Posts Tagged Gabapentin
Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a neurotransmitter, or chemical messenger, in the brain. It blocks specific signals in the central nervous system, slowing down the brain. This provides a protective and calming effect on the brain and body.
The body produces GABA, and it may also be present in some fermented foods, such as kimchi, miso, and tempeh. These are not foods that most people include in their daily diets, so some people take GABA supplements to achieve the benefits.
In this article, we examine how increased levels of GABA may impact the brain and body, and whether taking GABA supplements could have the same benefits.
What is GABA?
GABA is a neurotransmitter that inhibits or slows the brain’s functions. This activity produces effects such as:
The brain naturally releases GABA at the end of a day to promote sleepiness and allow a person to rest. Some of the medications doctors prescribe to induce sleep and reduce anxiety may also increase the action of GABA.
Medical benefits of increased GABA
Some experts have suggested that increased levels of GABA may have benefits, but the evidence is not clear. According to a 2019 review, GABA has anti-microbial, anti-seizure, and antioxidant properties and may help treat and prevent conditions such as:
Medications to increase GABA
Doctors may prescribe medicines that increase the amount of GABA or stimulate the same neurotransmitters in the brain to treat some medical conditions, such as epilepsy.
For example, benzodiazepines (Valium, Xanax) act on many of the same neurotransmitter receptors as GABA. According to one study, people who have depression may have reduced GABA levels in the brain. The use of benzodiazepines may be beneficial in those instances.
Doctors also prescribe the medication gabapentin (Neurontin), which is chemically similar to GABA to reduce seizures and muscle pain.
However, doctors are not clear whether the therapeutic effects of these medications are related to their effect on GABA receptors or whether they work in other ways.
GABA as a supplement
Some people take supplements of GABA for their supposed stress- and anxiety-relieving benefits.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved GABA for use as a supplement and as a food additive. Manufacturers may add GABA to:
- sports drinks
- snack bars
- chewing gum
- candies, and more
Manufacturers produce GABA supplements by fermenting a form of lactic acid bacteria.
However, the FDA do not regulate dietary supplements in the same way as medications. Therefore, consumers should exercise caution as to where they purchase the product from and only buy from reputable vendors and companies.
How to use GABA supplements
Some people may take a supplement in pill form, while others may add it to foods, such as protein drinks.
Researchers have not established a daily recommended intake or a suggested upper limit for GABA. Anyone wanting to take GABA as a supplement should consider talking to their doctor first.
At present, there is not enough research to evaluate the possible side effects of taking GABA supplements. However, if a person does experience side effects that might be GABA-related, they should discontinue the use of the supplement and contact their doctor.
Benefits of taking GABA supplements
Some researchers have voiced concerns about the supposed positive benefits of taking GABA supplements. An article in the journal Frontiers in Psychology notes that experts remain unclear whether GABA offers real benefits or whether the effects that people report experiencing are a placebo response.
Other researchers do not believe that GABA supplements cross the blood-brain barrier, which they would have to do to have any effect on the body.
However, some studies report positive effects from taking GABA supplements. These include:
Enhanced thinking and task performance abilities
A study from 2015 found that taking 800 milligrams (mg) of GABA supplementation per day enhanced a person’s ability to prioritize and plan actions. Although the study was small, involving just 30 healthy volunteers, it showed how GABA supplementation might promote enhanced thinking.
An older study from 2012 found that taking 100 mg of GABA daily helped reduce stress due to mental tasks. Like many other studies related to GABA, the study was small and involved just 63 participants.
Workout recovery and muscle building
The participants performed the same resistance training exercises twice a week, and the researchers measured the results. The researchers found that the combination of whey protein and GABA increased levels of growth hormone compared to whey protein alone.
Although this was another small study, the researchers concluded that GABA supplements might help to build muscle and assist in workout recovery. They recommended that researchers conduct more studies.
GABA naturally plays an essential role in promoting sleep, relieving anxiety, and protecting the brain.
Scientists have not been able to prove the positive effects of GABA supplementation on a large scale, and their use may have limited effectiveness.
If a person has received a diagnosis for conditions such as depression, anxiety, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, they may wish to talk to their doctor about medically-proven treatment before taking GABA supplements.
[WEB SITE] CLINICAL RESEARCH FINDS: NEURONTIN AND LYRICA ARE A DEATH SENTENCE FOR NEW BRAIN SYNAPSES – The American Health
BY: Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist
Neurontin and its newer more potent version, Lyrica, are widely used for off-label indications that are an outright flagrant danger to the public. These blockbuster drugs were approved for use even though the FDA had no idea what they actually did in the brain. A shocking new study shows that they block the formation of new brain synapses1, drastically reducing the potential for rejuvenating brain plasticity – meaning that these drugs will cause brain decline faster than any substance known to mankind.
The problem of these drugs is compounded by their flagrant illegal marketing. Neurontin was approved by the FDA for epilepsy back in 1994. The drug underwent massive illegal off-label promotion that cost Warner-Lambert 430 million dollars (the very first big fine for off-label promotion). The drug is now owned by Pfizer. Pfizer also owns Lyrica, a super-potent version of Neurontin. It has been approved by the FDA for various types of pain and fibromyalgia. Lyrica is one of four drugs which a subsidiary of Pfizer illegally marketed, resulting in a $2.3 billion settlement against Pfizer.
Even though the marketing of these drugs has been heavily fined, they continue to rack up billions in sales from the off-label uses. Doctors use them for all manner of nerve issues because they are good at suppressing symptoms. However, such uses can no longer be justified because the actual mechanism of the drugs is finally understood and they are creating a significant long-term reduction in nerve health.
The researchers in the above study try to downplay the serious nature of the drugs by saying “adult neurons don’t form many new synapses.” That is simply not true. The new science is showing that brain health during aging relies on the formation of new synapses. Even these researchers managed to question the common use of these medications in pregnant women. How is a fetus supposed to make new nerve cells when the mother is taking a drug that blocks them?
These are the kind of situations the FDA should be all over. As usual, the FDA is sitting around pondering a suicide warning for Lyrica while its off-label uses include bi-polar disorder and migraine headaches. The FDA is likely to twiddle its thumbs for the next decade on the brain damage issue. Consumer beware.