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GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) supplements are claimed to be beneficial for numerous conditions, but does GABA work? At this time, there is little evidence to suggest that these supplements work for any use. Although medications that act like GABA or increase the levels are useful for a wide variety of medical conditions, there is no strong evidence that taking supplements will produce similar effects.

Does GABA Really Work?

As with most dietary supplements, GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is claimed to work for a variety of different uses. But does it really work? This article will address the effectiveness of GABA for various uses, including:
  • Burning fat
  • Increasing lean muscle mass
  • Promoting a sense of relaxation
  • Promoting weight loss
  • Relieving injuries and increasing exercise tolerance
  • Relieving pain
  • Treating the following conditions:

What Does the Evidence Show?

There is actually very little evidence to suggest that GABA supplementation works for any use.
GABA is the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. This means that when GABA binds to receptors, it 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 will produce similar effects.
Some of the potential benefits of GABA are claimed to be the result of an increase in human growth hormone (HGH) levels. However, taking GABA may either increase or decrease HGH levels. A single, one-time dose seems to temporarily increase HGH levels, but taking the supplement on a regular basis appears to actually lower HGH.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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