Gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, is a substance that bodybuilders and other athletes sometimes use when looking for a competitive edge. It is an amino acid that serves as a neurotransmitter in the brain.
GABA acts on the pituitary gland, which controls synthesis of growth hormone and also plays a role in body temperature and sleep cycles. GABA supplements increase growth hormone levels, facilitate muscle recovery, relieve anxiety and induce sleep. The results that athletes hope for are more lean muscle tissue and lower body fat levels.
GABA was discovered in 1950 and has since been recognized as the dominant inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. There are excitatory neurotransmitters as well, like adrenaline, which, in excess, can lead to anxiety, insomnia, and restlessness.
The brain balances these effects by sending out other neurotransmitters that have calming effects, such as GABA. By inhibiting the action of excitatory neurotransmitters and reducing anxiety and restlessness, GABA promotes relaxation and sleepiness, and thus, as a supplement, can be a fantastic aid for people who suffer from insomnia and anxiety.
To understand how GABA influences a person’s sleeping patterns, it’s important that you understand the standard cycle that the brain undergoes each night during sleep. The following is an overview of the different sleep stages.
- Stage 1 is when you’re getting sleepy and are ready to drift off.
- Stage 2 – Your brainwave activity quickens and follows a steadier rhythm. Your core temperature and heart rate decrease.
- Stage 3 sees the emergence of deeper, slower brain waves. Here, you switch from light sleep to deep sleep.
- Stage 4 is the deep sleep stage, also known as delta sleep. This is a vitally important stage because it’s where much of the highest-quality sleep occurs.
- Stage 5 is the REM (rapid-eye movement) stage, where most dreams occur.
The third and fourth stage are arguably the most important. Stage three, the slow-wave sleep stage, is important because it reduces the level of cortisol, the stress hormone, in the body, and simultaneously reduces inflammation. Both of these are important for improving your nightly sleep.
The fourth stage, deep sleep, is important because it helps your immune system grow stronger. In a similar manner that your brain commits things to memory, your immune system “memorizes” pathogens and viruses to memory during this phase.
Getting a proper sleep cycle each night is crucial for optimal health, and the brain’s GABA system is primarily responsible for activating each stage. Activated GABA receptors—which require a source of GABA to actually be activated—promote quality sleep, especially in stages three and four.
ProSupps CRASH contains GABA therefore it promotes deep REM sleep which increases growth hormone levels and helps with muscle recovery. Available at @wawanbahrain