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  Neurotransmitters as food supplements: The effects of GABA on brain and behavior

Boonstra, E., de Kleijn, R., Colzato, L., Alkemade, A., Forstmann, B. U., & Nieuwenhuis, S. (2015). Neurotransmitters as food supplements: The effects of GABA on brain and behavior. Frontiers in Psychology, 6: 1520. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01520.

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Item Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0029-A7D9-A Version Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0003-7765-6
Genre: Journal Article

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 Creators:
Boonstra, Evert1, 2, Author
de Kleijn, Roy1, 2, Author
Colzato, LorenzaS.1, 2, Author
Alkemade, Anneke3, Author
Forstmann, Birte U.3, 4, Author              
Nieuwenhuis, Sander1, 2, Author
Affiliations:
1Cognitive Psychology Unit, Institute of Psychology, Leiden University, the Netherlands, ou_persistent22              
2Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition, Leiden University, the Netherlands, ou_persistent22              
3Cognitive Science Center Amsterdam, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, ou_persistent22              
4Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society, ou_634549              

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Free keywords: GABA; Cognition; Blood–brain barrier; Enteric nervous system; Food supplements
 Abstract: Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in the human cortex. The food supplement version of GABA is widely available online. Although many consumers claim that they experience benefits from the use of these products, it is unclear whether these supplements confer benefits beyond a placebo effect. Currently, the mechanism of action behind these products is unknown. It has long been thought that GABA is unable to cross the blood–brain barrier (BBB), but the studies that have assessed this issue are often contradictory and range widely in their employed methods. Accordingly, future research needs to establish the effects of oral GABA administration on GABA levels in the human brain, for example using magnetic resonance spectroscopy. There is some evidence in favor of a calming effect of GABA food supplements, but most of this evidence was reported by researchers with a potential conflict of interest. We suggest that any veridical effects of GABA food supplements on brain and cognition might be exerted through BBB passage or, more indirectly, via an effect on the enteric nervous system. We conclude that the mechanism of action of GABA food supplements is far from clear, and that further work is needed to establish the behavioral effects of GABA.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2015-08-312015-09-222015-10-06
 Publication Status: Published online
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01520
PMID: 26500584
PMC: PMC4594160
Other: eCollection 2015
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Title: Frontiers in Psychology
  Abbreviation : Front Psychol
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: Pully, Switzerland : Frontiers Research Foundation
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 6 Sequence Number: 1520 Start / End Page: - Identifier: ISSN: 1664-1078
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/1664-1078