GABA: Benefits, Dosing, Where To Buy, And More!

Last Updated:

Key Information

GABA regulates relaxation, sleep, and mood:

GABA is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain, responsible for counteracting excitatory neurotransmitters and reducing anxiety and depression.

GABA may improve memory, learning, and neuroprotection:

GABA plays a role in neural plasticity, motor-skill learning, and memory recovery. It also protects against inflammation and cell damage in the brain.

GABA may lower blood pressure, blood sugar, and cancer risk:

GABA has physical benefits as well, such as decreasing blood pressure, enhancing insulin sensitivity, and inhibiting cancer cell proliferation.

GABA supplements may not cross the blood-brain barrier:

GABA supplements may not be effective for boosting GABA levels in the brain, as the molecule may be too large to enter. Synthetic derivatives or herbal alternatives may be more potent.

Affiliate Disclosure: Holistic Nootropics may earn affiliate commissions if you purchase through the links on this page. Here's how it works.

Hey there!

Welcome to my review of GABA, one of the most popular supplements on the market today for relaxation.

As someone others may describe as “high-strung”, using compounds with purported calming effects has become an essential part of my daily supplement stack.

GABA is one compound I had read that delivered these kinds of effects, so I dove head first into the research and experimentation.

The following review is a summary of my findings and includes the science of how it works, it’s main benefits, dosing recommendations and more.

If you’re ready to learn more about this crucial calming amino acid, let’s jump into it!

Biohack Your Brainpower

Stay ahead with our newsletter: cutting-edge biohacking tips and the latest in nootropics, all in one place.

Where To Buy GABA

Reduce anxiety and improve sleep


  • Improve mood and reduce anxiety

  • Improve sleep quality

  • Reduce stress levels

  • Regulate communication between neurons

  • Support stress response

GABA – An Overview

gaba agonist,gaba a receptor,gaba rice,mo gaba,gaba and alcohol,yo gaba gaba,gaba vitamin,gaba analogue,gaba deficiency,gaba definition,gaba inhibitor,gaba antagonist,gaba a,gaba japan,alcohol gaba,marianne gaba,gaba foods
GABA is the neurotransmitter largely responsible for relaxation and calm

GABA is the main neurotransmitter of the central nervous system in humans and other mammals responsible for inhibition.

This means that it is responsible for regulating relaxation, sleep, and overall mood.

It counteracts excitatory neurotransmitters, such as glutamate, keeping your system in balance.1Gottesmann C, et al. GABA mechanisms and sleep Neuroscience. 2002

Think of GABA as the “brakes” of your brain.

It also plays a vital role in modulating synaptic transmission, promoting neuronal development, and preventing depression.2Ngo DH, Vo TS. An Updated Review on Pharmaceutical Properties of Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid Molecules. 2019

Many people take GABA as a nootropic for:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Neuroprotection
  • Addiction recovery
  • Sleep

GABA may also have some positive effects on physical issues like blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer.

You can purchase GABA as a supplement, however, it is unclear whether or not it can actually cross the blood-brain barrier and have an effect.

As you will see, it may be more useful to take a synthetic derivative to boost your GABA levels, rather than simply taking GABA itself.

What Does GABA Do?

Increasing GABA levels in the brain using nootropic supplements could have a wide range of effects.

GABA and Anxiety

gaba neurotransmitter function,gaba and glutamate,gaba neurotransmitters,gaba amino acid,gaba b receptor,gaba reviews,gaba dosage for sleep,what is gaba used for,millind gaba,alcohol and gaba,is gaba inhibitory or excitatory
GABA is critical for keeping stress levels in check

GABA is a promising candidate for treating anxiety-related issues.

As the main inhibitory transmitter in your brain, it is responsible for relaxing you when you get overstimulated.3Nuss P. Anxiety disorders and GABA neurotransmission: a disturbance of modulation Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2015

This means that anxiety may be due at least partially to lack of GABA in the brain.

In fact, many of the most potent anti-anxiety drugs out there, like Xanax and Valium, work on the GABA system.

