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Lieutenant2

Preliminary report - experiment with GABA

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Thanks LT2. - I will. I saw your post and got so excited that I had to run out and buy some right away and I took it about 40 minutes after breakfast - at which time I already had a headache.

I did get a bit of "flush" but it was mild and lasted perhaps 5 minutes. I remember taking un-buffered niacin back in the 60s and the flush was really traumatic! This was nothing much to write home about, side-effects-wise. Anyhoo... I will try again tonight before bed-time.

Frequently I have gone to bed with no headache and woke up the following morning feeling the H.A. coming on at breakfast time, and thought somehow it was related to my sleep patterns.

Funny thing... with all my life experience - I can't really say with any precision - (baring fasting 24 hrs) what constitutes "an empty stomach".

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Hey Mystina. . .thanks for the added info! If you don't mind me asking a few questions, I'd like to use your experience to help isolate some variables:

Were you taking just pure GABA, or was it one of the bonded combinations, like picamilon?

What was the dosage? How and when were you taking it?

What other meds/supplements were you taking at the time? Anything that also functioned on neurotransmitters or receptors?

I'm not trying to be nosy, I just want to learn more about what may or may not work with the GABA. Thank you!

Another restful night, after a total of three beers and two small glasses of wine yesterday. Heading out to the beach to watch  thunderstorm roll in over the ocean.

It was Pure GABA, at Bedtime, 750mg. Sometimes I'd take 2 at a time.

Pretty sure the only other supplement I was taking at the time was Skullcap, this was about 2 years ago, so I know for sure I was on the Baclofen, and Diamox, at the very least.

Dunno how much help that was.  :D lol

Mystina

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Anthony. . .I'd be real hesitant to take GABA with melatonin. I don't have any real scientific evidence for this, but they both work in the same garage, so to speak. I don't know what it will do, but I look at it like the old football cliche from Paul Brown: when you throw a pass, three things can happen, and two of them are bad.

Bonkers, please post an update. . .I'm anxious to see if he gets a decent night of sleep, if nothing else. I'm trying to gather some info from people who have tried this, to find some commonalities.

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Sodium oxybate is derived from gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) and acts as an inhibitory chemical transmitter in the brain.

Long-term efficacy of sodium oxybate in 4 patients with chronic cluster headache

R. Khatami, MD, S. Tartarotti, MD, M.M. Siccoli, MD, C.L. Bassetti, MD and P.S. Sándor, MD

http://www.neurology.org/content/77/1/67.abstract?sid=6af5b45f-1286-4c2d-a8bf-a04c46dba608

Targeting sleep disruption using sodium oxybate in chronic cluster headache prophylaxis

Stephen D. Silberstein, MD and Matthew S. Robbins, MD

http://www.neurology.org/content/77/1/16.extract

Differential Effects of GABAB Receptor Subtypes, [ch947]-Hydroxybutyric Acid, and Baclofen on EEG Activity and Sleep Regulation

Julie Vienne1, Bernhard Bettler2, Paul Franken1,*, and Mehdi Tafti1,*

http://www.jneurosci.org/content/30/42/14194.full

The Journal of Neuroscience

Shocked

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So what do u guys think about taking meatonin with gaba. I take 5 mg melatonin? gaba i see should be taken at bedtime?

Taking melatonin with Gaba is fine as long as you're not going for super human amounts.  I've been taking a supplement called Gaba Ease that combines melatonin, gaba, valerian, skullcap, theanine, and hops for a few years now...Never noticed much difference in the clusters (although I'm usually only taking 1500 mg in a night), but it helps if I've had too much caffeine or as a mild sleep inducer.   

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Ahhh. . .Shocked, you ran across some of the very studies that led me back to GABA, especially that very small Sodium Oxybate study. Now, my thought process behind GABA was much less scientific than theirs, as I'm no neurologist. But the basic premise remains. . .leftover electrical signals in the brain with nowhere to go.

However, I differ from their hypothesis in one way, and that's that I believe GABA can help solve this problem all by itself, as it is a natural compound in our brains already. I'm sure that Jazz Pharmaceuticals would rather pursue their SO compound, and that's fine, but I am much more of a naturopathic believer than I am in big pharma. Can't dispute those results, though.

