Stress and anxiety have become standard in our daily existence. Chronic stress and anxiety can lower your immune system, diminish your quality of life and even lead to depression. Mental health problems have grown to an epidemic level. Most people know at least one person who takes medication to relieve anxiety. But, along with the benefits of prescription drugs comes a long list of potentially unpleasant, even dangerous, side effects.
Xanax was once considered the best drug for anti-anxiety, but it’s side effects include fatigue, tiredness, coordination and memory problems, irritability, and increased appetite. Valium, Klonopin, and Ativan are also commonly prescribed anti-anxiety drugs, long term use of these medications called benzodiazepines, can lead to psychological and physical dependence, and like all medications, have the potential to damage the liver with extended use.
As more people search for safe, effective alternatives to prescription anti-anxiety drugs, herbs like Kava Kava, Chamomile and Valerian Root come to light. Although many herbs are effective to calm nerves, they’re not all without risk. Kava Kava with extended use and if combined with certain medications or alcohol can cause serious liver damage, and while herbal teas offer a safe and pleasant way to ease mild anxiety, they still contain active ingredients that may be contraindicated with certain medications.
Green tea offers numerous health benefits, it’s added to supplements, foods, and beverages. Green tea contains a rich source of polyphenols known as catechins, potent antioxidants that may help prevent cancer, retard atherosclerosis, improve mood, and inhibit the growth of bacteria and other pathogens.
Green tea also has another naturally occurring compound that is just as benificial, the amino acid L-theanine.
L-theanine‘s Benefits Include, but are not limited to:
- Produces a calming effect
- Protects and restores the brain
- Stimulates the immune system, and even makes cancer chemotherapy more effective with fewer side effects.
- Induces deep states of relaxation without sedation
- Relieves some PMS and menopausal symptoms
- Increases mental clarity, focus, attention span and improves learning
- Relieves nicotine addiction
- Prevents jitters caused by caffeine
- Promotes sleep
L-theanine has several advantages over prescription medications and herbs that contain side effects. It helps calm you without causing drowsiness. It keeps you mentally alert without feeling jittery, and although research to date has been limited, L-theanine has few if any side effects.
L-theanine stimulates the production of alpha brain waves, creating a state of deep relaxation and mental alertness similar to what is achieved through meditation. L-theanine is involved in the formation of the inhibitory neurotransmitter, gamma amino butyric acid (GABA). GABA influences the levels of two other neurotransmitters, dopamine and serotonin, producing the key relaxation effect.”
Most green teas sold in America contain less than 10mg of L-theanine per serving, the recommended dose is between 50-200mg per day. Most people don’t drink enough green tea to feel the beneficial effects of L-theanine and would benefit from L-Theanine supplementation. Although the maximum safe dosage hasn’t been determined, as with every supplement, start with the lowest amount reccomended and gradually increase as needed. In doses of more than 400mg, some people do experience sedation effects.
Even though there are little known side effects to L-theanine, it may be due to the fact that only a few clinical studies have been conducted. Talk to your doctor before trying L-theanine If you have kidney or liver disease, other chronic or serious health conditions, allergies, allergies to food, dyes or preservatives, and as with all supplements, be sure to tell your doctor if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding before taking L-theanine.
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