With all that we have going on in our world today — balancing hectic schedules of work and family, seemingly endless to-do lists, technology and distractions at our fingertips — we could all use a little bit of stress relief. Enter GABA, an ingredient that’s bound to help you get a little R&R.
GABA is a neurotransmitter that you need to know. But first, what’s a neurotransmitter?
Neurotransmitters are essentially our brain’s mechanism for transmitting messages. They are molecules that the body’s nervous system utilizes to send messages to neurons, and that neurons use to send messages to the nervous system.
Neurotransmitters affect many different functions in our body — heart rate, sleep, mood, fear, and appetite, to name a few. There are six different types of neurotransmitters: amino acids, peptides, monoamines, purines, gasotransmitters, and acetylcholine. They keep our brains functioning, which is why neurotransmitters like GABA are so important to have in our bodies.
The Takeaway: Neurotransmitters communicate messages between our bodies and our brains.
The 411 on GABA
GABA is short for Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid. It’s an amino acid, one of the six classifications of neurotransmitters in the body. Amino acids are composed primarily of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen. Because they are the building blocks of proteins, they make up a large portion of our cells, muscle, and tissue, playing large roles in many critical bodily functions, including many involved in the brain.
The Takeaway: GABA is an amino acid that acts as a neurotransmitter, which is critical to certain functions in our bodies and brains.
Why is it helpful towards getting a good night's sleep?GABA is known for its stress and anxiety relieving properties. Essentially, GABA blocks some neurotransmission, ultimately leading to a less aroused nervous system. This helps us remain more relaxed and even helps our mood. It is often used as a natural remedy for anxiety, as certain anxiety disorders have been associated with decreased levels of GABA.
GABA receptors are also found in the hypothalamus, which actually helps control our sleep-wake cycles (known as the circadian rhythm)
The Takeaway: GABA’s calming and sedative effects help make it a natural method to treat insomnia.
How do you relax at the end of the day? Let us know your nightly routine!