Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is one of the major inhibitory neurotransmitters in the central nervous system, balancing the excitatory effects of glutamate on neuronal activity. The inhibitory effects of GABA are generally considered to lessen anxiety, relax muscle tension, and have sedative-like effects.2,3,4 GABA has also been shown to cause a significant increase in alpha brain waves, which are associated with a more relaxed state and better concentration.
In a clinical trial involving people with a fear of heights, a control group crossing a suspension bridge had a 35% decrease in salivary levels of secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA), a marker for stress-related decreases in immune system activity. Participants who crossed the same bridge, but took GABA-Pro had increases in sIgA levels, suggesting a stressreducing effect.1,5,6
Many medications used for insomnia also target GABA receptors and activity, with effects such as decreasing wakefulness, shortening sleep latency, and increasing slow-wave sleep.7,8,9
Pharma GABA is well absorbed and binds to GABA receptors in the peripheral nervous system (PNS), the arm of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) responsible for producing the “relaxation response” – the opposite of the “fight or flight” response. In a double-blind crossover study, 12 young adult males taking 30 mg of Pharma GABA per meal after an overnight fast had significant increases in overall ANS and PNS activities, compared to placebo. This suggests Pharma GABA may induce relaxation effects by modulating ANS activity.10