety and recommended by many health professionals to patients suffering from all types of anxiety. Anxiety disorders are peculiar states of being which seem to trigger an unwarranted degree of mental and physical stress. While anxiety disorders are generally regarded as being caused by unbalanced systems in the brain, their exact causes are not fully understood. Simply put, researchers know that anxiety is a brain issue, but they don’t really know what kind of brain tissue [6]. Most prescription anxiety medications target GABA receptor sites in the brain, perpetuating the notion that GABA—one way or another—has a tremendous effect on anxiety. Prescription anti-anxiety medications such as Benzodiazepines act on GABA receptor sites in your brain and force them to say open longer [7]. This approach affects the way that your brain behaves, in order to be able to better utilize an already-existing supply of GABA. GABA supplements, by contrast, don’t affect your brains natural function and simply provide it with more GABA to balance out over-excitement.

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Human Growth Hormone Stimulation

Daily GHG Level Fluctuations

Human Growth Hormone (HGH) levels are notoriously hard to measure. For this reason, much of the data that we have regarding HGH has been compiled through the measurement of a compound named Insulin-Like Growth Factor (IGF-1). Growth hormone is produced by the anterior regions of your pituitary gland and is released in ‘bursts’ throughout the day. These bursts are short-lived and utilized quickly by your body. However, these bursts also affect your IGF-1 levels, which are able to be measured much later on. For this reason, the IGF-1 measurement is often an effective first stage of diagnosing growth hormone production issues [8]. Additionally, and perhaps more peculiarly, your immune system has also been known the secrete growth hormone. Specifically, your T-Cells and B-Cells secrete immunoreactive growth hormone (irGH), which can also be measured [9]. These levels of growth hormone have been found to be up to 400% larger when taking GABA during periods of rest, and up to 200% higher when taking GABA before a workout. This newly-discovered action has prompted bodybuilders to flock to GABA as one of few HGH supplements that demonstrated effects on HGH levels.

Gaba Side Effects & Dosage

In one study, researchers compared the effects of GABA on immunological enhancement and reducing anxiety, finding that an increase in Alpha brain waves, as well as higher IgA levels. These results were seen when researchers administered oral GABA supplements on an empty stomach with water [1].  Since GABA is, technically, an amino-acid, it is largely regarded to be most effectively administered without food, and on an empty stomach.

The Gaba Blood-Brain Barrier Controversy

Blood-Brain Barrier Illustration

Your body’s blood-brain barrier is a very useful defense mechanism that stops harmful compounds from entering your brain. However, it also makes it that much harder for many beneficial compounds to make it through as well. Researchers have long regarded GABA has had great difficulty in passing through the blood-brain barrier, although this notion has been discounted by more modern research [10]. GABA levels are notoriously hard to directly measure in the human brain, and most laboratory testing has been conducted on animals. Additionally, poor documentation has been given for the specific variation of GABA used, the type of administration, or even to the specific species of animals used during testing. While the direct measurement of GABA’s ability to pass the blood-brain barrier is still a bit of a controversy, there is solid research demonstrating the positive effects induced by GABA. This largely favors the notion that GABA is able to cross the blood-brain blood-brain barrier in effective amounts, but researchers have yet to identify a method of accurate measurement. It’s kind of like seeing footprints in the sand of a beach. Even if you don’t see anyone else walking, you can reasonably assume that someone was there.

Gaba Dosage

The proper dosage for GABA may vary wildly from person to person. The limited amount of research, while illuminating in the benefits of GABA,  doesn’t offer much in the way of direction for use. The minimal effectual dose of GABA is approximately 250mg, which can be taken up to 3 times a day for ‘maintenance’ type treatments. This type of dosage would be ideal if you are simply looking for a little more mental resilience, or just taking the edge off of your stress levels. For uses of actively treating conditions such as anxiety, depression, or insomnia, you may want to consider doses as high as 1000mg. You should always consult a licensed health professional to help you better understand the best dose for you, and always take heed of the directions on the manufacturer’s label as well. As an example, the Pure Encapsulations GABA supplement recommends a single 700mg dose per day to be taken on an empty stomach. For those looking to boost growth hormone levels, it’d be ideal to take this dose in the morning. For those looking to take GABA for sleep, it’d likely be better taken before bedtime.

