What is GABA good for? | Natural food medicine for your stress

What is GABA good for?articles

In this post, I will discuss what is GABA good for.

When I wrote a post about brown rice, I came across GABA. In the last post, I wrote GABA content increased when brown rice germinates.

Now GABA is getting more and more popular because of people’s stress increasing and our demand for stress relief.

In this blog, I will talk about the benefit of GABA and also how to increase GABA in your body. I hope this post helps you to stress-free and enjoy a happy daily life.

What is GABA?

GABA (Gamma Amino Butyric Acid) is an amino acid, existing in plants and our human body too.

Usually, we know amino acid as building blocks for protein, GABA is not the kind of amino acid. GABA functions in our human body as an inhibitory neurotransmitter, which means GABA can calm your brain excitement, reduce stress, and help your mind relax. Therefore, GABA helps to sleep and reducing high blood pressure.

Because of the relaxing effect, recently, professional athletes use it for their best performance.

GABA can be produced in your body. When you are under stress, GABA content starts to decrease. Aging is also another factor in decreasing GABA in your body. When you don’t have enough GABA in your brain, you feel more nervous and your body can’t relax.

When you are under extreme stress, it may cause you psychosomatic disorders or stress syndromes.


psychosomatic disorders

  • Autonomic dysfunction
  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Shoulder and neck pain
  • Bronchial asthma
  • Hyperventilation syndrome
  • Angina
  • High blood pressure
  • Gastroduodenal ulcer
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Alopecia areata
  • Dysmenorrhea
  • Impotence


Stress syndromes

  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Adaptation disorder
  • Alcoholism
  • Drug addiction
  • Eating disorder
  • Insomnia


How you can increase GABA in your brain?

Releasing stress

To release the stress you can do something with your hands such as painting. Walking or light jogging in the early morning or evening is also very effective.

Good Sleep

GABA is produced in your body when you sleep. If you don’t get enough sleep, your body can’t produce enough GABA. Snoring is the biggest cause of bad sleeping quality. You can try this exercise to get the best sleep by letting go snoring.

Eating GABA-rich food

You can find GABA rich food everywhere. I will write a list of GABA rich food later in the post. Luckily GABA rich foods are very easy to find everywhere.


What are the benefits of GABA?

GABA changes your brain wave.

When you relax, your brain wave is alfa. When you are nervous, your brain wave is beta. Usually, when you measure your brain waves, alfa and beta brain waves appear mixed together.

What happens to brain waves when people take GABA?

People who took 70 mg GABA had 50% more alfa waves than just drinking water. While the beta wave of GABA-taking people was much less than one of not GABA-taking people.

So, GABA intake obviously calms your brain stress. The web site I look at didn’t tell which form of GABA, supplement or food, I guess it is a supplement. You also can easily get 70 mg of GABA through GABA rich foods which I listed later in this blog.

GABA affects your heart rate

When you are nervous, usually your heart rate increases. When you relax, your pupils in your eyes open and your heart rate decreases. These reactions are controlled by an autonomic nerve. If you are not an enlightened master, general people can’t control them with your mind.

After 30 minutes of people taking 100 mg GABA, their heart rate dropped and pupils dilated, which means they get more relaxed with GABA intake.

GABA can calm your autonomic nerve.

GABA can reduce the stress of fear of height.

When you feel stress, your immune system gets weaker.

When you are under stress, the number of immune substances, Immunoglobulin IgA, in your saliva decrease.

When you take GABA and even you are in the same stressful condition, the immune substances don’t decrease, which means GABA protect your immune system from stressful circumstances.

GABA increases the quality of sleep

When you sleep deeply, usually, your body temperature goes down and your brain wave becomes delta.

When people who have a sleeping problem take 100 mg GABA and go to bed, their temperature drops and their brain waves became delta more quickly than without GABA taking. It means Gaba helped people to fall asleep quickly and deeply.

The other effect of GABA

  • GABA increases learning efficiency.
  • GABA increases endurance.
  • GABA can make you feel better when you are under stressful circumstances.
  • GABA can reduce fatigue.
  • GABA can increase kids’ learning efficiency by reducing stress.


What are GABA-rich foods?

GABA is contained in many foods. And, some foods contain more. If you feel your brain getting excess stress, probably you can try more GABA-rich foods. Below is the list of GABA rich foods. Luckily, all the foods are easy to find.

Germinated brown rice

Although white rice contains GABA, brown rice contains 4 times more GABA. Germinated brown rice contains 10 times more GABA than white rice. 100 g germinated Brown rice contains 15 mg GABA.

Brown rice is a great source of carbohydrate, fiber, protein, and other essential nutrients. And, by germination, it becomes easier to digest in your body. Now, you also use a germinating brown rice cooker from Japan which can do all processes automatically from germination to cooking.

Brown rice contains vitamin B6 which also helps the production of GABA in your body.

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Soybean products

I was surprised by the amount of GABA contents in soybean. Depending on the processing style, GABA contents have changed.

  • Soybean sprout 100g – 400.1 mg GABA
  • Edamame( young soybean) – 204.2mg GABA
  • Boiled edamame 100g – 44.6mg GABA
  • Miso 100 g – 26.3 mg
  • Tofu 100g – 26.2 mg GABA
  • Natto 100 g – 11.8 mg GABA
  • Soy milk 100 ml – 0.8 mg  GABA

GABA content in edamame decreased a lot after boiling. I think It is because GABA is water-soluble and it dissolves in the water. GABA is heat stable at 100 degrees Celcius. If you were to cook edamame, steaming is better than boiling in terms of preserving GABA. Making soup with edamame is also good because you will consume the soup.

Soybean sprouts contain the highest content of GABA. It is interesting that germinating brown rice also increases GABA content. The same as soybean.

Japanese people love to eat soybean sprout. You can find them in any supermarket. You also can easily grow it at home with an automatic bean sprouting machine.

You can also read my previous post about soybean.

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As far as my research, melon contains the highest amount of GABA in fruits. 100 g Melon contains about 72 mg GABA. Melon is also rich in potassium which eliminate excess sodium and prevent the swelling.


100 g Cocoa contains about 52 mg of GABA per 100 mg cocoa. Cocoa is also rich in minerals, protein, fiber, antioxidants, and polyphenols, improving the beauty of the skin.


100 g Tomato contains 57.6mg GABA. Tomato is rich in Lycopene, which is a 100 times more powerful antioxidant than vitamin E. Tomato is also rich in vitamin C and E, and potassium.


100 g Potato contains 20 to 40mg GABA. Potato is also a very good carbohydrate source and rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiver.

GABA supplements

Although I prefer to get GABA through eating whole foods in a natural way, there are also GABA supplements or GABA fortified chocolates.



As I mentioned in the beginning, GABA is naturally produced amino acid in your body. By letting go of stress, you can relax and increase GABA content in your body.

As you can see on the GABA-rich food list, you can also intake GABA easily in the daily diet by following high carbohydrates low-fat vegan diet.

Sometimes taking a supplement is also a good idea to manage your stress and having a happy and healthy life.

If you have any question or a comment about today’s topic, please send me a message into the box below.

Thank you!


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