by timrel

June 27, 2017

best gaba-supplements

Guide to the Best GABA Supplements 

Over the years, GABA supplements have attracted a significant amount of attention thanks to there effectiveness in combating stress, reducing anxiety levels, and gaining muscle when bodybuilding. For the supplements themselves, they actually affect the brain and help to promote a calm feeling whilst also increasing focus.

This is why they are often used to improve sleep and you will see them used by Bodybuilders who are looking for that competitive edge.

If you wanted to boost brain alpha and regulate your mood, GABA supplements would be the way to go. However, there are perhaps more question marks over the whole anxiety aspect and whether GABA supplements really possess these key qualities.

gamma-Aminobutyric acid structure

gamma-Aminobutyric acid

In order to relieve anxiety, it has to impact the ‘blood-brain barrier’ and research suggests oral ingestion of these supplements cannot cross this barrier and therefore cannot affect anxiety. This will be discussed later.

Today, we want to dig deeper into the topic of GABA supplements, how they work, their benefits, and other ways of improving your GABA levels moving forward!


What is GABA?

Standing for Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid, it is an amino acid produced within the brain using vitamin B6 and Glutamate; the latter is actually a neurotransmitter and another amino acid itself. Despite being classified as an amino acid, GABA works in a different way because it does not help to build proteins.

In the body, GABA is also known as the main inhibitory neurotransmitter; in our brains, we have a self-regulated system that works to prevent over-excitement of the neurons coming from an external stimuli and GABA is important for this process.

How Does GABA Help You Sleep?

When we feel restless at night, this is normally due to a chemical imbalance with noradrenalin, adrenalin, and many other chemicals. With GABA, this works to create a new balance between these chemicals thus preventing insomnia and irritability. In people with poor sleeping patterns, anxiety, and even depression, many experts now point the finger towards low GABA levels for these conditions.

What is in GABA? What is GABA Derived from?

By using pyridoxal phosphate (vitamin B6 in active form) and glutamate decarboxylase (GAD) as a cofactor, GABA is synthesized from glutamate. Essentially, the process creates an inhibitory neurotransmitter from glutamate.

What Does GABA Do?

In order to increase your focus and mental flow, GABA looks to increase what we call ‘alpha wages’ within the brain itself. Since technology has improved, we have learned more and more about GABA and experts now think it responsible for numerous functions.

For example, they believe it can regulate muscle tone as well as helping to produce other hormones that have a direct role in building muscle cells.

As we mentioned earlier, GABA supplements are now popular in the gym scene and this is exactly why. For weightlifters, GABA supplements are common nowadays and actually have been for some time because it can boost weight loss whilst improving athleticism at the same time. If we go one step further, one study might have also proved how GABA helps to grow neural and embryonic stem cells.

What is the Best GABA Supplement on the Market?

Currently, green tea is a popular choice in this niche because it contains ‘L-Theanine’ which is a natural GABA booster; this will help you to focus and relax. As well as increasing your GABA levels, this product will also boost dopamine and serotonin. If you’re looking for a stress-reliever, L-Theanine could be the one since it is known as an adaptogen allowing you to handle whatever comes your way in life.

With L-Theanine, we now know that it alters your brainwave state. As you may or may not know, the beta state is responsible for stress and anxiety whilst the alpha state is for relaxation. With GABA supplements, the aim is to decrease the beta waves and increase alpha waves thus promoting relaxation.

All things considered, we suggest trying Phenibut as this can cross the blood-brain barrier as a GABA derivative and therefore promote calmness through stimulating the right receptors for the neurotransmitter in question. In addition to relief from stress, this supplement should also relieve tension, calm anxiety, and improve the quality of sleep.


Interestingly, Russian cosmonauts once used Phenibut as part of their standard equipment medical kit after being developed in the USSR. Normally, tranquilizers would lead to drowsiness but Phenibut worked without creating a negative impact on performance.



After this, we also suggest Picamilon because this substance reaches your brain before then breaking down into GABA. Not only will you see the common GABA impact, you can also treat a migraine or headache with the supplement. Once again, Picamilon is able to work its magic without making the individual tired and drowsy.

Foods that Stimulate GABA Release in the Brain

With any diet hoping to improve levels of glutamine, these foods are going to have a direct impact on the production of GABA. For example, common foods include citrus fruits, beef, broccoli, lentils, chicken, fish, cabbage, beets, dairy products, and beans.

Which GABA Product Seems Best for You and Why?

Nowadays, anxiety seems to be the most likely cause of someone taking GABA supplements; they hope to improve mood whilst removing their crippling anxiousness.

If we take a step back, anxiety itself is considered to come from an over-excited brain. Ultimately, various neurons are firing off impulses and all this is happening at the same time. Over a period of time, you become overwhelmed and stressed unable to prevent the over-excitement that keeps building.

