Theanine: anti-stress activity and other beneficial properties of an amino acid found in green tea

NYBC recently began to stock these a Source Natural formula that includes theanine, an amino acid that’s a key component of green tea. Read some of the recent research about potential benefits of theanine in the entries below.

Theanine Serene

Each TWO tablets contain:
Magnesium (as magnesium chelate) – 300 mg
GABA (gamma-amino-butyric acid) – 500 mg
Taurine – 450 mg
L-Theanine – 200 mg
Holy Basil Leaf Extract 5:1- 100 mg

Theanine is an amino acid found in green tea, also known as N-ethyl-L-glutamine. It has been shown in the test tube to protect neurons against damage caused by glutamic acid (by blocking the receptors in the brain where glutamic acid would bind) and oxidation of low density lipoprotein (LDL or bad cholesterol). A recent study showed it to be very safe with a no-observed-adverse-effect-level (NOAEL) of 4000 mg per kilogram of body weight per day, the highest dose tested (Food Chem Toxicol, 2006 Jul;44(7):1158-1166).

It acts as a relaxing agent by increasing levels of various brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) including serotonin, dopamine and GABA (gamma amino butyric acid). Behavioral studies in animals suggest it may improve learning and memory. Human studies are largely lacking, so far. One small study, placebo controlled but only among 7 participants, showed a decrease in heart rate as well as a reduction in salivary sIg-A production, indicating a calming of the sympathetic nervous system activation, underscoring a potential mechanism for its anti-stress activity (Biol Psychol, 2007 Jan;74(1):39-45. Epub 2006 Aug 22.). Interestingly, a mouse study suggested that the use of theanine may enhance the tumor-suppressive effects of chemotherapy drugs like doxorubicin (Biochim Biophys Acta, 2003 Dec 5;1653(2):47-59).

Taurine is also an essential amino acid that may protect against oxidative stress, neurodegenerative diseases or atherosclerosis (Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care, 2006 Nov;9(6):728-733). Like N-aceytlcysteine (NAC), taurine is a sulfur-containing amino acid. It may also have some benefits for liver function.

(For Theanine with Relora) The Relora part is a combination of Magnolia officinalis and Phellodendron amurense. Magnolia has been used in Chinese medicine for a variety of conditions and a class of chemicals (alkaloids) that it contains have effects on muscle relaxation. Phellodendron bark also contains alkaloids that are used in the Chinese tradition to remove heat and dampness. It may also have some antibacterial activity. The combination of the two was shown to inhibit weight gain (but not result in weight loss) in a study of obese women (Altern Ther Health Med, 2006 Jan-Feb;12(1):50-54). This may be a result of a reduction in cortisol levels which may be elevated in HIV disease.

Note: Do not use if pregnant or if using other MAO or serotonin-reuptake inhibitors.


One thought on “Theanine: anti-stress activity and other beneficial properties of an amino acid found in green tea

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s