Gaba deficiency symptoms are diverse and can affect the whole body. If you struggle with pain, anxiety, IBS, reflux, sweaty hands, insomnia or dozens of other health concerns, you may be showing Gaba deficiency symptoms.
Gaba and Serotonin are considered the “Inhibitory” or “braking” neurotransmitters. Dopamine and Acetylcholine are the energizing or “accelerating” ones.
The “go-go’s” and the “slow-slow’s” as I call them.
Our 21st Century lifestyle has become one big “go-go”. Alarms, pagers, traffic jams, and busy-ness push us into adrenaline-based operating systems. We are not calm and we are not happy. We worry about money, family, work and our health.
When our Inhibitory “brakes” get burned out, our bodies and minds suffer with GABA deficiency symptoms, as well as low Serotonin symptoms. Here’s a partial check-list:
A Few GABA Deficiency Symptoms
Anxiety; worry; fear; Muscle tension, especially in shoulders, neck and jaw
Restlessness; insomnia; early-morning awakenings; short temper; phobias; impulsiveness; disorganization
Reflux; IBS; diarrhea; hypertension; tinnitus; chronic pain; migraines
Alcoholism/addictions; schizophrenia; depression; OCD
Allergies; frequent urination; flushing/blushing; sweating; salt cravings
How Can So Many Symptoms Relate to One Neurotransmitter?
Neurotransmitters are the driving force running our brain chemistry. Our reactions to thoughts, external stimuli, and life around and inside us manifest from the brain’s reactions.
But we don’t all have balance in our four main neurotransmitters.
Some, like Dopamine, can be depleted due to disease. Some can be depleted due to medications, trauma, nutrient deficiencies or birth defects.
According to Dr. Eric Braverman and “The Edge Effect,” we may be born with areas of the Brain stronger or weaker than other areas.
For most, in my decades of clinical experience, GABA deficiency symptoms come from “burn-out”. Overwork, lack of sleep, chronic Adrenal depletion, and way too much worry and stress.
Differences Between GABA and Serotonin?
There are differences between Serotonin and GABA symptoms, but the above “starter” list contains a few of both from “The Edge Effect”. In general, GABA is the “calm/balance” neurotransmitter (think “anxiety” if you have to pick a single word), and Serotonin is the “mood regulator” that fights “depression”.
Doctors often don’t have as much training in GABA as they do in Serotonin. I have spoken to some who literally have never heard of it yet GABA is equal in power and presence in every way as Serotonin.
Since many doctors are taught pharmaceutical medicine, they don’t know how to support this neurotransmitter without Xanax, Klonipin and other prescription drugs.
But GABA can be helped with Passion Flower and other calming herbs such as Melissa/Lemon Balm, Valerian (stinky but effective) and Avena Sativa. This article on 5 calming herbs is helpful.
The amino acids Theanine and Pharma-Gaba (take aminos 45 minutes before food) work really well for many of my Clients. Meditation, gentle exercise, massage, and quiet help too.
If a product simply states it contains “GABA” it is not recommended as it cannot cross a healthy Blood-Brain Barrier. I greatly prefer to give clients THIS Passion Flower (I sell the alcohol or glycerite tincture forms), or, this fermented GABA which is chewable and will cross the blood brain barrier. I also use this formula, sold in my clinic. All of these support GABA deficiency and can be taken daily/regularly or as needed occasionally.
Passion Flower is mild and works in about 20 minutes so it’s a favorite! Take it night and day in incremental doses of drops. (You can also buy Passion Flower in capsules but then you can’t regulate the dose). Experiment with all the above and find a combo that works for you.
CAUTION: Do not take GABA support if taking anti-epileptics, Benzodiazepines or other sleep meds. Or if you have had too much to drink.
One final note: ADDRESS THE UNDERLYING CAUSE OF ALL THIS!!! That means, get your life priorities in order, slow down, make better choices, and learn how to say no to over-committing yourself.
Use Adaptogenic herbs such as this one to help your hormonal system not over-react and cause low GABA. A Salivary Hormone Test is helpful to see if Adrenal Cortisol is high, low or normal, and what your Progesterone levels are. Correct levels of natural Progesterone (not Progestins as Birth Control pills or many hormone replacement pills offer) can have a calming effect on the body.
I have many articles and podcasts on “anxiety” as fears, insomnia, restlessness, IBS, muscle tension, and more can all relate to low GABA and feeling fearful. See a therapist to discuss recurrent phobias and fears too.