Thursday, July 12, 2012

Theanine: Nature's Remedy for Stress and More

Do you suffer from anxiety? Stress? Lethargy? Insomnia? Decreased mood or cognitive function? Lowered immune system function? High blood pressure? Surgery recovery problems?  Cancer? Would you like a supplement that helps with all of these problems, while being 100% natural and having no side effects? Look no further than your pantry!

L-Theanine (chemical name: r-glutamylethylamide) is an amino acid commonly found in green tea, and has been shown to reduce stress and act as a natural tranquilizer while at the same time improving mood, cognition, and alertness. Able to cross the blood-brain barrier, theanine alters the levels of serotonin and dopamine in the brain.  One of the great things about Theanine is that it will not make you drowsy or have any of the other terrible side effects that pharmaceutical tranquillizers do.

A glutamate derivative, Theanine works by blocking the binding of l-glutamic acid to glutamate receptors in the brain, promoting alpha wave (i.e., relaxation) production in the brain, and it increasing the overall level of the brain inhibitory transmitter GABA. GABA is a neurotransmitter responsible for relaxation, pain relief, and sleep, and several neurological disorders, such as epilepsy, sleep disorders, and Parkinson’s disease are affected by it (indeed, benzodiazepines like Valium and Xanax increase GABA in the brain, but with a host of terrible side effects). 

Interestingly, theanine may help the body's immune response to infection by boosting the disease-fighting capacity of gamma delta T cells. Theanine may also help lower blood pressure, fight obesity, and protect against liver injury), prevent cognitive dysfunction and help with Alzheimer’s, and even protect against cancer drug DNA damage on bone marrow.  

Theanine has been recently shown to have antipsychotic-like and possibly atidepressant-like effects and improve memory and attention. 

A recent study in Canada found that Theanine is a safe and effective therapy for childhood ADHD.  They stated: “This study demonstrates that 400 mg daily of L-theanine is safe and effective in improving some aspects of sleep quality in boys diagnosed with ADHD.”

Researchers in Japan found that Theanine can help recover from surgery, saying “These results suggest that CT suppresses inflammatory responses by inhibiting the surgically induced decrease in GSH in the small intestine and promotes postoperative recovery.” 
You can just drink a lot of green tea, or get yourself a Theanine supplement.  Theanine supplements abound. I like Suntheanine a pure form of the unique amino acid L-theanine).