Does GABA affect testosterone?

Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that blocks nerve impulses between nerve cells in the brain. GABA has a complex relationship with the sex hormone testosterone.
Several studies have shown that GABA levels can influence testosterone production and release:

So in summary, GABA and testosterone have a bidirectional relationship where they influence each other through feedback mechanisms.

Can enhancing GABA increase testosterone?

Some research suggests that enhancing GABA activity can potentially increase testosterone:

However, the effects seem to depend on the specific GABA receptor types activated:

So modulating specific GABA receptor populations may be necessary to influence testosterone, rather than just blanket enhancement of GABA neurotransmission. More targeted human research is still needed in this area.

Potential benefits

If enhancing GABA activity is found to reliably increase testosterone in humans, it could provide benefits like:

However, directly boosting testosterone through drugs or supplements can have downsides like testosterone suppression, side effects, and hormonal imbalances over the long-term.

Subtly modulating neurotransmitters like GABA may be a more sustainable way to support healthy testosterone signaling.

GABA supplements

Some popular supplements claimed to enhance GABA include:

However, it is unclear if these supplements reliably raise GABA enough to affect testosterone. The ability of oral GABA to cross the blood-brain barrier has been questioned. More research is needed on the testosterone effects of various GABA-modulating supplements in humans.

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