Have you ever enjoyed the relaxing effects of green tea? You may have wondered how a caffeinated drink could make you feel so calm.
Today I’ll reveal green tea’s secret ingredient and how it can help relieve stress and anxiety. And if you don’t like green tea, don’t worry, you can enjoy all the benefits without the bitter taste.
Green tea is the most popular drink in the world – second only to water. Millions of people use green tea to relieve the stresses of everyday life.
I’ve written to you before about green tea’s powerful anti-aging antioxidant, EGCG.
But you may not know about green tea’s anti-anxiety secret… an amino acid called l-theanine.
Found in tea leaves, l-theanine reverses the stimulating effects of caffeine. It works in your brain by making alpha waves. This creates a feeling of deep relaxation and mental alertness similar to meditation.
Not only does l-theanine reduce anxiety but it also stops blood pressure spikes if you’re overstressed1, helping you feel calmer no matter the situation.
L-theanine also affects the levels of two important brain chemicals: dopamine and serotonin. These neurotransmitters help create a sense of emotional well being. Other benefits include improved memory and learning ability.
Brain waves are the electrical impulses that can be measured on the surface of your head. There are four categories: delta, theta, alpha and beta. Each of the four corresponds to different mental states and activities:
- Delta – Deep Sleep
- Theta – Light Sleep and Drowsiness
- Alpha – Relaxed Wakefulness and Alertness
- Beta – Stressful Situations, Lack of Concentration
In one study, researchers saw alpha waves within forty minutes of people taking either 50mg or 200mg of l-theanine. In another study, they found that a dose of 200mg produced more alpha waves than the 50mg dose. This time, the effect occurred in only thirty minutes.2
L-theanine is not very well known in the US, but Japanese researchers have studied it for decades. In addition to stress relief, l-theanine is clinically proven to fight against three types of flu viruses, including H1N1.2
L-Theanine is incredibly safe. There are no known adverse reactions and no drug interactions have been reported. L-theanine is not affected by food and can be taken at any time.
In Japan, there are no dietary limits on how much you can take. The Japanese Ministry of Health approved it for unlimited use in all foods, with the exception of baby food.
You can relieve stress and anxiety without feeling drowsy or sedated. L-theanine doesn’t make theta waves, the kind that put you to sleep. Only the alpha waves that keep you relaxed and alert.
The most effective dosage is between 50mg and 200mg. The benefits usually start within thirty minutes and last for about eight to ten hours. Start at 50mg and work up to 200mg if needed. Don’t take more than 600mg in a six-hour period.
1. Yoto A, Motoki M, Murao S, Yokogoshi H. "Effects of L-theanine or caffeine intake on changes in blood pressure under physical and psychological stresses." J Physiol Anthropol. 2012 Oct 29;31:28.
2. Cho H, Kim S, Lee S, Park J, Kim S, Chun H. "Protective effect of the green tea component, L-theanine on environmental toxins-induced neuronal cell death." Neurotoxicology. 2008;29(4):656-62.