Gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA is a chemical element found in the brain that serves to send nerve signals throughout the central nervous system. It is said to contribute to relaxation which is needed in performing other tasks that require you to be alert of. This is according to Julia Ross in her “The Mood Cure”. However she also mentioned that your first dose should be taken at home in case this effect may occur. And if you are taking GABA supplement to reduce stress and anxiety you should stop taking it once the symptom already disappears because if not, it can only make you more tired that being relaxed, added Ross.
On the other hand, Kathi Keville and Christopher Hobbs, authors of “Women’s Herbs, Women’s Health,” want users of GABA supplement to stop using it until there are evidences of more long term effects. In order to check on which claim is true, let us get to know about a list of GABA supplement side effects.
The fact that GABA supplements cannot cross the blood-brain barrier, this supplement form cannot provide the same effect like the GABA which is naturally produced in the brain. GABA supplements which are taken orally are not also effective on the central nervous system in the body. However, it affects the peripheral nervous system. The “Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine,” said that GABA supplements can help alleviate some of the symptoms of insomnia, anxiety and depression. Also, a study conducted in 2004 and was published in the “Journal of the Japanese Society for Food Science and Technology” mentioned that supplementation of GABA can help lower blood pressure.
Short Term Side Effects of GABA
Taking GABA can cause mild tingling sensations. It can cause changes in heart rate as well as breathing patterns. Such symptoms should disappear quickly according to Tim Mielke in his “The Book of Supplement Secrets.”
Truth about Side Effects of GABA
The Food and Drug Administration advised the public not to take supplements without adequate testing and approval. GABA supplements are known to have no adverse side effects but according to the “Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine,” since GABA supplements have a calming effect, it can cause drowsiness. Take extra care when taking GABA with alcohol or other medications that cause drowsiness.
When you use gamma hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), which is a natural GABA analog, this can increase your risk to side effects. Overdose can lead to GHB intoxication which can change your mental status like what alcohol intoxication can do and at the same time depress respiratory system. According to P.E. Mason and W.P. Kerns II in Academic Emergency Medicine, overdose of GHB can cause death. The reason why people use GHB instead of GABA is that GABA cannot pass the blood-brain barrier which makes its effectiveness questionable says Iron Magazine. Other side effects of GHB are, it can cause seizures and cause anterograde amnesia. Once you experience side effects of GABA, discontinue use and consult your doctor immediately.
The Food and Drug Administration did not issue any recommendations regarding the proper dose for GABA but according to the University of Pittsburgh, Medical Center, the dosage of GABA used in their study on the effect of GABA on blood pressure was 10mg a day but their study suffered from design problems. On the other hand, the University of Michigan Health said that there are some doctors who recommend 200 mg doses 4 times a day. Although there are no known interactions of GABA with other drugs, adverse interaction may possibly occur. GABA appears to be a safe supplement but there are nonscientific studies to confirm its effectiveness.