Expert Advice | Unforgettable Excellence

GABA - your internal stress buster

GABA - your internal stress buster | Mr Vitamins
GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid) is widely considered to be the most important relaxing brain chemical (neurotransmitter) produced by the human brain. GABA promotes the following effects:
  • Relaxation
  • Calmness
  • Sleep
Bearing in mind that no single neurotransmitter functions in isolation, GABA is part of a complex symphony of other brain chemicals and hormones.

Which brain chemicals do what?

The major excitory neurotransmitters are:
  • Adrenalin
  • Noradrenalin
  • Glutamate
The major inhibitory neurotransmitters are:
  • GABA
  • Serotonin
  • Dopamine
Ideally, your excitory neurotransmitter activity should be in balance with your relaxing neurotransmitter activity. Simplistically, this balance can be thought of as a balanced seesaw.

What happens when the balance get upset?

A disruption of this balance commonly leads to excessive excitory neurotransmitter activity and inadequate inhibitory activity,which can give rise to symptoms such as:
  • anxiety
  • irritability
  • insomnia
  • restlessness

Causes of such imbalances include:

  • Prolonged stress
  • Nutrient deficiency
  • Dietary and lifestyle choices
  • Certain medications
  • Accumulation of environmental toxins
  • Methylation imbalances

The right nutrients are essential for optimal GABA activity

Many pharmaceutical drugs prescribed for stress, anxiety and insomnia work via their effects on GABA activity. However what is commonly overlooked in managing these conditions is the importance of providing the nutrients that your body needs for optimal GABA activity. These include:
  • Minerals Magnesium and Zinc
  • The amino acids Glutamine, Theanine (from green tea),
  • Taurine and Lactium (peptides derived from milk)
  • The fatty acid Butyrate
  • Vitamin B6 and Inositol (Vitamin B8)
It should be noted that any of the individual B vitamins should not be taken in isolation long term, as further imbalances between the different B vitamins can arise. It is good practice to include a balanced B complex in the program along with any individual B. Also, a number of medicinal herbs commonly prescribed for stress, anxiety and insomnia exert their actions via their effects on modulation of GABA activity. A combination of testing and a thorough case history can reveal imbalances in neurotransmitter activity and appropriate action can then be taken to help to restore the balance.

Peter Radi – Naturopath and Nutritionist

Peter Radi (1)

Peter Radi is a naturopath, nutritionist and herbalist and has been in clinical practice since 2000. He is available for private consultations at the Mr Vitamins Clinic where he can provide you with more information to help you with a Supplement Review as well as personalised health improvement programs. Learn more about Peter here