Have you heard of GABA? GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is a neurotransmitter in the brain that plays a crucial role in regulating our response to stress. GABA works by reducing the activity of certain neurons in the brain and producing a calming effect. When the levels of GABA in the brain are low, it can lead to an increase in anxiety and stress.
To maintain healthy GABA levels, it’s important to engage in healthy habits:
- Focus on stress-reduction: Stress-reducing activities, such as exercise, meditation, deep breathing, and massage, can activate the parasympathetic nervous system and promote the production of GABA, which can help regulate the stress response and reduce feelings of anxiety and tension.
- Eat a healthy diet: Eating a healthy diet rich in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, such as vitamin B6 (found in salmon, chickpeas, leafy greens and many more whole foods), can support the production of GABA and promote healthy brain function. Additionally, consuming probiotics found in fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, and kimchi may promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, which can support the production of GABA.
- Get adequate sleep: Getting enough sleep can help regulate the levels of neurotransmitters, including GABA, in the brain. Adequate sleep helps the brain refresh and recharge, promoting optimal brain function, and reducing feelings of anxiety and tension.
- Avoid alcohol: Additionally, avoiding alcohol can support GABA levels by reducing its inhibitory effect on the neurotransmitter. Alcohol can disrupt neurotransmitter function and lead to dehydration, both of which can have negative impacts on GABA levels.
- Consider supplementation: Some studies have also shown that certain dietary supplements, such as magnesium and l-theanine, can help to increase the levels of GABA in the brain and reduce feelings of anxiety and stress. You can also go straight to a GABA supplement in times of stress. Remember to always reach out to your doctor before starting a supplement!
Maintaining healthy levels of GABA is crucial for reducing stress and anxiety! Support GABA levels and overall mental well-being by incorporating stress-reducing activities, healthy lifestyle changes, and potentially, dietary supplements.