The Science of Calm: Exploring the Benefits of GABA Supplements

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Along with providing information on whether GABA supplements might be right for you, this article also links to Fullscript where you can buy supplements online through Fullscript’s secure healthcare formulary and get free shipping and 20% off the retail price of professional-grade supplements.

GABA, short for Gamma-aminobutyric acid, is a fascinating neurotransmitter that plays a key role in regulating various functions in the brain and body. From impacting mood to influencing sleep patterns, GABA has garnered attention in both scientific research and everyday conversations about health. This article aims to explore the multiple facets of GABA, diving into its benefits and considering the science that underpins its effects.

And if GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid) supplements are right for you, this article will show you the best place to buy GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid) online. Whether you’re a science enthusiast or someone simply interested in understanding the body’s inner workings, read on to get a comprehensive look at GABA.

What Is GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid)?

Gamma-aminobutyric acid, commonly known as GABA, is an essential neurotransmitter that helps regulate the excitability of neurons in the brain. It’s synthesized from glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter, with the aid of vitamin B6. Acting as the brain’s natural calming agent, GABA contributes to motor control, vision, and many other cortical functions. It works by binding to receptors on the surface of brain cells, reducing their tendency to become overactive and thus moderating mood and stress responses.

GABA’s inhibitory effects are crucial for maintaining balance within the nervous system. It’s the body’s own anti-anxiety substance, ensuring that our brain activity remains within a healthy range. While GABA is present in very small amounts in certain foods, it is in its supplemental form that it’s often sought for potential therapeutic effects. GABA doesn’t cross the blood-brain barrier under normal conditions, but it might influence brain function indirectly. GABA is thought to affect the brain by working with the nervous system in the gut and its many GABA receptors. It works through the gut-brain connection, mainly by sending signals through the vagus nerve. [PMC9227210]

This indirect communication pathway opens the possibility that GABA supplements could have a soothing effect on the brain, even if the compound doesn’t directly enter it. There’s emerging evidence that GABA can modulate stress markers in humans, showing that it influences the brain.

Furthermore, GABA plays a significant role in sleep regulation, anxiety management, and controlling certain types of seizures. Dysregulation of GABA activity has been implicated in a range of neurological and psychiatric conditions, such as depression and schizophrenia. Consequently, medications targeting GABAergic systems, including benzodiazepines and certain antiepileptics, have been effectively used to treat these disorders, leveraging the inherent inhibitory mechanisms of GABA to provide therapeutic benefits. [NBK513311]

What Are the Benefits of GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid)?

  • Stress Reduction: GABA works by inhibiting the activity of neurons that contribute to stress and anxiety. It acts like a “mental relaxant,” reducing the sensations of fear and emotional stress, helping you navigate through stressful situations more easily. Some human studies have found that GABA supplementation can help shorten the time it takes to fall asleep and increase the duration of high-quality sleep. [PMC7527439]
  • Improved Sleep: Sleep problems often arise from an overstimulated nervous system. GABA helps by reducing neural activity, making it easier for you to fall asleep and stay asleep. It works to regulate sleep cycles, promoting deep and restful sleep. [PMC6049207, PMC6031986]
  • Enhanced Mood: An imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain often underlies mood disorders like depression and anxiety. GABA can play a role in restoring this balance. Its calming effect on the brain helps to stabilize mood swings and could alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression. [PMID: 12888801]
  • Blood Pressure Regulation: There is evidence from human studies that GABA derived from fermented milk products may help lower blood pressure in people with mild hypertension. [PMID: 12627188, PMID: 19811362]
  • Immune Function: There is some research indicating that GABA may play a role in immune function, but the specifics and the impact of supplementation in humans require further study. [PMC3680704]
  • Increased Satiety: In an animal model, researchers established that satiety was increased with oral intake of GABA and that this took place via the vagal nerve. [PMC9227210]

Food Sources of GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid)

GABA is not typically found in high concentrations in most foods. However, certain foods contain precursors or components that can support GABA production or activity in the body. [PMC7680766] Here’s a table listing some of these foods and their approximate GABA content or relevant components:

Food SourceAmount of GABA per Serving
Fermented Foods (Kimchi, Miso, etc.)10–30 mg per cup
Whole Grains (Brown Rice, Barley)5–15 mg per cup
Nuts and Seeds (Almonds, Walnuts)2–5 mg per ounce
Fish (Mackerel, Salmon)10–20 mg per 3-ounce serving
Broccoli5–8 mg per cup
Potatoes5–10 mg per medium potato

Is GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid) Safe?

When it comes to safety, GABA supplements are considered safe for most people when taken within recommended dosages. These supplements are non-addictive and have a low risk of side effects, which might include mild experiences like stomach upset or sleepiness. The substance itself is naturally occurring in the body and in many foods, making it a familiar compound to our biological systems. Overall, GABA enjoys a strong safety profile, making it a popular choice for those looking to improve stress levels, sleep quality, and other aspects of mental health.

Medication Interactions with GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid)

  • Benzodiazepines (e.g., Valium, Xanax): Taking GABA supplements with benzodiazepines can heighten sedative effects, making excessive drowsiness or even respiratory depression more likely.
  • Antidepressants (e.g., SSRIs, MAOIs): If you take GABA supplements with certain antidepressants, you might experience amplified medication effects or side effects, as some antidepressants also affect GABA levels.
  • Antipsychotics (e.g., Risperidone, Olanzapine): Using GABA supplements with antipsychotics could increase sedative effects, leading to drowsiness or lethargy.
  • Anti-Seizure Medications (e.g., Gabapentin, Tegretol): Combining GABA supplements with anti-seizure medications may change the medication’s effectiveness or intensify its side effects, as both regulate neural excitability.
  • Blood Pressure Medications (e.g., Beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors): GABA supplements can lower blood pressure, so taking them with blood pressure medications may result in extremely low blood pressure.
  • Alcohol: Combining GABA supplements with alcohol can increase sedative effects, raising the risk of respiratory depression or other dangerous outcomes.

