Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Can Tea Reduce Anxiety Levels?

Theanine (L-theanine) which is found in tea leaves may reduce anxiety and improve attention and the ability to focus in people who have high anxiety levels.  Japanese researchers reported these findings in a recent issue of the Journal Of Functional Food.
Theanine is an amino acid that has a chemical structure similar to glutamate, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in memory.  Previous studies have shown that theanine can pass through the blood-brane barrier and thus can have a direct impact on the brain.
In a new current study university students were broken up into two groups.  One group had high anxiety levels and the other had low.  Both groups were given water or water plus 200mg of L-thanine per 100mg water.  The test was conducted repeatedly and evaluations were done between 15 and 60 minutes after the students ingested the water or water plus theanine.
Results indicated that students who were highly anxious and who received theanine had a slowed heart rate, improved attention and a better reaction time when compared with high-anxiety students who took the placebo.  Students with low anxiety did not experience any significant benefit from taking theanine.
The authors of this research noted that unlike other conventional treatments for anxiety, theanine does not cause drowsiness, impair concentration or slow down reflexes.  Rather, 200mg of thanine enhanced performance in visual attention tasks and reaction time responses among the subjects with high anxiety propensity symptoms.
Just shows we English have had it right all along. Crisis strikes, have a nice cup of tea :)

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