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So you’re ready to improve your health with supplements.
But which ones should you take?
By my count, there are at least a few dozen supplements worth considering.
So for this exact reason, I created my Supplement Comparison Guide to help you decide in a scenario like this.
Today’s article features GABA vs Melatonin.
Let’s get going!
What is GABA?
GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric acid) is a naturally produced amino acid in the brain.
It functions as a neurotransmitter, meaning it facilitates communication among brain cells.
GABA’s primary role is to lower the activity of neurons in the brain and CNS, resulting in a range of effects on the mind and body, including:
- Reduced stress
- Enhanced mood
- Improved sleep quality
- Increased feelings of relaxation
Some anxiety medications such as Xanax and Valium work by increasing levels of GABA.
What is Melatonin?
Like GABA, Melatonin is naturally produced in the brain, but Melatonin is a hormone rather than an amino acid.
Its main job is to manage your sleep cycle by regulating your body’s circadian rhythm, so for this reason, many people use it to treat insomnia.
Melatonin is naturally lower in the morning, which makes you feel more alert during the day and then as the day goes on, it naturally rises which makes you feel tired and sleepy towards the end of the day.
Benefits of GABA
GABA may help reduce stress and anxiety
Did you know that anxiety is the most common mental illness in the US?
In fact, more than 40 million American adults suffer from anxiety.
Well it’s pleasing to know that a lot of studies have shown GABA’s effectiveness at reducing stress and anxiety.
For example, a study investigated the effects of GABA on the subjects’ stress levels during a difficult task.
The results showed that those who took GABA had a smaller decrease in alpha brain waves, suggesting it may have lowered their stress from the task, compared to those who took the placebo.
Another study investigated the effects of GABA on relaxation in 13 adults.
After an hour of taking GABA, the subjects had increases in alpha brain waves, which reduced their anxiety and helped them relax.
(Related reading: Do Cold Showers Work For Anxiety?)
GABA may improve sleep quality
Research shows that people with insomnia have lower GABA levels than those without it.
This is because GABA helps the mind and body relax, so low GABA activity may disrupt sleep.
Another study showed that 100mg of GABA supplementation reduced the time it took for subjects to fall asleep by 5.3 minutes.
(Related reading: Does Phosphatidylserine Improve Sleep?)
GABA may reduce high blood pressure
According to research, GABA may be effective at lowering high blood pressure.
For example, a study of people with high-normal blood pressure had the subjects take chlorella for 12 weeks.
(Chlorella is a type of algae that’s high in GABA.)
The results showed that at the end of the 12 weeks, their blood pressure was significantly reduced.
So, many people supplement with GABA to naturally lower their blood pressure.
Benefits of Melatonin
Melatonin helps improve sleep
Thanks to its ability to promote better sleep, Melatonin is often referred to as the sleep hormone.
A study investigated the effects of Melatonin on insomnia in 50 cancer patients.
The results showed that taking Melatonin 2 hours before bed helped them fall asleep faster and improved their sleep quality.
Also, a review of 19 studies on Melatonin and sleep disorders concluded that Melatonin increased the amount of sleep, reduced the time it took to fall asleep and improved sleep quality.
(Related reading: Do Cold Showers Help You Sleep?)
Melatonin may help treat GERD
GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) is an uncomfortable condition caused by stomach acid flowing into the esophagus.
This can cause a range of symptoms, including:
- Chest pain
- Bad breath
But since Melatonin can help reduce the secretion of stomach acids, it may be effective at treating GERD.
A study investigated the effects of a Melatonin-containing supplement and Omeprazole on GERD.
(Omeprazole is a drug used to treat GERD FYI.)
The results showed that every single subject who took the supplement with Melatonin had a reduction in symptoms.
On the other hand, only 65.7% of people who took Omeprazole had a reduction in symptoms, suggesting that the Melatonin-containing supplement was more effective.
Melatonin may increase Human Growth Hormone
Human Growth Hormone is a naturally produced hormone that’s essential for normal growth.
In fact, lots of muscle-crazy bodybuilders use HGH since high levels of HGH may increase muscle mass.
Well, if you are a muscle-crazy bodybuilder, then you may want to supplement with Melatonin as research suggests it may increase HGH levels in men.
Take this study for example, which showed that as little as 0.5mg of Melatonin stimulated HGH release.
GABA is usually sold as a powder or in capsules.
Typical prices for these are:
- Powder: $20 for 1lb
- Capsules: $22 for 100
Melatonin is typically sold in tablets.
For a medium-priced Melatonin supplement, you can expect to pay around $14 for 120 tablets.
GABA Side Effects
Supplementing with GABA seems to be fine in healthy adults, although the following side effects have been reported by some people:
- Muscle weakness
- Reduced appetite
- Drowsiness and fatigue
Melatonin Side Effects
Like GABA, Melatonin supplements are usually well tolerated by healthy adults, but some people have reported the following side effects:
My GABA Recommendation: Thorne Research PharmaGABA-100
This beast is one of the highest-quality GABA supplements on the market.
Ideal for those who value quality over quantity.
What I like about it
Unlike many other GABA supplements out there, this supplement is made from PharmaGABA.
In other words, it’s naturally made with bacteria.
Research has shown that PharmaGABA is a lot more effective than a lot of the synthetic crap out there.
This is backed up by the dozens of excellent reviews that this supplement has, which shows that many other people just like you are seeing great results from it.
Also, I’m a big big fan of Thorne Research as they provide some of the best supplements around.
Their quality control process is very impressive to say the least.
Generally, Thorne’s supplements are more expensive than other brands out there.
But, the quality of their supplements justifies the price without a doubt.
My Melatonin Recommendation: Solgar Melatonin
A top supplement from a trusted brand at a very fair price.
Solgar Melatonin ticks all of the boxes.
What I like about it
The many fantastic reviews show that this is a trusted Melatonin product that’s very helpful to a lot of people.
And with each bottle containing 120 servings, this supplement will provide you with high-quality Melatonin for many months.
I’m also a massive fan of Solgar as a supplement company.
Like Thorne, they pride themselves on top quality products and are trusted all over the globe.
If I was to by super picky, it would be nice if this supplement had fewer other ingredients.
This isn’t a deal breaker by any means though…
The Overall Verdict
Thank you for staying with me to the end of this GABA vs Melatonin face off.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this as much as I have typing it!
With both supplements being in a similar price range, and sharing some benefits, here’s what I would recommend if you’re still undecided:
You might prefer GABA if:
- You want to reduce blood pressure
- You want to lower stress and anxiety
- You don’t want to supplement with a hormone
You might prefer Melatonin if:
- You want the cheapest option
- You want to reduce GERD symptoms
- You want to boost Human Growth Hormone
Hope this helped!