So, theoretically, you should be able to get at least some of the benefits of these pharmaceuticals (without the downsides) by taking GABA as a supplement.

Research seems to back this up.

Animal studies show that infusions of GABA or GABA receptor agonists into the amygdala decrease measures of fear and anxiety in several species.

At the same time, infusions of GABA antagonists tend to increase anxiety.4Sanders SK, Shekhar A.. Regulation of anxiety by GABAA receptors in the rat amygdala Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1995 5Palomares-Castillo E, et al. The intercalated paracapsular islands as a module for integration of signals regulating anxiety in the amygdala Brain Res. 2012 6Anne Marowsky, Kaspar E. Vogt. Delta-subunit-containing GABAA-receptors mediate tonic inhibition in paracapsular cells of the mouse amygdala Front. Neural Circuits. 2014

Trials involving humans also indicate that GABA is able to induce relaxation, diminish anxiety, and enhance immunity under stressful conditions.

Researchers propose this is due to increasing alpha waves (meditative, calming waves), decreasing beta waves (faster, higher decision making waves), and enhancing immunoglobin A (a stress hormone) levels under stressful conditions.

Effects could be seen within 1 hour of its administration to induce relaxation and diminish anxiety.7Adham M. Abdou, et al. Relaxation and immunity enhancement effects of γ‐Aminobutyric acid (GABA) administration in humans Biofactors. 2008

Is GABA Good For Depression?

The GABA system is also heavily tied to overall emotional regulation.

So, it comes as no surprise that there is some evidence that maintaining proper GABA levels could treat depressive symptoms and raise mood.

Multiple preclinical studies suggest that GABA levels may be decreased in animal and human models of depression.

Antidepressants, mood stabilizers, electroconvulsive therapy, and other GABA agonists show promise in reversing depression-like behavior in animals and humans.8Brambilla P, et al. GABAergic dysfunction in mood disorders Mol Psychiatry. 2003

In one study, twenty pre-menopausal female patients took a GABA-rich nutritional supplement at every meal.

Researchers observed that sleeplessness, somnipathy, and depression were remarkably improved in most of the patients that had previously complained of these symptoms.9Tadashi Okada, et al. Effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid-accumulating defatted rice germ on oral menopause and presenile mental disorders Journal of Japan Society for Food Science and Technology, 2000

GABA supplementation also reduced signs of depression in rats in a forced-swim model.

Researchers suspected it’s antidepressant effect was due to balancing the levels of norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin in the hippocampus.10AlfredoBriones-Aranda, et al. Alterations in GABAergic function following forced swimming stress Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior. 2005

GABA’s anti-inflammatory effects could also play a role in fighting depression. According to some researchers, “chronic exposure to increased inflammation [may] drive changes in neurotransmitters and neurocircuits that lead to depressive symptoms.”

So, by suppressing some of the cytokines and other proteins associated with inflammation, GABA may treat depression in this way.11Felger JC, et al. Role of Inflammation in Depression and Treatment Implications Handb Exp Pharmacol. 2019 12Gerald Prud’homme, et al. GABA exerts anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive effects J Immunol. 2013

Additionally, GABA can counterbalance the excitatory hormone glutamate, which can also cause low moods when levels get excessive.13Gerard Sanacora, et al. Towards a glutamate hypothesis of depression Neuropharmacology. 2013

GABA For Memory and Learning

gaba supplement benefits,gaba structure,how to increase gaba,what is gaba,what does gaba do,what is gaba used for,how to increase gaba,when to take gaba,what does gaba stand for,what does gaba do in the brain,how much gaba to take,what is gaba in the brain,how long does gaba take to kick in,what is gaba?,where to buy gaba
GABA can play an important role in encoding and retaining information

There is some evidence that maintaining proper GABA can improve some aspects of memory function. However, researchers are still unsure exactly how it influences these processes.

