Today I’m going to review some GABA products for the physical-tension and stiff-and-tense-muscles type of anxiety, and share some additional resources for you.
The other symptoms we see with low GABA are panic attacks, physical tension in certain settings like public speaking or driving, and the need to self-medicate to calm down, often with alcohol but sometimes with carbs and sugary foods. Insomnia can also be due to low GABA and you’ll experience physical tension (rather than the ruminating thoughts which is the low serotonin type of insomnia – although it’s not uncommon to experience both). GABA also helps with muscle spasms and pain relief when muscles are tight.
The biggest take-aways with GABA:
- Sublingual is best. I find that GABA works best when used sublingually and this is one reason I like Source Naturals GABA Calm so much. If this is not an option (it does contain sugar alcohols that some clients can’t or won’t use and does contain tyrosine which as some contraindications) then opening a capsule of a GABA-only or a GABA-theanine combination are my next choices when working with someone.
- Start very low and increase as needed. I have found 125mg to be a good starting dose but some pixie dust clients do well on a dab or pinch
- Do a trial to determine if the anxiety in in fact due to low GABA. I always do this with clients before starting any amino acid. Be sure to read how to do an amino acid trial – it has the low GABA questionnaire, the precautions and information on how to use targeted individual amino acids.
Here are some of the actual GABA products I recommend and use with clients:
- Source Naturals GABA Calm. This is a pleasant-tasting sublingual product that is my most popular and most effective form of GABA I use with my clients. It contains 125 mg GABA and some glycine, taurine and magnesium, and a small amount of tyrosine to counter the calming effects. You can see the lozenges in the picture above.
- Nutritional Fundamentals for Health GABA-T SAP: gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) 300 mg, l-Theanine 150 mg. This is pleasant-tasting when opened on to the tongue and works very well when GABA Calm can’t be used. I find best results when it is used opened on to the tongue and I really like that it’s a low dose of GABA. Some of my clients do well with half a capsule. You can see an opened capsule in the picture above.
- Enzymatic Therapy GABA: gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) 250 mg. This is also pleasant-tasting when opened on to the tongue and works very well when GABA Calm can’t be used. As with all GABA products, I find best results when it is used opened on to the tongue.
- ProThera 500mg GABA: gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) 500 mg. You will likely need to open this up and start with less than a full capsule during the day and increase as needed based on the trial. A full capsule may be fine at night for some individuals and more than one works in some situations.
There are a number of other great GABA products. When I reached out on Facebook for feedback I heard from one mom who likes Kirkman Labs GABA with Niacinamide and Inositol for her son who is on the spectrum, and someone else shared she likes Thorne PharmaGABA better than GABA products.
A few people shared this feedback when using GABA: one person felt too tired, someone else felt a niacin-type flush and someone else got an electric shock feeling in her brain. How you respond depends on the dose and with GABA and the other amino acids there is no one recommended dose for anyone. It’s very individualized which is why I have clients do a trial and start low. GABA helps many people tapering from benzodiazepines but some people are so sensitive that even a pinch is too much.
One person asked how to get GABA from food as she is fearful of taking medications and supplements. I always recommend a real whole foods diet with quality animal protein and organic produce, together with health fats and fermented veggies – so this is a great foundation. It may not be enough and when there is fear and phobias I immediately think of low serotonin and would determine if this is a factor an address this first. I covered low serotonin and tryptophan in the product review last week.
Here are some additional GABA resources for you:
It’s a great product to use with children. Trish Soderstrom shared how she used this product with her daughter’s Lyme anxiety.
We’ve used Source Naturals GABA Calm sublinguals with good results. I learned about GABA helping anxiety and because I was treating my young daughter I purchased this because it was easy for her to take.But there may still be some confusion about when to use GABA and when to use tryptophan and how much of each of these amino acids to use.
I have used GABA (several brands, just open capsule and sprinkle small amount under tongue) for years now, with calming results within minutes. It was recommended to me by 2 family members, both bi-polar, who were tested by Dr. Amen. I have also used it with my children (now adults); my daughter says it doesn’t work for her. (She has anxiety issues and occasional panic attacks, and Rescue Remedy helps her.) It does work to calm my 3 sons, but one says it makes him sleepy, and lasts into the next day, so he won’t take it.
My daughter hasn’t been diagnosed with ADHD but has a lot of ADHD qualities. We were having a huge amount of behavior problems as she is getting older (she’s 11). I did some research and went to the health food store and bought a bottle. At this point I was mentally exhausted from all the fighting and drama at home and at school. I was desperate and didn’t want to put her on any hard medication.
She has had amazing behavior at school and at home since giving it to her. She’s almost like different child. GABA has truly changed our life. She’s been taking it for almost 2 months.
The blog has many other posts on GABA and serotonin and simply use the “search” function to find them.
This blog post is part of the series of amino acid product reviews:
- Tryptophan for low serotonin (worry-in-the-head anxiety)
- Glutamine for calming, intense sugar cravings, gut healing and low blood sugar
- DPA for weepiness, pain and comfort and reward eating
- Tyrosine for focus, motivation, energy, a good mood and possibly even anxiety
The resources in this blog and my other articles are intended to be used in conjunction with my book: The Antianxiety Food Solution – How the Foods You Eat Can Help You Calm Your Anxious Mind, Improve Your Mood, and End Cravings. If you do not have my book I highly recommend getting it and reading it before jumping in and taking the amino acid supplements:
There is a complete chapter on the amino acids and one for pyroluria, plus information on real whole food, sugar and blood sugar, gluten, digestion and much more.
You can find the GABA products and the others I recommend here on this blog: The Antianxiety Food Solution Amino Acid and Pyroluria Supplements
I’d love to hear what GABA product has worked for you and how it’s helped?
If you have questions please post them below or on the supplements blog
Additional Anxiety Resources