GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is a calming amino acid that when taken orally works to relax, calm, ease anxiety and social anxiety, quiet the mind, help with sleeping better, reduce neck tension, remove uneasiness and worry, and give hope.
Even though we have recent research that it does work we still hear the naysayers saying “why bother to take GABA, it just doesn’t work unless you have a leaky blood brain barrier.”
The blog post from last week – GABA, the calming amino acid: expert opinions generated so much interest and feedback, so I’m sharing some of this feedback so you can hear first-hand from people who have tried various GABA products. I’ve corrected typos but what follows is their actual feedback.
As you’ll see, it does work extremely well for many people. You’ll also see that there are many different products that work well. I’m sharing all of them even though I have my favorites.
There are some people that don’t benefit from it. I share some questions below and you may want to go through these if GABA doesn’t work for you.
Here is the feedback for many of the products that were mentioned. It starts with products I like/recommend and have experience with.
Allergy Research 200mg of Zen product contains 500mg GABA and 200mg Theanine 200 mg per 2 capsules. Dee likes the instant calm and compared how it worked as well as Xanax had worked for her in the past:
I have taken Xanax in the past for panic attacks. My functional medicine doctor suggested this product as I wanted a natural product. I was amazed how it works just like the Xanax did – instant calm feeling within 10 mins of taking 2 capsules. I use them as needed when I am having heightened stress and anxiety.
I’ve had a number of clients who really liked this GABA/theanine combination. This product together with Nutritional Fundamentals GABA-T SAP, also a GABA/theanine combination, comes highly recommended by me. They both contain a small amount of GABA, the theanine works really well with the GABA and the capsules, when opened on to the tongue, are pleasant tasting.
Source Naturals GABA Calm was only mentioned once which surprised me! Together with GABA/theanine combination products above, it’s the GABA product I use most with my clients because it’s sublingual, easy to take, great tasting and works so exceptionally well. It contains GABA, taurine and glycine, and a small amount of magnesium and tyrosine. The tyrosine means this product cannot be used if you have melanoma, high blood pressure or bipolar disorder. You can see all the amino acid precautions here.
Country Life GABA Relaxer contains GABA, taurine, glycine, inositol, niacin and vitamin B6. Melissa shares how much it helped her:
After my first panic attack I thankfully found Julia Ross’s work. I began taking 250 mg GABA every night. That really helped! Now a few years later I don’t need it every day, and I take a half pill during my cycle anxiety – more like uneasiness and over worried now, just as needed. I then heard you speak Trudy and share more info, bought your book, and put into place supportive lifestyle changes, and I have my life back. GABA is a great supplement for some of us!
I really like this product and used it when I worked with Julia Ross in her clinic. It was also a product I personally used when my anxiety and panic attacks started. I used this at night and GABA Calm in the day.
Seeking Health GABA 500mg was mentioned by a few people. Sherie said she loves it and takes it 2-4 times a day (she also takes theanine). This is what she shares:
It helps lower my overall anxious feeling all day (anxiety for no reason). I just started increasing the dose slightly and am beginning to take it a few times a day to help with social anxiety. I have lifelong problem of severe blushing and sweating from social anxiety and need that to stop.
I asked her if she’s looked into pyroluria and she said hadn’t but said it fits her to a T so this would be the next thing for her to address. It’s seldom just one underlying cause and the great thing is that the zinc, vitamin B6 and evening primrose oil of the pyroluria protocol help us make more GABA (and other brain chemicals).
I’d like to add that 500mg can be a high amount for many anxious individuals so it’s not something I typically start with. I like to have my clients start on either Source Naturals GABA Calm (which has 125mg of GABA) or one of the GABA/theanine combination products that have around 200mg GABA, and increase as needed.
I recommend GABA over pharmaGABA because over the years I’ve simply found more people seem to do better on GABA. But clearly, pharmaGABA does work for some individuals.
Thorne PharmaGABA-100 contains 100mg pharmaGABA and Cheryl shares how this product works great for her:
I usually only take it at night only when I know I need it, to quiet my mind and relax my body so I can sleep better. I need it less now because I am following MTHFR and adrenal fatigue supplement protocols and diet.
PharmaGABA Stress Relax from Natural Factors is another pharmaGABA product and Gina chewed two 100mg tablets and said this is how they helped:
It changed my life in minutes! Take it every day now. No more hopelessness!
April also finds that the Natural Factors pharmaGABA works great for her:
I take 100mg a day for about a week and then take time off until I feel I need it again or I feel I have too much. I know if I take too much, I get spacey, unmotivated, depressed even. Helps a ton with head/neck tension and anxiety.
I just want to add that this product does contain sugar (3.5 g with 300mg pharmaGABA) and fruit flavors (which sensitive folks may have an issue with) so this one would not be high on my list of recommendations. But if it’s the only one that works for you then go for it!
Quicksilver GABA is a liquid that contains GABA, theanine and sunflower lecithin, and is promoted as being a very effective form of delivery. Candy shares:
It is a liquid that I keep in the fridge. I squirt and leave it under my tongue for a couple minutes. It has been helpful.
I look forward to hearing if you or your clients have found this to be superior to other forms. I’d like add that it’s not suitable for children and alcoholics due to the ethanol.
A few other products were mentioned (neither of which I’ve had feedback on until now):
- Source Naturals Theanine Serine which has GABA, theanine, taurine, magnesium and holy basil.
- Pure Tranquility from Pure Encapsulations contains GABA, theanine and glycine. One person was suspicious that it was triggering migraines. I wonder if it could be related to one of the other ingredients like the natural apple flavor, potassium sorbate or purified stevia extract?
GABA won’t work for everyone and a few people said GABA didn’t work at all.
Karen appreciated me dispelling the blood-brain-barrier-GABA myth and pointing out that phenibut is not GABA. But GABA didn’t work for her and she shared this:
I have tried GABA, my mother swears by it and my husband uses it. It has a calming effect on me, but I like holy basil better.
I checked with her and she hasn’t tried it sublingually, which I find to be more effective for most of my clients. This could be something like Source Naturals GABA Calm or one of the GABA /theanine combination products opened on to tongue and held there for 1-2 minutes.
GABA also didn’t work for Sheri and she said:
I’m one of those folks for whom it seems to do nothing. Zip. I have found some relief using niacinamide, however.
Dr. Jonathan Prousky really likes niacinamide for anxiety and I find it helps a lot with my clients who have runaway thoughts and paranoia.
If GABA doesn’t work for you that’s fine, not everything works for everyone. But if you really feel GABA should work for you or feel you need additional support for your anxiety then I wouldn’t give up and ask these questions:
- do you have an underactive thyroid (amino acids may not be as effective)
- did you take it sublingually (it’s often more effective taken this way)
- did you take it away from protein (it needs to be taken this way)
- how much did you take (amounts can vary by person)
- do you have low GABA symptoms/physical anxiety (it will only work if you do) or
- are you taking a benzodiazepine (for some people on benzos many supplements don’t work or are just too much for them)
Here is the facebook post if you’d like to read the whole discussion. I’d like to thank everyone who contributed to this great discussion!
I’ll cover phenibut (which is not GABA) in a future blog post. It’s always a hot topic and is not something I recommend but more on that next time.
A heads up that I’ve shared links to the products that were mentioned so you can check them out. Some of the links are from Emerson, the online distributer I use. If you’d like to order from them you can find out how to set up an account here.
Now I’d love to hear from you. Have you used any of these GABA products (or had your clients use them) with good results? How much did you/they use and what were the results?
If GABA doesn’t help do you say “yes” to any of the 6 above questions?