What is GABA? Gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) is an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. It regulates how much neurons will be stimulated and is also directly responsible for the regulation of muscle tone. Because it blocks or inhibits specific brain signals and decreases activity in your nervous system, it can cause feelings of anxiety, stress, and fear.
Benzodiazepines, a class of medications, are often prescribed to help treat these symptoms. But unfortunately, “’Benzos” are known to cause physiologic dependence – and for this reason, are used with a lot of caution. You can avoid the use of “Benzos” and increase your GABA levels in five ways.
What Are the Side Effects of Benzos?
Long-term use of benzodiazepines has been linked to adverse effects on the brain, such as:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Sleep disorders
- Memory problems
Increasing its dosage may accelerate tolerance, further reducing the drug’s effects and causing physiological dependence or addiction
How to Enhance GABA Levels Naturally
Consume GABA-containing Foods
One of the factors leading to those symptoms, as mentioned above, is the lack of glutamic acid (a kind of amino acid that is linked to the synthesis of GABA) in one’s diet. The below foods are great sources of glutamic acid or stimulators of GABA release:
- Protein-rich foods: meats, poultry, dairy products, fish, and eggs
- Soy protein foods: lentils, beans, miso, soymilk, etc.
- Fermented food: yogurt and Kefir
- Citrus fruits
- Walnuts and almonds
- Sprouted whole grains: brown rice, whole-grain wheat, barley, etc.
- Certain vegetables: broccoli, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, mushrooms, etc.
By triggering GABA receptors, certain herbs play the role of activators that support GABA production:
- Kava: Kavapyrones are chemicals found in kava that bring about soothing effects.
- Lemon Balm: Considered a calming herb, lemon balm can be used as tea or consumed in salad dishes.
- Passionflower: This climbing vine is used as an herbal supplement aiding in relieving insomnia or stress.
- Valerian: For ages, this plant has been consumed as herbal medicine to increase the GABA levels in the brain.
- Ashwagandha: This evergreen shrub contains chemicals that might help de-stress, reduce swelling and improve the immune system.
Practice Meditation or Yoga
Meditation and yoga have been studied to develop both mental and physical strength, awareness, and harmony. One of the most beneficial aspects of yoga is how it aids in stress management. These practices include deep breathing and body relaxing, which may act as a tool to enhance your GABA levels.
If you are a beginner or are too busy to take an entire meditation/yoga class, the below tips will help you:
- Start with 3-5 minutes a day. Start small, but when you get used to it, increase the amount of meditation time.
- Understand the goals of meditation. Some people might think meditation is all about clearing your mind, but actually, it is OK to have thoughts while meditating.
- Stay in a completely silent environment to maintain concentration.
- Do it anywhere and in any position providing it is comfortable.
- Complete meditation with a peaceful mind and a grateful smile.
To learn more – you can read Dr. Goel’s book called “Awakening from a Mindless Life” here.
Besides yoga and meditation, exercise can be used as a GABA activating machine. Whatever type of exercise you choose, at whatever intensity you can manage, still has a beneficial impact on your mood.
Swimming, jogging, running, or any other sport, pick one and set a reasonable routine to help you define a healthy mindset.
Cut Back on Alcohol and Junk Food
Drinking alcohol can actually activate GABA at the time of consumption. Alcohol attaches to GABA receptors in the brain, where it mimics GABA’s function. While drinking alcohol, you may feel calm. Still, the after-effects from a decline in GABA can result in hangovers, depression, and anxiety.
Junk foods can bring similar effects, causing feelings of anxiousness and distress.
Some natural supplements that help increase GABA and are safe to take long term include:
While the effects have been noted in studies, like most foods, you’d have to consume a lot to get the best effects.
The natural supplement DHH-B, dihydrohonokiol-B, operates as a GABA activator and can be easily consumed in tablet form. DHH-B helps create a calm state of mind that lowers anxiety and encourages deep sleep without any anxiolytic effects.
Causing no anxiolytic effects, DHH-B is an organic compound assisting create a calm state of mind that is useful in:
- Boosting GABA levels
- Strengthening antioxidant abilities
- Activating cannabinoid receptors
- Lowering pain and anxiety
- Preventing Diseases
- Bolstering immune system
Dosage: If you are struggling with sleep disorders or anxiousness, 1 or 2 DHH-B capsules per day will provide soothing effects. Or else, you can follow instructions from your healthcare practitioner for an appropriate dosage.
Buy DHH-B here: Peak Human.
Benefits of GABA
Absorbing enough dosage of GABA in your brain helps:
- Reduce chronic stress
- Boost anxiety reduction
- Decrease muscle tension and headache
- Support sleep issues (such as insomnia)
- Improve concentration and memory
If you have questions about GABA or any health problems discussed here, connect with us and learn more.
At Peak Human, our team of healthcare professionals is dedicated to helping you reach your ‘peak’ health with a custom whole-person approach. Using the most cutting-edge, science-backed biohacking and aesthetic tools, technologies, and treatments available today, we help you achieve the highest physical/cognitive performance state, leading to an improved overall quality of life.
For questions or to book an appointment, don’t hesitate to contact us. Get personalized support and insight from expert physicians.