In this article I will talk about GABA, a supplement that I use to enhance my sleep and optimize my recovery.
CAUTION: Medical Disclaimer
GABA ranks high on my list of sleeping aids. There are 2 schools of thought on its use: those who believe that it works and those who believe that GABA cannot influence and induce relaxation in the brain as it cannot cross the blood brain barrier.
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My Experience with GABA
Personally, I do not solely rely on GABA for improving my sleep, I use it in combination with other supplements when I am off melatonin. However, it does promote a feeling of relaxation and peace which helps me sleep faster than normal.
But GABA is not only used as a sleeping aid. It has the ability to boost Growth Hormone production when taken after a workout or before sleep.
I personally recommend it for better sleep hygiene, fat loss and better muscle gains (due to its G.H releasing benefits).
What is GABA?
GABA (a.k.a Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid) is a neurotransmitter which affects inhibiting neurons in the body. It is not a lead inhibitory neurotransmitter as some believe. Its job is to prevent the neurons in your brain to get over-excited from external stimuli such as in the case of the fight or flight system (where the body releases adrenalin and noradrenalin).
Even though it does not synthesize proteins like regular amino acids, it is still classified as an amino acid. It is produced in the brain from the combination of amino acid Glutamate (a neurotransmitter) and vitamin B6.
GABA is currently a controversial supplement since it has proven to be effective in some cases, where as many of its other benefits have not been fully proven yet.
The proven usages for GABA include:
- Regulating high blood pressure (when taken with other ingredients such as garlic)
- Protecting against motion sickness (to relieve chills and sweats)
- Improving relaxation and inducing sleep when used as part of a sleeping aid. (It is not as strong as melatonin which can pass the blood barrier to enter the brain)
- Growth hormone stimulation.
Growth hormone is the Holy Grail for anyone who wants to have lean muscle and lose fat. Also, it is a powerful anti-aging agent. According to this study taking 3gr of GABA after intense exercise lead to a 480% increase in G.H.
Note that while research has shown this amazing elevation in G.H the scientists concluded that there was no actual effect on their muscle mass (as that is a product of other local factors such as androgen receptors in the muscles and their response to exercise).
Other not-fully proven (but showing great promise) usages for GABA include:
- Helping with anxiety and mood improvements (since it can help you relax but it cannot enter the brain)
- Boosting focus and well-being (which could be a result of better sleep, better GH production and overall hormonal balance.)
- Reducing symptoms of PMS (premenstrual syndrome) in women.
You could also try taking GABA precursors such as L-Theanine (found in green tea), Phenibut or Picamilon as they convert into GABA once they reach your brain. However, note that this article refers to direct supplementation with GABA.
When and how to take it
GABA is available in capsule and powder form. I have had a good experience with GABA capsules but the pure powder is even better. The effective dose of GABA depends on the person’s age and weight.
Be aware that GABA must be taken alone on an empty stomach. When taken with protein or other amino acids, GABA will have to compete for the amino acid receptor and therefore lowers its impact and effect.
Start with a low dose and work your dose up gradually. If you notice any shortness of breath or itchiness, lower your dose and keep it there.
You could also break down the dose to smaller ones throughout the day.
You can take GABA directly after exercise to enhance fat loss and muscle mass (G.H production) or 30-45 minutes before bed along with other sleeping aid ingredients.
I would personally recommend taking it before bed for the relaxation and the G.H benefits.
While its relaxation effect kicks in after 15-30 minutes, it might take a couple of weeks before you see any changes in HGH (Human Growth Hormone) production.
Safety and side effects
Since GABA is a relatively new supplement, there are not a lot of documented side effects on its use. It is marked as likely safe when taken orally for up to 8-12 weeks.
- The only reported side effects are shortness of breath (has an effect on heart rate) and itchiness (or burning sensation on skin) but these disappear after a while or by lowering the dose.
- It should not be taken before driving or operating heavy machinery because of its relaxing effect.
- Avoid consuming alcohol or other drugs while using GABA or GABA precursors (like Phenibut) as it can lead to serious health problems.
Special Precautions & Warnings:
Since no studies can indicate the full safety of this supplement during pregnancy and breastfeeding, it is best to avoid use if you belong in this category.
Contraindications or interactions with other medication/substances:
Consult with your doctor before using this supplement as there are currently not enough information regarding interactions with other substances or medications.
Do I need to cycle off?
Yes, do not take more than 12 weeks (90 days). Cycle off for at least 1 month before using it again.
Over the past 20 years I have experimented with literally hundreds of herbs, supplements (and other natural products) and was finally able to discover the right doses for amazing results.
If you wish to learn more about the dosages that I use with my clients for different purposes (better health, hormonal balance, stress management, testosterone boost and more) or how I combine this herb/supp with others, leave a comment below or reach out to me for a consultation through the “Hire me” link.
GABA is a great sleeping aid an absolute MUST for those who want to boost their Growth Hormone production and recovery. I have seen great results and I highly recommend it. If you are having problems with rest and recovery, this supplement can really help you fix your sleep and raise Growth Hormone levels by 480%.
Have you used GABA? What did you use it for? Let me know in the comments below and I will get back to you as soon as possible.
Don’t forget to click on the Share button below and show your support to this blog. Until next time live your life: strong, healthy and free!
by Nick Sigma SHF
C.W.C, E.H, E-YRT200
- Petroff OA GABA and glutamate in the human brain . Neuroscientist. (2002)
- Efflux of a suppressive neurotransmitter, GABA, across the blood–brain barrier
- Cavagnini F, et al Effect of acute and repeated administration of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) on growth hormone and prolactin secretion in man . Acta Endocrinol (Copenh). (1980)
- Cavagnini F, et al Effect of gamma-aminobutyric acid on growth hormone and prolactin secretion in man: influence of pimozide and domperidone . J Clin Endocrinol Metab. (1980)
- Powers ME, et al Growth hormone isoform responses to GABA ingestion at rest and after exercise . Med Sci Sports Exerc. (2008)
- Nindl BC, et al Growth hormone molecular heterogeneity and exercise . Exerc Sport Sci Rev. (2003)
- De Palo EF, et al Growth hormone isoforms, segments/fragments: does a link exist with multifunctionality . Clin Chim Acta. (2006)
- GABA quadruples post-training GH production