We all have to deal with periods of intense stress sometimes, some of us a bit more so than others. A little stress can be a good thing but too much stress is extremely damaging to our minds and bodies. Sometimes even your normal daily routine can be overwhelming. Frequently, people turn to alcohol and drugs to try and alleviate their stress but there are much safer and healthier solutions.
One of my all time favorite natural methods for reducing stress and improving concentration is L-theanine. L-theanine (gamma-glutamylethylamide) is the most abundant amino acid in both green tea as well as black tea. It's also found in the Bay Bolete mushroom. L-theanine is able to cross the blood brain barrier and block L-glutamate from binding to the brains glutamate receptors.
The main benefit of L-theanine is an increase in the production of GABA (natural opiates) in the brain. L-Theanine increases alpha brainwave activity (associated with relaxation and meditation) while decreasing beta brainwaves (associated with waking consciousness) providing a very relaxed, serene feeling.
Caffeine and theanine are synergistic when taken together providing enhanced focus without jitters. If too much caffeine is consumed, theanine is an excellent antidote. If you drink, you can mix a small amount of alcohol with theanine; this enhances the relaxation effect, allowing for a much better experience while also using much less alcohol.
The flavor of theanine is unique. The Japanese call it umami which is the 5th taste after sweet, sour, bitter and salty. The best L-theanine supplements are the Suntheanine brand made by Taiyo International. Suntheanine is the best, I feel, because it is the only brand to use a patented bio-fermentation process mimicking the natural process of green tea leaves to ensure the L-theanine is pure. They achieved GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status in 2007 for Suntheanine, allowing it to be used in food and beverages in amounts of up to 250 milligrams per serving with no limit on servings. Other brands of theanine produced either chemically or as an extract of green tea are can be less expensive but they are usually a mixture of both L-theanine and D-theanine isomers, making them unable to be absorbed properly.
Generally L-theanine supplements are sold in 100-200 mg doses which is the equivalent of 10-20 cups of green tea. In moderation green tea is very good for you but excessive amounts can have a little too much fluoride. I have been using and selling Suntheanine products for many years and have never experienced nor heard of any adverse effects.