Our modern lifestyle is a major contributor to the growing epidemic of stress and anxiety in society, with as many as 1 person out of every 6 experiencing an anxiety disorder in a 12-month period.
Feelings of anxiety tend to be characterised by symptoms of irritability, agitation, a racing mind, muscle tension, and being ‘wired’. People experiencing these feelings and symptoms are often said to have 'high-arousal' stress. Despite the prevalence of the condition, there are some natural ways to help relieve anxiety safely.
The best option for people who experience these symptoms is to take something that has a relaxing/calming effect. Theanine, the amino acid from green tea, is a natural option that is proven to be effective. L-theanine (also simply known as, theanine) is an amino acid found in green tea that offers effective anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effects.
Furthermore, in one study theanine was more effective than the anxiolytic medication, Xanax (alprazolam). Plus, it offers its anxiolytic effects without the side effects, such as sleepiness and impairment of motor behaviour, that are commonly associated with anxiolytic medications and other anxiolytic supplements, like valerian root, skullcap, kava kava, and passion flower .
Alpha waves, also known as Berger’s waves, are neural oscillations between the range of 8 and 13 Hertz. In a wakeful state they are known to induce relaxation and focus. Anxiety and panic attacks are associated with low levels of alpha waves in the brain.
GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. It reduces neuronal excitability, therefore, inducing relaxation. Low levels of GABA in the brain are associated with anxiety.
Theanine may stimulate the production of GABA in the brain, therefore, magnifying its relaxing and calming effects.
Glutamate is the brain’s most powerful excitatory neurotransmitter. High levels in the brain are associated with anxiety and stress. Theanine has a similar chemical structure to glutamate and can bind to glutamate receptors in the brain, thereby blocking glutamate’s effects. This results in relaxation and a calming effect.
Overall, theanine's powerful effect on the brain may also be because it can cross the blood-brain barrier and directly impact the neurons and their receptors.
Therefore, if you or a loved one suffers with anxiety, then a great option is to use a supplement containing theanine. Furthermore, the best theanine supplement to use is one that has been extracted from green tea leaves rather than made synthetically. This means it also contains health-promoting catechins and polyphenols in conjunction with theanine, which have a synergistic effect in promoting relaxation and calming effects.