Has anyone used GABA supplements?

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)
  • Migraine
  • Restless leg syndrome, RLS
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • 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?

@j_d_aengus

Thanks for this question!

So…I take Gabapentin for pain. I’m curious what others have tried too.

There is an article published on ADDitude titled “Fibromyalgia Patients Should Be Screened for ADHD, Study Says”

Wow just wow.

Open up your blinds because it’s about to get dark…I was in the bell jar not too long ago and when I started Ritalin everything changed.

My mind was calm, my depression in the background, PTSD attacks locked in a box, Fibromyalgia pain a few feet behind me. I take Gabapentin at night now.

I wake up to pain and depression. But Ritalin takes me out of it. Gives me reprieve. RSD attacks not so much. Hoping mindfulness helps.

Because stimulants are considered a controlled substance my brain wanders if I can’t get Ritalin from insurance I’d pay out of pocket and if it gets band because some college kids wanted good grades and ruined it for us I’d find my way to another country that offers it.

Okay thanks for reading my rant.

There are foods that fight pain.I only take vitamin D supplements and liquid form B12 no additives.

If don’t stick to a strict diet my mind and body pays for it.

Stimulant medication really helped me to reduce my Gabapentin and get my life back.
And open my mind up to possibilities. A calm mind just didn’t know what that was until now.

Biohacking has been the best for what works for me.

Hope the GABA supplements pills work for you. I’m curious about your journey on them.

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I sometimes take a sleep aid that I get from Walmart. It has things like chamomile and melatonin in it, and a small amount of GABA (40mg, I think). I should take it every day, but I forget to.

The GABA that I got for my wife to try is 750mg. That’s the one that I took only two nights in a row as an experiment. I haven’t convinced my wife to take it. I’ve even suggested that she talk to her doctor about it. I think that if it works, it would help her with so many issues that she deals with so often.


According to what I have read online, fibromyalgia is linked to an excess of glutamate (particularly in the part of the brain known as the insula). One site I read this on is VerywellHealth GABA offsets glutemate by design. So it makes perfect sense that gabapentin would be such an effective pain treatment for fibromyalgia. I believe I read that gabapentin relieves pain by acting on GABA receptors in the nervous system. (I’m pretty certain that a person should not take GABA if they are already taking gabapentin, without approval by their doctor, since both would act on the same receptors.)

(My mom has long suspected that she has a mild form of fibromyalgia, which my grandma was been diagnosed with a long while back, but my mom’s symptoms haven’t been severe enough to get a clear diagnosis.)


Excess glutamate has also been correlated with diabetes, which is another condition my wife has.

Even though glutemate is absolutely necessary for complex life (or, at least, mammalian life), there can be “too much of a good thing”. The literature says that it can be “excitotoxic”, which can cause cellular death by over-excitation. According to the VerywellHealth article:

  • " Glutamate’s role as an excitotoxin is believed to be involved in a variety of neurodegenerative disorders such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gherig’s disease)."

@j_d_aengus
This is a really great post.
I was diagnosed by a Rheumatologist and we were in a room? But I don’t know the difference between Fibro heard a Myalgia and Horton heard a Who.
Yeah, no worries, I’m not going to double dip.
My brain can only handle so much Gaba.
I think I need to jump all the way to Zeta
and go surf. Hopefully I can leave my pain at the shoreline.

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GABA is actually very safe, from what I have read about it. Most likely side effect is daytime sleepiness.

Not a good choice for kids or nursing mothers. Glutemate stimulates the release of human growth hormone, I believe, and kids definitely need that! (I haven’t seen any GABA studies with kids, only animals or adults, and not very many.)

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GABA supplements aren’t the same as gabapentine. I tried GABA supplements once for anxiety and it made me made it really hard for me to concentrate or feel grounded. I find with ADHD there is a sweet stop with anxiety in which you get things done, with that lifted I felt like super floaty.

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@Jocelyn_Townsend
Thanks for sharing. :thinking:
I take it at night and I’m down for count.
But had I fog and fatigue before taking it.
I guess I could have been for foggy.

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No, definitely not. Gabapentin is specifically designed to treat pain. It wouldn’t do any of the other things the GABA is supposed to do.

It sounds like GABA affects you strongly.

I should try it for a longer time, to see if it helps me sleep better