Grandma's Gamma-aminobutyric Acid (GABA) Guide
A Nonessential Amino Acid

Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is an amino acid that acts as a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. It is essential for brain metabolism, aiding in proper brain function.

The fact that they are termed "nonessential" does not mean that they are not necessary, only that they need not be obtained through the diet because the body can manufacture them as needed.

GABA is formed in the body from another amino acid, glutamic acid. Its function is to decrease neuron activity and inhibit nerve cells from over-firing. Together with niacinamide and inositol, it prevents anxiety - and stress-related messages from reaching the motor centers of the brain by occupying their receptor sites.

Gamma-aminobutyric acid can be taken to calm the body in much the same way as diazepam (Valium), chlordiazepoxide (Librium, and other tranquilizers, but whithout the fear of addiction.

GABA has been used in the treatment of epilepsy and hypertension. It is good for depressed sex drive because of its ability as a relaxant. It is also useful for enlarged prostate, probably because it play a role in the mechanism regulating the release of sex hormones.

Gamma-aminobutyric acid is effective in treating attention deficit disorder.

Caution: Too much GABA, however, can cause increased anxiety, shortness of breath, numbness around the mouth, and tingling in the extremities.

Glutamic Acid
Another Nonessential Amino Acid

Glutamic acid is an excitatory neurotransmitter that increases the firing of neurons in the central nervous system. It is a major excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain and spinal cord and is the precusor of GABA.

This amino acid is important in the metablism of sugars and fats, and aids in the transportation of potassium across the blood-brain barrier. Although it does not pass the blood-brain barrier as readily as glutamine does, it is found at high levels in the blood and may infiltrate the brain in small amounts. The brain can use glutamic acid as fuel. Glutamic acid can detoxity ammonia by picking up nitrogen atoms, in the process creating another amino acid, glutamine . The conversion of glatamic acid into glutamine is the only means by which ammonia in the brain can be detoxified.

Glutamic acid helps to correct personality disorders and is useful in treating childhood behavioral disorders. It is used in the treatment of epilepsy, mental retardation, muscular dystrophy, ulcers, and hypoglycermic coma, a complication of insulin treatment for diabetes.


The statements made here have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure or prevent any disease. This notice is required by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.


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