Viridian Theanine & Lemon Balm
L-Theanine and Lemon Balm
Stress can cause people to feel strung out, restless, anxious, tense, nervous and irritable as well as lose concentration and suffer brain fog. A number of studies have shown that the natural ingredients L-theanine and Lemon balm can help safely and quickly ease the symptoms of stress and improve mental performance and wellbeing.
L-theanine is an amino acid that occurs naturally in green tea (Camellia sinensis) and has been shown to possess anti-stress, anti-depressant, neuroprotective, and cognitive performance enhancing properties. Like a nice relaxing cup of tea, theanine works very fast. L-theanine is a free form of the amino acid which is rapidly absorbed and reaches maximum concentration within 30 minutes to 2 hours.6 In fact, the first study to assess the effects of theanine found that a single dose of 200 mg quickly increased alpha brain wave activity. Alpha waves are generated during a relaxed, attentive mental state and thus this study indicated that theanine could promote relaxation without drowsiness.
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) has been a popular food and medicine for thousands of years; in the 17th Century the English herbalist Nicolas Culpepper noted that lemon balm could improve mood and promote clear thinking, this use has been maintained to the present day.8 One of the primary ways lemon balm is thought to reduce feelings of stress and enhance mood is by improving brain levels of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which has anti-anxiety and calming effects, without being a sedative.
Stress and anxiety – Theanine has been shown to increase brain alpha waves, which are characteristic of a relaxed but attentive mental state.10 In a study of 50 healthy female volunteers (aged from 18 to 22 years), it was shown that a single dose of 200 mg of theanine resulted in increased alpha brain wave activity within 40 minutes.1 This effect was again confirmed in a second study.
A single dose of 200 mg theanine was shown in a study of healthy male and female volunteer’s to have some relaxing effects under normal resting conditions. Interestingly, the effects were superior to both placebo and certain anti-anxiety medication.
To see if theanine could improve mental and physical performance under stress, university students were administered 200 mg of L-theanine prior to a stressful task (a mental arithmetic task for 20 min). Theanine intake resulted in reductions in perceived stress and a reduction in measures of stress (heart rate and salivary immunoglobulin A) (see image 4). This finding suggests that L-theanine reduces the heightened sympathetic nervous system activity under acute stress.
A recent study involved a group of 5th year university students who were preparing for a pharmacy practice placement.15 The students took L-theanine (200 mg twice daily) or placebo for 1 week before the practice started and then for 10 days over the practice period. They also had their morning salivary α-amylase activity (sAA) measured as a marker of sympathetic nervous system activity. The sympathetic nervous system governs the "fight-or-flight" response to stress with higher activity related to symptoms such as worry and anxiety. Compared to the placebo-group, sAA was lower in the theanine group and subjective stress was also significantly lower.
Lemon balm has also been studied for its stress relieving and mood enhancing effects.16 An early investigation found that a single 600mg dose of lemon balm extract could reduce negative mood effects of a stressful task and significantly improve feelings of calmness and alertness.17 Another study also found that a single dose of lemon balm could improve mood and cognitive performance.
In a recent study lemon balm extract was given at a dose of 300 mg twice daily to a group of stressed people with mild-to-moderate anxiety and sleep disturbances. This study found that lemon balm reduced anxiety by 18%, reduced anxiety-associated symptoms by 15% and lowered insomnia by 42%. Most people responded to the treatment (95%), of which 70% achieved full remission for anxiety and 85% achieved full remission for insomnia (see image 2).
Memory and Cognition - The effect of l-theanine on alpha brain wave activity indicates enhanced attention and mental focus. It was shown that a single dose of 250 mg of l- theanine significantly increased alpha-wave activity in relation to a focused task, suggesting that L-theanine may have specific positive effects on focused attention.
Lemon balm may also improve memory and concentration and has been studied in people with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. After four months of treatment lemon balm was found to produce a significantly better outcome on cognitive function than placebo, and also helped to reduce feelings of agitation.
Insomnia - In people suffering from stress related sleep problems, lemon balm has been shown to improve sleep when taken at a dose of 300 mg twice daily for approximately two weeks. In children (aged 8-12 years) with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), who commonly have difficulty sleeping, 200 mg of l-theanine twice daily was effective in improving some aspects of sleep quality.
Mental health - The effects of l-theanine were studied in patients with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder. Sixty patients participated in an 8-week, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study during which 400 mg per day of l-theanine was added to ongoing antipsychotic treatment. Compared with placebo L-theanine reduced anxiety symptoms and stabilized mood, furthermore it was found to be safe, free of side effects, and well tolerated.
In a complementary study the neurochemical effects of l-theanine were investigated. In the same patients l-theanine’s clinical improvement corresponded with changes in circulating brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) to cortisol ratio suggesting a mechanism for theanine’s therapeutic effect.25
One capsule twice daily, or as recommended by a health care professional. For children 7-12 years, one to two capsules daily.
For children 2-6 years, one capsule daily.
Not recommended under 2-years unless advised by a health care professional.
For stressful or mentally demanding tasks, take one to two capsules at least 40 minutes before the event.
No safety issues with l-theanine have ever been reported. Theanine is well tolerated with no evidence of adverse effects. Similarly lemon balm has a high level of safety and human clinical studies have shown it is well tolerated with no side effects.
Safety has not been established in pregnancy or breastfeeding, therefore l-theanine and lemon balm should be avoided.
Thyroid: A lemon balm extract was show to reduce conversion of thyroid hormones in an experimental study using isolated rat liver, however no adverse effects in humans have been observed, and thus should be considered safe.
Sedatives: In an experimental study Lemon balm had an additive effect when used with a barbiturate medication, so should be used with caution by people taking sedatives.
Anti-depressants: There is no known interaction of theanine and lemon balm with anti-anxiety or antidepressant medications, and thus is considered safe.
Directions: As a food supplement, take one capsule 1-2 times daily, or as directed by your healthcare practitioner.
one vegetarian capsule provides:
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) extract (5:1)
extract equivalent to 1500mg lemon balm
(providing 5% rosmarinic acid)