Substance in Green Tea Calms and Increases Focus
One of the challenges for people who experience both anxiety and focus issues, such as a combination of PTSD and ADD, is to calm the anxiety without decreasing focus. Many anti-anxiety drugs have side effects of sleepiness and relaxation, calming the brain, but as one woman reported, “they also make me dingier.”On the other hand, when a stimulant like Adderall is used alone to help with focus, it can increase anxiety in those who struggle with it.
Often we have to use a combination of supplements or medications to help a client achieve “relaxed focus,” an idea balance in the brain.
However, a new study from Japan has found that daily supplements of L-theanine, an amino acid found in tea, may help people with anxiety also focus on their daily activities. A win-win for many with a dual diagnosis of anxiety with attention deficits.
L-theanine may help reduce stress, promote relaxation and improve the quality of sleep. Though it is found in tea, the level is low (less than 2 percent). So the effective dosage levels (of 100 – 200mg/day) cannot be delivered from drinking tea but must come from a supplement.
In addition to reducing stress and promoting relaxation, other health benefits associated with L-theanine include brain protective effects, and improved attention.
The new study confirmed the dose of 200 mg for “enhanced performance in visual attention task, and reaction time response, among the subjects with higher anxiety.”Results of the test showed that highly anxious students receiving the L-theanine displayed a slowing of their heart rate, improved attention and better reaction times, compared to members of the same group receiving placebo. This is a significant improvement over many conventional anti-anxiety treatments that often have side effects of drowsiness, slowed reflexes or impaired concentration. (No significant benefits were observed in those with minimal anxiety, however.)
L-theanine appears to work by changing the electrical activity in the brain by increasing alpha waves, measured by EEG.
Dr. Amen’s “Focus and Energy Optimizer” contains green tea extract and other helpful nutraceuticals that help with focus and attention without jitters or anxiety.
http://affiliate.amenclinics.com/nutraceuticals/focus-and-energy-optimizer. Use Better Brain's discount code to receive 15% discount. ECENTER98
Source: Journal of Functional Foods
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1016/j.jff.2011.03.009 (for purchase)
“Effects of L-theanine on attention and reaction time response”
Authors: A. Higashiyama, H.H. Htay, M. Ozeki, L.R. Juneja, M.P. Kapoor