Ever wondered why downing some cups of tea always clears your mind and enhances your mood? Sure, it contains caffeine- sometimes more than certain coffees. But, it rejuvenates without creating the drowsy, jagged effect of caffeine. Studies have proved that this is because of the effect of an amino acid present in tea called L- theanine. Theanine replicates the mind- energizing and mood enhancing features of caffeine without the associated ill-effects. Naturally, the next question would be – what are the side effects of theanine? Here, we are exploring more on this topic.
We have enlisted the help of the prominent medical portal webmd.com to present a thorough case before you. Both black tea and green tea are known to have health benefits. But, the amino acid present in green tea, L- theanine, is being studied extensively to know more about its effect on health. Let us try to understand some of them.
Effect on sleep Millions of people all worldwide unfortunately struggle with insomnia every night. They have difficulty not only to fall asleep, but also to stay asleep and to feel well-rested after sleeping. Prescription drugs that are used by many have several undesirable side-effects. Taking L-theanine supplements are shown to relax the body and calm the mind without causing drowsiness. It does not make you sleep longer, but it helps you in getting better sleep. The general quality of sleep, feeling of refreshment and recovery from exhaustion are all said to be better after taking L-theanine. Furthermore, its mood-modulating properties have led to it being patented as a mood enhancer.
Effect on brain It has been found that stress and depression are as much responsible for memory loss as old age and Alzheimer’s disease. Stress and depression activate stress hormones called glucocorticoids. These stress hormones have biochemical effects and disrupts serotonin, dopamine and other brain chemicals. Glucocorticoids causes the brain to shrink and is even found to interfere with the working of antidepressant drugs.
Theanine is found to suppress glucocorticoids through glutamate. In depressed people, glutamate level is found to be out of control which can be effectively treated by theanine as it is a glutamate antagonist. This antagonist can counter the harmful effects of high glucocorticoids and help in treating neurodegenerative diseases. Maintaining a healthy level of L-theanine in our body will help combat memory loss and other stroke related brain damages.
Effect on liver Theanine acts as a powerful antidote to the harmful effects of alcohol. It blocks the free radicals that are formed by the breakdown of alcohol. This is done by restoring an antioxidant and detoxifier present in the liver called glutathione, which is usually suppressed when you drink alcohol. Theanine, here, helps by replacing the alcohol-induced loss of this factor.
Depletion of glutathione from the vital organs like heart is a cause of toxicity that happens during chemotherapy. Studies conducted by adding theanine to the chemotherapy shows that it is able to counter the loss of glutathione in vital organs that are drug-induced but not in the tumor itself. This is just what is needed to restore balance.