GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that cuts anxiety and makes you feel good. If you have ever taken a painkiller of the benzodiazepine class (Xanax, Klonopin, Vicodin, ETC) you know how it feels to have a lot of GABA in your system. It’s generally experienced as a feeling of very little worry about anything. Having too little GABA has the exact opposite effect that leaves people with a feeling of overall anxiety and panic. GABA deficiency symptoms can be very similar to a light benzodiazepine withdrawal.
Top 3 Gaba Deficiency Symptoms
1. Anxiety and Depression
With any GABA deficiency there is going to be an amount of low level anxiety present. It will most likely not be very bad. Occasional periods known as “panic attacks” can often be synonymous with GABA deficiency symptoms, but it not a definite indicator. Overall depression is one of the more common symptoms of not having enough GABA in the system.
2. General Uneasy Feeling
This somewhat ties to anxiety mentioned above. Someone with too little GABA will be feeling a general uneasy feeling most of the time. Feelings that things are not OK even when everything is completely normal is very common. This makes it very hard for the individual to focus on any particular subject. A generally bad outlook on life can be indicative of this.
3. Can’t Sit Still For Long Periods of Time
One of the trademark symptoms of having too little GABA is not being able to sit still and be calm. Because GABA is the brain’s mechanism for keeping yourself calm a deficiency can cause extreme impatience. It can also present itself with ADHD like symptoms. Harsh medications like Adderall or Ritalin may help while it is being taken but these prescription medications are known to be habit forming and will only temporarily cover up the symptom.
More Symptoms You Should Know About
Here is a short list of more possible symptoms of GABA deficiency:
- Snap easily under stress. Low stress tolerance.
- Hard to get to sleep at night. Often presents itself in the form of insomnia.
- Tendencies to use drugs or substances often. This can include alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, and other drugs.
- Feeling overwhelmed by day to day living.
- Being nervous or anxious for even though everything is fine.
Possible Reasons Why Someone Could be Deficient in GABA
- Genetics – It is possible to get the bad luck of a genetic variation
- Dietary Habits – GABA is formed by the amino acid glutamine which is often present in meat.
- Too much stress – With too much stress GABA can quickly be depleted.
Deficiency will often present itself as too little GABA or one’s receptors not being receptive to the GABA already there. Genetic variation can cause different levels of GABA to be present in different people. Supplementing GABA can help normalize the feeling and help you focus, get better sleep and focus on more important things.
Official Studies on GABA Deficiency
One study on pub-med (link below) described the symptoms of deficiency “is believed to be characterized by basic depressive state, loss of the habit of stretching oneself, sleep disorders, mostly with early morning awakening, constipation and nuchal headache.” ( http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/354328) By inhibiting GABA for a short period, scientists were able to see some of the symptoms present in healthy volunteers.
How Supplementing GABA Helps
It is a general scientific consensus that GABA supplements does not cross the blood brain barrier. From personal experience it does help anxiety and it is often taken in place of other medications for sleep. A normal dose of GABA (500-750 MG) is way more than your body will ever need.
By taking that dose a small amount is thought to cross the blood brain barrier. The blood brain barrier keeps out 99.9% of things, but it isn’t impenetrable. That 0.1% of the GABA supplement that does get through is all you need to feel the anti anxiety effects and make yourself feel more calm.
GABA deficiency symptoms present themselves in many ways including anxiety, depression, and a general uneasy feeling. Supplementing with GABA is a safe low cost option of correcting the problem of deficiency and getting many other benefits. GABA supplement benefits vary from individual to individual but keep in mind that a large number of users experience increase mood, relieved anxiety, better sleep and improved focus. If you suspect you are deficient of GABA it may be worth it to pick up some GABA as a supplement and see how it affects you. Everyone is different and it will affect everyone slightly differently.
Let me know if you experienced any of the above symptoms and leave a comment below in the article.