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What is the Connection Between GABA and HGH?

By Brandon May
Updated Feb 24, 2024
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Gamma-aminobutyric acid, abbreviated GABA, is a neurotransmitter essential for brain metabolism and muscle tone regulation. Very little research has shown a connection between GABA and HGH, or human growth hormone, but the research that has been conducted has shown GABA can stimulate release of HGH. Although these studies show a slight elevation in human growth hormone when GABA is injected or taken orally, most researchers conclude that the effects are minimal. More research is needed for a more definite conclusion. Many body builders and those who seek to increase levels of human growth hormone accept the positive research linking GABA and HGH, and take GABA in the form of an oral dietary supplement or as an injection.

Human growth hormone, often abbreviated HGH, is an essential hormone released by the pituitary gland in the brain to aid in growth of bone and muscle. This hormone is generally released during puberty and at times of rapid body growth, as well as in response to exercise and slow wave sleep. Some research has shown that GABA, a neurotransmitter that is essential for brain metabolism and proper synaptic functioning, can be taken orally or in its injectable form to aid in releasing this hormone, thus stimulating its beneficial effects. Although this research does circulate throughout the bodybuilding and anti-aging communities, it is inconclusive and weak in terms of providing a solid foundation for advice.

As GABA naturally has a stimulatory effect on the pituitary gland, the main gland that secretes human growth hormone, it is assumed that GABA and HGH are linked. Although this is true to some extent, sublingual or injectable GABA may be utilized much differently than naturally occurring GABA, and may not have the same effects, if any, on the pituitary gland. One study has shown that, depending on the physiology of the individual, injectable GABA may have either inhibitory or stimulatory affects on the secretion of growth hormone, making it debatable as a suitable supplement for increasing HGH levels. Another study has shown that oral supplementation can increase both GABA and HGH, yet duplicate studies are rare and do not provide conclusive or even consistent results.

Since studies link GABA and HGH as having a natural effect on the pituitary gland, it is often recommended that an individual not rely on supplementing with GABA to let the neurotransmitter be produced on its own. Instead, an individual can choose a supplement containing other amino acids such as arginine or ornithine, which have been shown to be more reliable supplements to aid in growth hormone release. Also, receiving enough exercise and deep sleep can help raise human growth hormone in many individuals. Avoiding sugar and refined carbohydrates can also ensure that HGH can secrete properly.

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