The human brain is the most complex organ in the body. Hundreds of neurotransmitters pass through the brain carrying information from one part of the body to the brain and vice versa. GABA is the chief inhibitory neurotransmitter in the human body. GABA stands for gamma-aminobutyric acid, which is an important amino acid produced in the brain from vitamin B6 and another amino acid glutamate.
The main function of GABA is balancing other kinds of chemicals, other neurotransmitters and hormones in the body, which might cause over-excitability. The nerve impulses are able to communicate in a more efficient manner with the help of this brain chemical. Gamma-aminobutyric acidalso acts as an anti-epileptic agent and helps the body in making endorphins, which are chemicals that help in making one feel good. Overall brain functioning is also controlled by this amino acid in the brain.
Functioning of GABA as a neurotransmitter
The human brain comprises of trillions of nerve cells, out of which some can develop impulses. These are neurons. The communication in the brain takes place through neurons and various kinds of functions like feeling, thinking etc are carried out in response to stimuli. The information from one neuron to another is passed on to the other via neurotransmitters. There are two main neurotransmitters in the human brain – GABA and glutamate. Gamma-aminobutyric acidhas inhibitory effects while glutamate has excitatory effects. A proper balance between these two neurotransmitters helps in providing a balanced and stable emotional environment in the brain. Since it has inhibitory properties, therefore it is being used for creating medicinal supplements for treating issues like stress and anxiety in humans.
GABA and blood-brain-barrier
Though there are claims all around that Gamma-aminobutyric acidsupplements help in relieving stress and anxiety, but nothing of this sort happens in real. The reason is the blood-brain-barrier. The central nervous system in the body, which comprises of the brain and the spinal cord, has heavy protection internally. The brain is surrounded by a tough membrane, which has innumerable capillaries in it. These capillaries are tiny blood vessels which help in exchanging substances between tissues and blood like glucose and oxygen. Only particular substances can pass through the barrier and reach the brain cells.
GABA does not pass the blood-brain barrier. Gamma-aminobutyric acidis produced in the brain naturally and acts as a neurotransmitter. If taken in supplement form, it needs to penetrate through the blood brain barrier and reach the brain. And this does not happen. So practically if you think that GABA supplements mighthelp people with anxiety, you cannot be assured for positive results.
Areas where GABA supplements can help
There are ample evidences which prove that Gamma-aminobutyric acidsupplements cannot helpindividuals in combating stress and anxiety much. However, they are quite effective in burning excess fat from the body leading to weight loss. The amino acid helps in increasing production of hormones which help in building lean muscle mass and this makes the body more thermogenic. It is a great supplement for people who are looking for weight loss without side effects.