“Trust your gut feeling!”
We say this whenever we suspect something, but it’s not just a mere phrase. Our gut really influences how we feel, and it all starts with GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid).
Our brain and gut are connected through neurotransmitters or chemical messengers. GABA is naturally produced in our brain and eating the right kind of food can boost its production.
GABA keeps us calm and relaxed. It also produces positive feelings and relieves stress. Besides this, it helps control motility in our gut. Without it, our brain can’t function well! Gaba benefits are just unbelievable!
Low GABA is one of the culprits to depression, but sadly, most doctors don’t recognize this, and we are given tranquilizers instead.
Too many of us are stressed during midlife, and with menopause on top, we need to hit the brakes, and GABA can help!
Good news is, there are plenty of ways to support our GABA levels. Our food choices play a big role in helping our brain make more GABA. Although we can’t get GABA directly in fresh foods because it is created through fermentation, there are certain foods that can stimulate its production.
5 Powerful GABA Benefits in Menopause
I’m an ardent believer of GABA! With GABA’s help, we can eliminate a lot of menopause symptoms, especially annoying mood problems.
Find an in-depth explanation in our FACT BOX below this article!
Our body is like a huge cobweb, every part connects to the center, which in this context is the brain. However, the brain can’t work by itself. So, it needs brain chemicals, such as GABA, to execute its commands. For this reason, GABA can influence numerous functions in the body.
Here are five powerful GABA benefits that can change our menopause journey!
1. Relieves mood swings, anxiety and depression.
GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter by nature. This means it hinders or stops certain actions of the body.
Mood swings, anxiety and depression are common during menopause. They happen when our central nervous system (CNS) is overactive and responds to stress in an exaggerated way. Our GABA taps our CNS and calms it down. So, we can relax and relieve mood symptoms.
2. Reduces stress
When we’re caught up in a stressful situation, our body releases natural chemical messengers such as epinephrine and norepinephrine. These messengers give us a kick of adrenalin and keep us alert.
GABA oversees the action of these important messengers. When their job is done, GABA slowly deactivates them to bring back the body’s normal balance.
3. Aids in better sleep
Sleep problems are common during menopause. One of the many GABA benefits is that it helps improve sleep by relaxing our nerves and releasing its sedative effects.
According to studies, insomniacs who took GABA supplements showed improvement in their sleep quality. GABA also helps us maintain a regular sleeping schedule.
4. Decreases inflammation
Inflammation can worsen symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, brain fog and more. GABA prevents inflammation, especially in the gut, by regulating the response of our immune or inflammatory cells. In the medical world, these immune cells are called cytokines.
5. Increases growth hormone (anti-aging)
Among the many GABA benefits, its anti-aging gift is one of the best! Human growth hormone (HCG) is known as the “fountain of youth” hormone because of its potent anti-aging property! It can strengthen muscles, lower the risk of diseases, keep skin healthy and more.
Best Lifestyle Tips To Boost GABA during Menopause!
Now that you know a lot about GABA benefits, let’s explore how we can boost its production.
Our brain is naturally abundant in GABA. But with our “modern lifestyle”, we are pulling down our GABA reserves to depletion. GABA benefits are plenty so let’s make sure our body gets the right amount of it.
Remember, if we don’t have enough GABA, we will always have internal tension. This can hyperactivate our body and lead to exhaustion, which isn’t helpful during menopause.
GABA is one of the keys to balance our body in menopause and we can boost it with a healthy lifestyle!
Start by reducing stress.
It is one of the main culprits why most people have low GABA levels.
Look over your life, slow down and get rid of things that are not doing you good. Get quality sleep, meditate and do deep breathing! You can also do a self-massage or tapping to relax your muscles and release trapped energy. Find time for yourself so you can recharge!
Aromatherapy with Rosemary, Sage, Mint and Basil will also relax the body. These herbs are rich in antioxidants, a great bonus!
Eat the Keto-green way!
I follow this way of eating. Its positive effects on my energy, mood and weight is truly amazing!
In the Keto-green diet, I eat low-carb, high-fat and moderate-protein foods. This diet is one of the fastest ways to increase GABA – check out the in-depth explanation in our FACT BOX!
Here’s what to eat:
- Healthy sources of omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, sardines, tuna and cod. Nuts like almond, pecans, Brazil nuts and macadamia are also rich in healthy fats.
- Leafy greens, cruciferous veggies, legumes, sea vegetables, citrus fruits and all kinds of berries. Grass-fed meat, organic chicken and eggs are also excellent foods to boost GABA. Organic cocoa and a glass of wine are also good once in a while. These foods have high glutamic acid, a natural compound that can help make GABA. They are also rich in flavonoids or natural plant substances that have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
If we want to experience all GABA benefits, a healthy diet is the way! It’s never too late to start eating healthy!
I partnered with Dr. Anna Cabeca (world-renowned women’s health expert) to give you a FREE SPOT in her Breeze through Menopause Masterclass where you’ll know all about the Keto-Green diet.
Be sure to take advantage of the FREE OPPORTUNITY! 💜
Keeping our gut healthy is a must!
Because it absorbs GABA-boosting nutrients from the food we eat.
As we age, our gut also feels the passage of time. On top of this, decreasing estrogen levels can make our gut sluggish and nutrient absorption slows down.
Besides following a Keto-green diet, we need to consume more probiotic-rich foods. These include kimchi, miso, kefir, sauerkraut and tempeh.
Probiotics regulate gut bacteria, boost digestion and nutrient absorption. Fermented foods can also increase GABA levels in unexpected ways. Find out how in the FACT BOX below!
