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GABA Supplements May Improve Sleep Quality

Poor sleep quality can lead to stress, depression, and difficulty concentrating. A recent study suggests that taking gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) supplements may be associated with improved sleep, including an easier time falling asleep and longer non-REM sleep.


Participants in the study included six men and four women with an average age of 37.7 who had a high probability of sleep disorder, as measured by the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. Half of the participants were given 112 mg of a GABA supplement that contained an equivalent of 100 mg of pure GABA over a three-week period. The other half were given a placebo. The first and third weeks were active supplement weeks, while the second week was a wash-out period. The researchers used electroencephalography to measure brain activity during sleep.


The researchers found that sleep latency, which is the time between waking and the first stage of sleep, was greatly reduced in the GABA supplement group. They also found that the supplement was associated with longer cycles of non-REM sleep, which is the most beneficial type of sleep. The GABA supplement was absorbed within 30 minutes of being administered and trace levels dropped off dramatically soon after. This is a big difference from common prescription and non-prescription sleep aids, which tend to stay in the blood and have an effect on users when they wake up.


Researchers from Pharma Foods International conducted the study. It was published in the April 2016 issue of Food Science and Biotechnology.


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 in fresh foods, but it is found in fermented foods such as kimchi. In addition, certain flavonoid-rich foods such as citrus fruits, apples, pears, vegetables, teas, and red wine can stimulate your body to make more GABA.

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