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Diazepam Alternative? – Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid

Gamma amino butyric acid (GABA) is a natural sedative, sometimes referred to as natural valium. It may also serve as an alternative to those who cannot take drugs like Diazepam. In fact, Diazepam works by increasing the effect of gamma-aminobutyric acid, so taking GABA as a supplement can help accomplish a similar effect without the same side effects of Diazepam.

What is Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)?

GABA is a non-essential amino acid, which acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain. It works by soaking up extra adrenaline, plus brings relaxation as well as smoothes out activity in the brain.

Gamma-aminobutyric acid has GABAergic effects and the GABA receptor (GABAR) involvement is why anti-anxiety and anti-seizure drugs work, although scientists still don’t understand all the reasons why, but its connection to the suppressing the functions and nerves is well known.

Gamma-aminobutyric acid can be purchased as GABA supplements in most health food or supplement stores; however, doses may vary for use in medical situations and anyone attempting to use it for more than as a sleep aid should consult their physician first.

What is Diazepam?

The common or generic name for Diazepam is Valium. Diazepam is often used to treat acute alcohol withdrawal symptoms, anxiety, and seizures or muscle spasms.

Diazepam belongs to the drug class of benzodiazephines, which affect the brain and central nervous system, so has a calming effect.

Diazepam works by enhancing the natural GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) chemical in the body.

Connection between GABAARs and Diazepam-like drugs

According to a study by Andrea N Beltran Gonzales, Pablo E Pomata, et al., titled Benzodiazepine modulation of homomeric GABAAρ1 receptors: Differential effects of diazepam and 4´-chlorodiazepam the “GABAA receptors (GABAARs) are ligand-gated ion channels that mediate inhibitory neurotransmission in the central nervous system … Many GABAARs receptor subtypes are allosterically modulated by benzodiazepines (BDZs), which are drugs extensively used as anxiolytics, sedative-hypnotics and anticonvulsants.”

In their research they said that “human homomeric GABAAρ1 receptors were expressed in Xenopus oocytes and GABA-evoked responses electrophysiologically recorded in the presence or absence of BDZs. … Diazepam produced potentiating effects on GABA-evoked … currents and … diazepam induced biphasic effects depending on the GABA concentration.”

They concluded, “Our results suggest that GABAAρ1 receptor function can be selectively and differentially modulated by BDZs.”

GABA receptors and drugs like Diazepam work by enhancing the gamma-aminobutyric acid effects in the human brain.

Reference:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S001429991400661X

http://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-6306/diazepam-oral/details

GABA Stops or Prevents Seizures

GABA, also referred to a gamma-aminobutyric acid, is an amino acid. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and serve different functions in the body. Historically this amino has been used as a natural sedative, to help with relaxation and sleep since it is acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain. However, it also has anti-anxiety and anti-seizure properties, and is an anti-convulsant.

GABA is a non-essential amino acid, meaning that the body produces it (you can also get it from protein foods or take a supplement) but sometimes it is still deficient depending on what is happening in the body.

According to studies, this amino acid can aid with sleep, inhibition, calming the nerves, drug dependency (including alcoholism), is used in antiepileptic drugs (epilepsy), and according to a study entitled ‘Molecular mechanisms of antiseizure drug activity at GABAA receptors’ by L John Greenfield Jr, is used to prevent seizures.

GABAA receptor (GABAR) helps prevent seizures

GABAA receptor (GABAAR) is, says the researcher, a “major target of antiseizure drugs (ASD’s).” There are actually a number of different agents that act at GABARs’ distinct receptor sites that can eliminate or prevent seizures.

Some of these agents include: loreclezole, benzodiazepines, and barbiturates, in which the GABARs are the only known substance used due to its antiseizure ability.

However, this is only one of a few possible antiseizure mechanisms in these agents: topiramate, losigamone, retigabine, felbamate, and stiripentol.

Other agents, which affect GABAergic “’tone’ by regulating the synthesis, transport or breakdown of GABA” also exist. The development of ganaxolone was a response to the neurosteroid allopregnanolone (a progesterone metabolite, which intensifies GABAR function).

This amino is an intrinsic component to epileptic patients. The efficacy of GABAR function can change when someone develops or has chronic epilepsy, so Greenfield says that it “may provide an additional target for ‘GABAergic; ASDs.”

The conclusion was that targeting the altered receptors may “provide a novel approach for seizure prevention.”

Reference:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1059131113001143