VANCOUVER, B.C. – Are you over-committed with too much to do in too little time? Do you have problems truly relaxing or sleeping? Maybe, it’s time to look at an amino acid that has been shown to reduce the effects of stress and anxiety.
The traditional approach to dealing with stress and anxiety is taking prescription drugs that mask but do not necessarily eliminate the symptoms. These mood altering drugs also have a downside – unwelcome side effects such as drowsiness, loss of libido, weight gain and sometimes even addiction.
You might want to consider a natural alternative. L-Theanine is a pharmaceutical-grade, amino acid found naturally in tea plants and certain mushrooms. It assists with stress, improves learning and concentration and may even reduce the jitters brought on by too much caffeine in coffee or sodas. It has also been shown to create a sense of relaxation without drowsiness.
Dr. Michael Lyon, Medical & Research Director of the Canadian Center for Functional Medicine in Coquitlam, B.C. says that L-Theanine has a long history. He says it has been consumed in green tea for thousands of years.
“A heavy tea drinker who consumes six to eight cups of green tea daily will ingest from 200 to 400 mg of L-Theanine,” says Dr. Lyon.
“Absorbed quickly through the small intestine, L-Theanine is transported directly to the brain where it stimulates Alpha brain waves—the waves that indicate that we’re in an alert but relaxed state. Although effective doses can range from between 50 to 200 mg. of L-Theanine, it only takes 30 minutes to achieve an alert, awake yet relaxed mental and emotional state that will last from eight to 12 hours.”
Dr. Lyon says that L-Theanine is a caffeine antagonist. In other words, it has the opposite effect that caffeine has.
“These effects can readily been seen in EEGs of rodents given caffeine, followed by L-Theanine. One of the things that this amino acid alters is the levels of gamma amino butyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitting chemical in the brain known for its calming effect. What becomes clear in the studies is that theanine increases GABA while caffeine decreases it,” says Dr. Lyon.
“Increased levels of GABA don’t just assist in increasing relaxation, they also creates a sense of wellbeing. L-Theanine’s ability to increase this brain chemical can put you in a better mood by changing the biochemistry within your brain. L-Theanine also increases levels of dopamine, another brain chemical with mood-enhancing effects.”
Studies show that L-Theanine is also helpful for persons having trouble sleeping and waking up feeling exhausted. Researchers in Japan found that taking an L-Theanine dietary supplement before bed produced a significant improvement in sleep quality.
According to Dr. Shuichiro Shirakawa, a professor at the National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry at NIMH in Tokyo, seven of 10 subjects in a study there showed a statistically significant improvement in sleep efficiency, an index of actual sleep time enjoyed between the time of falling asleep and a decreased occurrence of nightmares during the L-Theanine phase but not during placebo.
Data from human and animal studies show L-Theanine to be very safe. But make sure that you take the right L-Theanine.
A recent study showed that some Theanine products might not be what they claim to be. Only Suntheanine®, which is produced via an enzymatic process, is contained in NF’s L-Theanine. Products containing a mixture of D and L-Theanine are call racemates and may be inferior to the real thing in terms of efficacy and safety. Emotion Factors™ SunTheanine product with L-Theanine can be obtained at most North American health food product retailers.
Natural Factors Nutritional Products Ltd. is a North American leader in the health products industry. The 50-year old, Company offers a full range of vitamins, minerals, specialty supplements and functional foods to consumers around the world. Natural Factors is dedicated to researching and manufacturing evidence-based nutraceuticals and in ensuring the highest product quality. With almost 45,000 square metres of production, research and laboratory facilities, the Company’s national head office in Coquitlam includes state of the art manufacturing facilities. It also has offices in Burnaby, Kelowna, Toronto and Everett, Washington. Visit us at www.naturalfactors.com