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Theanine, Uric acid, Mood, and Sinus health

March 2016

By Life Extension


Effects of L-theanine or caffeine intake on changes in blood pressure under physical and psychological stresses.

BACKGROUND: L-theanine, an amino acid contained in green tea leaves, is known to block the binding of L-glutamic acid to glutamate receptors in the brain, and has been considered to cause anti-stress effects by inhibiting cortical neuron excitation. Both L-theanine and caffeine, which green tea contains, have been highlighted for their beneficial effects on cognition and mood. METHODS: In this study, we investigated the effects of orally administered L-theanine or caffeine on mental task performance and physiological activities under conditions of physical or psychological stress in humans. Fourteen participants each underwent three separate trials, in which they orally took either L-theanine + placebo, caffeine + placebo, or placebo only. RESULTS: The results after the mental tasks showed that L-theanine significantly inhibited the blood-pressure increases in a high-response group, which consisted of participants whose blood pressure increased more than average by a performance of a mental task after placebo intake. Caffeine tended to have a similar but smaller inhibition of the blood-pressure increases caused by the mental tasks. The result of the Profile of Mood States after the mental tasks also showed that L-theanine reduced the Tension-Anxiety scores as compared with placebo intake. CONCLUSIONS: The findings above denote that L-theanine not only reduces anxiety but also attenuates the blood-pressure increase in high-stress-response adults.

J Physiol Anthropol . 2012 Oct 29;31:28

The neuropharmacology of L-theanine(N-ethyl-L-glutamine): a possible neuroprotective and cognitive enhancing agent.

L-theanine (N-ethyl-L-glutamine) or theanine is a major amino acid uniquely found in green tea. L-theanine has been historically reported as a relaxing agent, prompting scientific research on its pharmacology. Animal neurochemistry studies suggest that L-theanine increases brain serotonin, dopamine, GABA levels and has micromolar affinities for AMPA, Kainate and NMDA receptors. In addition has been shown to exert neuroprotective effects in animal models possibly through its antagonistic effects on group 1 metabotrophic glutamate receptors. Behavioural studies in animals suggest improvement in learning and memory. Overall, L-theanine displays a neuropharmacology suggestive of a possible neuroprotective and cognitive enhancing agent and warrants further investigation in animals and humans.

J Herb Pharmacother. 2006;6(2):21-30

L-theanine attenuates abstinence signs in morphine-dependent rhesus monkeys and elicits anxiolytic-like activity in mice.

L-theanine, 2-amino-4-(ethylcar-bamoyl) butyric acid, an amino acid found in green tea (Camellia sinensis), is sold in the United States as a dietary supplement to reduce stress and improve cognition and mood. The observations that L-theanine has been shown to inhibit caffeine’s stimulatory effects and that caffeine produces precipitated withdrawal signs in opioid-addicted monkeys and some opioid withdrawal signs in some normal monkeys, suggest that L-theanine may suppress opioid withdrawal signs. Additionally, L-theanine produces anxiolytic effects in humans indicating that it has anti-anxiety properties. Thus, in these studies we determined whether L-theanine attenuates opioid-withdrawal signs in morphine-dependent rhesus monkeys, a model for spontaneous opioid withdrawal in human opioid addicts. We also evaluated whether L-theanine decreases anxiety-like behavior in mice, using the elevated plus maze and marble burying assays. L-theanine significantly attenuated designated opioid withdrawal signs, including fighting, rigid abdominal muscles, vocalizing on palpation of abdomen, pacing, retching, wet-dog shakes, and masturbation. It had a relatively quick onset of action that persisted for at least 2.5h. L-theanine also produced anxiolytic-like effects in the elevated plus maze and the marble burying assay in naïve mice at doses that did not significantly affect motor behavior. The results of these studies suggest that L-theanine may be useful in the pharmacotherapy of treating opioid withdrawal as well as anxiety-associated behaviors.

Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2012 Dec;103(2):245-52

Acute effects of tea constituents L-theanine, caffeine, and epigallocatechin gallate on cognitive function and mood: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

A systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted on 11 randomized placebo-controlled human studies of acute effects of tea constituents L-theanine and epigallocatechin gallate, administered alone or in combination with caffeine, on cognitive function and mood. The outcome measures of mood were alertness, calmness, and contentedness, derived from the Bond-Lader scales, and state anxiety, from the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. Cognitive measures assessed were attentional switch, intersensory attention, and rapid visual information processing. Standardized mean differences between placebo and treatment groups are presented for each study and outcome measure. Meta-analysis using a random-effects model was conducted when data were available for three or more studies. Evidence of moderate effect sizes in favor of combined caffeine and L-theanine in the first 2 hours postdose were found for outcome measures Bond-Lader alertness, attentional switching accuracy, and, to a lesser extent, some unisensory and multisensory attentional outcomes. Moderator analysis of caffeine and L-theanine doses revealed trends toward greater change in effect size for caffeine dose than for L-theanine dose, particularly during the first hour postdose.

Nutr Rev. 2014 Aug;72(8):507-22

Retour aux sources: defining the structural basis of glutamate receptor activation.

Ionotropic glutamate receptors (iGluRs) are the major excitatory neurotransmitter receptor in the vertebrate CNS and, as a result, their activation properties lie at the heart of much of the neuronal network activity observed in the developing and adult brain. iGluRs have also been implicated in many nervous system disorders associated with postnatal development (e.g. autism, schizophrenia), cerebral insult (e.g. stroke, epilepsy), and disorders of the ageing brain (e.g. Alzheimer's disease, Parkinsonism). In view of this, an emphasis has been placed on understanding how iGluRs activate and desensitize in functional and structural terms. Early structural models of iGluRs suggested that the strength of the agonist response was primarily governed by the degree of closure induced in the ligand-binding domain (LBD). However, recent studies have suggested a more nuanced role for the LBD with current evidence identifying the iGluR LBD interface as a “hotspot” regulating agonist behaviour. Such ideas remain to be consolidated with recently solved structures of full-length iGluRs to account for the global changes that underlie channel activation and desensitization

J Physiol. 2015 Jan 1;593(1):97-110

Metabotropic glutamate receptors as targets for new antipsychotic drugs: Historical perspective and critical comparative assessment.

In this review, we aim to present, discuss and clarify our current understanding regarding the prediction of possible antipsychotic effects of metabotropic glutamate (mGlu) receptor ligands. The number of preclinical trials clearly indicates, that this group of compounds constitutes an excellent alternative to presently used antipsychotic therapy, being effective not only to positive, but also negative and cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia. Although the results of clinical trials that were performed for the group of mGlu2/3 agonists were not so enthusiastic as in animal studies, they still showed that mGlu ligands do not induced variety of side effects typical for presently used antipsychotics, and were generally well tolerated. The lack of satisfactory effectiveness towards schizophrenia symptoms of mGlu2/3 activators in humans could be a result of variety of uncontrolled factors and unidentified biomarkers different for each schizophrenia patient, that should be taken into consideration in the future set of clinical trials. The subject is still open for further research, and the novel classes of mGlu5 or mGlu2/3 agonists/PAMs were recently introduced, including the large group of compounds from the third group of mGlu receptors, especially of mGlu4 subtype. Finally, more precise treatment based on simultaneous administration of minimal doses of the ligands for two or more receptors, seems to be promising in the context of symptoms-specific schizophrenia treatment.

Pharmacol Ther . 2016 Jan;157:10-27

Effects of L-theanine on posttraumatic stress disorder induced changes in rat brain gene expression.

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is characterized by the occurrence of a traumatic event that is beyond the normal range of human experience. The future of PTSD treatment may specifically target the molecular mechanisms of PTSD. In the US, approximately 20% of adults report taking herbal products to treat medical illnesses. L-theanine is the amino acid in green tea primarily responsible for relaxation effects. No studies have evaluated the potential therapeutic properties of herbal medications on gene expression in PTSD. We evaluated gene expression in PTSD-induced changes in the amygdala and hippocampus of Sprague-Dawley rats. The rats were assigned to PTSD-stressed and nonstressed groups that received either saline, midazolam, L-theanine, or L-theanine + midazolam. Amygdala and hippocampus tissue samples were analyzed for changes in gene expression. One-way ANOVA was used to detect significant difference between groups in the amygdala and hippocampus. Of 88 genes examined, 17 had a large effect size greater than 0.138. Of these, 3 genes in the hippocampus and 5 genes in the amygdala were considered significant (P < 0.05) between the groups. RT-PCR analysis revealed significant changes between groups in several genes implicated in a variety of disorders ranging from PTSD, anxiety, mood disorders, and substance dependence.

ScientificWorldJournal . 2014;2014:419032