GABA Deficiency: For Anxiety and Panic Attacks

If you want to feel motivated, energetic, and productive, the solution is to get the balance of chemicals right within your brain. As we have seen, our brains can be low in GABA and our neurons are all over-excited and we find it hard to stay calm and simply relax.

Thanks to research and various studies, we now know the importance of GABA when trying to stay relaxed and happy; for this reason, it has even been called ‘nature’s valium’. If you’re experiencing the following, it could be a signal of GABA deficiency -

• Constant feeling of dread and butterflies in your stomach despite no major occurrences in your life.

• Always looking for the negatives or finding something to worry about even when things are going well.

• Lack of organization leading to late appearances at work and social events.

• Struggle sleeping with thoughts spinning around your mind.

• In order to relax, you need alcohol, high-carb foods, or even drugs.

• Despite spending the whole day trying to get things done, there is little sign of progress come the end of the day.

• Regularly, your heart starts beating fast for no obvious reason.

Sadly, low GABA has been linked to many disorders that comes with a stress component such as fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, migraines, and insomnia. With deficiencies, scientists have also linked this with bipolar, epilepsy, autism, and schizophrenia.

In terms of causes, there are some who will have low GABA because of their genes but the majority of cases can blame poor habits and lifestyle choices as the cause.

GABA and the Blood-Brain Barrier

So far, we have discussed various benefits of GABA so why don’t the supplements work for anxiety? In our bodies, we have what we call the ‘blood-brain barrier’ and it separates the blood pumping around our bodies from the brain tissue. If any nutrients are going to reach the brain, they need to cross this barrier but most compounds cannot make this journey.

blood brain barrier

For example, orally-ingested GABA pills cannot cross this barrier; they will typically absorb into the blood before then moving through the intestines and circulating to the brain. Therefore, all GABA that exists in the brain has to start within the brain cells or else convert various other ingredients when they reach the location. By taking Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid alone, the neurotransmitter numbers will not increase.

Since we have seen the sheer amount of benefits that come with improving GABA levels, researchers and scientists have been working furiously in recent years to develop a supplement that will reduce anxiety whilst also improving GABA in the brain. At this point, it is very much a unique process in that some people will see an improvement while others don’t. If you want to find out, the only real way to know is to go ahead and try.


Why Take GABA Supplements for Body Building?

If people disregard the nootropic impact, there is one key reason why body builders take GABA supplements; it has the strong ability to burn fat in a natural way. If you look on the market today, most fat burners and weight loss products are stimulants but GABA supplements are different. Instead, they boost hormone production to build lean muscle mass; the body steadily becomes thermogenic over time as muscle develops.

bodybuilder gaba

As time goes on, your body needs more calories to exist in the same state and your metabolism increases. Therefore, GABA supplements are incredibly popular by both professional body builders and those looking to lose a few pounds.

How to Take GABA Supplements

Normally, the maximum dosage recommended by doctors is 800 milligrams and this will be given in four sittings through the day at 200 milligrams each. With dietary supplements, they can contain anywhere between 500 and 750 milligrams which is why experts recommend just one a day. Out of these two solutions, doctors believe it to be more effective when spread out through the day.

If your main purpose is weight loss with GABA supplements, we recommend consuming a couple of hours before sleeping. Despite popular opinion, you should not take these supplements with a source of protein because this will wreak havoc on your digestive system.

GABA Side Effects

Compared to other products, GABA supplements are extremely safe but, as with even the safest supplements and drugs, there are some known side effects. For example, some people feel over-relaxed so it might be wise to avoid heavy machinery and driving a vehicle after consumption. In the short-term, there might be a change in heart rate and breathing patterns.

gaba side effects

With Phenibut and other powerful GABA ‘boosters’, you should be avoiding alcohol and drugs since this can lead to serious issues. Finally, we should also mention that the research on GABA supplements is sparse when you compare this to research on other drugs and supplements. As a result, there is no ‘standard dosage’ but the industry tends to average between 500-750mg.

After this, most side-effects are small such as a shortness of breath or a tingling sensation in the hands and feet. With manic depression, GABA supplements should not be mixed with drugs - such as depakote or gabapentin - under any circumstances. In terms of blood pressure medication, you should talk to your doctor since combining the two can cause a severe drop in blood pressure.

Finally, we also suggest avoiding GABA supplements if you’re pregnant or currently breastfeeding since the safety of this is yet to be examined.

About the author


I am passionate about health and wellbeing and have writing for over 10 years on the subject. I have a BSc Hons Degree and undertake vigorous research to help people improve their lives and live more a healthy and happy life.

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