GABA Review. Action of the drug. Dosage, Side Effects, Cycles, How to take

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GABA – sports supplement[edit]

GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is one of the most important mediators of the brain, which has a suppressive effect. By the nature it is amino acid. GABA in the human body induces sleep and eliminates mental stimulation.

In bodybuilding GABA is applied, due to its ability to stimulate the anterior pituitary, which produces growth hormone. Growth hormone, in turn, has a strong anabolic and fat-burning effect.


Thus, the use of GABA supplements is justified in order to achieve the following objectives:

  • Increasing the level of growth hormone
  • Improving muscle definiton
  • Fat burning
  • Improving sleep quality
  • Sedation (soothing) effect

Expert assessment[edit]

At the moment, there are a lot of published studies of GABA, which are dedicated to its role as a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system in humans and animals. More attention is paid to its mechanism of action and also to pharmacological agents that modify GABA metabolism in those or other diseases. However, there are not that many studies that examine the effect of GABA as an additive. Some believe that this is even a conspiracy of pharmaceutical companies, aiming at the preservation of tranquilizers sales.

However, the most reasonable explanation to this lies in the inability of GABA to cross the blood-brain barrier, and thus to the brain, where it can develop its effect. At the moment, we could not find studies that directly confirm that GABA taken orally can penetrate into the brain, and only a few scientists believe that using "megadoses" can achieve positive results.

Evidences that the GABA, when ingested in the form of supplements, increases the growth hormone by 500% (five times), are given in the two studies, which were published over 30 years ago.

A new experiment was carried out in May 2003, in which the results were confirmed, the test was carried out on bodybuilders. 3 g of GABA increased secretion of growth hormone, but only if the additive is applied immediately after the exercise. Without power exercises there was no GABA effect on secretion.

A 2008 study concluded that taking GABA increases the secretion of growth hormone at rest and after exercise, but how it affects muscle growth it remains unknown.


Thus, it can be concluded that the additive increases the concentration of GH by 4-6 times, but it is not always sufficient to improve the results in bodybuilding. When athletes administer GH preparations, its concentration in plasma is increased by tenfold and in this case there is a pronounced response of the body. It is preferable to use pharmaceuticals listed below.

Alternative in the pharmacy[edit]

Gammalon, Aminalon - gamma-aminobutyric acid drug.

Due to the low ability to penetrate into the brain, in medicine agents that easily pass through the blood-brain barrier are used and are converted in the brain by the enzyme to GABA. The most popular drug is Pikamilon. It falls in the brain into GABA and niacin. Dilates blood vessels and improves blood flow. In America, it available as a nutritional supplement. (Banned in the United States since November 2015.)

Pantogam, Gopantam - modified formula of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA + vitamin B5), which easily penetrates the brain. It is a most modern drug, with high capability to cross the blood-brain barrier. With high efficiency it has a minimum of side effects and can be administered by children.

Phenibut (GABA + phenyl radical) - soluble in fats radical (for better passage through the blood-brain barrier).

Doses and receive mode[edit]

During studies, positive effect was achieved by the use of at least 2 grams per day. The optimal dose of GABA is 3.75 g per day (after training) - the maximum therapeutic dose. Small doses of GABA are useless, because only a small portion penetrates into the brain through the blood-brain barrier. Best results are achieved with intravenous administration route. In the picamilon and phenibut which are able to better pass through the blood-brain barrier, doses are about 200 and 500 mg per day.

Side effects[edit]

Side effects of GABA include: weak tingling in the face and neck, changes in heart rate and breathing. These side effects are not harmful to health, usually occur at a dose higher than 4 grams per day, but usually quickly go away after a few days of treatment.

GABA can cause drowsiness, so it is sometimes taken at bedtime.