Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is an amino acid found in the central nervous system. GABA works by lowering brain activity and instilling a sense of calm. People who are overly anxious or easily overwhelmed may suffer from the reduced production of GABA in the brain. The healthy production of GABA also aids in sleep, lowers blood pressure and can provide pain relief. A simple urine or saliva test can help determine the levels of GABA and whether a need for increased GABA production is warranted.
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L-theanine is an amino acid found in green tea, or can be found as a supplement. L-theanine can produce a calming effect, while helping to avoid drowsiness.
Foods high in glutamine or glutamic acid can assist in GABA production. These foods include beef liver, citrus, broccoli, halibut and lentils. Include these as often as possible in your diet, with at least one or two servings daily.
Almonds, walnuts, oats, spinach and whole grains are also rich in L-theanine and can assist in increasing GABA production. They can significantly lower stress, while providing other health benefits, such as lowered blood sugar.
Vitamin B6 and B-complex vitamins can increase energy and produce a calming effect. The recommended dosage is 50 milligrams daily, and a liquid form of the vitamin assists in absorption to the body.
Calcium and magnesium can help improve sleep and reduce anxiety. A calcium supplement should always be taken with magnesium to assist in the absorption of calcium. Take these before bed to improve sleep.
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