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L-Theanine is an amino acid that is predominantly found in green tea. As a supplement it is a popular and very effective remedy for anxiety and stress. Because it has the ability to cross the blood brain barrier, l-theanine works quickly to reduce both mental and physical stress. It does this by several mechanisms. First, l-theanine raises GABA levels. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that decreases anxiety. Secondly, l-theanine raises dopamine levels. Dopamine is also a neurotransmitter who’s job is to regulate things like mood, motivation, sleep, attention, learning, punishment and reward. Thirdly, l-theanine increases alpha waves in the brain which are linked to a calming meditative state of mind.

L-theanine also has a synergistic effect alongside caffeine. It aids in keeping you alert and energetic but inhibits the anxious feeling that caffeine alone can produce. This is why green tea, even though a source of caffeine, creates an active but calm state of being. L-theanine can also be used to counteract the caffeine jitters if you’ve consumed too much coffee and are finding it hard to relax.

If your feeling stressed this holiday season or anytime, try l-theanine in supplement form, and make an effort to drink a little more green tea and a little less coffee.

By: Krista Boulding

December 13, 2011