Although GABA (short for gamma-aminobutyric acid) is an important neurotransmitter in the body, it is also available as a dietary supplement you can take in pill form. GABA pills are claimed to have several uses, such as improving mood or promoting weight loss.
As an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system, GABA usually decreases the chance that a nerve will "fire" and send out a signal. Although drugs that act like GABA or increase the levels are useful for a wide variety of medical conditions, such as epilepsy and anxiety, there is no strong evidence that taking GABA pills will produce similar effects. In fact, there is little evidence to suggest that taking this product is effective for any use.
As with most dietary supplements, there is no well-established standard dosage for GABA. Although it is considered a "natural" substance, GABA may cause side effects such as an increase in heart rate or blood pressure. Also, this product may not be suitable for everyone, so talk to your healthcare provider before using GABA pills if you have a chronic medical condition or you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
(Click GABA for more information on the possible conditions GABA pills may help treat, potential side effects, and what to tell your healthcare provider before using these supplements.)