One study found that GABA may play an important role in motor-skill learning, but not sequence learning.14Bryant J. Jongkees, et al. Influences of glutamine administration on response selection and sequence learning: a randomized-controlled trial Sci Rep. 2017

GABA improved the long-term but not short-term memory recovery of mice in one trial.

High doses of GABA enhanced memory recovery up to 85% compared to the control group.

However, lower doses only enhanced memory 20%. These results imply that a high-dose intake may be necessary for GABA to be effective for memory.15Yong Chang Seo, et al. Enhancement of the Cognitive Effects of γ-Aminobutyric Acid from Monosodium Glutamate Fermentation by Lactobacillus sakei B2-16 Food Biotechnology 2012

By reducing inflammation and promoting Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor, GABA may protect against the degenerative effects of aging on short-term memory. 16Author Name. The Effects of Fermented Laminaria japonica on Short-Term Working Memory and Physical Fitness in the Elderly Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2018

GABA plays an important role in neural plasticity. This may improve short-term motor learning behavior and learning-related brain activity.17Stagg CJ, et al. The role of GABA in human motor learning Curr Biol. 2011

GABA As A Neuroprotective

GABA’s anti-inflammatory properties make it a valuable neuroprotective, especially as you age. It can seemingly reverse cell damage in some cases.

GABA has shown a protective effect against neurotoxic-induced cell death.18Fragu P, et al. Functional microscopic imaging of the thyroid gland with the help of analytical ion microscopy Pathol Biol. 1991

It may also improve cell viability, and reduce indicators of chronic cell damage.19Li W, et al. Novel fermented chickpea milk with enhanced level of γ-aminobutyric acid and neuroprotective effect on PC12 cells. Peer J. 2016

GABA For Sleep

GABA is a critical neurotransmitter for regulating sleep cyclesGABA is heavily tied to sleep. Taking it as a supplement may improve sleep quality and alleviate insomnia.

According to multiple studies, GABA supplementation significantly shortened sleep latency, increased total non-REM sleep time, and reduced the symptoms of sleep disorders.20Atsushi Yamatsu, et al. Effect of oral γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) administration on sleep and its absorption in humans Food Science and Biotechnology. 2016 21Abdou AM, et al. Relaxation and immunity enhancement effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) administration in humans Biofactors. 2006 22Abdou AM, et al. Relaxation and immunity enhancement effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) administration in humans Biofactors. 2006 23Jung-Ick Byun, et al. Safety and Efficacy of Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid from Fermented Rice Germ in Patients with Insomnia Symptoms: A Randomized, Double-Blind Trial J Clin Neurol. 2018

It might be especially helpful in combination with l-theanine. This duo could have a synergistic effect on neural systems associated with sleep.24Atsushi Yamatsu, et al. Effect of oral γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) administration on sleep and its absorption in humans Food Science and Biotechnology. 2016

How Much Does GABA Lower Blood Pressure?

One of the physical benefits of GABA is decreasing blood pressure.

This may be due to its holistic inhibitory effect on the central nervous system. It doesn’t simply put the brakes on your brain, but on your body as well.

GABA has been shown to have positive effects on lowering BP.

One study observed that administering GABA caused a dose-related decrease in the blood pressure in 30 to 50 minutes.25Kimura M, et al. Involvement of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) B receptors in the hypotensive effect of systemically administered GABA in spontaneously hypertensive rats Jpn J Pharmacol. 2002

One clinical trial has confirmed that daily supplementation of 80 mg of GABA per day was effective in reducing the blood pressure of adults with mild hypertension.26F. Matsubara, et al. Effects of GABA supplementation on blood pressure and safety in adults with mild hypertension Japanese Pharmacology and Therapeutics. 2002

Does GABA Lower Blood Sugar?

GABA supplements may have multiple benefits for treating some types of diabetes.