Consume more prebiotics to maximize probiotics absorption. Chicory, dandelions, artichokes and asparagus are rich in prebiotics. Fiber is also important to fire up digestion!
Our gut can’t take in the same foods as in our 20s, so it’s best to eliminate gut irritants. Dairy, refined sugar, gluten and caffeine are examples. They are common food sensitivities which can inflame our gut and cause symptoms.
Get more GABA-boosting natural supplements!
Experience GABA benefits in so many ways by taking supplements. Together with a healthy diet, you can take GABA through dietary supplements. Choose natural supplements like this one from Pure Naturals. It’s vegan and 100% natural. This GABA supplement from Best Naturals is also good.
Vitamin B6, zinc, manganese, iron and magnesium increase the brain’s ability to produce GABA. They also balance hormones and relieve menopause symptoms. Magnesium, in particular, plays a significant role in hormone production. A lot of people are magnesium and vitamin B6 sufficient, so it creates a domino effect with low GABA.
Nitric oxide is a molecule produced by the body and is a primary component of GABA. Stress and imbalances can easily flush out nitric oxide from our body.
We can do this by taking natural amino acid supplements such as L-citrulline and L-arginine. The body synthesizes these amino acids and converts them into nitric oxide.
Grape seed extract is another fantastic nitric-oxide booster. Best Naturals’ grape seed extract is a best-seller, a lot of women are using it.
But then again, like many elements in our body, it’s important to maintain the right level of nitric oxide. Otherwise, it can damage our cells and harm our health.
Do a daily detox!
Toxins and free radicals force GABA out of our body. Turn the tables around and flush out harmful chemicals by doing an everyday detox.
Chamomile, Linden and Passionflower are some of the best medicinal plants to use. They are rich in vitamin E and vitamin C, which are potent detoxifiers. These plants are also high in glutathione, “the mother of all antioxidants”.
Green tea and Pu-Erh tea are the best teas for detoxification. Pu-Erh tea is a traditional, dark, fermented tea from China’s Yunnan province. People in that region have been drinking it for thousands of years as a medicinal concoction. Pu-Erh tea has high antioxidant content and it also stimulates GABA production in the brain.
When it comes to herbs, Dr. John Douillard is someone that I really admire. I call him the “herb guy” for his extensive knowledge about Ayurvedic herbs. He knows the best ones for menopause, go check it out.
Get up and move!
Exercise and other random activities that move our body increase blood circulation. When we have enough blood flow to the brain, it’s easier to produce GABA.
Mix up your activities every day! Go for walks, strength training, Pilates, yoga, cardio and so on. Do things you enjoy. Take a dance class, put on some music while cooking and dance while you prepare. Get your partner involved for a little intimacy! 💜
Take small breaks during the day and let the blood circulate, it’s so beneficial for the brain and body.
How much GABA Should I Take?
If you’re planning to use GABA supplements, the best route is sublingual. This route requires you to place the supplement under your tongue.
The mucosa under the tongue has plenty of blood vessels which can absorb the supplement right away. Whereas if you take it orally, the supplement passes through the harsh conditions of the digestive tract. It becomes less potent and you have to wait for quite a while for its effect.
Doctors say the general recommendation in doses is up to 125 milligrams, four times a day. The maximum daily dose is 800 milligrams. Most dietary supplements have 500 to 750 milligrams of GABA.
Are you making enough GABA? Dr. David Jockers has a helpful video about the symptoms of low GABA and what you can do about. Listen to him here [34:21]:
What is GABA and How Does it Work?
GABA is the most common and abundant chemical or neurotransmitter in the brain. It is the primary regulator of the central nervous system.
I’m sure you played rock hopping in your childhood. To get to the other rock, you have to gather strength from your body to do a safe hop.
Our brain pathways have gaps in between just like the rocks we hop on. Neurons, the specialized cells that carry brain messages, can’t hop without energy. GABA powers neurons to reach their destination.
GABA accompanies neurons until they reach their receiving organ. This brain chemical will then set off a chemical reaction which will either stimulate or restrain a specific body function. In other words, GABA maintains the yin yang in our body.
How Does the Keto-green Diet Increase GABA? The Keto-green diet increases the production of a natural enzyme called Glutamate decarboxylase (GAD). This enzyme converts glutamate or glutamic acid to GABA. Besides this direct effect, the Keto-green diet also has another way of increasing GABA levels.
In this diet, our primary goal is to reach ketosis. Ketosis happens when our body breaks down fats for energy. The by-product of this process are acids called ketones. Some of these acids are used as a precursor to our GABA, and the excess is flushed via the urine.
How do Fermented Foods Boost GABA? Lacto-fermentation is the process used in making traditional fermented foods such as Kimchi and Sauerkraut. Lacto stands for Lactobacillus, a helpful bacteria that naturally exist in the surface of all plants. This type of bacteria is also present in our body, for example in the gut, mouth and vagina.
Fermented foods are rich in lactobacillus. This bacteria produces a major GABA-producing microorganism called lactic acid bacteria (LAB). LAB also acts as pre- and probiotics in the gut.
LAB is a natural preservative that prevents the growth of bacteria in our fermented food. Besides this, it preserves nutrients and increases GABA-boosting enzymes in the body. LAD is also a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent.
Just like you, I also had mood swings, anxiety and depression during menopause. But when I understood the gut-brain connection and what GABA does, I followed my tips above and felt so much better. I’m more sane and happier now because of GABA!
GABA benefits are simply awesome! Beyond healing our brain and mood, GABA brings balance in our body and boosts our slowing functions. By living a healthy lifestyle, we can fire up our GABA levels and feel great during menopause!
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https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK107210/ https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2016.00061/full https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5265922/