How To Increase GABA Naturally
How to Increase GABA Naturally
While some use benzodiazapines to treat their depression and anxiety, most people would benefit from increasing their own levels of GABA in their systems. Given the daily stress and pressure that most people endure, finding ways to increase the natural level of GABA makes perfect sense. Especially for those who have difficulty relaxing or unwinding during the day, or who are feeling the symptoms of depression.
Otherwise known as gamma-aminobutyric acid, GABA is a neurotransmitter that is associated with a more relaxed attitude, better sleep, and reduced tension, anxiety, and stress11.P. Hepsomali, J. A. Groeger, J. Nishihira and A. Scholey, Frontiers | Effects of Oral Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) Administration on Stress and Sleep in Humans: A Systematic Review, Frontiers.; Retrieved September 18, 2022, from https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnins.2020.00923/full. Your body produces GABA which increases the communication between your brain cells. In addition, GABA also interacts with receptors in the gut that have an impact on your emotional state.
Of course, you could always lower the stress by changing your job, but that is simply not possible or practical for most people. If you cannot change your surroundings, then you have to change yourself. And it is possible that you may have a GABA deficiency.
By increasing the amount of GABA, you can bring about a calmer, more peaceful you. GABA also helps break the cycle of the overactive mind and helps put things into better perspective. What follows are five methods for naturally increasing GABA in your system.
Consume More Foods that Produce GABA
This is arguably the easiest way to naturally increase the levels of GABA in your system22.D. H. Ngo and T. S. Vo, An Updated Review on Pharmaceutical Properties of Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid – PMC, PubMed Central (PMC).; Retrieved September 18, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6696076/. Plus, the foods that help your body produce more GABA are good for you. This is a great way to improve your diet and your mood at the same time. Such foods that include glutamic acid, which is the substance that boosts GABA production include the following:
- Citrus Fruits: Such as bananas, lemons, and the like
- Nuts: Almond and walnuts are excellent sources
- Vegetables: Broccoli, lentils, potatoes, and spinach work quite well
- Fish & Shrimp: Halibut is a great source of glutamic acid
In addition, brown rice is an excellent source of glutamic acid and can be served with many different meals. Add in soy proteins and fermented yogurt and kefir and you have plenty of sources to create more GABA in your body.
Cut Down on Alcohol, Drugs, and Junk Food
It is true that consuming alcohol and certain drugs will activate the GABA in your brain to help you feel good. The problem comes with the after-effects that make consuming alcohol and drugs so problematic. It’s really not worth the short-term boost when you experience a hangover, feel depressed or anxious which only increases once the drugs and alcohol wear off.
The same is true for the short-term boost of GABA from junk food. While the immediate after-effects are not as strong, the long-term effects on your body may be even worse. Weight gain and sluggish digestion only bring down the booth in GABA that was experienced. It’s better to limit your consumption of alcohol, drugs, and junk food to the point where they have no real effect. In other words, a glass of wine is fine, but that should be your limit for the day.
Get Plenty of Exercise
Aerobic or cardiovascular exercise offers a proven way to build GABA in your system the natural way. You will need to exercise regularly in order to maintain the levels of GABA desired in your system. You do not have to engage in a vigorous exercise program, but you do need to be consistent if you want to get results. This means walking, jogging, running, or hiking at least four times each week.
You can also engage in aerobics that provides constant activity for 20 to 30 minutes each day. The increase in GABA will be noticeable as your anxiety decreases along with your sleep improving. This will create a better mood and why so many mental health programs have exercise as part of their function.
Proper meditation uses proven relaxation methods such as deep breathing and focusing on a pleasing image to help boost GABA production. Proper meditation only takes a few minutes to perform. You can do so before heading off to work, after you get home, or during a break. Start by finding a comfortable position to sit, then close your eyes and draw in deep breaths through your nose. Hold it for a second or two, then exhale through the mouth.
This type of meditation not only helps boost GABA production, it clears the mind so you can focus better. This can help you get a better handle on work and other activities during the day.
If you are looking for a low-impact exercise that still has the same benefits as walking or jogging, then yoga might do the trick. Yoga offers a great way to cool down and stretch which helps boost GABA production. This is because yoga works the mind and the body thanks to its focus on stretching and holding a position for more than a few seconds. It is the combination of stretching and sequences of posture that make yoga a great exercise. This is especially true for those who may have difficulty walking or jogging.
There are natural sources of GABA that you can take regularly to help temporarily boost your mood. The supplements are perfect when you are trying to reduce anxiety or calm yourself down before going to bed33.L. D. Ochoa-de la Paz, R. Gulias-Cañizo, E. D. Ruíz-Leyja, H. Sánchez-Castillo and J. Parodí, The role of GABA neurotransmitter in the human central nervous system, physiology, and pathophysiology, The role of GABA neurotransmitter in the human central nervous system, physiology, and pathophysiology.; Retrieved September 18, 2022, from https://www.scielo.org.mx/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1665-50442021000200067. They include the following:
- Vitamin B6, Magnesium, and Zinc
- Taurine, which is an amino acid
- Green Tea
Taking vitamin and mineral supplements is a good way to boost your immune system as well. Green tea makes for an excellent after-dinner drink that can help soothe your nerves and prepare you for bed. Just be sure to not drink an excessive amount or you may find yourself waking up in the middle of the night.
Boosting the GABA in your system naturally through changes in your diet and exercise can do wonders to boost your mood and help you feel calm and relaxed through the day. Keep in mind that such changes should be gradual so they can become habitual.
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- 11.P. Hepsomali, J. A. Groeger, J. Nishihira and A. Scholey, Frontiers | Effects of Oral Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) Administration on Stress and Sleep in Humans: A Systematic Review, Frontiers.; Retrieved September 18, 2022, from https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnins.2020.00923/full
- 22.D. H. Ngo and T. S. Vo, An Updated Review on Pharmaceutical Properties of Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid – PMC, PubMed Central (PMC).; Retrieved September 18, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6696076/
- 33.L. D. Ochoa-de la Paz, R. Gulias-Cañizo, E. D. Ruíz-Leyja, H. Sánchez-Castillo and J. Parodí, The role of GABA neurotransmitter in the human central nervous system, physiology, and pathophysiology, The role of GABA neurotransmitter in the human central nervous system, physiology, and pathophysiology.; Retrieved September 18, 2022, from https://www.scielo.org.mx/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1665-50442021000200067
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