GABA for Anxiety and Depression

GABA or Gamma Amino Butyric Acid is an inhibitory neurotransmitter which means that it blocks nerve impulses. It tells the nearby cells not to fire or send nerve signals.  Without GABA, the nerve cells fire too often which results into a number of anxiety disorders.  Some related results of low GABA activity are panic attacks, addiction, headaches, seizure disorders, Parkinson’s syndrome and cognitive impairment.  Some scientist says that GABA cannot penetrate into the brain. To increase the chances of GABA penetrating the brain, larger oral doses in the gram range could be used. Another strategy is to use Picamilon, it is essentially GABA bounded to Niacin which is able to cross the blood brain barrier.

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Effectiveness:

“Research found that the mean GABA level in the brain of the depressed patients was less than half of that found in the healthy controls” (Sanacora, Gerard, et al. Archives of General Psychiatry, Vol. 56, November 1999, pp. 1043-47)

Dosage and Sources:

GABA is availabe as over the counter food supplement. Dosage range from 750 mg to 3 grams.

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References:

1. Petty F, Kramer GL, Fulton M, Moeller FG, Rush AJ. Low plasma GABA is a trait-like marker for bipolar illness. Neuropsychopharmacology. 1993 Sep;9(2):125-32.
2. Petty F. GABA and mood disorders: a brief review and hypothesis. J Affect Disord. 1995 Aug 18;34(4):275-81.
3. Atkins page 177
4. Am J Psychiatry. 1996 May;153(5):718-20.
Low plasma gamma-aminobutyric acid levels during the late luteal phase of women with premenstrual dysphoric disorder.
5.  Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2002 Sep;59(9):851-8.

Last update:  Januray 17, 2009

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