Dr. Dwayne Jackson

The Vital Science Blog

Starting Living Your Best

GABA and Whey Protein: The Dynamic Muscle-Building Duo

Gamma Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) is an inhibitory amino acid neurotransmitter that plays a number of important roles in the central nervous system. When taken as a supplement, it’s been scientifically noted to support increased growth hormone (GH) release—which promotes increased muscularity and fat loss. However, up to recently, there is little known of the effects of GABA on muscle building. On the other hand, whey protein has been unequivocally shown to boost protein synthesis and muscle building, especially when taken immediately after training.


Recent work, conducted by Japanese researchers and presented at the latest American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) meeting in Boston, sought to quantify the effects of low dose GABA and whey protein on muscular hypertrophy during a 12-week resistance training program in healthy men. In their study, males who took a stack of GABA (100 mg) and whey protein (10 g) had over 43% higher plasma GH levels at week 4 and gained 9x the lean mass (by the end of week 12; measured by DXA) compared to those who took whey protein only. 


ACTION POINT: This study provides the first evidence that taking low dose GABA + low dose whey significantly boosts GH responses to resistance training. Most intriguing is that lean mass gain was so dramatic in the GABA + whey group (1340 g vs. 146 g), which was likely due to the remarkable increase in GH. Although we tend to recommend much higher daily doses of GABA and whey, we suggest giving this stack a try at 100 mg GABA and 10 g whey protein taken immediately after training. For a more advanced stack, you may want to work toward 2 g of GABA and 20-40g of whey protein immediately after training.    



Sakashita M1, Nakamura U, Maru I, Harada S, Kim JW, Horie N, Kim M, Yokoyama Y, Fujita S. Combined Oral Intake of GABA with Whey Protein Improves Lean Mass in Resistance-trained Men: 241 Board #78 June 1, 9: 30 AM – 11: 00 AM. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2016 May;48(5 Suppl 1):54.

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