A deficiency in the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA can lead to a wide range of detrimental symptoms. This is due to the fact that GABA is an amino acid which plays a calming role on the body’s central nervous system. People may be deficient in GABA for a number of reasons such as their lifestyle or genetic makeup. The top 3 GABA deficiency symptoms will now be explored from a scientific perspective. Ways in which GABA supplementation can be used as a form of treatment will then be elaborated upon.
How to Recognize and Treat the Top 3 GABA Deficiency Symptoms:
A 1978 clinical-therapeutic study published in the Acta psychiatrica Belgica examined the case histories of 15 patients with a GABA deficiency and reached the conclusion that a basic depressive state was the primary symptom that presented. The following list of symptoms can be indicative that a person has depression –
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Lack of energy
- Withdrawal from social contact
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty making decisions
The modern world’s way of treating depression is commonly to prescribe antidepressant pharmaceutical medication. This is often offered immediately by doctors who do not take the time to determine whether the patient’s depression could be caused by something such as a GABA deficiency.
There are many advantages to attempting to treat a depressive person with GABA initially rather than pharmaceutical antidepressants. Pharmaceutical antidepressants come with a wide range of side-effects and people can find them difficult to stop taking. As GABA is a naturally occurring chemical it is free from side-effects such as these –
- Low Sex Drive
- Increased Risk of Suicide
Although there are cases where antidepressant medication is the right course of treatment it is worth exploring safer alternatives such as a GABA supplement first. When taking at the suggested dosage there is no risk of the above side-effects occurring.
2. Sleep Disorders
Correct levels of GABA are absolutely essential for a person to sleep soundly. There are several ways in which a GABA deficiency can negatively impact a person’s sleep. These include –
- Making it difficult to fall asleep
- Lowering the quality of sleep
- Awakening during the night intermittently
A scientific study by C Gottesmann published in 2002 in the Journal of Neuroscience recognized the relationship between the GABA receptors in the brain and healthy sleep. The study stated that many pharmaceutical treatments for sleep disorders such as benzodiazepines and barbiturates aim to imitate the natural action that GABA has on the central nervous system.
Taking a GABA supplement to improve sleep is a safer option than a prescription treatment like valium for a number of reasons. Valium and other similar drugs aim to imitate GABA whereas as natural supplements provide genuine GABA itself. Natural GABA is not addictive and does not lead to the harsh withdrawal symptoms that are commonly associated with drugs that aim to imitate GABA.
- Stress is one of the major health concerns for many people in modern life. Stress typically effects people in some or all of the following four ways –
- Cognitively – Problems with memory, concentration and judgement
- Emotionally – Feelings of irritability, being overwhelmed, unable to cope
- Physically – Chest pains, aches and pains, rapid heartbeat
- Behaviourally – Self-medicating with drugs and alcohol, isolation from social contact, nervous habits such as biting fingernails
A scientific study conducted in Japan was able to demonstrate that GABA supplements are able to reduce the levels of stress a person experiences chemically. Participants in the study were given either a GABA supplement or a placebo and then walked across a narrow bridge. Those who had received the GABA treatment showed lower levels of chemical stress indicators in their saliva than those who had been given the placebo.
How to Use GABA Supplements Effectively
If you recognize some of the above symptoms of GABA deficiency in yourself then you may wish to remedy them with a GABA supplement. Although GABA supplements are natural and far safer than many pharmaceutical alternatives there are still some tips to follow to use them effectively –
1. Stick to the suggested dosage
The only time that a person will experience problems or negative effects as a result of GABA supplementation are when the suggested dosage is exceeded. It is therefore essential to carefully read and adhere to the guidelines provided by a particular GABA product. Each supplement is different so do not assume that a safe dose of one product will be a safe dose of another.
2. Combine GABA supplementation with a holistically balanced lifestyle
Although GABA supplementation is powerful it is worth preserving and enhancing the body’s natural levels of GABA wherever possible. This can be aided by exercising, eating a clean diet and avoiding excessive use of alcohol.
3. Seek medical advice if symptoms persist
It is always worth exploring whether GABA supplements are able to remedy one of the three medical issues described in this article. If after taking GABA correctly the symptoms persist it is important to seek medical advice as a GABA deficiency has effectively been ruled out as a cause of the ailments.