Relax Your Mind with GABA
Do you often feel worked up, irritable or sad for no good reason? Do you spend a lot of your time feeling stressed and worried? Not as interested in having fun? Have friends or family members expressed their concerns over your well-being?
Though there could be any number of explanations for what you’re going through, one possibility is that your neurons aren’t releasing neurotransmitters at optimal levels. Our brains may use as many as 100 different neurotransmitters, with GABA being one of the most important.
What Are Neurotransmitters?
Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that neurons (nerve cells) release to allow them to communicate with other neurons. The neurotransmitter most associated with calming effects in the brain is GABA (technically Gamma-AminoButyric Acid). Clinical research suggests taking GABA by mouth can help cope with stress, improve mood, and generally have calming effects.
What Can GABA Do for You?
In addition to rhyming with the feel-good 70s group ABBA, GABA has been found by clinical research to help reduce stress and produce groovy feelings. This neurotransmitter’s primary effect is believed to be holding back our nerve cells from excess firing. GABA also is fundamentally important for the healthy maturation of new nerve cells (neurogenesis) and for the overall development and maintenance of the brain.
Also, GABA has mild relaxation properties that can support a balanced mood and restful sleep. Lower levels of this neurotransmitter in some brain regions has been linked to mood challenges, difficulties with self-control, and excessive worry.
Gamma-amino-butyric acid (GABA) is an amino acid and neurotransmitter that regulates brain excitability by inhibiting excessive firing of neurons, resulting in a sense of calm. Supplementing with GABA can help flip the “off” switch on worrisome, ruminating thoughts by supporting the body’s natural mechanism for quieting the mind.
Are You Low on GABA?
If you’ve suffered emotional trauma or are under a great deal of stress, it’s possible your GABA levels are less than optimal and contributing to your feeling anxious, unmotivated, uptight, or just plain sad. If you tend to predict the worst, are wracked with nervousness, have chronic muscle tension or other stress-related feelings, it might be worth taking steps to increase your brain GABA levels.
If you’re one of the millions of Americans struggling with mood or sleep problems, the good news is that you do have a shot to get control of these feelings. Try these five steps to start living a happier life…
5 Ways to Calm Your Mind Using GABA
One way to boost your mood and reduce anxiety is to write down five things you are grateful for every day. Research suggests that focusing on gratitude helps to calm your deep limbic areas and enhance the other judgment centers of the brain. When you focus on what you love, your brain works better, and you’ll have a chance to feel better. You’ll likely notice a significant positive difference in your level of happiness over a pretty brief period.
Do Yoga and Get a Massage
Practicing yoga and getting massages can do more than improve your physical function. Clinical studies indicate that both are beneficial for improving mood and coping with stress. Massage can lower the stress hormone cortisol while increasing the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, which work cooperatively with GABA. Yoga actually can increase brain GABA while improving anxious feelings and overall mood.
Listening to soothing music can help relieve stress by triggering biochemical stress reducers in your brain. Due to an increase in dopamine levels, music can also improve mood, boost energy, and help with focus and concentration. When used properly, music is medicine.
Stress Reducing Strategies
When you’re under stress, your body cortisol and other messengers that push your brain to seek out rewards—cravings. For many of us, cravings are triggered by unpleasant emotions, including stress and anxiety, as well as being sleep deprived due to stress. Making sure to get enough sleep can reduce cravings and help you feel level-headed enough to deal with the cravings. Rather than giving in to your cravings, utilize stress management techniques—take a vigorous walk, do yoga, or relax in a hot bath. Meditation, diaphragmatic breathing, intense exercise, hypnosis and optimizing vitamin D levels are also great ways to improve self-control and make better judgment calls so that you truly control your brain.
Support GABA Levels With Supplements
GABA Calming Support is a unique combination of clinically proven ingredients that help cope with restlessness, irritability and other challenges associated with occasional anxiety. This supplement provides GABA chemically identical to the GABA our nerve cells make. It also contains ingredients that help our nerve cells respond better to GABA.
At BrainMD, we’re committed to providing the highest quality, best-researched nutrients that can help you optimize your mood, memory, judgment, and your other life functions that depend on a finely tuned brain. For our full list of supplements, visit us at BrainMD.
Keith is grateful to have the opportunity to write about supplements since many of them have made a dramatic difference in his life. He is often heard around the office saying, “We have supplements for that.”