Boost Fat Loss with this Pre-Workout Amino Acid
by: Robbie Durand
Gamma-Amino Butyric Acid (GABA) is an amino acid, which acts as a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. It inhibits nerve transmission in the brain, calming nervous activity. GABA has an added bonus – enhancing release of growth hormone (GH). Most supplements contain GABA are prescribed to be taken before going to bed to enhance nighttime GH as GABA can enhance immunity and increase relaxation. It appears that GABA is taken up predominantly by neurons and thought to inhibit somatostatin neurons (i.e. somatostatin inhibits GH release) in the pre-optic hypothalamic area to facilitate increased GH release. In adults, GH is not secreted steadily, but instead in discrete bursts resulting in peaks of GH release each day. These peaks last from about 10-30 minutes and the most predictable of these peaks occurs roughly an hour after the onset of sleep. However, another extremely powerful GH release stimulus is exercise, particularly high-intensity exercise such as high-intensity resistance training.
Resistance exercise stimulates the release of GH from the anterior pituitary gland, with released levels being very dependent on exercise intensity. GH helps to trigger fat metabolism for energy use in the muscle growth process. As well, GH stimulates the uptake and incorporation of amino acids into protein in skeletal muscle. In humans, GH administration is known to increase both whole-body and muscle protein synthesis and almost unequivocally to increase lean body mass and decreased fat mass. Human growth hormone also stimulates hepatic production of circulating IGF-1 concentrations and may also stimulate IGF-1 production in other tissue such as skeletal muscle. Researchers from Shenandoah University investigated what happens when weight-training athletes take GABA in conjunction with workouts, rather than at bedtime.
The scientists had participants engage in a workout session that targeted all major muscle groups but lasted just 15 minutes. In order to tell which effects were from the GABA and which were from training alone, the scientists had the participants engage in the workout once without supplementing the GABA, and administered GABA without a workout to serve as a control. The researchers got their subjects to train their main muscle groups, doing chest presses, lat pull downs, flies, seated rows, shoulder presses, biceps curls, triceps extensions, leg-presses, leg-curls, leg-extensions and calf-raises. The subjects trained using 70 percent of the weight at which they could just manage 1 rep, doing 1 set of each exercise and resting for 1 minute between sets. The training session lasted 15 minutes. GABA increased the total amount of growth hormone the subjects made as a result of training by 480 percent. The data indicate that ingested GABA elevates resting and postexercise GH concentrations. The extent to which GH secretion contributes to skeletal muscle hypertrophy is unknown, although augmenting the postexercise GH response may improve resistance training-induced muscular adaptation.
Powers ME, Yarrow JF, McCoy SC, Borst SE. Growth hormone isoform responses to
GABA ingestion at rest and after exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2008
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