Here’s an intro to GABA and Serotonin deficiency and a short Brain Quiz to help tell the two apart. Welcome to your Brain!
GABA and Serotonin are our two main inhibitory neurotransmitters.
- Inhibitory sounds like a bad thing, but we need balance between excitatory and inhibitory aspects in all functions in the body.
- Just as there’s light and dark, and fast and slow, we need both in balance.
Why do we need Inhibitory and Excitatory Neurotransmitters in balance?
- Just like it sounds, Excitatory means….. go, active, act, work
- Inhibitory means…. slow, rest, recover, repair
If we were to run hot or fast all the time, like most of us do in modern times, we’d get burnt out. Sick… Tired…
And often oddly wired at the same time.
Are you Tired and Wired Too?
That was me when my health fell apart in 2005 (for the third time). What I learned from a unique neurologist changed my life and my clinical practice!
An extensive series of brain tests showed only 25% of normal Serotonin function and 15% of normal GABA function. I set out to learn these two neurotransmitters, what the lack of them was doing to my body, and how to help bring these levels up in the best way for ME…. Some of us may need prescriptions for this, and some don’t.
GABA and Serotonin Deficiency
Also try this sublingual GABA (chewable). It works far better than taking straight GABA itself unless you use this fermented form.
Symptoms of GABA deficiency:
• Physical – Carbohydrate craving, skin flushing, butterflies in stomach, ringing in ear, muscle tension (especially in neck and back), numbness or tingling in fingers, hyperventilation (not the emergency kind, but the everyday breathing too fast and too shallow), blurred vision, allergies, night sweats, tachycardia, reflux, pain – especially in nerves but elsewhere too
• Psychological – Restlessness, dread, emotional immaturity, short temper, phobias, anxiety or panic, obsessive thinking, rapid pulse
•Attention Issues – Impulsivity, disorganization, ADD
* Conditions associated with GABA deficiency: Tinnitus, anxiety, hypertension, chronic pain, irritable bowel, reflux, PMS, seizures, bipolar disorder, insomnia (and therefore fatigue), addiction
Symptoms of Serotonin Deficiency:
• Psychological – Impulsiveness, hypervigilance, lack of common sense, rage
• Attention Issues – Slow reactions, restlessness, lack of concentration
• Conditions associated with Serotonin deficiency – PMS, phobias, insomnia, depression, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
• Physical – Salt cravings (also seen in low Adrenal function), backache, headache, cold or clammy hands, shortness of breath, drug reactions, sleep disturbances
Here’s a short, basic Brain Quiz for GABA and Serotonin deficiency. If you answer true to most of these questions, you might be using up GABA or Serotonin too quickly or simply not making enough.
- What can you do to make your life calmer and easier?
The GABA True/False Quiz:
1. I feel shaky or anxious. T / F
2. I have frequent back, neck and/or headaches. T / F
3. I can be very irritable at the least cause. T / F
4. I tend to have heart palpitations or rapid pulse. T / F
5. I tend to have cold hands. T / F
6. I sometimes sweat too much. T / F
7. I am sometimes dizzy. T / F
8. It’s hard to quiet my mind. T / F
9. I often feel Wired but Tired. T / F
10. I overeat. T / F
The Serotonin True/False Quiz:
1) I have night sweats and am not in Menopause. T / F
2) I tend to awake early in the morning. T / F
3) I’m prone to PMS. T / F
4) I wake up at least two times per night. T / F
5) It is difficult for me to fall back asleep when I am awakened. T / F
6) I crave salt. T / F
7) I have less energy to exercise. T/F
8) I feel unfulfilled and want “more” of things (food, gambling, sex, etc). T/F
9) I tend to sleep in many different positions in order to feel comfortable. T / F
10) I have insomnia. T / F
Is there a way to fix these without medications?
The best way to FIX the deficiency and prevent further decline is to stop-look-and-listen to what your life is telling you. For me, I was clearly overworking, struggling with the deaths of my parents and my godchild, in menopause and more.
Since GABA and Serotonin act as the “brakes” in our over-active bodies, GABA and Serotonin deficiency need plenty of sleep, fats, and protein to keep in balance. Sugars, starches, dieting, and lack of sleep or down time can cause the physical and emotional dominoes listed above to fall one after the other.
Serotonin is well-known to respond to St. John’s Wort. Buy top quality herbs, not discount. Check if it is contraindicated in any of your medications.
I have multiple articles and supplements on GABA as taking GABA supportive herbs and meds changed my life. Type the word GABA in my blue Search Box for more.
A Few Related Articles on GABA and Serotonin: