Last week I blogged about my recent back injury and how acupuncture boosts GABA to reduce back pain and how oral GABA further reduces the pain. Both these interventions have helped me so much and I’m doing so much better.
I love the feedback I receive in the blog comments and the great questions – which get to help the person asking the question and everyone else reading the blog and comments. So thank you if you comment!
I received this lovely feedback about GABA and anxiety, and a question about Parkinson’s disease (on the above blog) and want to share it and my response here so you and families with a loved one with Parkinson’s disease will also have access to this information:
I have loved reading your articles for a long time and listen to you whenever you are on a summit. I have learned a lot. GABA definitely helps me to relax, reduce my monkey mind and sleep better.
My mom has Parkinson’s disease and is very stiff and tight. She hurts often, especially her back. She also has afternoon anxiety, some call it “sundowners”. Can she take GABA with carbidopa-levidopa and blood pressure meds? She needs some kind of help!
Thank you in advance for any suggestions you might have to give her any quality of life as right now it is not good and the doctors offer no suggestions beyond possibly more prescriptions.
I responded saying how glad I was to hear GABA helps her to relax, reduces her monkey mind and also helps her to sleep better and how sorry I was to hear about her mom’s stiffness, pain and anxiety.
I posted this regarding the stiffness and back pain: share this paper with your doctor and get his/her approval to do a trial of GABA – Parkinson’s Disease and Neurodegeneration: GABA-Collapse Hypothesis:
the original description of Parkinson’s disease (PD) as due to the selective damage of dopaminergic neurons in the mesencephalon should be updated into the concept of a severe multisystemic neurodegenerative disorder of the nervous system, whose clinical symptoms reflect the localization and progression of the most advanced GABA pathology. A future and more complete therapeutic approach to PD should be aimed first at slowing (or stopping) the progression of Ca(2+)/GABA functional decline.
I have worked with a few people with Parkinson’s disease and GABA has been very helpful for the stiffness and pain, the physical anxiety, easing some of their tremors and helping with insomnia. I always do a trial so we know how much the individual will need.
For someone on blood pressure medication I’d start with a GABA-only product or GABA-theanine product rather than GABA Calm which does contain tyrosine.
I posted this regarding the “sundowners” question: I’d share this with your doctor and get the approval to do a trial of tryptophan – Sundown Syndrome in Persons with Dementia: An Update
sundown syndrome is characterized by the emergence or increment of neuropsychiatric symptoms such as agitation, confusion, anxiety, and aggressiveness in late afternoon, in the evening, or at night.
Although this paper refers to dementia, these symptoms also happen to be classic low serotonin symptoms that typically respond really well to tryptophan. The paper mentions melatonin as an intervention but since tryptophan converts to melatonin I’d start with tryptophan (based on doing a trial) and then consider adding melatonin too if needed.
I shared a few more resources on Parkinson’s disease:
- Chris Kresser has an excellent blog post called New Research and Treatments for Parkinson’s Disease where he writes about the microbiome, constipation, SIBO, gluten, the HPA axis, low-dose naltrexone (LDN) and the possible autoimmune aspect, iron overload and the benefits of curcumin, a ketogenic diet and glutathione.
- The Wahls Protocol for MS (some versions of which are ketogenic diets) shows promise for many neurodegenerative diseases and is also being researched for Parkinson’s disease
I also shared this amazing and inspiring video created by physical therapist Anicea Gunlock, on how using music while gait training can be beneficial for those suffering from Parkinsons’s disease
You read more about this music approach Anicea Gunlock used with her patient here.
The amino acids GABA and tryptophan can often be used in conjunction with all of the above approaches and often provide immediate relief for anxiety, pain, agitation and insomnia while some of the other root causes are being addressed.
I’ve recently updated the Antianxiety Food Solution Amino Acid and Pyroluria Supplements blog with some of my favorite GABA and tryptophan products mentioned above. You’ll also see the amino acid questionnaire and amino acid precautions on this blog.
Instead of only considering the amino acids for someone whose primary issue is anxiety, I’d like you to start thinking about using the amino acids for anyone who has a medical diagnosis – such as autism, cancer, ALS, Parkinson’s disease, MS, Alzheimer’s disease or anything else – and who also happens to suffer from anxiety.
Have you used GABA or tryptophan to ease stiff and tense muscles and pain in your Parksinson’s disease, for a family member or for a patient/client?
And have you used tryptophan for the low serotonin worry-type of anxiety, agitation and insomnia?