What is L-theanine?
First introduced centuries ago in Southeast Asia, tea has become the most widely consumed beverage worldwide aside from water and it is now cultivated in more than 30 different countries. Extensive research has been conducted on tea, specifically green tea, for its many medicinal properties.
It has been estimated that nearly 65 percent of the adult population has experienced some form of stress or anxiety, and these numbers are on a continual rise due to the busy lifestyles we have adopted. Confronted daily with the stresses of our lives, our jobs, our families, etc., we continue to search for ways to relax and reduce our stress levels.
Recently, much attention has been focused on L-Theanine, a unique amino acid commonly found in green tea. It has been determined that L-Theanine is a derivative of Glutamic Acid which is one of the neurotransmitters found in the brain.
Absorbed in the intestinal brush-border membrane, L-Theanine, due to its fat solubility, is incorporated into the brain via the leucine-preferring transport system of the blood brain barrier. Once absorbed into the brain, L-Theanine exhibits many positive, physiological effects.
In an experiment conducted by Hihehiko Yokogoshi, PhD and Takehiko Terashima, PhD at the Laboratory of Nutritional Biochemistry in Shizuoka, Japan, it was determined that dopamine concentrations in the brain, especially in the striatum, hypothalamus, and hippocampus increased significantly after the administration of L-Theanine. Dopamine, one of the brain’s neurotransmitters, is said to affect human emotion. L-Theanine also increases GABA levels in the brain which leads to a feeling of well-being.
The brain transmits four different categories of brain waves which are determined by frequency: Gamma (g), Theta (q), Alpha (a), and Beta (b). Gamma waves are present during sound sleep and Theta waves indicate dozing or sleeping. While Beta waves are present during an awake, excited state, Alpha waves signify an awake, relaxed state. Because L-Theanine promotes Alpha wave generation in the brain, an awake, alert and relaxed physical and mental condition is achieved which demonstrates Theanine’s effectiveness in stress management.
What makes L-theanine different?
Unlike Kava Kava, Valerian, and St. John’s Wort, L-Theanine does not cause drowsiness or impair a person’s motor skills. Effects of L-Theanine are experienced within 30 minutes of consumption and no drug interactions are known.
Awarded “Best New Product of 2000” at Nutracon, Theanine was approved in 1964 by the Japanese Ministry of Health and Welfare for use in food and is currently available in more than 50 food products including ice cream, candy, beverages and supplements.
Additional information available here: www.elthea100.co.uk