Here’s a review of Jarrow’s 200 mg L-Theanine, a supplement I’ve found helpful for my mild case of inattentive-type Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), yielding a relaxed, calmly alert state of mind:
WHAT IT IS: L-Theanine is an amino acid (a constituent of protein) found in green tea. “Suntheanine” is a brand name of L-Theanine produced by a Japanese company, Taiyo International, esteemed for its purity.
WHAT IT DOES: So, what does L-Theanine do, exactly? Well, like all supplements, its effects on your individual biochemistry may vary slightly, so I’ll tell you what it does for me.
I drink quite a bit of green tea on a daily basis (averaging a minimum of 4 cups a day), so I’m getting a bit of L-theanine throughout the day, every day. I’m a writer and I find that l-theanine gives me a mental edge: a relaxed concentration that makes it much easier for me to do my job (which involves a lot of research and editing).
HELP FOR ADD: I have very mild Attention Deficit Disorder and I find it noticeably easier to concentrate when I take L-theanine, hence my green tea habit. If I find myself getting impatient or frustrated with a project, it’s L-theanine to the rescue–it takes the “edge” off in about 10 minutes. I also feel more relaxed, but with a significant amount of calm, focused energy. It doesn’t make me sleepy, but I have experimented with it at bedtime & found that my dreams were more intense. I, however, prefer to take it during the day. Your mileage may vary.
OTHER BENEFITS: The research I initially did on this supplement (before I started taking it years ago) stated that l-theanine works to improve concentration by actually altering brain waves, enhancing the alpha wave phase. It also raises dopamine and serotonin levels (both are feel-good neurotransmitters). Personally, I don’t take the supplement daily (remember, I drink TONS of green tea). I take it on an “as needed basis”–if I feel my mind drifting too far afield of a mounting “To Do” List or find myself daydreaming, I supplement with an L-theanine capsule and regain my focus within about 20 minutes.
I’ve read on several health forums that many people take l-theanine as an anti-anxiety treatment and to help with panic attacks. Many others use it for enhancing sleep (but as I mentioned, I like it better during the day, myself). Many women swear it helps alleviate PMS symptoms.
COUNTERING MSG REACTIONS: My husband has an allergic reaction to MSG (monosodium glutamate), a “flavor enhancer” that’s often added to restaurant food. He gets terrible headaches, dizziness, & dry mouth if exposed. Much to my amazement, an L-theanine capsule after exposure has prevented his headache/dizziness reaction, which is astounding in itself. If you’re MSG-sensitive, try L-theanine and see if it helps. Even Jarrow’s label clearly states that l-theanine helps mitigate glutamate toxicity (very unusual labeling).
HOW TO TAKE IT: As with any amino acid, you want to take this either an hour before or 2 hours after eating and only with water or a protein-free fruit juice. Take it with any protein-containing meal or drink & you’re blunting its effect & more or less wasting your money. Start with 1 capsule mid-morning, on an EMPTY stomach. You can also take one mid-afternoon, and, as I mentioned, some people take one before bedtime. See how you react; if it makes you sleepy, you’ll do best using it as a sleep-enhancing supplement. If you’re like me, it will give you more mental energy.
QUICKEST ACTION: If you need REAL help real fast, open the capsule & pour the contents under your tongue. Let it completely dissolve. This method is quicker because the L-theanine gets absorbed directly into the bloodstream, bypassing a metabolic step in the liver. I never have to do this, but if I were someone who suffered from panic attacks, I’d certainly do so without hesitation.
200 MG DOSAGE COMMENT: I’ve been taking another company’s 100 mg Suntheanine capsule off and on for a couple of years and I was wondering if this 200 mg dosage would be too high for me. I’m happy to say it isn’t and I actually find it is more effective for me than the lower dosage I’ve been taking.
I highly recommend l-theanine, especially for anyone like myself who’s fought against attention deficit disorder since childhood. It won’t cure you, but it certainly makes it easier to calmly concentrate on any project. Good luck to all!
CAUTIONARY P.S. As with any amino acid, those on pharmaceutical antidepressants should talk to their doctor before supplementing with any substance that alters dopamine/serotonin levels. Just an FYI.
Kerri Elders @writerseditor
Here’s another one of my “blog about it or you’ll lose it” recipes.
I use this one as a “base” for an energy drink my husband & I take every day; we use about 2 oz of this “juice” mix, plus some supplements (each of us takes a different combo) like CoQ10, Vitamin C, d-ribose, greens mix, protein, MSM, etc.
For several years, we simply used Ocean Spray’s Cranergy Juice, but they’ve changed their recipe and their name (it’s now Cran-Energy), it’s hard to find, & I don’t like it any more (too much water, too little real juice to justify its high cost).
