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L-theanine is an amino acid contained in green tea that stimulates the alpha waves in the brain. L-theanine is therefore as calming as meditation. It increases energy without exhaustion, soothes without making you sleepy, and motivates without overpowering. The result: relaxation, recovery, concentration and a good mood.
There are hundreds of studies on the many health benefits of green tea. What makes it the most consumed drink in the world, after water, is its pleasant taste and relaxing effect.
Both properties - and many others - can be attributed to a unique, neurologically active amino acid called L-theanine.
In our everyday modern life, we are exposed to many stress factors, which are aggravated by a lack of nutrients, lack of sleep etc. which leads to physical and psychological problems.
It is no wonder that more and more people are using medication to find calmness and cope with stress. However, these have many dangerous side effects.
Wouldn't you rather take something that is natural and has no known side effects? Many people are doing exactly this, which makes theanine increasingly popular.
L-theanine (or just theanine) is a free amino acid that is found almost exclusively in the green tea plant and makes up around 1 to 2 percent of the dry weight of the tea leaves.
It is the predominant amino acid in green tea leaves and gives tea its umami flavor, the 'fifth taste' (in addition to the four traditional flavors sweet, salty, sour and bitter).
The calming effects of green tea can seem like a contradiction to the stimulating properties of caffeine in tea - but it can be explained by the effects of theanine. This amino acid counteracts the stimulating effects of caffeine on the nervous system.
Research on volunteer test subjects has shown that L-theanine provides relaxation through at least two different mechanisms around 30-40 minutes after ingestion.
The brain emits weak electrical impulses (brain waves) that can be measured on the surface of the head. The prevailing frequency of electrical impulses is related to different types of mental states and activities.
Brain waves can be divided into four categories (Delta, Theta, Alpha and Beta), each of which can be associated with a mental state.
Alpha brain waves are known to originate in a relaxed state, so alpha waves are used as a sign of relaxation.
In one study, the topography of the brain waves showed that alpha waves from the back to the top of the head (occipital and parietal regions of the brain) could be observed within around 40 minutes after taking either 50 or 200 mg of theanine.
In a separate study, the intensity of the alpha waves was described as dose-dependent (with a dose of 200 mg causing a significant increase compared to the control group) and was detectable after 30 minutes.
L-theanine has a significant effect on the delivery or reduction of neurotransmitters such as the happiness hormones dopamine and serotonin, which improves the memory and learning ability.
Theanine can also affect emotions due to the increased release of dopamine. Theanine reduces serotonin levels in the brain by either limiting serotonin synthesis or increasing its breakdown in the brain.
The regulation of blood pressure depends in part on catecholaminergic and serotonergic neurons in the brain and the peripheral nervous system.
Studies in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) showed an impressive hypotensive effect of theanine.
Preliminary studies show that L-theanine can increase the anti-tumor activity of some chemotherapeutic agents and reduce some side effects of these drugs.
It appears to increase the inhibitory concentration of these drugs in the tumor cells, although the exact mechanism is unknown. At the same time, theanine reduces the oxidative stress that these active substances cause in normal cells - possibly due to its slightly antioxidant effect. Regarding this, theanine has been shown to inhibit lipid peroxidation caused by copper in vitro from low density lipoprotein (LDL).
Stress and anxiety are disabling conditions that disrupt the balance of our hormones, which contributes to the loss of our well-being, performance and even lifespan. Stress disrupts the immune system, which makes us susceptible to opportunistic infections and can trigger depressions.
In the year 1998, pharmaceutical sales of anti-anxiety medication totaled million, while sales of antidepressants totaled nearly billion!
People under stress can use theanine to alleviate many of the damaging effects of stress without being immobilized. Theanine does not make you sleepy because this amino acid does not produce theta waves in the brain. Theanine does not cause additional relaxation in people who are already relaxed.
Theanine can also be used as a dietary supplement in other areas, since it reduces the side effects of caffeine, which are caused by excessive consumption of coffee, soft drinks and other substances containing caffeine.
Most clinical studies and information about theanine come from Japan.
Theanine is extremely safe. In 1964, the Japanese Ministry of Health and Social Affairs approved theanine for unlimited use in all foods except baby food.
Theanine is intended for use as a mental and physical relaxant that does not cause drowsiness. Although there is no fixed schedule for taking theanine, it can be even more effective if it is taken at the first sign of stress.
There are no known negative reactions to theanine and no drug interactions have been reported. The effect of theanine is not influenced by food and can be taken at any time - as needed.
Since theanine has a mild taste, the capsules can be opened and the contents can be dissolved in water.
Even though theanine is likely to be safe for pregnant and lactating women, we recommend not taking it without checking with your doctor first.
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