March 23, 2018
Tea and Theanine-Mood Support in a Cup
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For those of you who have been in our GrowBaby classes, seen us in clinical practice, or read our blogs will surely know how much of a love affair we have with tea. Not only for the process and time required to steep a perfectly delicious cup and savor the temperature by holding on until every part of your body is warmed and content, but also because of the astounding nutrition that can be consumed with just one cup.

Tea's theanine content is one of the reasons that we are such fans! Theanine is an amino acid that plays a crucial role in neurotransmitter production. Depending on the type of neurotransmitter (excitatory or inhibitory), different vitamins, minerals, and amino acids are responsible for some of their production. In the case of theanine, it effects your ability to increase the levels of three different neurotransmitters-Serotonin-GABA-Dopamine.  Serotonin and GABA are inhibitory neurotransmitters and can help with sleep, relaxation, mood, and even digestion. Dopamine helps regulate emotion, is part of the reward and pleasure reception in the body, is responsible for controlling movement, and can stabilize brain activity.

A cup of tea is not only part of a healthy day, but it can help mood, improve well-being, aid with sleep, provide a complexity of flavor, supports relaxation time, and helps increase levels of crucial neurotransmitters that are beneficial for you.

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WHICH TO SIP? 

Wondering what teas are highest in theanine content? Green tea (Longjing) and black tea (oonlong), however, Anji Baicha and Gyokuro (both green teas) are cited as top theanine tea leaves in the world. Traditionally these tea plants are grown in shade. Exposing them to less sun decreases their chlorophyll content from photosynthesis, preserving a higher amino acid content and lower polyphenol content. This growing process creates a perfectly delicious cup of stress reduction and mood boost all thanks to theanine.

Sources:

Eating For Your Brain: Neuroactive Compounds, Dr. Deanna Minich, http://deannaminich.com/eating-for-your-brain/

Changes in targeted metabolites, enzyme activities and transcripts at different developmental stages of tea leaves: a study for understanding the biochemical basis of tea shoot plucking, Samanta, T., Kotamreddy, J.N.R., Ghosh, B.C. et al. Acta Physiol Plant (2017) 39: 11. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11738-016-2298-0

Nobre AC1, Rao A, Owen GN, L-theanine, a natural constituent in tea, and its effect on mental state, Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2008;17 Suppl 1:167-8.