Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a neurotransmitter, or chemical messenger, in the brain. It blocks specific signals in the central nervous system, slowing down the brain. This provides a protective and calming effect on the brain and body.
The body produces GABA, and it may also be present in some fermented foods, such as kimchi, miso, and tempeh. These are not foods that most people include in their daily diets, so some people take GABA supplements to achieve the benefits.
In this article, we examine how increased levels of GABA may impact the brain and body, and whether taking GABA supplements could have the same benefits.
The brain contains many neurotransmitters that trigger or inhibit specific reactions in the body.
GABA is a neurotransmitter that inhibits or slows the brain’s functions. This activity produces effects such as:
preventing brain damage
The brain naturally releases GABA at the end of a day to promote sleepiness and allow a person to rest. Some of the medications doctors prescribe to induce sleep and reduce anxiety may also increase the action of GABA.