Research shows that GABA can be effective agents in lowering blood glucose, attenuating insulin resistance, stimulating insulin release, and preventing pancreatic damage.27Soltani N, et al. GABA exerts protective and regenerative effects on islet beta cells and reverses diabetes Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 28Ashley Untereiner, et al. GABA promotes β-cell proliferation, but does not overcome impaired glucose homeostasis associated with diet-induced obesity FASEB. 2019

GABA has also been shown to decrease ambient blood glucose and improve blood glucose fluctuations.29Wenjuan Liu, et al. Combined Oral Administration of GABA and DPP-4 Inhibitor Prevents Beta Cell Damage and Promotes Beta Cell Regeneration in Mice Front. Pharmacol. 2017

In multiple animal trials, oral treatment with GABA inhibited weight gain, reduced the concentrations of fasting blood glucose and improved glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity in mice.30Tian J, et al. Oral treatment with γ-aminobutyric acid improves glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity by inhibiting inflammation in high fat diet-fed mice PLoS One. 2011 31Wenting Shang, et al. Wheat bran with enriched gamma-aminobutyric acid attenuates glucose intolerance and hyperinsulinemia induced by a high-fat diet Food And Function. 2018

GABA And Cancer

GABA’s anti-inflammatory properties may also make it a potential treatment for some types of cancer.

In one study, GABA was shown to inhibit leukemia cell proliferation, while at the same time causing the cancer cells to die off at a faster rate.32Oh CH, Oh SH. Effects of germinated brown rice extracts with enhanced levels of GABA on cancer cell proliferation and apoptosis J Med Food. 2004

There is also some preliminary evidence that GABA may suppress the proliferation of lung cancer, bile duct cancer cells, colon cancer cells, pancreatic tumors growth, and liver cancer cell migration.33Hildegard M. Schuller, et al. Gamma-aminobutyric acid, a potential tumor suppressor for small airway-derived lung adenocarcinoma Carcinogenesis. 2008 34Lihua Song, et al. γ-Aminobutyric acid inhibits the proliferation and increases oxaliplatin sensitivity in human colon cancer cells Tumor Biology. 2016 35Hussein A. N. Al-Wadei, et al. Celecoxib and GABA Cooperatively Prevent the Progression of Pancreatic Cancer In Vitro and in Xenograft Models of Stress-Free and Stress-Exposed Mice PLoS One. 2012 36Chen ZA, et al. Suppression of Human Liver Cancer Cell Migration and Invasion via the GABAA Receptor Cancer Biol Med. 2012

How GABA Works In The Brain

how to increase gaba and serotonin naturally,how to make brain produce gaba,how to increase gaba in the brain,what is gaba neurotransmitter,how to take gaba,where are gaba receptors located,how does alcohol affect gaba
GABA is one of the most prevalent neurotransmitters in the brain

GABA is the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system (CNS).

Neuroscientists estimate that at least one-third of all CNS neurons utilize GABA as their primary neurotransmitter.

This means that maintaining proper GABA functioning is crucial for proper cognitive function.37Bloom FE, Iversen LL. Localizing 3H-GABA in nerve terminals of rat cerebral cortex by electron microscopic autoradiography Nature. 1971

GABA’s inhibitory effect is essential for maintaining a balance between neuronal excitation and inhibition, synaptic signaling, neuronal excitability, and for maintaining the natural “pulse” of your brain system. 38Klausberger T, Somogyi P. Neuronal diversity and temporal dynamics: the unity of hippocampal circuit operations Science. 2008 Jul

Essentially, without enough GABA, your brain “overheats,” and stops functioning properly. Glutamate, the main excitatory neurotransmitter, builds up in the synapses without GABA to counterbalance it.

This can lead to overstimulation and anxiety, among other problems.39Ngo DH, Vo TS. An Updated Review on Pharmaceutical Properties of Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid Molecules. 2019 40Nuss P. Anxiety disorders and GABA neurotransmission: a disturbance of modulation Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2015

GABA also decreases inflammatory hormones, which can cause cell damage and cognitive dysfunction.

Over longer periods of time, too much inflammation can kill neurons and lead to mental decline, especially as you get older.

Luckily, GABA can help prevent and even reverse some of these effects.

