Gamma-aminobutyric acid, abbreviated as GABA, is an amino acid produced in the brain. It is formed by glutamic acid in the body with the help of vitamin B6 and it prevents nerve cells from firing too often, and, thus, has a calming effect. As such, GABA serves as a neurotransmitter.
GABA is found in large amounts in the hypothalamus, suggesting that this amino acid plays a crucial role in the hypothalamic-pituitary function. The hypothalamus is a region at the back of the brain which regulates the instinctive functions, such as sleep cycles, body temperature, and the activity of the pituitary gland. The pituitary is the master endocrine gland that affects all hormonal functions of the body. One primary hormone produced in and secreted by the pituitary is growth hormone, which is of great interest to athletes.
Several clinical studies have shown that ingestion of GABA releases growth hormone, especially after exercise with remarkable effectiveness. Release of growth hormone increases lean body mass. Consequently, it is an invaluable nutritional supplement for body builders, powerlifters, runners, martial artists, and other athletes of all shades.
In addition, because of its calming and soothing effects, GABA also reduces stress and promotes restful sleep.
GABA is best taken before going to sleep on a relatively empty stomach. An empty stomach requires approximately 45 minutes after the ingestion of the day’s last meal. Intake of GABA at bed time makes it work with the body’s natural rhythms to help increase growth hormone production, which happens roughly 90 minutes after the onset of sleep. The evening intake of GABA correlates with GABA’s effectiveness in inducing restful and refreshing sleep.
Even though the effect of GABA varies from individual to individual, the benefits may be discernible within two weeks. Its full impact may be noticed after six to eight weeks.
GABA packs a powerful punch. It’s one amino acid with numerous beneficial effects that can help promote general well-being relatively quickly.