To revisit Anthony's question about melatonin, no, it probably can't "hurt" anything, but I also don't think it will give him a "clean" sample of how GABA will personally affect him. It is an ingredient in a lot of those sleep and focus formulas, usually in amounts aroung 100mg. We're talking about taking approximately 30 times that much, so I'd still be hesitant to mix it with anything that also works in the brain chemistry area.

Just my $0.02.  .  .marking two full weeks without an attack today. Fingers still crossed. . .and Jeff, no noticeable increase in my breast size, either! Hahahahahaha!

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[Edit: I see that Lt2 has already responded while I was laboriously composing this. His simple answer is about the same as my laborious one.]

I haven't wanted to stick my nose in here with any complexities, because I think the simplicity of Lt2's method deserves to be tested on its own. It works for him, and if it works for others, then you've got something important.  So, I'd be inclined to stick with Lt2's advice to anthony: Do it the simple, "clean" way if you can, and see what happens. (An additional very small caution in this regard at the very end.)

Building on the comments of several others here, and saying that I'm no expert at all but I've done a whole lot of reading, I'll just say these things:

The articles that shocked posted suggest that it's the effect of GABA on sleep centers that treats CH.  (I'm talking about GABA in the brain -- as Lt2 has said, there's at least an open question about whether GABA supplements even cross the blood/brain barrier to reach those sleep centers.)  Every single thing in Ricardo's Gaba Ease is "gabaergic," affecting GABA in the brain in some way (there are a lot of ways that GABA is affected--increasing it or reducing it, for example). Valerian is particularly so, but so are hops, melatonin, and theanine.  (In contrast to GABA supplements, these things do cross the blood/brain barrier.) That's why they're in there.

Here are some citations about all that, to give you an idea:

"Evidence that the beta-acids fraction of hops reduces central GABAergic neurotransmission": http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16920300

Valerian: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/valerian (down the page, under "How does valerian work," third paragraph)

And many of the drugs used for CH increase GABA in the brain.  This includes neurontin (gabapentin), topiramax, valproate, and depakote.  Neurontin became favored because it acts most quickly (within 30 minutes) to raise brain GABA levels.  Here are a couple of citations about that:

“Topiramate increases brain GABA”: http://www.neurology.org/content/52/3/473.abstract

"Gabapentin raises human brain GABA in 30 minutes":  http://cds.ismrm.org/ismrm-2000/PDF1/0014.pdf

As many know, the early tests of neurontin against CH had very impressive results: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1468-2982.2001.00260.x/abstract

The authors of that last study say: ("We hypothesize that the gabaergic action of gabapentin, perhaps combined with other mechanisms, such as calcium channel blockade, may be responsible for its remarkable effects on cluster headache.")  Too bad about the %&&*(&*( side effects.

So, going back to what Mystina said, it also seems to me there's plenty of reason to suppose that managing GABA in the brain might help with CH.  I'd love to know why Lt2 did not choose the over-the-counter formulations of GABA that are compunded so they do cross the blood/brain barrier --picamilon and phenibut -- but I'm sure he had good reasons.  And, again -- it's working for him.

Because of some things that have been mentioned in posts in this thread, I present a very small, probably inconsequential, caution.  In one of the follow-up letters that shocked has linked to, a neurologist points out that because about 30% of people with CH also have sleep apnea or other sleep disorders, it is not always wise to mess too strongly with their sleep centers.  Of course, he's saying this in the context of the substance used in the experiment, sodium oxybate, which is a strong "hypnotic" with "potential for abuse," and so it might not apply to simply taking GABA supplements at all.  But since Lt2 has mentioned sleep benefits a few times, I though this might be an addition to the database of things to be considered. Here's a link to that short letter (the second letter on that page): http://www.neurology.org/content/77/1/67.abstract/reply#neurology_el_43011

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CHfather, just to address your question as to my choice of GABA vs picamilon et al. . .

I was probably thinking less about science and more about philosophy. I subscribe to a lot of Eastern philosophy, so essentially I thought if something like picamilon causes X amount of GABA to cross the BBB (let's say 100mg, just as a random number) and taking 2g of just GABA also causes 100mg to cross the BBB, I will always choose the simpler of the two. In this case, just GABA.

