The Natural Way

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

An amino acid from Green Tea? Yes, and it is good for you too!

A surprising finding is that Green Tea has an unique amino acid in it called L-theanine. This just might be your herbal way to improve your health and emotional well-being.

L-theanine is widely found as a food additive in Japan. The Japanese have approved its use since 1964 and it is currently found in more than 50 food products including ice cream, candy, beverages and supplements. Because the Japanese have such a good medical/research system the benefits and safety of L-theanine are well known, at least over there. These include: promoting relaxation without drowsiness; improved learning and concentration (ADHD?); heightening mental acuity; controlling hypertension; lowering cholesterol; reducing stress and anxiety; and reversing the negative effects of caffeine.

L-theanine is a derivative of glutamic acid which is one of the neurotransmitters found in the brain. Dopamine is another important neurotransmitter which increases in the brain after taking L-theanine in just 30 minutes. GABA levels also increase in the brain which leads to a feeling of well-being.

Our brains transmit four types of brain waves: Gamma, Theta, Alpha and Beta. Gamma waves are present during sound sleep and Theta during dozing or sleeping. While Beta are present during an awake, excited state, Alpha waves signify an awake, relaxed state. L-theanine promotes Alpha wave generation, so you get an alert yet relaxed physical and mental condition. It does not cause drowsiness or impair motor skills and it starts working within 30 minutes with no known drug interactions.

Folks, this is an extensively studied natural product used widely for many years in other countries. If I were prone to being excitable, worried, or if I had a child with Attention Deficit Disorder, with or without hyperactivity, I'd try L-theanine. If I had a caffeine high and needed to sleep, guess what? I'd probably add it to my regimen for managing high blood pressure too. L-theanine is safe, natural, effective and cheap. Sounds pretty good to me.

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