What we do instead is buy each of these two 96oz juice combos at Costco & then create our own watered-down juice concoction:
Now, just FYI, pure Grape Juice is full of natural sugars and will add a high Glycemic Load to your body if you drink it “straight” (just one 8 oz glass has 39 grams of sugar), so you need to DILUTE IT if you’re drinking it for its healthy antioxidant content.
This recipe is quick & easy & will yield 60 oz. of “juice” (30 2-oz servings).
My husband DOES NOT LIKE STEVIA, so we use a liquid saccharin called Fasweet instead. Liquid saccharine is inexpensive, easy to use & a very effective sweetener.
You can use whatever low calorie sweetener you prefer (stevia, sweet n low, splenda, Superose Liquid Sweetener from Amazon), but I would not recommend sweetening this with sugar, agave nectar, or honey because of the Glycemic Load you’re creating for your body.
Keep in mind that we use this as a base for some rather bitter supplements, so if you’re mixing this to drink like juice, you can cut the amount of saccharin in half (or use even less).
To make 60 ounces “energy juice”:
2 cups Newman’s Own 100% Grape Juice
2 cups Ocean Spray 100% Juice, Cranberry
About 2 16 oz. bottles Reverse Osmosis Filtered Water (don’t use tap water–it contains too much chlorine; regular bottled water is not quite as good as “purified” RO water–but this is your call)
2 tablespoons liquid Saccharin (like Fasweet)
Mix in a clean 60 ounce juice container with a lid; shake well and refrigerate. Each set of 96 oz juice starters will make about SIX 60 oz batches of “juice.”
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Here’s a quick post about an awesome supplement for anyone who needs an energy boost (and who in 21st century America doesn’t?).
Add the extra benefits of boosted mood, better memory/mental clarity, and improved immunity, and you’ve got a winning combination.
We’ve all heard of the importance of taking a good B-complex vitamin and I’ve tried many, many different brands over the years. Unfortunately, almost all of them caused me to feel nauseated, no matter what kind of food I tried to couple with them.
So, I dedicated some time last year to find some alternatives. I started with Source Naturals Coenzymate B Complex.
These worked GREAT and because they were sublingual (dissolved under the tongue), they bypassed the liver, allowing the B Complex to move directly into the bloodstream. This meant no more nausea! The downside was that since they had to be dissolved under the tongue, I found (to my dismay) that they stained my teeth. Even though they gave me more energy, it came at the cost of temporarily yellowed teeth. No go!
They worked GREAT for me. I took them for a good 6 months or so before it dawned on me that they might just help my husband with his longstanding fatigue problem. He took his first two on April 22 and has been feeling great ever since (it’s now May 2).
We shared some with some neighbors in their 70′s who were having some fatigue issues, and to our amazement, within a few hours of their first dose, they were feeling energized. SERIOUSLY energized. They spent the whole first day out in their backyard, doing yard work.
I can’t recommend this particular supplement highly enough. My husband has tried countless other forms of B-Complex vitamins that never, ever worked anything like these. The effects were potent and immediate.
One important point: unlike any other B Complex I’ve ever used, this one is DESIGNED TO BE TAKEN ON AN EMPTY STOMACH. We take 2, first thing in the morning, with a full glass of water, about an hour before eating.
Depending on your energy needs, you may need multiple doses a day or just a single capsule in the morning. The great thing about B vitamins is that they’re water soluble, so you really can’t easily overdose on them–your body will eliminate what it doesn’t need. Fat soluble vitamins, on the other hand (like A, D, and E) are stored in the body and it’s important that you exercise more caution.
What seems to make this particular form of B Complex so effective are the additional coenzymes that make the B Vitamins more bioavailable (absorbable by the body’s tissues).
Here’s the ingredient list, FYI, direct from the manufacturer–just click on the “View Product Label” link on this page.
Good luck; hope this helps you as much as it’s helped us; let me know how it works for you!
If you’ve never ordered from IHerb before, you can click on the green banner on the right side of the page and you’ll save $5 off your first order. Amazon also has a great Subscribe & Save price on this supplement. Sign up for regular delivery (every month, 3 months, or 6 months) and it ships FREE.
More Info about the value of taking a high quality B Complex:
B Vitamins crucial in helping alleviate depression and anxiety
[--Be sure to scroll down about 1/3 of the page; top of page of this particular blog post is FULL of Google ads]
Here’s a link to a useful chart from Consumer Reports, detailing twelve supplements to avoid, including several that have been proven to cause liver damage.
Follow Kerri Elders on Twitter @writerseditor
Serotonin is the neurotransmitter in the brain that helps you to relax and aids in restful, deep-REM sleep so essential to keeping your brain in good working order for massive coding check projects : ) . If you’re not a nerd who engages in massive coding check projects, serotonin still helps you feel relaxed, confident, and calmly happy.
The amino acid L-Tryptophan (and its cheaper precursor, 5-HTP) do this quite well.
But there may be an even cheaper alternative: Vitamin B3 (niacin). IF you can handle the heat of its well known side effect, skin flushing.
