The calming effect of green tea may seem contradictory to the stimulatory property of tea’s caffeine content but it can be explained by the action of L-theanine. This amino acid actually acts antagonistically against the stimulatory effects of caffeine on the nervous system. (1) Research on human volunteers has demonstrated that L-theanine creates a sense of relaxation in approximately 30-40 minutes after ingestion via at least two different mechanisms. First, this amino acid directly stimulates the production of alpha brain waves, creating a state of deep relaxation and mental alertness similar to what is achieved through meditation. Second, 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. (2) (Source)
L-Theanine may help the body’s immune response to infection by boosting the disease-fighting capacity of gamma delta T cells. The study, published in 2003 by the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, included a four-week trial with 11 coffee drinkers and 10 tea drinkers, who consumed 600 milliliters of coffee or black tea daily. Blood sample analysis found that the production of anti-bacterial proteins was up to five times higher in the tea-drinkers, an indicator of a stronger immune response.(3) (Source)
- Kakuda T, Nozawa A, Unno T, et al. Inhibiting effects of theanine on caffeine stimulation evaluated by EEG in the rat. Biosci Biotechno Biochem 2000; 64:287-293.
- Mason R. 200 mg of Zen; L-theanine boosts alpha waves, promotes alert relaxation. Alternative & Complementary Therapies 2001,April; 7:91-95
- Kamath A, Wang L, Das H, Li L, Reinhold V, Bukowski J (2003). “Antigens in tea-beverage prime human Vgamma 2Vdelta 2 T cells in vitro and in vivo for memory and nonmemory antibacterial cytokine responses”. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 100 (10): 6009–14.
Some other benefits…
Tea can lead to some disagreements though
[These videos were found on the Tea Guy Speaks blog]