L-Theanine: A Secret Big Pharma Doesn’t Want You Knowing

With the exclusion of water, tea is the most consumed beverage worldwide. Around the world, 2 billion people will drink tea every morning, that’s over a quarter of the global population.  This statistic makes a lot of sense when you realise that tea is the national drink of both China and India. 

Within black, white, and green tea contains this unique amino acid known as L-Theanine. L-Theanine has been found to affect aspects of the human brain. Specifically,  L-Theanine is a non-dietary amino acid, meaning that it’s not required to sustain human life. However, while L-Theanine is not an essential amino acid, this doesn’t undermine the immensely beneficial properties that it can induce in the human body.

History of L-Theanine:

Tea consumption has been traced back thousands of years, all the way to Ancient China when civilisations were utilising the benefits of tea leaves. However, L-Theanine itself was only discovered as a component of green tea in 1949, in which it was then extracted from the tea leaves a year later and used to supplement. 

L-Theanine Green Tea

 

Benefits of L-Theanine:

Studies conducted have found that L-Theanine can effectively cross the blood brain barrier. When L-Theanine reaches the brain, it further emphasises communication between brain cells, which can enhance cognition. Studies also link L-Theanine to have the ability to increase one’s awareness, improve mood, and promote relaxation.
 
L-Theanine affects numerous neurotransmitters, such as Gamma-Amino Butyric acid (GABA) and glutamate, creating desirable effects. GABA induces a calming feeling within the body when released. When taken, L-Theanine mimics these calming effects of the naturally produced GABA and also increases the amount of GABA produced in the body. It is said that L-Theanine blocks glutamate receptors, which indirectly supports GABA, further creating that calming effect.
 
Furthermore, L-Theanine promotes the release of neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, both of which are directly linked to one’s mood.
 
Numerous studies have been published on the benefits of taking L-Theanine, as well as taking it with caffeine in tandem. Researchers have found an increase in memory and attention; reduction in stress responses in the human body; and an increase in cognition and mood.

Summary:

A standard cup of green tea contains approximately 20 mg of L-Theanine. This is a real drawback of obtaining L-Theanine from tea, and thus is one of the main reasons people will tend to buy a supplement containing a bigger dose of the amino acid, to attain the desired effects.

At Kaizen Age, we don't like to drink over 5 cups of green tea per day, this is why L-Theanine is one of ten ingredients we've included in our formula for Vita MIND, and as you've found, it's easy to see why.

References:

  1. Haskell, C. F., Kennedy, D. O., Milne, A. L., Wesnes, K. A., & Scholey, A. B. (2008). The effects of l-theanine, caffeine and their combination on cognition and mood. Biological Psychology,77(2), 113-122. doi:10.1016/j.biopsycho.2007.09.008

  2. Juneja, L. (1999). L-theanine—a unique amino acid of green tea and its relaxation effect in humans. Trends in Food Science & Technology,10(6-7), 199-204. doi:10.1016/s0924-2244(99)00044-8

  3. Kimura, K., Ozeki, M., Juneja, L. R., & Ohira, H. (2007). L-Theanine reduces psychological and physiological stress responses. Biological Psychology,74(1), 39-45. doi:10.1016/j.biopsycho.2006.06.006

  4. Park, S., Jung, I., Lee, W. K., Lee, Y. S., Park, H. K., Go, H. J., . . . Rho, S. S. (2011). A Combination of Green Tea Extract andl-Theanine Improves Memory and Attention in Subjects with Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Study. Journal of Medicinal Food,14(4), 334-343. doi:10.1089/jmf.2009.1374

  5. Parnell, H., Owen, G., & Rycroft, J. (2006). Combined effects of L-theanine and caffeine on cognition and mood. Appetite,47(2), 273. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2006.07.051

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