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Restless Legs Syndrome
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Has anyone else tried GABA?

I am bringing this up for discussion and as a recommendation. Since RLS people have a shortage of GABA in their brains and an excess of glutamate, it helps to understand what these substances are and do. They are both neurotransmitters your body produces (one from the other) and while glutamate is Excitatory, Gaba is Inhibitory.

That means glutamate causes over-excitability to the nerves, etc., while GABA is calming and turns off that excitability.

I know here and there I have read that RLS people should not take GABA since it MAY turn back into glutamate. HOWEVER, I decided some time ago (back in early June) upon recommendation of Julia Ross's excellent book The Mood Cure, to take some GABA, along with some of the other things she recommends. I had to play around with dosage for a few days, when I took it, and what form seemed to work the best. BUT, if I left it out, trouble started again, so I have been taking it rather consistently since then.

I did not realize until recently quite how important it was. I now consider it one of the best of the amino acids recommended, for stopping/greatly lessening RLS and helping so much with sleep. I never have had any problem with it causing RLS ( by presumably turning back into glutamate.)

So, I am recommending to anyone out there to give it a try. I have used Solgar GABA 500 mg, and (this one I REALLY find effective)Source Naturals GABA CALM. It has a few other things in it, but the beauty of it is that it is sublingual (under your tongue,) so it gets into your system fast, as well as by-passes your digestive system (some things are better that way.) It is great before bed and in the middle of the night.

And, I will mention this also. Yes, I take an assortment of other things. This is because RLS has several causes (iron, folate, GABA, Dopamine deficiencies by problems with absorption or not crossing the blood/brain barrier). And stress (over- active adrenals) can make the problem worse. Plus food and environmental triggers. And spinal mis-alignment. So one does not always know which cause or body system or trigger is acting up at any one time. So I have an arsenal of things to address it. Sometimes it might be one thing, sometimes another.

BUT, I will say again that GABA is one of the best. At least for me. We are all different and what may work for me, may not work for someone else. But, I suggest giving it a try.

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Ht Lauraflora. Your info re Gaba and glutamate is very pertinent to me.Am going to check out Julia Ross' book. Any other info esp re glutamate will be greatly appreciated. I have started researching glutamate and diet . I believe food plays a big part in successful rls treatment. Do you try to eliminate glutamate foods. ?Please share. I am trying to stay away from prescription meds as much as possible. Thank you ahead of time for any help. Although I was a nurse, I'm a real novice re rls. Take care Burma (burmag). PS Maybe a reason that Gaba doesn't work sometimes is that there is already too much glutamate in our diet and it triggers the Gaba neurotransmitter to turn into glutamate?


I've looked into this but like you say taking GABA can result in excess glutamate so tend to get confused on it!

I think though I might just follow your lead because as you say it is important.

Thanks for the post.


Yes I have tried it- after reading the same book. I find it relaxing but it doesn't take RLS symptoms away for me. How much do you take to help symptoms?Does it eliminate them for you?x


Yes, I have tried it too - following one of your earlier posts. Separately, and in combinations with other supplements. For about 2-3months. Tried hard, but didn't do anything for my rls. Unfortunately.

Hopefully the gaba ot supplement-combo works for more people. If so, it would be helpful to describe the rls you have/had. Mine is daily, previously all day whenever I tried to get some rest (sit still etc), but legs only. And racing brain. Diurnal dymptoms now largely reduced I think owing to better sleep at night, owing to switch to tramadol and gabapentin (only taken in the evening). For the moment .....


Ah - amateur biochemistry! Here is a good discussion on GABA - The conclusion... "As has been stated, current scientific knowledge indicates that GABA supplements cannot cross the blood-brain barrier and cause any noticeable effect there. However there are many reviews online from people who have had positive effects using GABA supplements, whether due to placebo effect, potential blood-brain barrier hyperpermeability, or a possible connection through the enteric nervous system." nootriment.com/gaba-supplem...


DicCarlson, the text on the site is interesting. But I have developed quite some scepticism when information originates from sponsored or selling sites - like this one. I'd rather rely on more independent sites, e.g. the various rls-sites, univ/med school sites etc.

Still, one has to keep an open mind....

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I have not tried gaba due to reading it was not bio- available in pill form. maybe the sublingual tabs are metabolized differently. Might be worth a try!


Well, thanks for all your comment. I am currently only using the GABA

Calm, which has 125 mg of GABA, kind of on as as-needed basis. In the beginning I used more - 500 mg, but as things change in one's body, I have cut down. Accordingly, now I seem to need less, which is a good thing.

I think these things affect people differently, so one has to try for themselves. Certainly, what works for one does not necessarily work for someone else. But, I would rather try something than not try it. And go from there. And yes, just reading on Amazon the various reviews (none of which were for RLS people) some people found it effective, and other people, not so, for calming and sleep.

But, as Ross's book says, start with the lowest, 100 mg, dose. Don't start with a high dose. That is her advice for any of the aminos. Less is more, and more may be too much.


And, tho taking it by mouth in which case it goes thru your digestive system and may not be effective, taking it sublingually may get it into your system differently and better. One can only try, just like if your doctor gave you a prescription to try. Some prescriptions work for some people and not for others. We're all guinea pigs, when it comes down to it!


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