What is Theanine?

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When we are overloaded with more than we can handle we feel stress. Stress in small amounts is healthy for the body but it has become a common side effect of our lifestyles. Our highly technologically advanced world has not only added comfort  but also stress to our lives. A fast paced life with a thousand distractions to add more variety to life has put more stress into our lives. Several studies have shown that repeated bouts of stress can impair our physical and mental immunity resulting in panic attacks that can increase blood pressure and decrease metabolic processes. It can also burden you with depression and insomnia. But there are ways to reduce stress.

A daily consumption of about 4-5 cups of freshly brewed green tea seems to help people reduce the effects of stress. The phytochemicals present in the leaves of the Camellia sinensis (tea plant) helps to calm down frayed senses and attain a state of “mindful alertness”. The elements responsible for this effect are theanine, and caffeine; it is the combination of the two potent organic compounds that makes this tea unique from any other brews.

 

 

What is Theanine?

Theanine is a type of organic compound formed by the combination of amino acids and lutamic Acid. Chemically, it is called by different names such as Gamma-Glutamylethylamide, 5-N-Ethyl-Glutamine, or L-Theanine (levorotary enantiomer). In the year 1950, Theanine was successfully extracted from the Gyokuro leaves in the Kyoto Tea Laboratory. In 1964, the Health and Welfare Ministry in Japan approved theanine for universal consumption. In the same year, it was labeled "safe" by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Theanine is used for reducing anxiety, and stress as it reduces heart rate and salivary responses during stressful activities. Regular intake increases alertness and avoid drowsiness. In a study, Japanese scientists found that theanine promotes alpha brain waves, an indicator of alert relaxation and does not possess the tranquilizing effects found in most calming agents. Clinical studies have shown that this compound controls the brain for Gamma-Amino Butyric Acid (GABA) production. This neurotransmitter provides a sense of well being. Due to these properties, Theanine supplement is used to treat "panic disorder". Theanine supplement is easily available in the market; it comes in conveniently dosed capsules or powder form. 

 

 

What Are the Natural Sources of Theanine? 

Theanine is found in large amounts in Green Tea. The compound is mostly found in the leaves of Camelia sinesis, and Camelia sasanqua. Its content depends upon the age and quality of the plant leaves. Black, Oolong, and White Teas contain high amounts of this beneficial substance. Mushroom especially Bay Boletus species, found in Europe and North America, has a significant amount of Theanine. Additionally, theanine fortified food products such as non-herbal teas, fruit juices, chocolate bars, chewing gum, and breath mints are also available for those who don't drink teas. 

 

 

What are the Health Benefits of Theanine?

  • Nervous System: Theanine has psychoactive properties. It reduces mental exhaustion, combats physical stress, and improves depressive mood. In association with antipsychotic medication, helps to reduce certain symptoms of Schizophrenia. Fortified drinks help to concentrate. It has a relaxing and tranquillizing effect on its user. Theanine combats insomnia and decreases the number of nighttime awakenings.
  • Cancer: It inhibits growth of lung cancer cells. Regular intake enhances the effectiveness of several anti-cancer agents such as Berbamine, Trichostatin A and Norcantharidin.
  • Cardiovascular System: Helps to lower blood pressure in hypertensive individuals. Besides, it reduces low-density lipoprotein levels in the blood. 
  • Immune System: Clinical studies have shown it strengthens the immunity system. It plays an active role in releasing cytokines to defend against invading pathogens. Regular consumption reduces the occurrence of flu and cold. 

 

 

What are Theanine Deficiency Symptoms? 

 Deficiency Symptoms include:

  • Enhanced stress levels
  • Reduced Dopamine and GABA production
  • Inability to concentrate or focus for long periods of time
  • Lethargy
  • Disorientation
  • Fuzzy thinking
  • Hypertension
  • Forgetfulness
  • Immune system issues
  • Sleep Disorders
  • Mood disorder
  • Depression and Anxiety Attacks
  • Hot Flashes.

 

 

What are the Side-effects of Theanine? 

Pregnant or lactating women must consult their doctor before taking this or any other related supplements. Individuals suffering from arrhythmia, diabetes, glaucoma, liver disease, or osteoporosis must avoid green tea. Cancer patients must consult with their doctor before consuming supplements. It has been found that L-Theanine interferes with chemotherapeutic medications.

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