Food Science and Biotechnology

, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 547–551 | Cite as

Effect of oral γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) administration on sleep and its absorption in humans

  • Atsushi Yamatsu
  • Yusuke YamashitaEmail author
  • Tukaram Pandharipande
  • Isafumi Maru
  • Mujo Kim


The effects of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) on sleep and its levels in blood after oral administration were investigated in humans. A randomized, single-blind, placebo-controlled crossover-designed study was conducted to evaluate the effect of GABA on sleep. Sleep was evaluated by electroencephalography (EEG) after oral GABA administration. GABA significantly shortened sleep latency and increased the total non-rapid eye movement (non-REM) sleep time. Questionnaires showed that subjects receiving GABA realized its effects on sleep. In addition, the blood level of GABA after administration was investigated, and the absorption and metabolism rates of GABA were determined. GABA was quickly absorbed, and the blood level of GABA was the highest 30 min after oral administration, with a subsequent decrease in concentration. As GABA strongly affected the early stage of sleep, the effect of GABA on sleep may be connected to its levels in blood.


γ-Aminobutyric acid sleep electroencephalogram absorption 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Yoto A, Murao S, Motoki M, Yokoyama Y, Horie N, Takeshima K, Masuda K, Kim M, Yokogoshi H. Oral intake of aminobutyric acid affects mood and activities of central nervous system during stressed condition induced by mental tasks. Amino Acids 43: 1331–1337 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Petty F, Kramer G, Feldman M. Is plasma GABA of peripheral origin? Biol. Psychiat. 22: 725–732 (1987)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bjork JM, Moeller FG, Kramer GL, Kram M, Suris A, Rush AJ, Petty F. Plasma GABA levels correlate with aggressiveness in relatives of patients with unipolar depressive disorder. Psychiat. Res. 101: 131–136 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Lanctot KL, Herrmann N, Rothernburg L, Eryavec G. Behavioral correlates of GABAergic disruption in Alzheimer’s disease. Int. Psychogeriatr. 19: 151–158 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Abdou AM, Higashiguchi S, Horie K, Kim M, Hatta H, Yokogoshi H. Relaxation and immunity enhancement effects of aminobutyric acid (GABA) administration in humans. Biofactors 26: 201–208 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Nakamura H, Takishima T, Kometani T, Yokogoshi H. Psychological stressreducing effect of chocolate enriched with γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in humans: Assessment of stress using heart rate variability and salivary chromogranin A. Int. J. Food Sci. Nutr. 60(Suppl. 5): 106–113 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Fujibayashi M, Kamiya T, Takagaki K, Moritani T. Activation of autonomic nervous system activity by the oral ingestion of GABA. J. Jpn. Soc. Nutr. Food Sci. 61: 129–133 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Kim K, Uchiyama M, Okawa M, Liu X, Ogihara R. An epidemiological study of insomnia among the Japanese general population. Sleep 23: 41–47 (2000)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Adam K, Oswald I. A comparison of the effects of chlormezanone and nitrazepam on sleep. Br. J. Clin. Pharmacol. 14: 57–65 (1982)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Lemma S, Gelaye B, Berhane Y, Worku A, Williams MA. Sleep quality and its psychological correlates among university students in Ethiopia: A crosssectional study. BMC Psychiatry 12: 237 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Yamatsu A, Yamashita Y, Horie K, Takeshima K, Horie N, Masuda K, Yamane T, Kim M. Beneficial action of GABA on sleep and frequent night urination in the elderly. Jpn. Pharmacol. Ther. 41: 985–988 (2013)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Buysse DJ, Reynolds CF, Monk TH, Berman SR, Kupfer DJ. The Pittsburgh sleep quality index: A new instrument for psychiatric practice and research. Psychiat. Res. 28: 193–213 (1989)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Velez JC, Souza A, Traslavina S, Barbosa C, Wosu A, Andrade A, Frye M, Fitzpatrick AL, Gelaye B, Williams MA. The epidemiology of sleep quality and consumption of stimulant beverages among Patagonian Chilean college students. Sleep Disord. Article ID 910104 (2013)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Takahashi H, Masaki C, Makino M, Yoshida M, Mukaibo T, Kondo Y, Nakamoto T, Hosokawa R. Management of sleep-time masticatory muscle activity using stabilization splints affects psychological stress. J. Oral Rehabil. 40: 892–899 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Iber C, Ancoli-Israel S, Chesson A, Quan SF. The AASM manual for the scoring of sleep and associated events: Rules, terminology, and technical specification. 1st ed. American Academy of Sleep Medicine, Darien, IL, USA (2007)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Greenblatt DJ, Shader RI, Divoll M, Harmatz JS. Benzodiazepines: A summary of pharmacokinetic properties. Br. J. Clin. Pharmaco. 11: 11S–16S (1981)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Markwald RR, Lee-Chiong TL, Burke TM, Snider JA, Wright KP. Effects of the melatonin MT-1/MT-2 agonist Ramelteon on daytime body temperature and sleep. Sleep 33: 825–831 (2010)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Roberts E. γ-Aminobutyric acid and nervous system function-A perspective. Biochem. Pharmacol. 23: 2637–2649 (1974)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Korean Society of Food Science and Technology and Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Atsushi Yamatsu
    • 1
  • Yusuke Yamashita
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tukaram Pandharipande
    • 1
  • Isafumi Maru
    • 1
  • Mujo Kim
    • 1
  1. 1.Pharma Foods International Co., Ltd.KyotoJapan

Personalised recommendations