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GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid)

Dr. Robert Pastore
Last updated on
Fact Checked by Dr. Robert Pastore
GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid)

What is this ingredient known for?

GABA is well known as the brain’s natural calming neurotransmitter. It is an amino acid that is the chief inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. It promotes sleep and relaxation.

Why are we using it in Power Off?

Function #1: GABA activates the sleep-related part of the brain called the VLPO

The neurons responsible for sleep are located in the ventrolateral preoptic nucleus (VLPO). These contain GABA, and are active during sleep. They have been shown to play a central role in quieting the arousal system during sleep as the VLPO makes inhibitory signals to surrounding arousal-promoting nuclei, thus turning off the arousal system.

Saper C, Chou T, Scammell T. The sleep switch: hypothalamic control of sleep and wakefulness. Trends in Neurosciences. 2001;24(12):726-731. doi:10.1016/s0166-2236(00)02002-6.

Schwartz J, Roth T. Neurophysiology of Sleep and Wakefulness: Basic Science and Clinical Implications. Current Neuropharmacology. 2008;6(4):367-378. doi:10.2174/157015908787386050.

Function #2: GABA functions as an inhibitory neurotransmitter

Inhibitory neurotransmitters block nerve impulses. GABA, when bound to adjacent cells, “tells” the cells not to fire–not to send an impulse. Low levels of GABA would result in nerve cells firing too often and easily, and this can be seen in some anxiety disorders such as panic attacks, which are associated with low GABA levels.

Lydiard RB. The role of GABA in anxiety disorders. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. 2003;64:21-27.

Long Z, Medlock C, Dzemidzic M, Shin Y, Goddard A, Dydak U. Decreased GABA levels in anterior cingulate cortex/medial prefrontal cortex in panic disorder. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry. 2013;44:131-135. doi:10.1016/j.pnpbp.2013.01.020.

Why this form?

It has been widely debated whether or not GABA passes the blood brain barrier when you ingest the commonly found supplement orally. Some studies suggest that it is only able to increase GABA levels only in very small amounts when larger amounts are ingested.

Power Off uses a proprietary, highly absorbable form of GABA made specifically to be very small as a nanoliposome, efficiently passing the blood brain barrier.

Can be found in

Spinach, shrimp, potato, yam, kale, and bean sprouts.