Neurotransmitters

GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid)


The neurotransmitter GABA is strongly related to excitability, both mental and physical. Low levels may increase the possibility of problems like anxiety and the likelyhood of physical problems like convulsions.

Normal levels of GABA result in mental and physical relaxation, but when GABA levels become excessive they can make a person tired most of the time and impair things like thinking, inhibition, motivation, or other similar actions.

Many substances that increase GABA, or make it more potent, can be habit forming. When consumed on a daily basis for extended periods, they should not be abruptly discontinued or seizures that may be life threatening can result.

Low GABA Levels
Increasing GABA Levels
High GABA Levels
Decreasing GABA Levels
GABA Related Links


Symptoms Of Low GABA Levels

Low levels of GABA may be the result of stress, nutrient deficiency, genetic predisposition, or other factors. When the amount of GABA available to the body is in quantities that are too low, it tends to overstimulate the brain.

Low GABA levels may contribute to:
--- Mania.
--- Anxiety.
--- Insomnia.
--- Depression.
--- Hypertension.
--- Blurred Vision.
--- Panic Disorder.
--- Increased Pain.
--- Mood Disorders.
--- Motion Sickness.
--- Impaired Thinking.
--- Digestive Problems.
--- Reduced Impulse Control.
--- Cravings (especially for carbohydrates and sugar).

Reduced levels of GABA are observed in individuals with various medical conditions that include epilepsy and other seizure disorders. In addition low GABA levels are associated with the manic stage of bipolar disorder.


How To Increase GABA Levels

Increasing GABA levels can be accomplished by methods that include exercise, foods, drugs, supplements. Eating foods that have relatively large levels of glutamic acid may help your body increase GABA production.

Foods that contain glutamic acid include:
--- Almonds.
--- Whole Wheat.
--- Halibut.
--- Whole Grain Oats.
--- Beef Liver.
--- Walnuts.

Drugs that increase GABA, make it more potent, or produce effects similar to increasing GABA include:
--- Alcohol.
--- Barbiturates.
--- Benzodiazepines.
--- Chloral Hydrate.
--- Glutethimide.
--- Kava.
--- Methaqualone.
--- Muscimol.

GABA itself is available as a supplement. Oral ingestion of GABA supplements may increase human growth hormone levels. Other supplements that can help you balance GABA levels can be located here.


Symptoms Of High GABA Levels

Seldom checked for or treated, excess GABA can result in things like impaired thinking and feeling tired even after getting an adequate amount of sleep. Alcohol and some other drugs can increase GABA, or the effect of GABA, in the body.

People that already have high levels of GABA may experience increased negative reactions to alcohol, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, or other GABA related substances. For instance, drinking may result in hangovers that last for days.

Other indications that might be symptoms of excess GABA can include waking up and feeling like you've got a hangover similar to that from drinking, barbiturates, or benzodiazepine (ativan, valium, etcetera), even though you haven't ingested any.

Excessive GABA may trigger:
--- Anger.
--- Apathy.
--- Aggression.
--- Verbal Outbursts.
--- Impaired Memory.
--- Reduced Inhibition.
--- Reduced Awareness.
--- Reduced Motivation.
--- Dissatisfaction With Life.
--- Excessive Daytime Sleepiness.

GABA inhibits the effect of other neurotransmitters. This means excessive GABA levels may mimic the symptoms of low levels of other neurotransmitters including acetylcholine, dopamine, glutamate, norepinephrine.

Consult a doctor if you think you might be suffering the effects of elevated levels of GABA. If you take any kind of medication as a treatment, keep the dose size to a minimum. Lowering GABA too much increases the possibility of convulsions and seizures.


How To Decrease GABA Levels

Ginkgo biloba acts as a mild GABA antagonist, it binds to GABA receptors and keeps GABA from binding to them. This can help reduce the effect of excessive GABA levels, but taking Ginkgo biloba may cause drowsiness.

Muira Puama works as a mild GABA antagonist, reducing the influence of GABA. It can reduce pain, depression, anxiety for most individuals. It may also improve matters related to cognition, low doses can be stimulating and help keep you awake.


Links
Area-1255 high GABA Levels.
Wikipedia GABA page.