Now, my plans to test this theory go much deeper, but I'm not going to elaborate on anything other than the GABA here until something changes. There are compounds that work with GABA to make it more effective, etc. . .but as of now, I haven't needed to change my approach. Anecdotally, there are three other people currently sampling this approach who choose not to post here, but I have been getting some notes from them.

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Hey Guys

Just wanted to add this from a very good friend who is a compound pharmacist that has been working with me on the whole cluster thing for awile so he is so on board with the gaba approach

he wrote me this today:

"Buy gaba and theanine. Theanine activates gaba receptors."

Although I only bought gaba today and going to start today I told him that I wanted to give the gaba alone a fair chance to see.

Best

Anthony

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:'( :'( :'( :'(

Last night's dose produced no change in anything whatsoever - 'cept maybe a shrug of the shoulders along with the attendant raised palms this morning. Gonna drop down to 4, 750's tonight and continue with same for a couple of weeks. Can't hurt - as far as I can tell. The consensus of the scientific types is that since GABA doesn't, and can't, pass the blood/brain barrier, it can't do anything. My guess is that the only thing GABA's producing is that good ol' placebo effect.

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Hey All

I took 1500 mg of gaba last night for the first time and I honestly feel like it did the opposite for me. I feel like it actually made me a bit anxious , and when I would wake up to pee I felt anxious? I dunno if it is the gaba effect just starting it? Input would be great! I heard that gaba actually can help with anxiety ?

Anthony

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Hey Bonkers, sorry to hear about your results. I guess part of me had always hoped this was a magic bullet for everybody, but I knew better! If you don't mind me asking, what is your CH situation? I believe it'sa child that has it, right? Chronic or episodic? Ever been any major sleep disorders, aside from the clusters?

Anthony, I sent you a PM. . .your reaction is pretty strange, man.

As for me personally, still no CH. I noticed last night that I couldn't "feel" the effects of the GABA as much, so I'm curious about tolerance issues.

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Lt2,

No reaction to last night's dose. We too were hoping for a magic bullet. It may take a while. We're not giving up till Michael's taken all that we bought.

Michael will be 28 in February. He's been chronic for 6-7 years. No sleep disorders.

Ron

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Anthony,  In some of my earlier reading I saw there are others that have your same experience.  Apparently some people have the opposite reaction to GABA.  If I recall correctly it increases with dose.  Maybe down the dose some??

Lt2, glad to hear no breast size increases.  ;)

Jeff

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Hey CHfather, no worries there. . .I didn't invent GABA, definitely no vested interest in it other than something I pulled out of my butt during some internet research. I think the pattern I'm seeing is pretty much what I expected. . .

Some of us (like me) have seriously screwed sleep cycles. There's some belief that it causes CH, but I think it's a parallel symptom. We never reach actual REM sleep because of all the extra impulses bouncing around in there, and because we don't reach REM sleep, those impulses don't have an outlet (other than to F with the HPA axis and cause a lot of pain). I think that's why the GABA has worked for me, it's the chemical equivalent of filling my head with foam and slowing down those surplus impulses long enough to let my brain sleep.

For some others, I think CH has a totally different set of root causes. Mystina is probably a good example, her CH and my CH have nothing in common except the pain. I hope there are a few others floating around who have the same version of this mess that I do, and we can keep experimenting! Who knows, maybe we'll stumble upon something that works for everyone. . .it sure as hell ain't going to come from a pharmaceutical company!

Just for my daily update. . .100% pain free today, pretty sure that's 15 days. Had a minor shadow yesterday at 4pm. I swear, I chased it with two beers and almost dared it to develop into a skullbuster. I'm taking a B6 tablet with the GABA tonight to see how it effects potency-

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I too hope that "we stumble upon something that works for everyone," Lt2, but I'll be surprised if we do. Agreed that there are probably multiple causes and multiple types of CH and until something is developed (my guess is that it'll be a designer drug intentionally developed to target a specific location or biochemical process that's gone awry) that does work for everyone, we'll continue to find things like GABA that some, many or most CH'ers find helpful. Glad you found something that works for you and some others in the meantime. Thanks for sharing.

Ron

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