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Matcha For Mental Energy

Green tea does more than just keep you awake, it can also increase your mental energy!

The key active ingredient is caffeine, although matcha doesn’t contain as much caffeine as coffee, but just enough to produce a response without causing the “jittery” effects associated with too much caffeine.

Caffeine blocks an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain called Adenosine. This way, it actually increases the firing of neurons and the concentration of neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine (1, 2).

Caffeine has been intensively studied before and consistently leads to improvements in various aspects of brain function, including improved mood, vigilance, reaction time and memory (3).

However… green tea contains more than just caffeine. It also has the amino acid L-theanine, which is able to cross the blood-brain barrier (4).

L-theanine increases the activity of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA, which has anti-anxiety effects. It also increases dopamine and the production of alpha waves in the brain (5, 6, 7).

Studies show that caffeine and L-theanine can have synergistic effects. The combination of the two is particularly potent at improving brain function (8).

Because of the L-theanine and the smaller dose of caffeine, green tea can give you a much milder and different kind of “buzz” than coffee.

Many people report having more stable energy and being much more productive when they drink green tea, compared to coffee.

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1. 'Caffeine and the central nervous system: mechanisms of action, biochemical, metabolic and psychostimulant effects.' Université de Nancy I, France. May 1992

2. 'Adenosine, Adenosine Receptors and the Actions of Caffeine.' Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden. The impact of caffeine on mood, cognitive function, performance and hydration: a review of benefits and risks' Dr Carrie H. S. Ruxton, Freelance Dietitian, 6 Front Lebanon, Cupar, UK. February 2008

4. 'L-theanine—a unique amino acid of green tea and its relaxation effect in humans.' Laboratory of Nutritional Biochemistry, School of Food and Nutritional Sciences, The University of Shizuoka, Japan.

'The neuropharmacology of L-theanine(N-ethyl-L-glutamine): a possible neuroprotective and cognitive enhancing agent.Monash Center for Brain and Behaviour, Monash University, Australia.  2006

6. 'L-theanine, a natural constituent in tea, and its effect on mental state.' Unilever Food and Health Research Institute, Vlaardingen, The Netherlands. 2008

nvolvement of GABAA Receptors in the Neuroprotective Effect of Theanine on Focal Cerebral Ischemia in Mice' Department of Neuropharmacology, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Fukuoka University, Japan. October 2007