Does anything help repair GABA receptors?

Today’s blog is about HDAC Inhibitors and benzo withdrawal. Scientists have been investigating methods to mitigate the harm caused by alcohol and benzodiazepines on GABA receptors. It has been observed that an HDAC (histone deacetylase) inhibitor can potentially protect and even help upregulate damaged GABA receptors, at least in mice. One specific drug, an antibiotic/antifungal medication with HDAC inhibiting properties, appeared to demonstrate the highest efficacy. Additionally, a study on mice involving benzodiazepines concluded that “…furthermore, understanding the role of HDAC inhibitors in benzodiazepines tolerance and the downregulation of GABAA subunit expression may uncover new therapeutic targets to prevent tolerance, dependence and/or withdrawal syndrome.” However, before becoming overly optimistic about a cure for benzo withdrawal, it is important to consider the challenges and explore more feasible alternatives.

The primary obstacles include: 1) the experiments have been conducted on mice, and it remains uncertain whether humans would respond similarly to the drug; 2) potential side effects or long-term damage associated with the drug are unknown (we all know what that is like!), and 3) the drug has not yet been widely used on humans, although some trials are underway. These challenges may seem insurmountable, and the prospect of repairing damaged GABA receptors could appear distant. However, there is reason for optimism.

The power of plants.

Published reports have identified HDAC inhibitors in common plant-based foods. Consuming a whole-food plant-based diet can offer exceptional health benefits, such as reduced inflammation and avoidance of the sympathetic nervous system’s fight or flight response, which can be triggered by animal products. A whole-food, plant-based diet has been proven to reverse various health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers, autoimmune disorders, and even early-stage Alzheimer’s. The exciting new research suggests that this diet may also help upregulate GABA receptors.

Foods that help HDAC inhibition:

  1. Garlic: Contains organosulfur compounds, which have been shown to exhibit HDAC inhibitory properties.
  2. Turmeric: Contains the active compound curcumin, which has been reported to have HDAC inhibitory activity.
  3. Onions: Rich in flavonoids like quercetin, which can act as HDAC inhibitors.
  4. Broccoli: Contains sulforaphane, a compound known for its HDAC inhibitory effects.
  5. Cabbage: Another cruciferous vegetable with sulforaphane, which can help inhibit HDAC activity.
  6. Brussels sprouts: Also a source of sulforaphane, providing HDAC inhibitory benefits.
  7. Kale: This leafy green vegetable is yet another source of sulforaphane.
  8. Various fruits: Some fruits, such as berries (e.g., blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries), grapes, and apples, contain compounds like resveratrol and other polyphenols that can act as HDAC inhibitors.

By consuming a whole-food, plant-based diet, we provide our bodies with the necessary nutrients to heal and potentially enhance our chances of repairing damaged GABA receptors more quickly. I have experienced personal benefits from adopting a whole-food, plant-based diet, such as improved digestion, increased energy and mental clarity, and an overall sense of well-being. My clients who go plant-based report improvements as well. Here is a link to a 30-day transition to a whole-food, plant-based diet for people in benzo withdrawal/BIND.

Research links: