One of the most serious, yet widely ignored, burdens of society is stress. Psychological, physiological or environmental stressors can result in neuropsychological dysfunction such as Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) with cognitive impairment. According to world health organization, 350 million people worldwide suffer from MDD.
In this study, scientists attempted to use L-theanine to mitigate the harmful effects of chronic stress. Mice were subjected to restraint stress, for 21 consecutive days, resulting in depression-like behaviors, anxiety, and learning and memory impairments. At a molecular level, the inflammatory cytokines (Tumor necrosis factor alpha - TNFa, and interleukin 6 - IL-6) and the stress hormone corticosterone, were increased in the brain and blood samples collected from these stressed animals.
In addition, serotonin and norepinephrine (important neurotransmitters in the pre-frontal cortex) were reduced by this stress. The authors then gave the mice a pre-dose of L-theanine, prior to every restraint stress session for all 21 days of the stressors. They found that by pre-treating the mice with L-theanine prior to the stressful events, the mice exhibited less depression and anxiety-like behavior, performed better on tests of learning and memory, and had reduced levels of TNFa, IL6, and corticosterone in their brain and peripheral blood. L-theanine could also rescue the deficits in serotonin and norepinephrine in the pre-frontal cortex that were caused by the stress.
Overall, these data indicate that L-theanine may have strong stress-protective effects that prevent the depression, anxiety and memory deficits that can occur after extreme stress. In addition, L-theanine may be able to reverse many of the inflammatory and other molecular effects of stress.
One such readily available nootropic that contains L-Theanine is our SPRINT.
Authored by Sumeet Sharma
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