Got brain fog?

That’s one of the most common signs of a leaky blood brain barrier. Reduced brain function (cognitive decline) is also a common sign.

The GABA Challenge, as discussed by Dr. Datis Kharrazian in his book “Why Isn’t My Brain Working?“, provides us with a simple tool to assess the integrity of your blood brain barrier.

What is the Blood Brain Barrier (BBB)?

The blood-brain barrier is a finely woven mesh of cells and blood vessels that surrounds and protects the brain. Only nano-sized particles can get in or out.

Just like the gut, the BBB can become leaky allowing unhealthy things in. A leaky gut is usually accompanied by a leaky BBB, but not always.

Fortunately, the BBB has the potential to regenerate itself quickly.

For example, chronic ‘stress’ leads to high cortisol, which is very damaging to the BBB.

Normalizing stress can allow the BBB to repair.

Remember that stress is not just emotional. Stress to the body can be caused by many things, such as:

  • Food allergies and sensitivities

  • Gut infections

  • Alcohol

  • Pollutants

  • Chronic viral conditions

  • Elevated glucose and diabetes

  • Elevated homocysteine levels

  • Poor diet

  • Systemic inflammation

The tight junctions of a healthy blood-brain barrier only allow nanoparticles, which are very tiny, to pass through while preventing the passage of environmental compounds and antigens (molecules capable of causing an immune response).

GABA, a popular supplement for reducing anxiety, is larger than nanoparticle size and does not have a protein that allows it to be transported through the BBB.

In other words, it cannot cross the blood brain barrier.

So if you take GABA and notice it is very calming, you probably have a leaky blood brain barrier.

The GABA Challenge

When a leaky blood brain barrier is suspected, a challenge test using GABA can be helpful.

To do the test, take 1000 mg of GABA (straight GABA, no other additives) during the day, not near bedtime.

Six o’clock pm is a good time. Be sure that you are home for the evening during this test.

Monitor your reaction for the next several hours.

Be sure to take the GABA on an empty stomach.

  • If you feel noticeably calmer or even sleepy, this indicates a leaky BBB. You may be susceptible to undesirable substances that can leak into the brain.

  • If you feel more anxious or irritable after taking the GABA, this is also a sign of a leaky BBB. Eating some protein should relieve the anxiousness.

  • If you feel no change at all, that is a good sign that your BBB is intact.

How to Repair a Leaky Blood Brain Barrier

  1. Repair your leaky gut first. The gut and brain are in constant communication via the vagus nerve. You won’t be successful repairing your brain barrier until your gut lining is healed.
    Read my article to find out how to test for Leaky Gut and how to repair Leaky Gut.

  2. Address blood sugar imbalances. Get tested for blood sugar dysregulation and implement a Two Week Sugar Detox Plan.

  3. Eliminate gut infections and parasites. See a healthcare practitioner for help.

  4. Get tested for autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s Thyroid disease.

  5. Reduce chronic stress. Take our Stress Assessment Test.

  6. Check for hormonal imbalances. See how our client, Tina, did it and resolved her depression too.

  7. Finally, repair your leaky blood brain barrier by taming brain inflammation.

Here’s how:

You can tame brain inflammation with flavonoids.  

Flavonoids are a diverse group of phytonutrients (plant chemicals) found in almost all fruits and vegetables.

Dr. Kharrazian suggests using a combination of all the following flavonoids to create a synergistic effect:

  • Apigenin–found in parsley, artichoke, basil and celery

  • Luteolin–found in celery and green peppers

  • Baicalein–found in Chinese skullcap

  • Resveratrol–found in grapes and wine

  • Rutin–citrus flavonoid

  • Catechin–found in tea leaves

  • Curcumin–found in turmeric spice

These flavanoids come in supplemental form as well.

How much should you take? Depends on how much inflammation you have.

Start small and increase it slowly until the symptoms abate.  You may start with 200 mg but find that you need to work up to 2000 mg each day.

Dr. Kharrazian suggests that a dose of 100-500 mg of each flavonoid is a good preventive strategy.