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Life Extension Magazine January 2012

Natural Stress Relief

Self-reported psychological stress and the risk of breast cancer: A case-control study.

The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between severe life events and breast cancer risk. This study was based on a case-control examination of 858 Polish invasive breast cancer cases and 1085 controls matched for age and place of residence. Data on life events, sociodemographic characteristic, reproductive factors, family history of breast cancer, current weight and height, and lifestyle habits were collected between January 2003 and May 2007 using a self-administered questionnaire. Odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals were estimated as the measure of the relationship between life event stress and breast cancer risk using unconditional logistic regression analyses. After adjustment for potential breast cancer risk factors, women with four to six individual major life events had 5.33 times higher risk for breast cancer, compared with those in the lowest quartile. Similarly, women with a lifetime life change score greater than 210 had about 5 times higher risk compared to women with corresponding scores in the range 0-70. Several life events (death of a close family member, personal injury or illness, imprisonment/trouble with the law, retirement) were significantly associated with breast cancer risk. These findings suggest that major life events can play an important role in the etiology of breast cancer.

Stress. 2011 Aug 29

Optimum conditions for the water extraction of L-theanine from green tea.

Theanine is a unique non-protein amino acid found in tea (Camellia sinensis). It contributes to the favourable umami taste of tea and is linked to various beneficial effects in humans. There is an increasing interest in theanine as an important component of tea, as an ingredient for novel functional foods and as a dietary supplement. Therefore, optimal conditions for extracting theanine from tea are required for the accurate quantification of theanine in tea and as an efficient first step for its purification. This study examined the effects of four different extraction conditions on the yield of theanine from green tea using water and applied response surface methodology to further optimise the extraction conditions. The results showed that temperature, extraction time, ratio of water-to-tea and tea particle sizes had significant impacts on the extraction yield of theanine. The optimal conditions for extracting theanine from green tea using water were found to be extraction at 80 °C for 30 min with a water-to-tea ratio of 20:1 mL/g and a tea particle size of 0.5-1 mm.

J Sep Sci. 2011 Sep;34(18):2468-74

L-theanine: properties, synthesis and isolation from tea.

Theanine is a non-protein amino acid that occurs naturally in the tea plant (Camellia sinensis) and contributes to the favourable taste of tea. It is also associated with effects such as the enhancement of relaxation and the improvement of concentration and learning ability. It is also linked with health benefits including the prevention of certain cancers and cardiovascular disease, the promotion of weight loss and enhanced performance of the immune system. Thus, there has been a significant rise in the demand for theanine. While theanine has been chemically and biologically synthesised, techniques to isolate theanine from natural sources remain an important area of research. In this review article, the properties and health benefits of theanine are summarised and the synthesis and isolation of theanine are reviewed and discussed. Future perspectives for the isolation of theanine from natural sources are also outlined.

J Sci Food Agric. 2011 Aug 30;91(11):1931-9

Behavioral and molecular evidence for psychotropic effects in L: -theanine.

RATIONALE: L: -Theanine (N-ethyl-L: -glutamine) is an amino acid uniquely found in green tea and historically considered to be a relaxing agent. It is a glutamate derivative and has an affinity for glutamatergic receptors. However, its psychotropic effects remain unclear. OBJECTIVES: To elucidate effects of L: -theanine on psychiatric disease-related behaviors in mice and its molecular basis focusing on brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and N-methyl-D: -aspartate (NMDA) receptor. METHODS: We examined the effects of L: -theanine on behaviors in mice by using the open-field test (OFT), forced swim test (FST), elevated plus-maze test (EPMT), and prepulse inhibition (PPI) of acoustic startle. By western blot analysis, we looked at the effect of L: -theanine on the expression of BDNF and related proteins in the hippocampus and cerebral cortex. To determine whether L: -theanine has agonistic action on the NMDA receptor, we performed Fluo-3 intracellular Ca(2+) imaging in cultured cortical neurons. RESULTS: Single administration of L: -theanine significantly attenuated MK-801-induced deficits in PPI. Subchronic administration (3-week duration) of L: -theanine significantly reduced immobility time in the FST and improved baseline PPI. Western blotting analysis showed increased expression of BDNF protein in the hippocampus after subchronic administration of L: -theanine. In cultured cortical neurons, L: -theanine significantly increased the intracellular Ca(2+) concentration, and this increase was suppressed by competitive and non-competitive NMDA receptor antagonists (AP-5 and MK-801, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that L: -theanine has antipsychotic-like and possibly antidepressant-like effects. It exerts these effects, at least in part, through induction of BDNF in the hippocampus and the agonistic action of L: -theanine on the NMDA receptor.

Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2011 Aug 23

Theogallin and L-theanine as active ingredients in decaffeinated green tea extract: I. electrophysiological characterization in the rat hippocampus in-vitro.

The in-vitro hippocampus slice preparation was used to mimic a physiological situation where nervous tissue is exposed directly to the water soluble extract of green tea and some of its constituents. This investigation provides evidence that L-theanine- and theogallin-enriched decaffeinated green tea extract is able to change the physiological pattern of electrical hippocampus activity in a concentration dependent manner (EC50 3 mg L(-1)). Of the seven fractions or single components tested (fraction containing all amino acids without L-theanine, fractions containing all amino acids plus L-theanine, glutamic acid, theogallin, its metabolites quinic acid and gallic acid, and L-theanine alone), glutamic acid produced the strongest changes in terms of increased population spike amplitude after single stimuli and increased long-term potentiation, commonly taken as representative for enhancement of spatial and time dependent memory. The presence of theogallin alone shifted the activity in the same direction. Similar results as with theogallin were obtained in the presence of quinic acid. No effect was seen with gallic acid. Opposite changes (decrease of population spike amplitude and attenuated long-term potentiation) were observed in the presence of L-theanine alone. No effects were detected during the addition of the amino acid mixture unless L-theanine was added, leading to a decrease of the responses as observed for the action of L-theanine alone. The results provide evidence for the involvement of several active principles in the action of enriched green tea extract on electrical brain activity. The overall enhancement of hippocampal pyramidal cell responses as observed for the crude extract seems to be due to the combined action of glutamic acid and theogallin (or its presumable metabolite quinic acid), whereas L-theanine seems to have an opposite effect. However, this action was not strong enough to antagonize the effects of glutamic acid and theogallin. The results are in line with the observation that the tested green tea extract improves cognition at concomitant mental relaxation in man.

J Pharm Pharmacol. 2007 Aug;59(8):1131-6

Antidepressant-like Effects of L-theanine in the Forced Swim and Tail Suspension Tests in Mice.

L-theanine (-glutamylethyla-mide), an amino acid component of green tea, has been shown to reduce mental and physical stress, and to improve memory function. In this study, the antidepressant effect of L-theanine was investigated in mice using the forced swim test, tail suspension test, open-field test and reserpine test. L-theanine produced an antidepressant-like effect, since the administration of L-theanine at doses of 1, 4 and 20 mg/kg for 10 successive days significantly reduced the immobility time in both the forced swim test and tail suspension test, compared with the control group, without accompanying changes in ambulation in the open-field test. Moreover, L-theanine significantly antagonized reserpine-induced ptosis and hypothermia. Taken together, these results indicate that L-theanine possessed an antidepressant-like effect in mice, which may be mediated by the central monoaminergic neurotransmitter system.

Phytother Res. 2011 Nov;25(11):1636-9

Anxiolytic effects of L-theanine--a component of green tea--when combined with midazolam, in the male Sprague-Dawley rat.

The purpose of the study was to investigate the anxiolytic effects of L-theanine and its potential interaction with the GABAA receptor in Sprague-Dawley rats. L-theanine is a major component of green tea, which has traditionally been used as an herbal remedy in the treatment of many medical conditions, including anxiety. Herbals and supplements and their potential interactions perioperatively are a concern to anesthetists. Fifty-five rats were divided into 5 groups: control (saline); L-theanine (positive control); flumazenil (a known benzodiazepine receptor antagonist) and L-theanine; and midazolam and L-theanine. The behavioral component of anxiety was evaluated using the elevated plus-maze and calculated by the time spent in the open arm of the maze divided by total time in the maze. Data were analyzed using a 2-tailed multivariate analysis of variance and Sheffé posthoc test. The data suggest that L-theanine does not produce anxiolysis by modulation of the GABAA receptor; however, in combination with midazolam, a synergistic or additive effect was demonstrated by decreased anxiety and both fine and basic motor movements. These data may provide direction for further studies examining L-theanine and its effects on anxiety and motor activity.

