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GABA May Boost Whey Protein’s Muscle Building Power

Whey protein is a supplement commonly used by athletes looking to build muscle. A recent study suggests that taking gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in addition to whey protein after working out may help build more muscle than whey protein alone.


Participants in the study included 26 resistance-trained men between the ages of 26 and 48 who were given either 10 grams of whey protein per day or 10 grams of whey protein in combination with 100 mg of GABA. All of the participants trained twice weekly for 12 weeks.


The researchers found that resting plasma growth hormone levels were more than double in the whey plus GABA group at the four, eight, and 12-week points, when compared with baseline. In comparison, the whey protein group only had elevated levels at the eight-week point.


The whey plus GABA group also had significantly higher growth hormone levels after four weeks (689 pg/ml) than the whey-only group (387 pg/ml). Finally, muscle mass, which was measured using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry at baseline and again at the 12-week mark, was significantly increased in the GABA plus whey group.


Researchers from Ritsumeikan University, Mitsubishi Corporation, and Japan’s Pharma Foods International conducted the study. It was published in the May 2016 issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.


Previous studies suggest that GABA may help improve mood, relieve anxiety, improve sleep, and help women with premenstrual syndrome. It has also been found to help athletes increase tolerance to exercise and relieve pain caused by injuries.


GABA is not found naturally in foods, but is found in fermented foods such as kimchi. Foods rich in the amino glutamic acid such as salmon, chicken breast, yellowtail fish and lobster also provide the building block for GABA.

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