Supplement Interactions with GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid)

  • Valerian Root: Taking valerian root with GABA supplements can increase their sedative effects, possibly leading to excessive drowsiness.
  • Melatonin: Using GABA with melatonin could amplify the sleep-inducing effects of both supplements, potentially resulting in a deeper but possibly excessively sedated sleep.
  • St. John’s Wort: Combining this supplement with GABA could affect mood and nervous system function, since both have an impact on neurotransmitter levels.
  • L-Theanine: This amino acid also influences GABA levels. Taking it with GABA supplements may increase calming and anti-anxiety effects but could also lead to sedation.
  • Kava: Both kava and GABA have anxiolytic and sedative properties. Using them together could amplify these effects, increasing the risk of sedation or liver toxicity.
  • 5-HTP: Taking 5-HTP with GABA might amplify each supplement’s impact on mood and sleep, but the combination could potentially result in serotonin syndrome, a serious condition.

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GABA-450 mg

Calming neurotransmitter†

Gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA), as the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system, helps support normal relaxation, neuronal excitability, and muscle tone.†
Take 1 capsule, 2 to 4 times daily between meals or as directed by a healthcare professional.

Serving Size: 1 Capsule

Amount Per Serving
GABA … 420mg
(Gamma-aminobutyric acid)

GABA Calming Support

Calm for the Overactive Mind* Calm your mind naturally with GABA Calming Support, an exclusive formula that contains clinically studied nutrients that help to calm your brain waves and help act as the biochemical brakes your brain needs to slow down your anxious or fretful thoughts.*

Suggested Use: Adults, take 1 to 6 capsules daily with water, between meals. Dosing for children should be directed by a nutritionally informed physician. Not recommended during pregnancy or lactation.

Serving Size: 1 Capsules

Amount Per Serving
Vitamin B6
 … 8 mg
(as pyridoxine HCI and pyridoxal-5-phosphate)
Magnesium … 33 mg
(as glycinate and malate)
GABA … 250mg
(Gamma-AminoButyric Acid)
Lemon Balm Extract … 50mg
(Melissa officinalis, leaf)
L-Theanine … 33 mg

Insomnitol- GABA, Valerian, Melatonin by Designs for Health

Insomnitol™ is a blend of botanicals, nutrients, and neurotransmitter precursors designed to support quality, restful sleep. By providing nutritional support for calm brain activity, Insomnitol™ promotes relaxation and offers help for occasional sleeplessness. 

Key ingredients include botanicals that support nervous system function, PharmaGABA™ (a proprietary form of GABA), L-theanine, melatonin, 5-HTP, and pyridoxal-5-phospate (activated form of vitamin B6). 

As a dietary supplement, take two capsules 30-60 minutes before bedtime, or as directed by your healthcare practitioner.

Amount Per 2 Capsule Serving
Vitamin B-6 … 10mg (as Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate)
Valerian … 400mg(Valeriana officinalis)(root)[Standardized to contain 0.8% valerenic acid]
Passion Flower … 200mg (Passiflora incarnata)(flower)[Standardized to contain 3.5% flavonoids]
Lemon Balm … 200mg (Melissa officinalis)(leaves)[standardized to contain 3% rosmarinic acid]
Chamomile … 200mg (Matricaria chamomilla)(flower)
Gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA)… 100mg (as PharmaGABA™)
L-Theanine … 100mg
5-HTP … 100mg (5-Hydroxytryptophan)
Melatonin … 3mg

Food First!

Although this article discusses supplements in detail, don’t forget that we are absolutely committed to the “Food First” approach to nutrition. When it comes to your health, the totality of your eating habits far surpasses the impact of individual nutrients or any single supplement you consume. Even though this article doesn’t delve into the broader picture of your overall diet, it’s crucial to keep this element at the forefront of our minds. Your food needs to provide all the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals to nourish your body systems down to the cellular level.

Food choices, rather than supplements, are the most critical factors for a healthy gut microbiome. These trillions of tiny inhabitants in your gut affect your brain waves; they orchestrate your immune system. They possess the power to create molecules that can switch genes on or off and are even capable of synthesizing neurotransmitters. Opting for organic foods and steering clear of plastic packaging (including those labeled BPA-free) is a smart move to limit toxin exposure. The sum of all these parts leads to a powerful conclusion: the ultimate key to your health lies in the quality and balance of the food you consume. Supplements are secondary.

“To Sum It Up”

GABA supplements offer a range of health benefits from improving sleep quality to reducing anxiety and stress. They also show promise in enhancing focus and relieving symptoms of PMS. While generally considered safe, it’s important to be aware of possible interactions with medications and other supplements. Make sure to weigh the benefits against any potential risks to make an informed choice.


This Article is Not a Substitute for Medical Advice

Dietary supplements are not designed to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The Supplement Sciences website seeks to provide comprehensive access to the most relevant supplement information along with convenient online ordering. We do not provide medical advice and cannot guarantee that every product suggested is completely without risk. Since each person is unique in their health history and medication use, it is important to discuss supplements with your personal physician. Specifically, pregnant women and individuals being treated for cancer or liver or kidney problems must consult their physician about every nutritional supplement they plan to take. People taking medications for the treatment of HIV or with a history of organ transplant must not take supplements without consulting with their physician.


About the Author

Stephanie Figon, MS, RDN, LD

Founder of NutriScape.NET. As a dietitian since 1992, Steph Figon has had experiences in consulting, 15 years in clinical, and has operated a private practice nutrition counseling office for since 2011. Connect on Linkedin

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