Tag Archives: L-theanine

19 Natural Remedies for Anxiety – Including L-Theanine

The following article first appeared at Health.com and was written by Robert Barnett.  We have included the section here that discusses the amino acid L-Theanine, but please read the whole story to discover the other 18 natural remedies for anxiety.

You’re anxious, worried, freaked. You’re upset about (pick one): money, health, work, family, love. Your heart is beating fast, your breathing is shallow and rapid, your mind is imagining doom, and you wish you could just relax…now! Whether you have a full-blown anxiety disorder or are just freaking out, you may not want to try medication—at least not yet.

There are many safe nondrug remedies for anxiety, from mind-body techniques to supplements to calming teas. Some start working right away, while others may help lessen anxiety over time.

L-theanine (or green tea)

They say Japanese Buddhist monks could meditate for hours, both alert and relaxed. One reason may have been an amino acid in their green tea called L-theanine, says Mark Blumenthal, of the American Botanical Council.

Research shows that L-theanine helps curb a rising heart rate and blood pressure, and a few small human studies have found that it reduces anxiety. In one study, anxiety-prone subjects were calmer and more focused during a test if they took 200 milligrams of L-theanine beforehand.

You can get that much L-theanine from green tea, but you’ll have to drink many cups—as few as five, as many as 20.

Amino Acids – Natural Cure For Alcoholism?

Could amino acids become a natural cure for alcoholism?  Based on the information in two great books by Julia Ross – “The Diet Cure” and “The Mood Cure”, this could certainly be the case.

According to Ross, overeating or drinking alcohol is actually a form of using food or alcohol as self-medication.  It is not about having poor willpower… it is because you are low on certain brain chemicals that make you emotionally strong.

Ross claims that if you are using alcohol to feel good – and the same applies to sugar and carbohydrate addictions – it is because something is interfering with your body’s ability to produce its own natural brain drugs.  What does this mean?  For example, a continuous stress lowers your natural sedative, stimulant and pain reliever reserves.  When you run out of them, your body wants to feel good and basically tells you to eat foods or drink alcohol – do anything that would fix the problem and make you feel good again.

Regular use of sugars, alcohol or drugs (even pharmaceutical drugs) can teach your brain not to produce those brain chemicals.  “Hey, why should I produce these neurotransmitters, when you are feeding me alcohol, doing the job for me,” your brain asks.  The more you condition your body with alcohol, the fewer neurotransmitters it produces.

What does this have to do with amino acids?  Everything!  Your brain relies on proteins, which are the only source for amino acids, and amino acids are what your body uses to make all of its mood-enhancing chemicals.  If you aren’t getting enough protein, or if you have conditioned your brain to interfere with the ‘conversion’ process, you start getting cravings.  This leads to an interesting conclusion: consuming amino acid supplements could become a natural cure for alcoholism and other sugar cravings.

Natural cure for alcoholism – false hope or a viable option?

In order to understand how you could use amino acid supplements to eliminate or reduce alcohol cravings and therefore gradually cure your alcoholism, it’s important to understand the role of various brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) that impact our mood.  They are a) dopamine/norepinephrine (improves mental focus and energizes you naturally), b) GABA (a Valium/Diazepam like natural sedative and relaxant), c) endorphin (a natural painkiller) and serotonin (helps you sleep and keeps you ‘happy’).

If you have plenty of all four, you are living a balanced life.  But when your reserves get depleted, you may resort to overeating and alcohol consumption.

If you want to learn the intricacies of exactly how amino acids work, we highly suggest that you read Julia Ross’s two great books.  However, if you have mood related issues, here is a list of amino acids that convert into proper brain chemicals, balancing your mood and potentially eliminating the need to use other substances, such as alcohol, carbohydrates or sugar.

The first brain chemical on our list, dopamine/norepinephrine increases your energy level.  The corresponding amino acid that produces the same effect is L-Tyrosine.  L-Tyrosine typically works fast and provides you with additional energy.

Some people eat chocolate or drink alcohol because they are tired and want that initial energy boost that comes from consuming those products.  If low energy level is your one of your problem areas, try L-Tyrosine and see if it could become part of your natural cure for alcoholism.

Then again, some people drink to relax.  GABA is often called natural valium (valium is also known as diazepam), which is used to relieve anxiety and other side effects associated with alcohol withdrawal, and L-Taurine can relieve tension as well.  L-theanine helps you reduce stress and relax as well. In other words, add these three amino acids for your natural cure for alcoholism toolkit!

Then there are those people who drink to get rid of emotional pain, the source of which they may not even remember anymore. There are two powerful amino acids that are used to alleviate emotional pain: L-glutamine and DLPA or DL-Phenylalanine. L-Glutamine is the second best choice for your body to fuel your brain.  Sugar – or glucose – is the primary option.  This makes it easy to understand why sugary products, carbohydrates or alcohol, which convert to glucose, are an easy way to stop a craving.  However, L-Glutamine amino acid reaches the brain within minutes.

The last amino acid, L-Tryptophan, is sometimes called “a natural Prozac”.  When a series of contaminated batches of L-Tryptophan came from Japan to the U.S. in the late 1980’s, the Food and Drug Administration banned it.  It is again available and is a very powerful product.  It plays an important role for the synthesis of melatonin and serotonin – hormones that regulate mood and stress response. L-Tryptophan helps support relaxation, sleep, positive mood and immune function. L-Tryptophan is the precursor to Serotonin, a neurotransmitter in the brain, which is deficient in people who have depression.

