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Anxious? Compound Found In Tea May Help you Focus

According to a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Shiga Prefecture in Japan, people suffering from anxiety may be able to improve their focus on daily activities by taking a supplement of L-theanine.

L-theanine is an amino acid found in tea and it is believed to help reduce stress, promote relaxation and improve the quality of sleep.

The scientists published their findings in the May 2011 issue of the Journal of Functional Foods.

18 healthy Japanese university students participated in the study. The researchers assessed the students’ anxiety levels using a common scale called the “manifest anxiety scale.” Based on their assessment, the students were separated into two groups: those with high anxiety and those with minimal anxiety.

Students in both groups were given water or water plus 200 mg of L-theanine and were then given the same assessment 15-60 minutes after ingestion.

The researchers found that students given the L-theanine supplement displayed a slowing of their heart rate, improved attention to detail, and better reaction times, compared to members of the same group receiving the placebo. These improvements were only seen among students with high anxiety levels.

Beyond improving attention, tea has also been shown to improve heart health, mood and may even reduce the risk of dementia.

Caffeine and l-theanine play a significant role in many of the benefits associated with tea but tea is also high in strong antioxidants called polyphenols. These compounds protect our cells from dangerous free radicals and a recent study even found that the cells of regular tea drinkers actually have a younger biological age than non tea drinkers.

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