GABA

Bernard

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Overview of GABA
GABA, or gamma amino-butyric Acid, is an amino acid that is classified as a neurotransmitter. GABA plays an important role in the Central Nervous System (CNS) and is considered one of the major inhibitory neurotransmitter of the brain, occurring in 30%-40% of all brain synapses. A strong body of clinical evidence shows that GABA's inhibitory effects play a key roll in the modulation of anxiety and depression-like behavior, and is also believed to be partially responsible for panic disorder.

GABA is manufactured in the brain by way of the amino acid glutamine, vitamin B6 and glucose. One clinical study indicates that B6 supplementation may act as a positive cofactor for GABA production and may help with anti-stress therapy.

GABA Supplements (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid)
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Normally, as long as the diet is healthy, the brain manufacturers all of the GABA the body requires. However, due to a poor diet, exposure to environmental toxins, or other outside factors, levels of GABA may become depleted. Too little of this important compound may result in anxiety, irritability, depression and insomnia.

While taking GABA as a supplement may help overall mental health and well-being, this amino acid supplement does not pass directly through the blood-barrier (it can not be transported efficiently from the bloodstream to the brain). GABA supplementation, therefore, is not directly responsible for an increase in GABA neurotransmitter production. However, as stated above, Vitamin B6 cofactors, along with other natural constituents such as Hyperforin may help to boost GABA neurotransmitter levels in the brain.

GABA and Sleep
A key benefit of GABA in one's diet is its ability to significantly increase the production of Growth Hormone (GH) in the body.5 Clinical studies involving growth hormone suggest that deficient levels of this biochemical may be responsible for poor sleep quality and fragmented sleeping habits.6

As adults progress through the normal aging process, research indicates that human growth hormone levels in the body begin to decrease. By the age of 45, some adults may not be able to fall back into a deep sleep when waken in the middle of the night due to the lack of healthy growth hormone levels.
GABA - Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid

Stacy has been taking GABA in addition to 5-HTP.
 

Elisa

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A lot of seiuzre meds are GABA BLOCKERS, so what does that mean for us?
 

Bernard

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According to the info posted, GABA in the brain is produced by the body from B6 and sugars. So B6 (or B complex including B6) supplementation should lead to greater availability of GABA in the brain.

Taking GABA itself through the digestive tract does not affect GABA levels in the brain but should help improve sleep quality.

You will have to ask your own doctor/neuro about what benefits or drawbacks you might derive from taking GABA in conjunction with whatever AEDs you might be taking.
 

Elisa

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Yesterday I went and got Gaba and 5-HTP, I will let you know how it all goes.
Elisa
 

Birdbomb

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I have been taking the 5-HTP for about 2 weeks now. It's really hard to say if my mood is any better because of the grief I have over my dad's untimely death and the tremendous stess I have been under for the past 3-4 months.

The strange dreams I experianced at the begining have toned down a little and I sleep better.

My husband has done great with it. He is more alert and happier.

Not sure if I want to try the GABA thing just yet. One supplement at a time, so I make sure I'm not over doing anything.
 

Elisa

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Maybe your right Donna, I should only add one thing at a time. To late now, I guess.
E
 

lindy

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When I first stopped taking an AED and switched over to supplements, I always did it one supplement at a time. That way, if there were a problem, I would know what the culprit was.
 

Bernard

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The main inhibitory transmitter in the brain is called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA regulates brain excitability, cognition, consciousness and memory. Although GABA is released at synapses, research in the last decade has identified an additional way in which GABA can regulate neuronal function; GABA in the fluid that surrounds neurons can act on receptors outside the synapse, mediating a persistent form of inhibition. This has been termed tonic inhibition and acts much like a volume control turning the excitability of neurons up or down. By using drugs that target this form of inhibition, it is possible to modulate memory and consciousness.

Dr Matthew Walker, from University College London comments: “At the Bristol symposium, the effects of sex hormones, drugs and anaesthetics on this form of inhibition will be discussed with regard to memory.

