Theanine Health Benefits
7 Reasons Why It's More Than A Relaxant

The list of theanine health benefits gets longer daily and manifests itself in both mind and body.



Here is what scientists have discovered to date. Enjoy.

Theanine Health Benefits #1:
Promotes Alpha Brain Waves

Do you know that your brain has 4 wave patterns, each of them associated with a different state of mind? Going from lowest to highest frequency:

  • In Delta brain waves, you are sleeping deeply.

  • In Theta brain waves, you are dozing away.

  • In Alpha brain waves, you are relaxed, and yet alert.

  • In Beta brain waves, you are awake and very excited. You can also be anxious and stressed!

So, if you want to lead a happier, more fulfilling life, you would want more alpha waves, and fewer beta waves.

Numerous human trials have shown that theanine can promote alpha brain waves, putting you in a relaxed, yet alert state without causing drowsiness.

A paper published in the June 1999 issue of Trends in Food Science & Technology found that theanine reduces anxiety in young women aged 18 to 22.

They were given either water, 50 milligrams or 200 milligrams of L-theanine once a week. Afterward, their brain waves were measured.

Those who received the highest dose (200 mg) produced more alpha waves.

Theanine Health Benefits #2:
Increases Dopamine

Further evidence of theanine's relaxing properties come from 4 animal studies that found that theanine reliably increases dopamine levels in the brain.

What's dopamine?

Dopamine is a hormone that is associated with a feeling of well-being. It is a neurotransmitter that is released during pleasurable activities such as eating and sex.

Some studies also suggest that theanine may increase your brain’s production of serotonin and GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). However, these results are still highly preliminary.

Theanine Health Benefits #3
Enhances Learning and Concentration

Theanine enhances the ability to learn, and to remember. It increases concentration, a reason why monks and scholars incorporate tea drinking into meditation and study.

It appears to work quickly and seems to be most effective when you are stressed and your mind is preoccupied by many thoughts. It helps to relax your mind, allowing you to focus on the task at hand.

Because it helps the mind stop racing, it also seems to help promote a more restful, sound sleep. This is because sleep is not interrupted by random thoughts.

A 2007 study conducted by Doctor Foxe found that it synergizes with caffeine to boost the activity of brain neurons.

"As little as 100 milligrams enabled people to focus better on complicated tasks, but only when consumed with 60 milligrams of caffeine — a combination found in roughly 4 cups of green tea," said Foxe more recently.

"There was a profound synergistic effect," he says. "My take is, we're all self-medicating with this."

Tea Improves Concentration

Theanine Health Benefits #3:
Normalizes Blood Pressure

Theanine may bring high blood pressure back to normal, but has no effect on normal blood pressure.

In a 1995 Japanese study, rats with naturally occurring high blood pressure were fed theanine. Their blood pressure was reduced significantly.

However, the same effects were not observed in rats with normal blood pressure, even though they were given doses as high as 2000 milligrams per kilogram.

Green Tea and Blood Pressure

Theanine Health Benefits #4:
Reduces Cholesterol

According to a 2002 paper published by Zhang et al., theanine reduced cholesterol counts in both humans and gerbils, showing that it may improve your heart health.

Another 1997 Japanese study also found that theanine prevents cholesterol from turning bad through oxidation (in a process called LDL peroxidation). However, this effect was not as strong as that of green tea polyphenols.

Green Tea and Cholesterol

Theanine Health Benefits #5:
Anti-Cancer

A 2002 study published by Sadzuka et al. suggested that theanine may help improve the quality of life of cancer patients by improving the efficacy of cancer drugs, and through its relaxing effects on the mind.

Studies have found that theanine has the following benefits for cancer patients:

  • Increases the concentration of anti-cancer drugs in tumors.

  • Reduces the concentration of anti-cancer drugs in other tissues, where they are not needed.

  • Inhibits the growth of cancer tumors themselves.

The end result? More effective cancer treatment with fewer side effects.

Green Tea and Cancer - Unproven and Yet Valuable?

Theanine Health Benefits #6:
Increases Immunity

A 2003 study conducted by Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School found that it acts as an antigen, increasing the body’s immunity against colds and flu.

They concluded that drinking tea can promote a strong immune response.

Green Tea and Immunity

Theanine Health Benefits #7:
Lose Weight

Green tea helps lose weight, and according to a preliminary 2004 Japanese study, theanine contributes to this effect.

In this animal study, rats fed a theanine diet for 16 weeks had significantly lower body weight, body fats and triglycerides (blood plasma fat).

Green Tea Weight Loss - 9 Important Facts To Know To Avoid Being Ripped Off!

Theanine Health Benefit #8:
Alleviates PMS

Finally, if you are not already overwhelmed by the magic of theanine, another 2001 study by the Institute of Traditional Medicine discovered that consuming 200 milligrams of theanine daily helps alleviate PMS symptoms.

The study concluded that the supplement is especially helpful for relaxing the mind.

Green Tea and PMS

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References

Lekh Raj Jujena, Chu D, Okubo T, Nagato Y, and Yokogoshi H (1999). L-theanine – a unique amino acid of green tea and its relaxation effect in humans. Trends in Food Science & Technology. 1999;10(6-7):199-204.

Yokogoshi H, Kato Y, Sagesaka YM, Takihara-Matsuura T, Kakuda T, Takeuchi N (1995). Reduction effect of theanine on blood pressure and brain 5-hydroxyindoles in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 1995 Apr;59(4):615-8.

Zhang G, Miura Y, Yagasaki K (2002). Effects of dietary powdered green tea and theanine on tumor growth and endogenous hyperlipidemia in hepatoma-bearing rats. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2002 Apr;66(4):711-6.

Yokozawa T, Dong E (1997). Influence of green tea and its three major components upon low-density lipoprotein oxidation. Exp Toxicol Pathol. 1997 Dec;49(5):329-35.

Sadzuka Y, Sugiyama T, Sonobe T (2000). Efficacies of tea components on doxorubicin induced antitumor activity and reversal of multidrug resistance. Toxicol Lett. 2000 Apr 3;114(1-3):155-62.

Zheng G, Sayama K, Okubo T, Juneja LR, Oguni I (2004). Anti-obesity effects of three major components of green tea, catechins, caffeine and theanine, in mice. In Vivo. 2004 Jan-Feb;18(1):55-62.

Yokogoshi H, et al. (2001). Institute for Traditional Medicine (www.itmonline.org). Theanine effects on premenstrual syndrome. Amino Acid Supplements IV: Theanine. Subhuti D. Referencing: Proceedings of the Nogei Kagaku Kai, Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry. 2001;75:166.

Kamath AB, Wang L, Das H, Li L, Reinhold VN, Bukowski JF (2003). Antigens in tea-beverage prime human Vgamma 2Vdelta 2 T cells in vitro and in vivo for memory and nonmemory antibacterial cytokine responses. : Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2003 May 13;100(10):6009-14. Epub 2003 Apr 28.

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