Making the case for a cup of tea…an amino acid in tea may be just what you need to feel less anxious.
Whether taken as a supplement or in cups of tea, l-theanine is safe and helps many people reduce stress and anxiety. Research shows that l-theanine induces alert/relaxed thinking states, reduces your fight-or flight response to stressful events and helps protect the mind from stress-linked thinking and memory deficits.
Read on to learn more about:
- L-theanine’s side effects and safety profile
- How to take it
- How it works and what it does
- Research which support its use
What Is L-Theanine?
L-theanine, or theanine, is a water soluble amino acid that’s found in tea leaves; it’s also available at higher concentrations as a dietary supplement (one dose equaling roughly 10 cups of tea). When you drink tea, l-theanine passes through the blood-brain barrier and affects the brain directly.
- L-theanine shares a very similar chemical structure to the neurotransmitter glutamate – which is a transmitter involved in learning and memory.
- Consuming theanine increases the production of GABA and dopamine.1
How Does It Induce Relaxation?
One way it promotes relaxation is by reducing sympathetic nervous system activation in stressful situations.
- When stressed, your body goes into fight or flight mode – heart rate and blood pressure spike, respiration grows shallower and more rapid, pupils dilate and perspiration increases; your body gets ready to fight a threat or flee the scene!
- Chronic sympathetic nervous system over-activation is unpleasant (you feel stressed out!) and can lead to serious health problems, like cardiovascular disease or dementia.
But theanine can help:
- Studies show that people who take theanine prior to stressful situations have a decreased sympathetic nervous system response to that stress.2
What Other Benefits Does It Have?
- Theanine has neuroprotective effects – it protects the brain from excess glutamate toxicity.
- It is an antioxidant and it inhibits lipid peroxidation.3 Both black and green teas have strong antioxidant properties.
- It works as a cancer fighter and anti-tumor agent. Theanine can increase the effectiveness of some chemotherapy agents.4
Side Effects or Long-Term Health Concerns?
- L-theanine is very well tolerated. People have been drinking green and black tea for a very long time without experiencing health problems. In rare cases, drinking too much tea can lead to digestive upset or nausea.
- Animal model studies show that even at very high doses, sustained ingestion of theanine causes no significant adverse effects.5
- If you drink too much tea you may get too much caffeine.*
*However, a typical cup of coffee contains between 2 and 3 times as much caffeine as an equivalent amount of black tea. If you’re already a coffee drinker, swapping out a cup or two per day for a few cups of brewed tea shouldn’t cause any noticeable differences.6
How Much L-Theanine in a Cup of Tea?
Researchers at the University of Bristol experimented to find out how much l-theanine you’d find in a cup of normally brewed commercial tea. They found that longer brewing times led to higher quantities of the amino acid, but on average:
- A typical 200 ml cup of brewed black tea contained 24.2 mg of l-theanine (+ or – 5.7 mg)
- A typical cup of brewed green tea contained 7.9 mg (+ or – 3.8 mg)
L-theanine supplements are typically sold as 200 mg doses, so if you drink 8 cups of black tea per day – or many more cups of green tea – you’ll get the same quantity of the amino acid as you’d get by taking a supplement.
If you want to get very serious about extracting the maximum quantity of l-theanine from each pot of tea, then follow the advice of researchers from The University of Newcastle in Australia, who tested various extraction methods to see which yielded the best results. They say, to get the highest possible amount of L-theanine:
- Steep tea at 80 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes
- Use a water to tea ratio of 20 ml per 1 gram
- Steep tea that is between 0.5 and 1 mm in particle size!7
Research Supporting L-Theanine for Relaxation
Theanine vs. Xanax?
Researchers in Australia compared 200 mg of theanine to 1 mg of Xanax. Subjects were given either theanine, Xanax or a placebo during either a resting task (baseline) or a task that provoked anxiety.
Theanine worked better than Xanax to induce relaxation during the resting task, though neither theanine nor Xanax had any significant effects during the anxiety task.8
Theanine for Alpha Waves
L-theanine supplements are typically sold as 200 mg doses – or 8 to 10 times as much as you’d get from a typical cup of brewed black tea. So would you experience any relaxation effect after drinking just a couple of cups of tea?
- To find out, researchers in the Netherlands took EEG measurements of healthy study subjects from 45 minutes to 105 minutes after ingesting 50 mg of l-theanine (approximately 2 cups worth).
- They found that even at this moderate dose, compared to subjects given a placebo, those given l-theanine displayed significantly more alpha brain wave activity.
Alpha waves signify an alert but relaxed brain.9
Theanine to Protect Against Stress-Linked Memory Problems
Chronic elevated stress can harm your memory. The theanine in tea may protect your brain from this negative consequence.
Some very recent animal model research (June 2013) shows that theanine protects the brain against stress-caused memory impairments – probably by defending against the toxic impact of stress hormones.
- A group of rats were divided into two experimental conditions. One group received three weeks of pre-treatment with theanine and the other group did not. After three weeks, all rats were put under severe stress.
- Control rats experienced stress-caused visual memory impairments but rats pretreated with theanine did not.
