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Gaba (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid)

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What other names is Gamma-aminobutyric Acid known by?

Acide Bêta-Phényl-Gamma-Amino-Butyrique, Acide Gamma-Aminobutyrique, Ácido Gama-Aminobutríco, Beta-Phenyl-Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid, GABA, Gamma Amino Butyric Acid, Gamma-aminobutyric Acid.

What is Gamma-aminobutyric Acid?

Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a chemical that is made in the brain. Because GABA that is made naturally in the brain has anti-seizure and anti-anxiety effects, there is interest in using it as a dietary supplement. But when taken by mouth, GABA is not able to cross the blood brain barrier. Therefore it does not have the same effects as drugs that increase levels of natural GABA.

GABA is taken by mouth for relieving anxiety and stress, improving mood, reducing symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and treating attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It is also used for promoting lean muscle growth, burning fat, and for treating high blood pressure, motion sickness, cerebral palsy, bronchitis, Cushing's disease, epilepsy, Huntington's disease, meningitis, a progressive brain disease caused by exposure to chemicals, and pain.

GABA is used under the tongue for increasing the sense of well-being, relieving injuries, improving exercise tolerance, decreasing body fat, and increasing lean body weight.

Possibly Effective for...

  • High blood pressure. Research shows that drinking 100 mL of fermented milk containing 10-12 mg of GABA daily at breakfast for 12 weeks reduces blood pressure in people with high blood pressure. Other limited research shows that taking a chlorella supplement containing GABA twice daily for 12 weeks reduces blood pressure in people with slightly elevated blood pressure.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Cerebral palsy. Early research shows that taking one to four tablets of a product containing GABA (Gammalon) daily for 2 months might improve mental development, learning, vocabulary, and physical function in children with cerebral palsy.
  • Long-term infection of the airways in the lung (bronchitis). Early research shows that taking 1.5 to 3 grams of a specific GABA product (Aminalon) for 18-20 days along with medications used for bronchitis increases the amount of time between symptom episodes by about 3 months.
  • Cushing's disease. Early research shows that taking 1-3 grams of a GABA product (Aminalon) daily for one month reduces the release of the hormone that causes Cushing's disease.
  • Seizures. Early research shows that taking 2.5 to 3 grams of GABA along with 500 mg of phosphatidylserine for 3-8 months reduces the frequency of a type of seizures called absence seizures in some people. But it does not benefit people who have partial or complex seizures or seizures triggered by lights or other visual causes.
  • Huntington's disease. Early research shows that taking GABA alone or along with the drug dipropylacetic acid does not improve movement in people with Huntington's disease.
  • Inflammation of the tissue around the brain and spine (Meningitis). Early research suggests that taking 0.5 to 1.5 grams of a GABA product (Aminalon) reduces the development of symptoms after recovery and prevents the development of other serious conditions in children 7 months to 16 years-old with meningitis.
  • Motion sickness. Early research shows that taking 0.5 grams of a GABA product (Aminalon) 40-50 minutes before anticipating motion sickness or three times daily for 4 days slows the onset of motion sickness. GABA also reduces symptoms such as chills, cold sweats, and pale skin.
  • Brain disorder caused by exposure to chemicals. Early research shows that taking GABA improves attention, memory, and emotional responses in children with a brain disorder caused by exposure to chemicals.
  • Stress. Early research shows that taking 100-200 mg of GABA as a single dose prevents brain wave changes that are linked with stress. However, it doesn't appear to affect subjective measures of stress.
  • Burning fat.
  • Improving mood.
  • Promoting lean muscle growth.
  • Relieving anxiety.
  • Relieving pain.
  • Relieving premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
  • Stabilizing blood pressure.
  • Treating attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of GABA for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

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