Niacin has been shown to effectively lower cholesterol levels, but it seems to have the terrific additional benefit of raising serotonin levels in the brain. Dr. Abraham Hoffer did some well-known studies showing niacin’s amazing benefits for schizophrenic patients. Looks like it is highly beneficial for the rest of us–
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I tried the conventional medical route to heal the ulcers (the proton pump inhibitor, Prevacid) but decided I needed a more natural approach. I didn’t like the idea of interfering with Mother Nature; I think my stomach needed its acid-producing capacity in order to properly digest my food (I forgot to mention that I lost 14 pounds in the course of this & felt very weak and tired). I also think this acid is crucial to maintaining a healthy balance of bacteria in the stomach, helping to boost your body’s bacteria killing ability at one of its largest “ports of entry.”
So I did my research and found three supplements that helped me heal from the inside out.
Please keep in mind that nutritional supplements ALWAYS take a little longer to work than most pharmaceuticals. You won’t get the instant relief a painkiller will give, but you will be arming your body with the components it needs to heal itself. Be patient.
I’m living proof that this regimen works; I’ve regained my weight, energy, and life and am extremely grateful for the improvement. I’ve really never experienced sickness before in my life, and it was a scary, powerless situation.
You also need to learn what foods to embrace and which to avoid.
For me, anything tomato-based was a KILLER until my stomach healed. No tomato-containing casseroles, spaghetti, linguini, ravioli, etc. Avoid tomato-based soups. Even raw tomatoes were a major trigger for pain for me.
Fats and greasy foods were also a problem. Coffee was a major no-no and even my favorite green tea was off the menu for a few months. Fruit juices were also off limits to my stomach.
Healing foods included oatmeal, coconut oil, a simple rice pudding made with almond milk, saltine crackers, and, surprisingly, yogurt. I think the yogurt helped reintroduce some important bacteria that had been wiped out by the heavy antibiotics I was given after the ruptured appendix. I chose a Greek yogurt (lower sugar, higher protein) and sweetened it with stevia, adding my own blueberries.
Blueberries, bananas, cantaloupe, and watermelon were very healing to my stomach. I also lived on Braum’s orange sherbet; for about 3 weeks, it was about the only thing besides crackers my stomach could handle. I think the sherbet was artificially flavored, so its acidity didn’t seem to be an issue for me and was very soothing.
Here are the three supplements that really turned the tide for me:
1. Mastic Gum: I took 2 capsules, 3 times a day on an empty stomach with a full glass of room temperature water. One dose on rising in the morning, one dose at about 2 PM, and one dose before bed. I did this for at least 2 months and still take an occasional dose in the morning if my stomach feels “needy.”
Mastic gum is derived from a Mediterranean tree; it smells like pine rosin to me, but it definitely will help your stomach rebuild its lining. I could take a dose and feel some relief within 10 minutes.
2. DGL (de-glycyrrhizinated licorice): This is a miracle worker; it’s a licorice supplement with the glycyrrhizine compound removed (to avoid raising blood pressure). They come in little lozenges that you slowly dissolve (or can chew). DGL is proven to help the stomach heal its lining. I found this soothing when the ulcers started acting up; I could dissolve 2 or 3 lozenges and feel relief. In the acute phase, I probably took about 8 of these a day. NOW has a sweet version that is easy to chew; I prefer Planetary Herbal’s variety–the flavor is less intense. But both work great to help the stomach reconstitute itself. I would take these before eating, after eating, or on an empty stomach.
3. PepZinGI (an amino acid/ zinc preparation taken with meals): I took this with 2 meals a day (usually breakfast and dinner). This is a combination of zinc and the amino acid L-carnosine. This supplement helps your body rebuild the stomach and intestinal lining. I definitely felt an improvement with this and highly recommend all three supplements.
Another tip: if your stomach starts “seizing” (cramping and hurting and burning)–take a half dose of old fashioned Milk of Magnesia. The magnesium will help soothe and coat the stomach and also helps relieve and calm the muscles of the stomach–it’s truly amazing how effective this is. BTW, AVOID Maalox, Pepto Bismol, and Tums and Rolaids LIKE THE PLAGUE if you have ulcers. Pepto Bismol contains salicylic acid (aspirin) & you’ll just be eating through your ulcer and making your pain worse–believe me, I did this & ended up in the emergency room. If you need relief, use Milk of Magnesia (with caution–it’s a laxative).
I learned from this experience, too, to eat FREQUENT SMALL MEALS. Don’t let your stomach stay empty for long. Also, if you start to “burn,” there is an elegantly simple solution: drink a full glass (or two) of room temperature water. This will dilute your stomach acid & relieve the pain (how I wish someone had told me that!!!).
DGL from NOW Foods at IHerb.com.
PepZinGI from Doctor’s Best at IHerb.com.
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