I’m not referring to gabapentin, which is a prescription medication for pain reduction. I’m referring to GABA supplements which you can buy (at least in the US) without a prescription.
In the brain and body, the most abundant neurotransmitter is glutemate, the nerve “activating” neurotransmitter. It is absolutely essential, it acts like the accelerator (gas pedal) on a car. Glutemate causes nerves to fire, it makes us “go”.
But if you’ve got a gas pedal, then you also need brakes… And that’s what GABA does, it’s the “inhibitor” neurotransmitter, which signals nerve endings to stop firing. (“GABA” is the abbreviation for gamma-Aminobutyric acid.)
GABA is reported to help with the following issues. I’m asking on the forum to see if anyone has used GABA and found relief from any of the following:
- Pain (general, large area or whole body)
- Headache (frequent or persistent)
- Restless leg syndrome, RLS
- Racing thoughts
I’ve read that any of those symptoms can be related to having excess glutemate or a deficiency in GABA.
My wife has had issues with excessive pain for months, along with all our the other symptoms listed above. In the past, she has typically used Tylenol or ibuprofen for pain (or a prescription pain medicine following a surgery). Over the last couple of months or so, she has had all-the-time pain through most of her body, and migraines more frequently than usual.
A few weeks ago, I heard on The Huberman Lab podcast that dopamine and glutemate are both released from the same type of nerve cells. That led me to learning about GABA, and then I discovered that there are GABA supplements.
For a long time (decades!), it was believed that dietary GABA cannot cross the blood-brain-barrier, but more recent research indicates that sometimes it can.
Because I believe my wife has been in a state of limerence (which is connected to excessive dopamine stimulation) for several months, it stands to reason that she would also have been experiencing an excess of glutemate, leading to her symptoms.
MYSELF AS A GUINEA PIG:
I took GABA for two nights in a row, and I did feel like I had lower levels of anxiety for the next few days, but I can’t be sure if it was placebo effect or not. I slept only about 4-5 hours each of those nights, but felt better rested. But I don’t suffer from the other issues like my wife does.
Does anyone have experience with using a GABA supplement? If so, what was your experience like?