“On Thursday 21st, we will provide evidence that this form of signaling is modified by diseases such as epilepsy in which there is an up-regulation of tonic inhibition that may counter the excessive excitation in the epileptic brain. This up-regulation occurs perhaps at the expense of memory and cognition and may be a mechanism that contributes to the memory problems encountered in people with epilepsy.”

He concludes: “Progress in understanding this form of inhibition is burgeoning and its relevance to health and disease is only now becoming apparent.”
Excitement Leads To Memory Loss

So GABA plays at least two different roles in the brain - one directly in neuron function and one indirectly in neuron regulation.

I'm not sure that I understood this properly, but to the best that I can decypher the second to last paragraph, it appears that the body naturally increases GABA in the brain in response to epilepsy to help dampen/inhibit the excitability of the brain. This natural reaction causes problems with memory and cognition (thinking ability).
 

Bernard

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Their experiments revealed that the GABA-triggered neurons were involved in seizures in the immature brains and also that those seizures did lead to development of an epileptic state. They found that these GABA-triggered seizures featured so-called "fast oscillations" of electrical activity that are required to transform a "naive" network of neurons into an epileptic one.

In other experiments comparing immature and adult rat hippocampi, they found that although GABA-triggered neurons were also involved in seizures in adult brains, they were not required for development of epilepsy, as they were in immature hippocampi.

The researchers concluded that their studies showed that fast oscillations involved in seizures "are also directly implicated in epileptogenesis in the immature brain and lead to the production of a persistent chronic epileptic condition."

As the neuronal network matures, however, the density of synapses triggered by glutamate increases and the contribution of GABA-triggered synapses to fast oscillations and development of epilepsy decreases, they wrote.

"This information may be important both for understanding the deleterious consequences of seizures in newborns and for developing new therapeutic treatments for seizures in young infants," wrote Ben-Ari and colleagues. "Specifically, the permissive action of excitatory GABA suggests that GABA-acting drugs may exert deleterious actions at an early developmental stage in humans."
How Seizures Progress To Epilepsy In The Young

If I read that right, they are saying that too much GABA in the brain of babies can cause permanent epilepsy. Now they just need to figure out why babies are producing too much GABA in the brain...
 

RobinN

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With so many reporting sleep problems I thought I would:bump: this thread.

Bernard: I wonder if there is something in the manufactured formulas that increases the GABA for some infants.
 

Andrew

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Gamma Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) is a non-proteinogenic amino acid. Within the mammilian Central Nervous System (CNS) GABA also functions as the main inhibitory neurotransmitter. GABA is the second most abundent neurotransmitter within the CNS after the excitatory neurotransmitter Glutamate. Vitamin B6 in the active form of Pyridoxal 5'-Phosphate (PLP or P5P) is needed for the synthesis of GABA.

I have also read that the Synthetic form of GABA is addictive but the natural form of GABA is not.

DO NOT ALTER ANY MEDICATION WITHOUT YOUR DOCTOR'S CONSENT.

Andrew
 
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Unless your MD has a very specific reason for knowing GABA to be safe for you, no one w/ epilepsy should ever supplement w/ GABA. In the body GABA and glutamic acid rapidly interconvert. So taking GABA is likely to cause a RISE in glutamic acid--something you definitely do not want. In fact, some researchers theorize that faulty metabolism causing too much ingested glutamic acid to remain in that form instead of converting to GABA, may be the cause of some people's epilepsy.

The most well-researched nutritional supplement regimen for reducing seizures is high dose taurine (3g in divided doses), sustained-release magnesium, and P5'P, a non-toxic form of vit. B6 (200mg. in divided doses), along w/ a standard multi-vit/min containing some zinc, to make sure everything is metabolized properly. However NEVER stop your medication abruptly, and only change treatments under the supervision of a medical professional w/ experience in the new treatment. Though difficult, it is not impossible to find a qualified MD or naturopath to supervise an integrative approach.
 

Ruth

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I took the supplement, GABA, a long time ago. I should of asked my neuro but I did not. You are right, you should ask if it will help or hurt you. I get better information from my pharmacist.
 
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