“Good health and good sense are two of life's greatest blessings." Publilius Syris
    Stay Calm & Sleep Well With L-Theanine: A Natural Tranquilizer
Stress & anxiety are common features of everyday life for many people. This leads to the overprescribing of tranquilizers and contributes to the problem with addictions in America. Such heavy-duty medications are usually not needed. Some natural supplements can be soothing, calming & stress protective without the risks and side effects of potentially addictive medications which can have numerous negative side effects.
The nutrient amino acid Theanine was first isolated in 1949 but was not extensively studied until recently. Many of the pioneering studies done so far are animal studies, but numerous studies on humans are also available. In fact, most of the published research is dated 2017-2018 so the known health benefits of Theanine are new & exciting.
L-Theanine is primarily discussed as being a nutrient in green tea leaves, but it is also found in black & white tea. Those not using teas or taking supplemental Theanine may have low levels of this most useful nutrient.
L-Theanine  helps reduce anxiety, and stress. It also helps with sleep. It increases alpha brain wave activity which contributes to a sense of calm, well-being, relaxation & tranquility without drowsiness. Brain activity generates 4 different brainwave states. One of these is called alpha. Alpha brain waves are created when in a state of relaxed awareness such as with meditation. So by increasing brain alpha waves Theanine creates calm. A recent study supported that theanine reduces psychological and physiological stress responses.
L-Theanine also helps with calming by increasing the production of the relaxing neurotranmitters GABA, 
Glycine  & serotonin in the brain.
L-Theanine’s relaxation benefits have been shown to help people fall asleep more quickly and easily as well as to enjoy better quality of sleep. L-Theanine is often combined with Tryptophan.  L-Tryptophan converts into serotonin in your brain. Serotonin can then be used to make melatonin, the sleep promoting hormone. See my newsletterMelatonin”  for more information.
L-Theanine also increases the brain’s dopamine levels. Dopamine is a brain chemical that plays a major role in the production of positive moods. A study suggests that chronic (8-week) Theanine administration is safe and has multiple beneficial effects for depressive symptoms, anxiety, sleep disturbance and cognitive impairments in patients with Major depressive disorder at 250 mg daily dose.
The previously mentioned increased alpha brain waves also confer an antidepressant activity. Increased alpha brain waves are also known to boost creativity and reduce depression. Click here for more information.
Those who have increased glutaminergic activity in their brains from too much glutamate (an excitatory neurotransmitter) may experience agitation & psychosis. L-Theanine helps block the effect of the excess glutamate by binding to the same brain cell receptor sites as the glutamate & thus helping to block the stimulating effect of the glutamate. An 8-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial  showed that adding 50 mg Pregnenolone & 400 mg L-Theanine daily to Antipsychotic Therapy Relieves Negative and Anxiety Symptoms of Schizophrenia. Other similar studies are showing promise in this area.

L-Theanine also protects brain cell impairment caused by low oxygen levels. It further promotes production of new brain cells by stimulating release of a protein necessary for nerve growth. A study reported in the Neurotoxicology journal  found that Theanine may also be helpful in treating symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
L-Theanine helps prevent oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Oxidation of LDL in the body is what contributes to Atherosclerosis.
L-Theanine is considered by some to be a Nootropic substance (cognitive enhancing). The effectiveness of Theanine to boost concentration & focus is increased when combined with caffeine. A study of young adults  taking 97 mg of Theanine with 40 mg of caffeine showed improved accuracy & higher levels of alertness when switching between tasks.
L- Theanine also helps regulate blood pressure. Japanese researchers have demonstrated that Theanine reduces blood pressure in a dose-dependent manner in rats serving as a model for human hypertension. The larger the dose of theanine given the rats, the more dramatic was the reduction in their blood pressure. Click this link for more information on this study. A study in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry found that Theanine improves cardiovascular health by reducing blood pressure by promoting nitric oxide production. Nitric oxide is a compound that dilates blood vessels. Studies also show Theanine can help prevent stress induced abrupt increases in blood pressure.
L-Theanine is being researched in cancer treatment as it has been found to be able to increase the bioavailability of some anti-cancer agents in tumor cells. It was specifically researched as showing potential benefits in the adjuvant treatment & prevention of bladder cancer, lung cancer, & other cancers. Other studies demonstrated theanine & theanine derivatives inhibited cancer cell growth & migration in highly metastatic human cervical cancer.
L-Theanine has been confirmed to have liver protective effects. It helps restore the liver’s all-purpose antioxidant and detoxifier known as glutathione. Animal studies demonstrated theanine has anti-fibrous liver protective effects in rats with experimentally induced cirrhosis of the liver.
Japanese researchers in a study  found that Theanine significantly lowers blood levels of alcohol by modulating alcohol metabolism. Alcohol is converted to acetaldehyde a toxic chemical similar to formaldehyde and more toxic than alcohol itself. L-Theanine accelerates the break down of acetaldehyde and blocks toxic free radicals helping to reverse damage caused by alcohol. L-Theanine has also been reported to decrease the effects of hangovers.
Studies demonstrated Theanine reduced nicotine induced reward effects & it is promising regarding its ability to help decrease addictive cravings in general.
For more information on L-Theanine, see the following books:
The L-Theanine Supplement: Alternative Medicine for a Healthy Body Paperback – August 8, 2015
by William Wagner M.D. (Author) 
 Peace, Health & Many Blessings
Priscilla Slagle M.D.
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