Researchers have reviewed new findings on the possible health benefits of tea. Now, the caffeine in tea known as theanine is linked to improve human attention and focus.
Dr John Foxe, Ph.D., Professor of Neuro Science, Biology and Psychology at City College of New York has presented results of his experiment in which he made human trials to study the effect of theanine on the alpha brain-wave activity. Theanine is an amino acid which is almost exclusively found in the tea plant. The alpha brain rhythm is known to induce a calmer, yet more alert, state of mind.
During the experiment, the participants are made to drink solutions containing either 250mg theanine or placebo and later their brain activity was monitored using electrophysiological measures. Speaking about the observations during the study Dr. Foxe says, “Our results showed that after having theanine, individuals showed significant improvements in tests for attention and that activity in cortical regions responsible for attention functions was enhanced.”
Having mentioned that theanine is almost exclusively found in the tea plant, it is interesting to note that the studies do have a basis, looking at the fact that variants of tea such as herbal tea and the advantages of tea in terms of being rich in antioxidants are being stressed upon and are being promoted as health drinks across the globe.
Moving further on the research conducted by Dr. Foxe, his new research in the Cognitive Neuropsychology Laboratory at Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research in Orangeburg, NY, additionally proposes that the effect of theanine is far greater in combination with caffeine than the effect that caffeine and theanine have individually. The combination promises higher improvement in attention than that would be induced by either alone. They say that theanine may work synergistically with caffeine to help induce a calmer, relaxed state but also one that allows the mind to concentrate and focus on tasks better. A regular cup of tea contains approximately 20 – 25mg of theanine.
Dr. Foxe concludes, “We have seen that just 20 minutes after consuming theanine, the blood concentrations increase and the brain’s alpha waves are impacted. It lasts about three to four hours, which we have speculated may be why people tend to drink a cup of tea every three-to-four hours during the day.”