Gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, which circulates in abundant levels in the brain, is a neurotransmitter vital to controlling our stress levels and our ability to sleep and relax. As the brain’s number one inhibitory neurotransmitter, it’s a major component of the brain’s natural self-regulating system of balance between excitement and inhibition.
GABA keeps excitatory impulses in check, which in turn helps regulate mood, focus and relaxation while staving off anxiousness, nervousness and stress. GABA also increases alpha brainwaves (which represent calm and relaxation) and decreases beta brainwaves (representing excitement and alertness).
People with low GABA levels are likely to experience anxiety, depression, stress, irritability and/or disrupted sleep. Prescription benzodiazepines such as Valium and Xanax work effectively on GABA receptors to decrease anxious states, but this class of drug comes with serious side effects, such as dependency and a possible role in the development of dementia. That’s why more natural solutions for supporting GABA levels have become popular for taming stress, tension, anxiety and promoting restful sleep.
Let’s briefly look at three forms of GABA support.
- Synthetic GABA is generally a lower-cost option, but has minor effectiveness for anxiety. The problem with synthetic GABA is that it doesn’t cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB), which is a highly selective permeable barrier that separates circulating blood from the brain and central nervous system.
- PharmaGABA is a relatively newer form of GABA that is naturally manufactured through a fermentation process using Lactobacillus hilgardii. It easily crosses the BBB and is therefore considerably more effective than synthetic GABA.
- Kavinace (made by NeuroScience) is the newest GABA formula and is showing great results for reducing stress, anxiousness and sleep issues. Kavinace is a proprietary blend of three main ingredients.
- The first ingredient is a GABA derivative called 4-amino-3-pheylbutyric acid, which easily crosses the blood brain barrier to promote the body’s own GABA production.
- Taurine, the second ingredient, exerts its beneficial forces in two ways, first by acting as a calming amino acid, and second by increasing synthesis, and preventing breakdown and blocking reuptake of GABA, thereby increasing overall GABA levels.
- Vitamin B6 is a helpful addition in Kavinace because it is necessary for GABA synthesis—a deficiency of B6 limits the body’s ability to produce GABA.
Overall, Kavinace is an effective proprietary blend providing non-drowsy anxiety and stress relief without the harsh side effects experienced with benzodiazepines. For nervousness with sleep difficulties, try Kavinace Ultra PM—the same blend with an additional 3 mg of melatonin.