Gaba Side Effects

One powerful attraction of natural supplements and herbs for the treatment of health issues is their distinct lack of side effects. GABA is no exception to this rule and has only been known to have very rare and mild side effects. Among these are sleepiness, tingling sensations, and shortness of breath. These symptoms have been reported as being mild, and typically only present in higher doses of 3000mg and above. The best way to learn what dose of GABA is effective for you is to experiment on your own, working your way up from smaller to larger doses. The side effects associated with normal doses of GABA are largely seen when taken earlier in the day, and are often un-noticeable for those who take this supplement before bedtime—even if they experience side effects regularly. Overall, GABA should be considered to be a very safe supplement, with only mild side effects which are rarely seen. Unless you take ‘heroic’ doses, you’ll likely have no issues whatsoever.

Gaba Supplements

As mentioned earlier, one of the issues with GABA-related research is that poor documentation has been made on the different forms of GABA used. This type of dilemma is very comparable to an issue that found in GABA supplements—in that many contain unlisted ingredients and toxic residue. Before buying any type of vitamins and supplements, you should be aware of which brands are more trustworthy and offer purer products. The best brands of supplements offer you a pure experience with which you can accurately gauge how a certain compound effects you. After having some experience with the purest forms available, you may be able to settle into less-expensive brands once confident in your ability notice the effects (or lack thereof) from your supplement. Below are a few of our top picks for best GABA supplements:

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Final Considerations

GABA is an integral neurotransmitter involved in regulating calm mindedness. When the body fails to produce enough, or utilize amounts it has, tension and anxiety can begin to surmount. GABA supplements are able to help promote deep sleep, treat anxiety naturally, and help ward off many nasty effects of stress. There exists some controversy regarding the ability of GABA supplement to cross the blood-brain barrier, though research leans both directions. When taken in combination with certain supplements like L-Arginine, GABA has been seen to be much more likely to find its way to the brain, where it is most effective. This powerful natural compound is available from many different supplement brands, though choosing a product from trusted manufacturers can help ensure you receive all the potential health benefits that GABA has to offer.

GABA Supplements
Overall Rating
Effective Natural Supplement
GABA offers the powerful ability to help treat a number of health issues such as anxiety, depression, insomnia and more. It has also been shown to increase growth hormone levels considerably during resting periods and during workouts. GABA supplements are available from many different brands, but quality brands are only available online.
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  1. Abdou, A M, et al. “Relaxation and Immunity Enhancement Effects of Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) Administration in Humans.” BioFactors (Oxford, England)., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 19 Dec. 2008, .
  2. Gottesmann, C. “GABA Mechanisms and Sleep.” Neuroscience., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 10 May 2002,
  3. Powers, M E, et al. “Growth Hormone Isoform Responses to GABA Ingestion at Rest and after Exercise.” Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1 Jan. 2008,
  4. Gottesmann, C. “GABA Mechanisms and Sleep.” Neuroscience., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 10 May 2002,
  5. Westermann, J, et al. “System Consolidation during Sleep – a Common Principle Underlying Psychological and Immunological Memory Formation.” Trends in Neurosciences., U.S. National Library of Medicine, Oct. 2015,
  6. Lydiard, R B. “The Role of GABA in Anxiety Disorders.” The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2003,
  7. Maron, Dina Fine. “Antianxiety Drugs Successfully Treat Autism.” Scientific American, 19 Mar. 2014,
  8. Clemmons, David R. “The Relative Roles of Growth Hormone and IGF-1 in Controlling Insulin Sensitivity.” The Journal of Clinical Investigation, American Society for Clinical Investigation, 1 Jan. 2004,
  9. Powers, M E, et al. “Growth Hormone Isoform Responses to GABA Ingestion at Rest and after Exercise.” Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1 Jan. 2008,
  10. Boonstra, Evert, et al. “Neurotransmitters as Food Supplements: the Effects of GABA on Brain and Behavior.” Frontiers in Psychology, Frontiers Media S.A., 6 Oct. 2015,

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