- Rats pretreated with theanine had a much smaller corticosterone level increase than control rats, which likely explains the differing results on the memory tests.10
Theanine to Block Stress-Related Blood Pressure Spikes
Some people experience more significant blood pressure increases during periods of high stress.
Researchers in Japan ran an experiment to see what effect theanine had on stress-related blood pressure increases.
Study subjects were given a placebo or 200 mg of theanine and then tested on mental and physical performance under different conditions: at rest, under psychological stress and under physiological stress.
- Compared to placebo, theanine lowered blood pressure increases associated with stress situations.
- This effect was greatest for subjects who experienced the greatest change from resting blood pressure to stress-situation blood pressure during placebo trials 11
Breakfast, blood sugar, & inflammation
Recent research has shown that Inflammation is responsible for 7 out of 10 Deaths in the United States. But it doesn’t have to be the same way for you.
In fact, in a fairly short amount of time, you could start to experience better sleep…less stomach issues…more energy and stamina…less muscle and joint pain…a drop in weight…lower stress levels…and much, much more!
Learn how to Prevent—Even Reverse—Most Major Diseases by “Turning Off” Inflammation!
Did you know that one of the best times to stretch is right before bed? However…
What stretches should you do? Here’s a 1-minute stretch routine you can do before bed...
Lisa, Yoga Coach
eatlocalgrown / wisemindhealthybody
...easy, 3-minute exercise that completely cured his horrendous snoring! We can both finally sleep!
Today is a good day. Tonight will be even better. Why?
Because you're about to learn easy throat exercises that cure (not just treated) your stubborn snoring – in 3 minutes – starting TONIGHT!
...even if straps, sprays and even torturing CPAP masks have failed you in the past.
Most people heal their snoring in just a few minutes per day using these powerful throat exercises. And they're so easy, you can do them, regardless of your age or physical shape.
Use them anytime, anywhere... even while stuck in traffic or watching TV.
Plus the results are permanent!
Did you know that your bodyfat can become "calorie-resistant"?
True. And it's completely unaffected by even the strictest diets... and most intense exercises.
However, there's good news- Calorie-resistant bodyfat can be now removed...
It's a little-known, calorie-burning hormone we all have... just waiting for the right spark to come alive. It's not thyroid, leptin, ghrelin, insulin, adiponectin, HGH or any other "fat loss" hormone you may know. Read more to find out precisely how to unleash its calorie-burning power:
To your health!
PS - Studies show that it can also reduce your risk of diabetes by 53.7%, a heart attack by 83.3% and stroke by 51.4%. Here's more of the scientific proof...
I bet you can’t guess which muscle in your body is the #1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat. This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
If this “hidden” most powerful primal muscle is healthy, we are healthy.
d) Hip Flexors
Take the quiz above and see if you got the correct answer!
In April, 2009, researchers stunned the medical community when they reported chronic inflammation as the root cause of several major diseases.
See, every year 610,000 people in the U.S. die of heart disease. Cancer claims another 584,000...stroke 130,000...Alzheimer's disease nearly 85,000 — and the list goes on.
Truth is, we now know... chronic inflammation is responsible for 7 out of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States! Hundreds of studies and scientific reviews prove it.
Fortunately, newer research shows you can prevent-even reverse-most major diseases by "turning off" inflammation. And in our new book, we show you how to do just that.
If you or a loved one is suffering from a debilitating condition-and you"re not sure what the culprit is-now's the time to find out...while you can still do something about it!
--> Grab your FREE copy of this groundbreaking soft cover book today (while supplies still last.)
Over the past year, my friend Dave over at PaleoHacks has been working on a super secret cookbook project with our good friend Peter Servold a Le Cordon Bleu trained Chef and owner of Pete's Paleo...
And today, this new incredible Paleo Cookbook is finally available to be shipped right to your door for FREE!
The cookbook is called Paleo Eats, and it's filled with over 80 chef created, insanely tasty Paleo recipes which means they are free from gluten, soy, dairy, and refined sugar.
Get your FREE copy of Paleo Eats Here. (Grab this today, because they only ordered a small batch of these cookbooks for this freebie promotion, and they will sell out FAST!)
Sponsored Health Resources
In the years that I've been working on this website project I've come across some amazing resources by some very special people. I'd like to share them with you here.
NOTE: I update these links often so please check back to see what's new!
1) Everyone knows green smoothies are healthy right? Have you heard of a “red” smoothie? If not, check out this story…
2) Forget what you've read about 10-day lemonade cleanses, 7-day detoxes with green juices and Gwyneth's gruel. All you need to do, and this is perfect for Saturday or or anytime really, is a simple 1-day cleanse.
3) This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
4) I thought it was virtually impossible for a website to be able to tell me anything even a little bit insightful after only submitting my name and date of birth... I was wrong!
5) Turmeric is amazing. The problem is - It's hard to absorb!
6) Wonder why your stomach still sticks out even though you're hammering the core exercises every day? It's a common myth that bulging belly is due to weak abdominal muscles.
7) Even if you're the most active of athletes, you may still suffer from tight hip flexors due to the amount of time you spend each day planted to a chair.
Enjoy! Let me know how these work out for you. And if you run across anything I've missed please let me know.