Natural News article by Craig, August 12, 2012
How GABA works in the brain and central nervous system
(Natural News) The frenzy of day to day life with its stress, worries and constant stimuli, can overwhelm the brain. Constantly running in hyperdrive causes the brain and body to eventually succumb to hyperactivity, anxiety disorders, panic attacks, seizures, addictions, headaches, Parkinson’s disease and even cognitive impairment
That is where GABA comes in. Gamma-Amino Butyric acid (GABA) is an amino acid which acts as a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. GABA is the main neurotransmitter in your brain that inhibits nerve transmission and calms nerve activity. GABA normalizes brain waves and brings the nervous system back to a calmer and more stable state to meet the challenges coming at you in life.
GABA was discovered as an amino acid in 1863 but it wasn’t until 1950 that it was found that GABA works as an inhibitory neurotransmitter. GABA is made in brain cells from glutamate and works by blocking nerve impulses. Glutamate fires the nerve impulses and GABA does the opposite by telling the nerves not to fire. In the case of GABA deficiency, nerve cells fire too often and too easily.
GABA supplements act as a natural tranquilizer and have many other benefits with no known side effects other than a possible mild tingling and increase in heart rate when first used. The supplement GABA works wonders for ADHD as GABA helps brainwaves flow in calm rhythms. In effect, it does naturally for the brain what ritalin does chemically – but without the deadly side effects.
GABA enhances normal sleep cycles, can improve blood pressure and can also be an effective pain killer, providing relief from back pain and arthritis. GABA stimulates the pituitary gland to secrete Human Growth Hormone (HGH) leading to weight loss and an increase in muscle tissue. GABA also helps in the production of endorphins to provide you with a sense of well-being after a good physical workout or sexual intercourse.
Technical aspects of GABA
When activated, GABA receptors permit chloride to diffuse into the cell and hyperpolarize the membrane to inhibit the excitability of the cell. In the event of high internal chloride, GABA causes an efflux of chloride and depolarizes the membrane. Either action still inhibits neuronal flow by creating a “current shunt” for excitatory neuron currents (Kuffler and Eyzaguirre, 1955).
In short, GABA is required to relax muscles and to reset posture by making a normal wave of motion when walking, running or swimming. GABA also stimulates the enteric muscles for intestinal peristalsis and feces elimination. In a GABA deficiency, the intestines fail to contract properly and the gut becomes bloated with food.
In addition to bowel trouble, other problems that GABA deficiencies cause are carbohydrate cravings, trembling, twitching, hyperventilation, flushing, tachycardia, palpitations, sweating, cold or clammy hands, paresthesia, chest pain or discomfort, restlessness, blurred vision, abnormal sense of smell, abnormal odors, lump in throat, butterflies in stomach, unusual allergies, anxiety, hypertension, cystitis, gastrointestinal disorders, tinnitus and PMS.
Getting enough GABA
Vitamins B6 and B12 are essential nutrients required in the synthesis of many neurotransmitters including GABA. Natural sources of GABA are foods rich in complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, brown rice and oats. Foods that are high in glutamine, glutamic acid and glutamate (NOT monosodium glutamate), include bananas, beef liver and other organ meats, broccoli, citrus fruits, halibut, lentils, molasses and nuts.
GABA is considered safe for children and adults alike. You can find it at the health food stores. It’s food! In reasonable amounts, if your body doesn’t need GABA it will burn it as fuel or use it to build other amino acids.
Sources for this article
- David E. Golan, Armen H. Tashjian, Ehrin J. Armstrong. (2011).
- Principles of Pharmacology: The Pathophysiologic Basis of Drug Therapy.
- George Siegel, Scott Brady, R. Wayne Albers, Donald Price. (2011). Basic Neurochemistry: Principles of Molecular, Cellular, and Medical Neurobiology.
- Florey, E. (1991). GABA: history and perspectives. Can J Physiol Pharmacol
Craig Stellpflug is a Cancer Nutrition Specialist, Lifestyle Coach and Neuro Development Consultant at Healing Pathways Medical Clinic, Scottsdale, AZ. With 17 years of clinical experience working with both brain disorders and cancer, Craig has seen first-hand the devastating effects of vaccines and pharmaceuticals on the human body and has come to the conclusion that a natural lifestyle and natural remedies are the true answers to health and vibrant living. You can find his daily health blog at www.blog.realhealthtalk.com and his articles and radio show archives at www.realhealthtalk.com