The GABA neurotransmitter is one of the four main brain chemicals in the brain, which regulates feelings of calmness and sleep. Even though increasing GABA levels may be important for some people, consuming a GABA supplement is not always useful due to poor absorption through the blood-brain barrier.

Some people still consume GABA supplements and many unique blends, such as OptiMind, has this ingredient included, but to very little positive effect. Many people prefer to find alternative sources of brain chemicals that convert into GABA or prevent the breakdown of GABA in the brain.

The benefits of GABA are great, but in the form of a supplement requires high doses that can be replicated more easily.

Also Known As

Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid

Editors’ Thoughts on GABA

GABA is extremely important for our sleep / wake cycle and particularly important for me. After taking the Eric Braverman assessment [1], I found that I had a significant GABA deficiency. Despite the opinions on this specific subjective assessment, it helped me to diagnose and treat some anxiety related symptoms.

However, neither that book nor any other resource necessarily recommends treating a GABA deficiency with a supplement of the molecule. Instead, most suggest finding an alternative that can convert into GABA etc.

I found lemon balm tea to be the main tool. This works to improve GABA levels because it downregulates an enzyme that is usually responsible for breaking down GABA in the brain. Without this enzyme constantly working, your brain maintains more GABA.

I have never tried GABA as a supplement so I do not know what the benefits might be. Via anecdotal reports, the GABA itself doesn’t work tremendously well.

Mansal Denton, Nootropedia Editor


Benefits of GABA

One of the main benefits of GABA is as a depressive and sedative neurotransmitter that aids in feelings of calmness and sleep [2]. Most of the GABA that is in your brain is in the form of synthesized glutamate.

Unfortunately, adding more through a supplement does not offer much benefit as we have already noted. The supplement form of this neurotransmitter does not cross the blood brain barrier [3] and thus does not create many of the benefits that you might expect..

This doesn’t mean there are no benefits of taking GABA supplements, but the dosage must be high and the expectation of GABA passing to the brain is most likely low.

Side Effects of GABA

There are few side effects of GABA of any note. Most people experience nothing or very mild issues related to the supplement and the gastrointestinal tract itself. In order to see effects of GABA, one must take high doses of the supplement, which inevitably create some risk of gastrointestinal distress.

Otherwise, there are few significant side effects of the drug.

GABA Dosage

The typical GABA dosage is in the range of 3 – 5000 mg, but this is noted as the dose range for increasing growth hormone rather than the neurotransmitter. Furthermore, there are few studies to suggest this is the proper dosage.

How and Where to Buy GABA

Given that you can easily buy GABA online, we recommend you look there first in order to find more affordable options. However, we would recommend you not take GABA supplements for the purpose of improving GABA levels in your brain.

The best bet would be GABAergic compound that can help to increase GABA in the brain via other means. One of these would be lemon balm, which you can get the extract here.

References (Click to Expand)
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Nootropedia is meant to be a resource for individuals researching drugs and supplements that are good for brain health, otherwise known as nootropics, and thus we are the Nootropics Encyclopedia. Because of our in-depth coverage of this topic, our community has requested that we cover other brain health topics and "lifehacks" so that has become the focus of Nootropedia.