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GABA December 2012

Deficiency can lead to : • • • • • • • • •

Anxiety symptoms Irritability Headaches Hypertension Palpitations Seizures Lower sex drive Disorders of the heart Depression

FUNCTION There are two forms of Gamma-Aminobutyric acid (A, B). MUSCLE TONE: Neurotransmitters are constantly stimulating adults’ muscle tissue to regulate muscle tone. This causes muscle to maintain it's strength. However, if this nerve signal isn't regulated and inhibited occasionally by GABA, muscle tissue would hypertrophy. GABA blocks that nerve signal when appropriate. GABA's are also a precursor to sleep. GABAs are directed upon arousal-promoting  neurons. This has led to the hypothesis that GABAs inhibit these stimulatory neurons, allowing the body to “turn off” and fall asleep. Gaba inhibits both environmental stimulants, such as light and noise, and internal stimulants, meaning thoughts. METABOLISM: GABA is an “off” switch for our bodies’ nerve impulses. This creates a resting state and decreases our metabolism. An absence of GABA would create a non-functioning high metabolism BRAIN DEVELOPMENT: In a developing brain GABA is an excitatory neurotransmitter until the glutamate (excitatory amino acid) synapse fully matures.  When the brain matures, GABA remains the primary excitatory for in the hippocampus and neocortex of the mammalian brain ANTI-ANXIETY: GABA’s function is used to prevent or reduce certain nerve signals which cause stress. This means GABA functions to calm a person. Because GABA inhibits stimulant, it allows the body to calm and not focus on thoughts or environmental factors that can cause unnecessary mental anguish. EXCITATORY AND INHIBITORY GABA’s primary function is that of an inhibitory, meaning its function is “To decrease, limit, or block the action or function of”. In the case of GABA, its inhibitory actions include blocking stimulants and excitatory neurotransmitters. However, in the development of the brain, GABA acts as an excitatory neurotransmitter. GABA has been shown to  act as an inhibitory, an excitatory, and sequential inhibitory and excitatory responses to interneuron stimulation.



GABA affects muscle growth because a deficiency of this inhibitory neurotransmitter leads to anxiety. This is because a lack of GABA disables the body’s ability to block sensory responses. GABA deficiency causes the muscles to tense and become stronger. It also affects the brain because it can stop excitatory neurotransmitters from firing. This prevention calms a person down and relaxes them. In this way GABA affects the whole body because when GABA is produced it blocks the neurotransmitters from firing and all voluntary muscles relax. Low levels of GABA production can lead to anxiety, irritability, hypertension, seizures and disorders of the heart problems. Characteristics of a person with low GABA levels include feeling stressed or overwhelmed, trouble

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relaxing, low stress tolerance, feeling panicked, sleep problems, and using alcohol or cigarettes to relax. Alcohol and nicotine cause users to produce more GABA, giving a calm sensation during usage and creating a greater desire and need for GABA when sober. When the brain produces too much GABA there can be adverse affects to a person’s overall health, and it can lead to sedation and relaxation.  The consumption of alcohol increases the amount of GABA produced in the brain, which is why it causes slurred speech and unclear thinking. Alcoholics become accustomed to the overproduction of GABA, so when they try to stop they experience some of the symptoms of low GABA levels.

NEUROTRANSMITTERS Neurotransmitter are chemicals that cause the transmission of signals across synapses from one neuron to signal to the next. In addition to neurons, neurotransmitters are present in motor neurons’ axon ending, where they stimulate muscle fibers. Neurotransmitters include many molecules synthesized within the nerve axon terminals, released into the synaptic cleft when prompted by a nerve impulse, and change the membrane potential of postsynaptic neurons. Neurotransmitters are released at the presynaptic nerve terminal from one neuron. Next, they cross the synapse and are sometimes accepted at a receptor by the next neuron. When a neurotransmitter activates a receptor, they either depolarize (an excitatory postsynaptic potential) or hyperpolarize (an inhibitory postsynaptic potential). A depolarization INCREASES the chance that an action potential will fire; a hyperpolarization decreases the chance that an action potential will fire.


Fun Facts- Gaba is a boy’s name meaning God is my strength. Diseases/DisordersGT- GABA deficiency Medications- Supplement used for anxiety and to induce sleep. Many bodybuilders believe that GABA helps release HGH in the body but many scientific studies have shown mixed results.

[3] By: Ellen Goding, Troy Lanz, Ali Hall, and Katharine McCormick