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gaba for jitters

gaba supplements for jittersAnyone who has drunk too much coffee knows all about the jitters. While coffee is a great way to wake up, too much can end up causing symptoms that are very akin to anxiety. In fact, the first thing that people who suffer from anxiety are generally told to do is to lay off heavily caffeinated beverages such as that ritual gianormous cup of joe.

The reason why coffee can give you the “jitters” is because caffeine happens to be a notorious GABA inhibitor. While it might have you think that it is a cover band for a famous Swedish Pop Group, GABA is really a neurotransmitter that helps block certain nerve impulses. While most neurotransmitters, including Glutamate (the amino acid from which GABA is made) act as excitatory transmitters causing neurons to fire impulses, GABA does the exact opposite. It actually tells your nerves not to fire, having a tranquilizing effect on the body.

So, when you drink too much coffee, the caffeine molecules bind to the site where GABA usually bind do, cutting it off, and the signal to stop firing impulses fails to register within your neural network, hence, the “Jitters”.  Aside from overdosing on the world’s favorite beverage, there are things that can happen to cause a shortage of GABA in your brain. It has been found that people that suffer from depression and anxiety attacks (which go hand in hand) tend to have lower levels of this important amino acid. Hormonal changes like pregnancy and the onset of a menstrual cycle can also lead to lower than optimal levels of GABA. Also, going through withdrawal from opiates and other pain killers can also trigger a drop in GABA leading to things like restless leg syndrome, anxiety, and tics. For this reason, natural opiate withdrawal products like Withdrawal Ease include GABA in their formulas.

While the body makes its own GABA supply, taking it as a supplement has been shown to help ease symptoms of anxiety and restlessness in some people.  While there is still some debate in the medical community whether GABA supplements can actually cross the blood/brain barrier to have an effect on the neural pathways, there has been favorable reports on its use, especially in conjunction with certain vitamins, herbs and minerals that help increase the effect of this tranquilizing neurotransmitter. Valerian Root, for example, is thought to work by increasing the effectiveness of GABA. Tryptophan (the stuff found in turkey and milk) and American Ginseng also help optimize its effectiveness,
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