AANA J. 2009 Dec;77(6):445-9

The combined effects of L-theanine and caffeine on cognitive performance and mood.

The aim of this study was to compare 50 mg caffeine, with and without 100 mg L-theanine, on cognition and mood in healthy volunteers. The effects of these treatments on word recognition, rapid visual information processing, critical flicker fusion threshold, attention switching and mood were compared to placebo in 27 participants. Performance was measured at baseline and again 60 min and 90 min after each treatment (separated by a 7-day washout). Caffeine improved subjective alertness at 60 min and accuracy on the attention-switching task at 90 min. The L-theanine and caffeine combination improved both speed and accuracy of performance of the attention-switching task at 60 min, and reduced susceptibility to distracting information in the memory task at both 60 min and 90 min. These results replicate previous evidence which suggests that L-theanine and caffeine in combination are beneficial for improving performance on cognitively demanding tasks.

Nutr Neurosci. 2008 Aug;11(4):193-8

L-theanine and caffeine improve task switching but not intersensory attention or subjective alertness.

Tea ingredients L-theanine and caffeine have repeatedly been shown to deliver unique cognitive benefits when consumed in combination. The current randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, cross-over study compared a combination of L-theanine (97 mg) and caffeine (40 mg) to a placebo on two attention tasks and a self-report questionnaire before, and 10 and 60 min after consumption. The combination of L-theanine and caffeine significantly improved attention on a switch task as compared to the placebo, while subjective alertness and intersensory attention were not improved significantly. The results support previous evidence that L-theanine and caffeine in combination can improve attention.

Appetite. 2010 Apr;54(2):406-9

Mild cognitive impairment can be distinguished from Alzheimer disease and normal aging for clinical trials.

BACKGROUND: Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) represents a transitional state between the cognitive changes of normal aging and very early dementia and is becoming increasingly recognized as a risk factor for Alzheimer disease (AD). The Memory Impairment Study (MIS) is a multicenter clinical trial in patients with MCI designed to evaluate whether vitamin E or donepezil is effective at delaying the time to a clinical diagnosis of AD. OBJECTIVE: To describe the baseline characteristics of patients with MCI recruited for the MIS and compare them with those of elderly controls and patients with AD in another clinical trial. DESIGN: Descriptive and comparative study of patients with MCI participating in a multicenter clinical trial. SETTING: Memory disorder centers in the United States and Canada. PATIENTS: A total of 769 patients with MCI, 107 cognitively normal elderly controls, 122 patients with very mild AD (Clinical Dementia Rating [CDR] 0.5), and 183 patients with mild AD (CDR 1.0) were evaluated. Patients in the MIS met operational criteria for amnestic MCI. Controls were recruited in parallel with the MCI group, underwent the same assessments, and had a CDR of 0. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Clinical, neuropsychologic, functional, neuroimaging, and genetic measures. RESULTS: Mean +/- SD Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive Subscale scores were 5.6 +/- 3.3 for controls, 11.3 +/- 4.4 for patients with MCI, 18.0 +/- 6.2 for the AD CDR 0.5 group, and 25.2 +/- 8.8 for the AD CDR 1.0 group. Compared with controls, patients with MCI were most impaired on memory tasks, with less severe impairments in other cognitive domains. Patients with MCI were more likely than controls but less likely than patients with AD to carry the apolipoprotein E epsilon4 allele. Patients with MCI had hippocampal volumes that were intermediate between those of controls and patients with AD. CONCLUSIONS: Patients with MCI had a predominant memory impairment with relative sparing of other cognitive domains and were intermediate between clinically normal individuals and patients with AD on cognitive and functional ratings. These results demonstrate the successful implementation of operational criteria for this unique group of at-risk patients in a multicenter clinical trial.

Arch Neurol. 2004 Jan;61(1):59-66