The Balance of Glutamate and GABA: Exploring Neurotransmitter Balance


Glutamate is an amino acid that acts as a neurotransmitter in the human body. It is found in high concentrations in foods such as meat, fish, dairy, eggs, and some vegetables. Glutamate plays a key role in learning, memory, and cognitive function. It is also involved in several metabolic pathways in the body, including the synthesis of other amino acids and the production of energy. High levels of glutamate in the brain can lead to conditions such as anxiety and depression.


GABA is a neurotransmitter, a chemical messenger found in the brain. It is known to be involved in the regulation of muscle tone, sleep and anxiety. Low levels of GABA have been linked to an increase in anxiety and a decrease in the ability to relax. Supplementation of GABA has been found to have beneficial effects for those with anxiety and other issues related to low GABA levels.

Glutamate is the main conductor of excitatory signals in the body and constantly balances with another calming/inhibitory neurotransmitter – GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid).

These chemicals help to maintain a balance of electrical activity in the brain, which is necessary for normal functioning. Low levels of glutamate can lead to dysfunction and neurological disorders, while too much can cause excitotoxicity, which can lead to cell death.

GABA blocks unnecessary information flows and helps concentration. It suppresses brain activity, is able to lull, immerse in anesthesia and even stop breathing; based on GABA, tranquilizers and nootropic drugs are created.

When the level of GABA in the body is too low, the brain gets stuck in an active state, and while it is very difficult to relax, anxiety and nervousness ensue.

If you compare these two neurotransmitters with a traffic light, then glutamate is a green light: the body puts pressure on the gas. And GABA is the red stop light when the body hits the brakes.

In biochemical pathways, glutamate is a precursor of GABA, but the reverse transformation can also occur if necessary.

Under normal circumstances, glutamate and GABA are in balance. However, when glutamate is released in excessive amounts, or GABA is not released in sufficient amounts, a glutamate imbalance can occur. This can lead to a variety of different physical and mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, seizures, and headaches.


  1. Vitamin B6 deficiency. The active form of B6 (P-5-P) is an essential cofactor in converting glutamate to GABA. Its’ deficiency leads to a decrease in the synthesis of GABA and the accumulation of glutamate.
  2. Antibodies to glutamate decarboxylase (anti-GAD) inhibit the conversion of glutamate to GABA. The presence of GAD antibodies correlates with other autoimmune conditions such as celiac disease, Hashimoto’s, type 1 diabetes, and gluten intolerance.
  3. Traumatic events can greatly elevate glutamate levels.
  4. Excessive use of mood-altering substances disrupts the glutamate-GABA balance — for example, caffeine and alcohol. If you notice increased excitability, and problems with sleep, attention, and energy, there may be too much glutamate in the body.


It has a similar structure to GABA and binds to GABA receptors, and protects the brain from toxic levels of glutamate. It also helps reduce stress, regulates calcium levels, and helps maintain healthy blood pressure. Studies have also suggested that taurine can help improve heart health, as well as prevent liver damage and improve vision. It is also believed to help improve athletic performance, as it increases energy and endurance and also helps reduce muscle fatigue.

person holding white medication pill

The main food sources of taurine are:
– seafood (especially shellfish)
– poultry (especially dark meats)
– nori (seaweed used to wrap sushi).

It is an important cofactor necessary for the synthesis of GABA from glutamate. B6 deficiency not only reduces the synthesis of GABA but also leads to the accumulation of glutamate.

This can result in excitotoxicity, which can lead to excessive neuronal activity and cell death. Additionally, B6 deficiency can lead to anemia, as it is necessary for the synthesis of heme, a component of hemoglobin. Furthermore, B6 is essential for the synthesis of serotonin, dopamine, and other neurotransmitters. Finally, B6 is important for the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats and the conversion of essential fatty acids into energy.

Protects the receptors that control the release of glutamate, thus providing protection against MSG toxicity. If you happen to eat glutamate, support your body with vitamin C.

Have powerful anti-glutamate properties and are antioxidants that protect brain cells from free radical damage and neurotoxicity. They also help to reduce inflammation and support the growth of new mitochondria in the brain, which can provide the brain with more energy and help to improve cognitive function. Studies have also shown that Coenzyme Q10 and PQQ can help to protect the brain from age-related cognitive decline and even help to improve memory and learning.


sliced lemon on red ceramic saucer beside red ceramic mug with black liquid

Ginger and GABA are two natural compounds that are known to have a range of health benefits. Ginger has been used for centuries in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, and it is now widely accepted as an effective remedy for nausea and other digestive issues. GABA is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate nerve cells in the brain, and it has been found to have a calming effect on the body and mind. Research has shown that taking a combination of ginger and GABA can be beneficial for relieving stress, reducing anxiety, and improving mental clarity. Additionally, the compounds have also been found to help improve sleep quality and reduce inflammation.

VALERIAN and Kava-Kava
A traditional relaxing herbal remedy that increases GABA and interacts with glutamate receptors to reduce anxiety.

Kava is a traditional herbal remedy that has been used for centuries in the South Pacific as a way to reduce stress, improve sleep, and soothe the mind and body. Kava’s active compounds, called kavalactones, are responsible for their calming effects. Kavalactones increase GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) levels in the brain, which helps to reduce anxiety and interact with glutamate receptors to produce a relaxing effect. Kava is a safe and effective herbal remedy for those who suffer from anxiety and other stress-related disorders.

black ceramic mug with brown liquid inside

An amino acid found in green tea that is similar in structure to glutamate and GABA. Studies have shown that theanine undergoes blood-brain barter to stimulate GABA production and reduce glutamate levels.

Theanine has been found to have a calming effect on the brain, leading to improved focus and concentration. It has also been shown to reduce stress and anxiety and improve sleep quality. Additionally, theanine has been linked to improved cognitive performance, including improved learning, memory, and reasoning. In addition, theanine has been found to have neuroprotective effects, helping to protect against neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

The depletion of glutamate and GABA characterize depressive disorders. Studies have shown that exercise optimizes the balance between glutamate and GABA in people with depression: just one hour of yoga can increase GABA levels by 27%.

silhouette photography of woman doing yoga

Neurotoxicity increases glutamate, so inflammation must be worked on to reduce it. Inflammation can be controlled by reducing free radical damage and increasing antioxidant activity, which helps to reduce inflammation. Additionally, reducing the intake of refined sugars and processed foods can help to reduce inflammation in the body. Eating a healthful diet rich in fiber, fruits, and vegetables will help to provide the body with the necessary nutrients to reduce inflammation. Exercise and stress reduction can also help to reduce inflammation. Exercise has been shown to reduce inflammation and boost the immune system, while stress reduction helps to reduce cortisol levels and reduce inflammation.