While many supplements and beverages emphasize artificial stimulation and excitation there is another philosophy of ehanced training protocol through the opposite function - relaxation and focus. This has historically known to many athletes as getting "In the Zone". A mental state which although may appear to external observers as disengaged or non-optimal is in fact a desired state for maximal performance across a variety of activities, not just sports. In this article we'll explore the benefits of L-theanine, an amino acid (protein building block) found in many teas.
L-theanine is known to inhibit cortical neuron excitation which in essence causes an anti-stress effect. L-theanine is know for it's beneficial property on cognition and mood. Many studies have been conducted over the years regarding the effect of L-theanine on the autonomic nervous system. Certain studies have found L-theanine to impact the dopamine and seratonin concentrations in the brain acting as a lever for anxiolytic effect [1, 2]. In other reports simultaneous relaxed and alert states were influenced by having alpha brain wave activity increased after L-theanine intake[3, 4]. Decrease of blood pressure in hypertensive rats has been shown by other studies after L-theanine consumption[6, 7]. Stress is known to elevate blood pressure by causing large amounts of vasoconstricting hormones to be released [8, 9]. It is possible that L-theanine could inhibit the blood pressure increase through it's anxiolytic effect.
This study extended on the previous ones to investigate the effects of L-theanine specific on mental task performance and associated change in blood pressure as pych stress and the cold pressor test as physical stress. The results of the study suggest that L-theanine both reduces anxiety as well as governs the rise in blood pressure in high-stress-response adults. This result was limited to physiological changes to do mental stress and not physical stress. Possibly due to the different mechanisms by which the different stress causes hightened blood pressure and anxiety.
Ai YotoEmail author, Mao Motoki, Sato Murao and Hidehiko Yokogoshi Journal of Physiological Anthropology - Effects of L-theanine or caffeine intake on changes in blood pressure under physical and psychological stresses (JSPA)201231:28 10.1186/1880-6805-31-28
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