It's possible to have too much of a good thing, and that includes the brain chemical GABA. Producing too much GABA ratchets up your nurturing tendencies. At their worst, people with too much of this neurotransmitter expend their energy looking for love and opportunities to give care at the cost of being hurt when their own needs are not sufficiently met. They can fall into the trap of continuously craving and following the judgments of peers and loved ones.
But what happens - and how can you know - when your GABA starts running low? GABA is produced in the temporal lobes and is associated throughout the brain with calming, rhythmic theta brain waves. GABA is the major inhibitory neurotransmitter of the nervous system, which keeps all of the other biochemicals in check. It controls the brain's rhythm so that you function, both physically and mentally, at a steady pace. By regulating your internal rhythm, GABA directly affects your personality and determines how you handle life's stresses. When your rhythm is thrown off by a GABA deficiency, you may begin to feel anxious, nervous, or irritable.
A balanced brain creates and receives electricity in a smooth, even flow. When your brain is not producing enough GABA, your brain's electricity is generated in bursts. This is called a brain arrhythmia, or dysrhythmia, and it can upset your system in a variety of ways, none more pronounced than your emotional well-being.
The following chart demonstrates a scale of conditions that can occur when your GABA is out of balance. The numbers on the left of the table correlate to the approximate number of brain arrhythmic events that occur during a half second of auditory and visual brain stress testing.
Diet and Supplements
A GABA deficiency in its early stages can be restored and maintained without a doctor. You can balance it with diet, vitamin, and supplement choices.
The more GABA-producing foods you eat, the more GABA you will be able to create.Try to incorporate these foods to encourage the production of GABA (almonds, bananas, beef liver, broccoli, brown rice, halibut, lentils, whole grain oats, oranges, potatoes, rice bran, spinach, walnuts, whole grains).
I have created a GABA-balancing program that I call Brain Calm (you can purchase this on pathproduct.com). It contains valine, isoleucine, leucine, inositol, and the B complex vitamins. This formula is the antidote for being edgy: it decreases the symptoms of anxiety, including trembling, hyperventilation, palpitations, ringing in the ears, and cold or clammy hands.
For more advanced stages of GABA deficiency, you may need the assistance of a doctor to restore balance. You can also read my book, The Edge Effect for more information on restoring an unbalanced brain. At PATH Medical, we can help.
Eric R. Braverman, M.D.
Dr. Braverman is a Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Brandeis University and NYU Medical School, did brain research at Harvard Medical School, and trained at an affiliate of Yale Medical School. He is acknowledged worldwide as an expert in brain-based diagnosis and treatment, and he lectures to and trains doctors in anti-aging medicine.