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Relax with a Green Tea

April 24, 2012

Although tea can have nearly as much caffeine as some coffees, it doesn’t have the same instant nerve jangling effect. Tea contains a compound called L-theanine and recent research shows that L-theanine neutralises the “speedy” effects of caffeine without reducing its other health functionalities like its ability to control fat metabolism.

L-theanine’s effect on the brain can be visualized on brain scans. Brain waves are smoothed out meaning the body is relaxed and the mind is calm but not drowsy. These characteristics are prescribed by sleep experts. Listening to music or similar pre-sleep relaxation gives similar results to L-theanine and helps a person fall asleep. And remember lack of sleep is related to many chronic diseases.

Staying asleep, once asleep, is another issue for some people.  Researchers have shown that L-theanine taken daily enabled subjects to sleep significantly better. It was documented that sleep quality, recovery from exhaustion, and refreshed feelings were all enhanced by L-theanine.

L-theanine can cross the blood-brain barrier and positively affect brain chemistry and scientists have studied its mood enhancing effects. The results of studies have showed it can enhance mood.  The mechanism of this is not well understood butit seems that L-theanine can alter levels of certain amino acids changing the levels of serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain which control mood.

Useful reading:

  • Low doses of L-theanine can partially reverse caffeine-induced reductions in slow wave sleep (Slow-wave sleep (SWS) is often referred to as deep sleep) in an animal model (Lyon et al)
  • A study demonstrated that L-theanine is effective in improving some aspects of sleep quality in young children diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Sleep problems are a common issue associated with ADHD and L-theanine may represent a safe and important therapy in childhood. (Jang et al)
  • Results suggest that L-theanine has antipsychotic and antidepressant effects. (Wakabayashi et al)
  • The combination of moderate levels of L-theanine and caffeine significantly improved accuracy during task switching and self-reported alertness and reduced tiredness (Giesbrecht et al)

Calmar y relajar

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