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Soothes Tension and Supports Mental Calm and Focus

stressed_woman_1_2.gifTheanine is a very unique amino acid found exclusively in green tea and one type of mushroom that is growing in popularity as an alternative to the herb Kava Kava. L-Theanine crosses the blood brain barrier and has been shown to potentially increase brain alpha waves in less than 40 minutes. If you are interested in looking at a supplement which can induce a state of calmness without "zonking" you out like drugs, then do try Theanine.

Non-sedating action without drowsiness

What I like about Theanine is that it is unique in its ability to act as a non-sedating relaxant, and this makes theanine most effective for combating stress, tension and anxiety - yet without inducing a state of drowsiness like most pharmaceutical drugs do which are marketed to target these areas of concern. Clinical studies have shown theanine to be effective in dosages ranging from 50 to 200mg per day. Herbal medicines like Kava kava and Valerian are considered to have tranquilising effects and are actually mild central nervous system depressants, and this is the important distinguishing feature of Theanine - it is non-sedating making it ideal for those who don't want to feel tired.

Improved learning

In addition to being considered a relaxant (in adults), Theanine has also been shown to provide significant benefits for improving the learning performance and promoting concentration. No adverse side effects are associated with Theanine consumption, making it in my books one of the leading natural medicines for promoting relaxation and improving concentration and the ability to learn.

Theanine increases Alpha wave activity

One of the most distinctive aspects of Theanine is its amazing ability to increase the brain's output of alpha waves. Alpha waves are one of the four basic brain-wave patterns. Alpha waves are an indication of a state of relaxation and mental alertness similar to that achieved through meditation, promoting a relaxed, yet alert state of mind without sedation. This brain wave pattern is non-existent during the deeper sleep phase as well as during states of very high arousal such as fear, anger and major anxiety.

The 4 Major Brain Wave Oscillating Patterns

Brain-Wave Pattern Cycles/ Second     Mood/State of Consciousness     
Delta 0 - 4 Deep sleep - (stages 3-4)
Theta 4 - 8 Drowsy/light sleep - (stages 1 - 2)
Alpha 8 - 13 Relaxed, wakeful and alert
Beta 13 - 40 Stress, anxiety, poor concentration

Brain waves

The four major patterns are Alpha, Beta, Delta and Theta, and these can be monitored using an electro encephalogram (EEG). Each brain wave pattern is associated with a very particular oscillating electrical voltage (an exceedingly low voltage indeed), and these different brain wave patterns are associated with different mental states and states of consciousness.

During deep sleep, the delta waves are the predominant brain waves which are the slowest - 0-4 cycles per second. When you are in a light sleep, meditation, deep relaxation or just plain drowsy, the slightly faster theta waves are the most prevalent brain waves. These oscillate at about 4-8 cycles per second. Beta waves, which have the fastest cycle rates at 13-40 cycles per second appear during highly stressful situations. For example if you are being followed by a police car, or if you have just been told bad (or very exciting!) news. Most people will find that it is almost impossible to fully concentrate when the brain is producing beta waves, and you ability to focus on anything becomes quite difficult.

Alpha waves, at 8-13 cycles per second are produced at a slower rate than the high-stress beta waves, but faster than the sleep-inducing delta and theta waves. Alpha is the predominant brain wave pattern seen during wakefulness, when you are engaged in relaxed and effortless alertness. The "alpha state" is associated with your highest level of physical and mental performance, and therefore you will want to maximise the amount of time during your waking hours that your brain spends time producing these brain waves. And that's why I recommend Theanine, now you know why.

Brain wave patterns are like your car's gears

motor_car.jpgOne way to get an understanding of the different brain wave patterns is to try and compare them in action to a motor car's gears. Just like you select different gears in your car for different driving styles and conditions, your brain will generate different brain wave patterns when it is engaged in different activities.

The slowest brain waves (delta and theta) represent the "idling" or "crawling" gears. You are either waiting at the lights or crawling through peak hour traffic at 5 miles an hour. The alpha brain wave is like you are driving at the normal speed limit of say 35 miles an hour (60klm/hr) around the suburbs. You are aware and in control and driving (or thinking) at a rate which is efficient and controlled. The beta wave is the "highway" of your mind, you are cruising at 60 mph or 100 klms an hour and everything is quick. This is the "hyperdrive", and in fact you could be driving so fast that you are not immediately aware of your surroundings making it easy to lose control at this speed.

Like driving your car efficiently and smoothly, the best situation is to experience an orderly process from one brain wave pattern to the next - from restful sleep (delta/theta) to a focused state of alertness (alpha) and then back to theta and then delta - with all this occurring during a 24 hour period called a day. We try to keep beta waves out of the equation, because we don't really want to experience anger or agitation if we can avoid it.

The problem with living in the 21st century is that life is not always that smooth - many of us skip second brain gear (theta) and third brain gear (alpha). Some people wake with a jump to the sound of their alarm clock which can induce an immediate state of stress and anxiety (beta). I find it best to throw out that alarm clock and get used to waking to your body's natural cycles. Your insomnia will improve over time profoundly just by doing this one thing. Of course, it must be borne in mind that overactive adrenals can lead to insomnia to.

After sufficient sleep, we then go on to use stimulants such as caffeine to force our nervous system into an artificial state of wakefulness to promote beta waves and unknowingly stimulate our adrenal glands to produce the stress hormone cortisol as well. Caffeine also suppresses both theta and alpha waves and inhibits a natural reduction in cortisol, and as you can see it is not a good thing for stress.

For much of the day, the combined effects of work stress, emotional stress and time urgency have us swimming in beta waves and "higher than we would like" cortisol levels. By the time we finally get too bed late at night, we have become so exhausted that we completely bypass the unwinding effects and benefits of theta sleep (when cortisol levels naturally fall) and instead drop prematurely into an unconscious deeper sleep (delta) but rarely enough.

This constant moving back and forth between delta and beta brain waves tends to keep cortisol elevated throughout the day time (not very good) while not allowing these fluctuating levels to naturally subside during the night, which is a poor thing to happen.
In addition the antioxidant properties of L-theanine are believed to support overall cardiovascular health and general well being.


Green_Tea.jpgNaturally found in Green Tea, L-Theanine is proven to soothe nervous tension and support mental calm and focus during times of stress. L-Theanine is quick acting, non-drowsy and is an effective and well tolerated way to soothe frazzled nerves and help ease a worried, anxious mind.


Solgar L-Theanine 150mg Features:
- Nervous tension
- Mental calm & focus
- Quick acting

Dosage: As a food supplement for adults, one (1) vegetable capsule twice daily between meals, or as directed. Two capsules a day are sufficient, it is best not exceed directions for use.

Ingredients: Each L-Theanine vegetable capsule provides: L-Theanine 150mg Vegetable Capsule Shell: hydroxypropylmethyl cellulose Bulking Agent: microcrystalline cellulise. Anti-caking Agents: Silicon dioxide, magnesium stearate* *Made from vegetable stearic acid

Solgar's L-Theanine vegetable capsules are free of corn, yeast, wheat, soy and dairy products and is formulated without the use of artificial preservatives, flavours or colours.

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