The magical L-Theanine. Now to be fair, this little “wonder drug” (it’s really an amino acid) doesn’t work for everyone. But in those responders for whom it does work, it works well. And I think of it as one of my master anti-anxiety brain-protectors.
- It keeps your brain calm, reducing anxiety and mental agitation.
- It improves restfulness and sleep quality (rather than duration).
- It protects your brain cells from being roughed-up (a little Band-Aid to prevent brain bruises); and
- It bolsters immune function.
One of its star properties is that it mellows out that ramped-up, agitated feeling without causing drowsiness. So it is a perfect antidote to the stress of PMS or peri-menopause when you’re feeling irritable, lacking focus and brain-foggy.
And it does this by promoting both dopamine and GABA while blocking glutamate.
Dopamine is responsible for making us feel alert, motivated, alive and purposeful. When we’re low in dopamine, we’re low in care-factor. We react badly to even low level stress. We want to cancel our plans. We don’t want to make decisions. It’s not that we’re crying, it’s that we feel numb. Even the things that should make us feel good leave us feeling flat. We’re more likely to reach for alcohol, cigarettes and recreational drugs because they do exactly what our brain is craving, raise dopamine. When we raise dopamine, we feel normal again. We feel good.
GABA on the other hand is our calming neurotransmitter. It counters glutamate, which is excitatory (think brain on fire) and helps us chill out. It’s the pathway by which magnesium works, which is why we love it in bucket-loads for stress.
So theanine helps us to feel mellow but motivated. What a blissful state that is!
But it doesn’t stop there. As a glutamate-blocker, it may offer protection against the damaging effects of too much cortisol (released when we’re stressed), boost memory and learning, protect our brains from short and long-term degenerative disease and has also been used as a natural alternative to Ritalin in the treatment of ADD/ADHD.
Theanine can be compounded for you as a supplement, but for an immediate initiation, shut the laptop screen, slip off your shoes and sit with a cup of green tea. Packed with our hero amino acid and antioxidants, swapping your routine coffee for a green tea might be just what you need to reconnect to your cool and calm.
Kate is a qualified naturopath who is passionate about helping women heal from hormonal havoc and inspiring women to know their own power, worth and wisdom.
Kate offers one-on-one Skype consults for irregular cycles, PMS and period pain, endometriosis, PCOS, peri-menopause, mood swings, fatigue and mental and emotional stress.
Simply drop me an email to see how I can help you!