Tea Theanine Link to Attention and Focus
New research in Dr. Foxe's laboratory, the Cognitive Neurophysiology Laboratory at the Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research in Orangeburg , NY, suggests that the effects of theanine in combination with caffeine are even greater than with either one alone in improving attention. Theanine may work synergistically with caffeine to help induce a more calming, relaxed state, but one that allows the mind to focus and concentrate better at tasks. A cup of tea contains an average of 20-25 mg of theanine.
"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," added Dr. Foxe.
Tea May Help Maintain Brain Health
Human epidemiological and new animal data from around the world suggest that drinking tea, especially rich in catechins, may help support the brain as it ages. Tea consumption is inversely correlated with the incidence of dementia, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease, which may help to explain why there are significantly lower incidence rates of age-related neurological disorders among Asians than in Europeans or Americans.
Dr. Silvia Mandel, of the Eve Topf Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases in Israel, has been studying the effects of tea on brain functions in laboratory and animal models for more than a decade. Her most recent studies looked at animal models of neurological diseases, such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. Her group provided an amount of purified EGCG equal to about two to four cups of green tea per day to animals with induced Parkinsonism. The researchers found that when the animals are fed green Tea EGCG, the polyphenol appeared to prevent brain cells from dying and showed improvements in reducing compounds that lead to lesions in the brains of animals with Alzheimer's disease.
"Not only may the EGCG help prevent brain cells from dying, it appears that the polyphenol may even rescue the neurons once they have been damaged, to help them repair. In the past, it was thought that once brain cells were damaged, there was no way to repair them. The major question is whether these promising results are reproducible in humans," says Dr. Mandel.
Tea and Weight Management
Tea drinkers may find that they can eliminate liquid calories in their diet by drinking tea in lieu of sugar-laden beverages that are nutrient-poor but calorie-rich. Dr. Kovacs warned consumers that green tea products are no magic bullet for weight loss.
Tea Consumption Tames Inflammation, Improves
Blood Vessel Function
These new developments in artery endothelium research add to the growing body of evidence suggesting that drinking as little as two to four cups of tea daily can promote cardiovascular health. Tea flavonoids are thought to support cardiovascular health through several mechanisms, including: providing antioxidants to help temper inflammatory markers such as C-reactive protein, reducing blood cholesterol levels, and providing dilation of blood vessels to help manage blood pressure.
Tea May Impact Genes Involved in Cancer
Initiation and Development
"We are seeing that green tea is impacting genes that play a role in cancer, but we cannot at this point pinpoint who will be responders versus non-responders," said Dr. Hakim. "In addition, our recent preliminary data show a beneficial effect of green tea on lipid profile among smokers and former smokers." Dr. Hakim's lab is currently analyzing the study data to determine if black tea has similar effects. Sherecommends at least four cups of tea per day.
Tea Drinkers Consume 20 Times More
Tea drinkers averaged nearly 700 mg flavonoids while non-tea drinkers averaged about 33 mg per day. A cup of tea contains approximately 125 mg flavonoids, which is more than most non-tea drinkers consume in an entire day.The symposium, which was sponsored by the American Cancer Society, American College of Nutrition, American Medical Women's Association, American Society for Nutrition, The Linus Pauling Institute and the Tea Council of the U.S.A., was held at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
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