This nootropic can also modulate brain waves. It can increase Alpha waves (which are associated with relaxation), and decrease Beta waves (which are associated with stimulation).

This is also a source of GABA’s anti-anxiety and sleep-promoting benefits.41Abdou AM, et al. Relaxation and immunity enhancement effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) administration in humans Biofactors. 2006

How Much GABA Should I Take?

For a nootropic effect on sleep stress, and anxiety, you should consider doses 100-300mg. You may need to adjust for body weight.

You may also get a better result if you pair it with L-theanine, another relaxation promoting nootropic.

Best GABA Supplement

We do want to point out that it is currently unclear whether or not GABA can cross the blood-brain barrier when taken as a supplement.

Some researchers claim that the molecule may be too large to actually enter the brain and have an effect.

GABA-derivatives such as Picamilon and Phenibut may be more effective as nootropics for this reason.

There are also herbal options, such as ashwagandha that are believed to work on the GABA system.

So, the best GABA supplements may not be pure GABA itself, but rather a related compound.

These nootropics all come with their own unique benefits and drawbacks, and we recommend researching them further to see which option may be best for you.

GABA Potential Side Effects

GABA is a naturally occurring amino acid and neurotransmitter in the body, and it is generally considered safe and non-toxic.

Studies show that doses up to 300 mg of GABA are safe.

However, some people experience minor adverse side-effects, such as mild gastrointestinal discomfort, headache, and drowsiness.

GABA Reddit Reviews

[su_quote cite=”venicerocco” url=””]Yes, I sometimes take GABA to help me sleep. Definitely works for me.[/su_quote][su_quote cite=”u/Flawlessix” url=””]I’ve started taking 1000mg GABA 2 weeks ago,and my anxiety levels decreased a lot,no more out of nowhere public anxiety shakiness,no more paranoia,more confident,feel more happy overall.I also lift,maybe it helps more.[/su_quote][su_quote cite=”Carbone” url=””]I use GABA to go to sleep. Help relax muscle. Best supplements for sleep so far.[/su_quote]

GABA Amazon Reviews

[su_quote cite=”cj2010″ url=”″]I’ve never tried GABA before but I read about its benefits. This is a large container and I really appreciate that a small serving size scoop is included. Initially, I took 2 scoops in the morning in my coffee and then 2 scoops in my herbal tea at night. I am definitely sleeping better. I fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply than before. Then I read not to take GABA with coffee as it interferes with body’s asbsorption of the GABA although green tea is supposedly ok and that the dosage should actually be around 4 scoops. So, I started taking GABA in green tea in the morning and herbal tea at night and increased to 4 scoops. Wow, did I feel it. My skin felt tingly once it absorbed (the article said tingly skin is a side affect) so I adjusted the dose down to 3 scoops and tingly is much less. I also feel much calmer and sleep very soundly. It works. Happy with my purchase.[/su_quote][su_quote cite=”PT Core Motion” url=”″]GABA regulates many of the sedative actions in the brain and is helpful for relaxation. I have been taking 1-2 grams with water at bed time for sleep. Helps me get & stay asleep with deep relaxing sleep waking up more refreshed and energized in the morning. [/su_quote][su_quote cite=”Candice” url=”″]This is the only supplement I’ve found that has actually helped. I have anxiety at times and was having trouble with sleeping, racing thoughts, nightmares, and night panic attacks. I’ve been taking this at night for 5 months and all of those problems completely stopped. I can’t recommend this enough. Since we are all different, I know it won’t work for everyone, but I’m so glad I tried it.[/su_quote]

Wrapping Up

Do you have questions about, supplementing with GABA? Do you have experience supplementing with GABA? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

For a fuller discussion surrounding nootropics and holistic brain hacking, join our growing community on Facebook!!

Photo of author


Erik Abramowitz is a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP), Naturopathic Doctoral student, health coach, and father. He is the primary content creator for and the host of the Holistic Nootropics Podcast.

0 responses to “GABA: Benefits, Dosing, Where To Buy, And More!”

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment