Mental Health Home > Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid Benefits
Gamma-aminobutyric acid supposedly has several health benefits. For example, some people use the supplements for the treatment of depression, anxiety, or premenstrual syndrome. Gamma-aminobutyric acid is also claimed to promote weight loss, cause a sense of relaxation, and relieve pain. However, there is little scientific evidence supporting gamma-aminobutyric acid benefits for most uses.
Purported Health Benefits of Gamma-Aminobutyric AcidGamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) dietary supplements are claimed to be beneficial for a variety of different purposes. Some of the claimed health benefits of gamma-aminobutyric acid include:
- Treating the following conditions:
- Promoting weight loss
- Increasing lean muscle mass
- Burning fat
- Relieving pain
- Relieving injuries and increasing exercise tolerance
- Promoting a sense of relaxation.
It is important to understand that dietary supplements can be marketed in the United States without any evidence that they are safe or effective. There is little scientific evidence to suggest that gamma-aminobutyric acid is truly effective for most uses (see Does GABA Work?).
How Does Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid Work?Gamma-aminobutyric acid is the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system in adults. This means that when gamma-aminobutyric acid binds to receptors, it usually decreases the chance that a nerve will "fire" and send out a signal. Although drugs that act like gamma-aminobutyric acid or increase the levels are useful for a wide variety of medical conditions, such as epilepsy and anxiety, there is no strong evidence that taking gamma-aminobutyric acid will produce similar effects.
Taking gamma-aminobutyric acid may either increase or decrease human growth hormone (HGH) levels and may increase the level of the hormones insulin and glucagon.