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GABA & Chronic Pain Relief

Posted by Jane Jansen on

The body senses painful stimuli through certain receptors located in the skin, joints and many internal organs. Specialized nerve fibers relay these signals to the brain, where pain becomes recognized and “felt”.

Gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA) is one of the primary neurotransmitters your body produces to calm your central nervous system.

Research has shown with chronic inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis or after nerve damage following an injury, the pain inhibiting action of GABA becomes severely compromised and pain signals conducted to the brain are almost unfiltered. Also when the body fails to produce enough GABA, or utilize the amounts it has, tension, anxiety and pain can escalate.


Dr. Hanns Ulrich Zeilhofer, Professor at the Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences at ETH Zurich and at the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology of the University of Zurich says, “The spinal cord is placed between these structures as kind of a pain filter.”

GABAergic neurons are widely distributed throughout the central nervous system, including regions of the spinal cord dorsal horn known to be important for transmitting pain impulses to the brain. In addition, GABA neurons and receptors are found in supra-spinal sites known to coordinate the perception and response to painful stimuli. This neurotransmitter system has been shown to regulate control of sensory information processing in the spinal cord.

Findings published April 2017 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation show that within the dorsal root ganglia (DRG), the neurotransmitter GABA can interfere with the propagation of pain signals.

Gabapentin is a drug often prescribed for chronic pain. It is an ‘analogue’ of GABA and manufactured to mimic the effects of GABA, however it does not appear to affect the same receptors in the brain, is not converted into GABA and has no effect on the amount of GABA in the brain. Furthermore it requires a doctor's prescription and may cause side effects, such as nausea, dizziness, dry mouth, mood swings and weight gain. A sudden withdrawal may also create the risk of seizures.

I have found with my patients with chronic pain the supplement GABA 250mg (Enzymatic Therapy) 2x day in combination with natural anti-inflammatories such as Curcumin -Meriva 500mg (Jarrow Formulas), Injurecov (Vinco) combination formula &/or nervine herbs like Scullcap 425mg (Nature’s Way), Nervous System Tonic (HerbPharm) combination formula can over time be very helpful in toning down the nerve pain signals throughout the body. After some time, which could be a few months (more or less) patients report noticeable improvement in pain intensity and duration.

To make an in-office or telephone appointment with me call 508-336-4242

Jane Jansen  Holistic Practitioner Tree of Life Wellness Center Inc. Seekonk, MA, 02771

Host Holistic Healthline Radio


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