A ‘watered-down’ version, 5-HTP, is widely available in most health food stores.

I want a natural cure for alcoholism but I have no idea what to do next?

How much of each one of these amino acids should you take to address your emotional issues, cravings or even create a natural cure for alcoholism?  This is a difficult question to answer. Julia Ross provides detailed instructions in her books, including the dosage, what time of the day you should take each supplement and which one of these supplements should never be taken together – after all, why take energizing and relaxing supplements at the same time?

If you do not decide to read the works of Julia Ross or Dr. Joan Mathews Larson, who is often considered to be the inventor of this amino acid therapy to cure alcoholism naturally, then you will need to make your own educated decision on which supplements to use and determine the proper dosage.

While supplement bottles typically post a recommended dosage, please remember that certain inactive ingredients in supplements (used as lubricants in the manufacturing process) reduce the absorption of the product’s active ingredients.  If you follow dosage recommendations, and do not get the results you are after, get a copy of The Diet Cure and see the dose ranges that Dr. Ross presents.

Are amino acid therapies a natural cure for alcoholism? According to Dr. Larson, her detox center’s long-term success rates quadrupled from 20% to 80%, utilizing the strategies explained in this article.  If you are suffering from any addictions, including alcoholism, amino acids might be a long-sought after solution for you!

L-Theanine Health Benefits — Ease Anxiety, Enhance Mood, Prevent Strokes

L-Theanine is an analog of the non-essential amino acid, glutamate. This particular amino acid is naturally found in (Camellia sinensis) or what is more commonly known as the tea plant. It is credited as the main natural ingredient that gives green tea its soothing quality. It may also be found in mushrooms specifically in bay boletes (Boletus badius).

Widely known for its relaxing effect, L-Theanine is made available in supplements and as an ingredient in beverages other than green tea, to ease anxiety and enhance mood. An article in the LA Times at http://articles.latimes.com/2009/may/04/health/he-theanine4 points out that though many drinks are marketed for their energy boosting properties, there are times when that boost is not exactly what people need. In fact, Dr. Michael Breus of the Huffington post at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-michael-j-breus/energy-drinks-health_b_1496915.html outlines some of the side effects of these energy drinks including anxiety, restlessness, heart palpitations and insomnia.

Sometimes people just want the ability to focus, a bit of calm and a good night’s sleep. This is where L-Theanine proves to be highly valuable. A frequently cited study of Lyon MR, Kapoor MP and Juneja LR found that young boys with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) who took L-Theanine had better sleep than the group of boys who did not.

There are many studies that explore L-Theanine’s benefits apart from stress and anxiety relief. Researchers are finding promising results of L-Theanine’s effectiveness in reducing weight, preventing stroke and helping in cancer treatments.

No conclusive evidence has shown L-Theanine’s negative side effects but it is recommended that pregnant and breastfeeding mothers refrain from its use. For tablets, there are also recommended doses depending on age, weight and other health conditions. It is always best to consult a doctor when planning to take a new supplement. Otherwise, it is believed to be safe.

Theanine Amino Acid Improves Sleep Quality For ADHD Children

Fantastic news for parents of ADHD children: the amino acid L-theanine will help their children sleep. A recent Canadian study proved that L-theanine significantly improves sleep quality in ADHD children, which benefits the entire family.

ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) is a neurobehavioral disorder characterized by either significant difficulties of inattention or hyperactivity and impulsiveness or a combination of the two.

As many as 50% of ADHD children experience sleep problems. ADHD children often resist going to bed, and take a long time to fall asleep. They wake at night, and may also suffer from restless legs syndrome, or sleep apnea. And because they don’t get enough sleep these ADHD children are not alert in the mornings, and are tired during the day.

A Canadian study by researchers (M Lyon, M Kapoor, et al) from the University of British Columbia hoped to prove that a synthesized product of the amino acid L-theanine improved sleep quality in ADHD children.

Theanine is an amino acid primarily found in green tea leaves. It can cross the blood–brain barrier—in fact EEG results show L-theanine inducing changes in brain waves. The amino acid makes our brains produce alpha waves, which are associated with relaxation.

ADHD sleep quality improved by amino acid L-theanine

93 children with ADHD completed the UBC trial. They were given four chewable, fruit-flavored  L-theanine tablets, or a placebo, every day during the 10-week clinical trial. Their sleep quality was measured, using a wristwatch-like monitoring device measuring sleep activity levels, sleep duration, nocturnal awakenings and sleep patterns. In addition, the parents completed a pediatric sleep questionnaire.

Results showed the children who had taken L-theanine tablets had a significantly higher sleep percentage and reduced nocturnal motor activity compared to the placebo group. They slept longer, with less moving around. This improves their attention, memory, emotion and behavior during the day.

L-theanine supplements are valuable new therapies for helping children with ADHD get enough sleep.

Please remember to visit our other health news portals, Medicinal Mushroom Information Center at http://medicinalmushroominfo.com Vancouver Health News at http://VancouverHealthNews.ca and http://todayswordofwisdom.com.

Sources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22214254