Next steps for episode "Nootropics, Cognitive Enhancement and Food Biohacks with Ryan Munsey in Episode #6": How to increase GABA, improve focus, balance neurotransmitters, decrease anxiety


In this episode, Ryan Munsey, nootropics expert and Chief Optimizer at NaturalStacks talks about the 1-2-3 of nootropics: How to get started, what tests to start with, what pitfalls to avoid and what foods and supplements + methods to start to take action.

The goal here is to define your baseline and take the right, research backed steps and n=1 experiments to find the right actions and foods for you to unlock quantifiable memory improvements, more motivation, optimal learning and enhanced cognitive capability.

Episode and shownotes here:

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Many of you have taken some of the tests, especially the free Braverman test by brain researcher Dr. Eric Braverman which is a great place to start.

I’ve received questions from you guys regarding increasing GABA levels naturally (which seems to be one of the most common results from the test, and also one of the top starting points into nootropics and cognitive enhancement for many people.)

Some resources into the question, how to increase GABA naturally, and what steps anyone can take to support GABA with foods and practices. The basics are a necessity for the production of all neurotransmitters in the body and brain.

Dr. Eric Braverman, one of the world’s top brain researchers, has written about foods high in glutamic acid which can be beneficial to form GABA in the brain.

Most of these come down to making sure your daily food intake includes a lot of leafy greens, seeds, and nuts like almonds. Whole grains, beef liver and some fish can also be beneficial.

Glutamic Acid/Glutamate (Forms Glutamine) MGS. Per 6-8 OZ. Serving
Almonds, tree nuts (10.3 g.)
Banana (220 mg.)
Beef liver (6.5 g.)
Broccoli (740 mg.)
Brown Rice (940 mg.)
Halibut (7.9 g.)
Lentils (2.8 g.)
Oats, whole grain (7.4 g)
Oranges, citrus fruits (210 mg.)
Potato (830 mg.)
Rice Bran (3.7 g)
Spinach (680 mg.)
Walnuts, tree nuts (5.4 g.)
Whole Wheat, whole grain (8.6 g.)

Additionally, sleep, exercise and some nutrition components are important factors here to ensure that your brain produces neurotransmitters optimally, so your target should be

  • 8 hours of sleep, consistently
  • Aerobic or strength exercise 3-4 times a week
  • Sufficient vitamin B6 intake

The following supplements, foods and herbs are often used, with some, although often limited, research in vivo evidence of benefits:

  • Ashwagandha has 3 studies showing lowered anxiety, and is taken for increased calmness, focus and cognitive benefits for people looking to support and increase GABA

According to Examine: “Preliminary evidence suggests potent anxiolytic effects in the context of chronic stress, with lesser potency in standard forms of anxiety not related to stress. There may be more benefit to social anxiety as well with Ashwagandha relative to other anxiolytics”

  • Magnesium, ideally as Magnesium L-Threonate, the brain-accessible form of magnesium. Magnesium is well researched, linked to improving rest and sleep for many people, and and associated with protective effects against depression and ADHD. High magnesium foods include dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fish, beans, whole grains, and raw chocolate and cacao nibs
    -Magnolia bark or Magnolia officinalis is used in Chinese traditional medicine. It seems to have neuroprotective and relaxing properties and is used to treat depression and anxiety. There have been over 100 papers written about it and while evidence is not conclusive, compounds in Magnolia officinalis seems to have an effect on GABAergic neurotransmission and can increase GABA receptor activation.

  • L-theanine, is often used nootropic for relaxation and reducing anxiety, especially to relax in the evening and to reduce the jittery effects of caffeine. Excellent food sources include green tea and matcha.


Very informative Pod cast! I just finished listening to the audio recording and I learned some valuable info. I was not aware about Nootropics I’m so glad I listened to this pod cast i’m going to incorporate what I learned into my diet so I can function better!


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