From The Experts
See what nationally recognized doctors and pharmacists are saying about Suntheanine.
Sherry Torkos is a pharmacist, author, and certified fitness instructor. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science in 1992 and practices holistic pharmacy in the Niagara region of Ontario.
As a leading health expert, she has delivered hundreds of lectures to medical professionals and the public. She is frequently interviewed on radio and TV talk shows throughout North America and abroad.
Sherry has authored eleven books, including The Canadian Encyclopedia for Natural Medicine, The Glycemic Index Made Simple, Winning at Weight Loss and Breaking the Age Barrier.
For more information visit, www.sherrytorkos.comSee The Videos »
Shaun Goodsell has had a passion for working with and helping kids and adolescents for the better part of his life. He has been working with kids in adverse situations for twenty years and has seen many of them through the most horrific of situations. He grew up playing hockey and running cross-country for his local high school and has also run an amazing six marathons! With a Bachelor's Degree in Communications, a Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology and his undying love for athletics and young people, Shaun has combined his academic background, his innate love for working with kids and adolescents and finally, his passion for sports in general to create The Mental Edge. A company which not only guides athletes toward a higher ground in measures of performance, but also in their every day lives.
Shaun has worked with LPGA Golfers, National Championship Hockey Players, Professional Triathletes, State Champion Football and Hockey Players, as well as those athletes who simply want to make “the team.” Every athlete deals with certain mental interferences and life impairments no matter what level they may be at competitively. There is no such thing as right and wrong, or, good and bad, in Shaun's mind. I do not look at life in these terms. As a Performance Coach, it is my challenge to help each individual athlete develop a new way of defining his/her performance — it is not about good or bad, but about looking at what factors go into a quality performance and what each athlete can do and/or change, individually, to experience just that. With Shaun's ability to teach and to inspire, along with his ability to communicate abstract ideas clearly, he is able to help each person he works with identify and look at ways they might be engaging in self-defeating patterns of thinking and/or acting, which results in an overall empowering experience for the individual, raising their level of mental toughness and overall self-esteem. Shaun also works extensively with coaches and parents of athletes in large groups, focusing on their integral roles in athletes' overall mental development and their lives in general. Each coach and parents leaves these presentations and workshops inspired and better equipped to manage athletes with aim, purpose and compassion.
Researcher and Physician
Dr. Lyon answers some common questions about Suntheanine.
- Why can’t I just drink green tea to get the same affects?
- Although green tea has numerous health benefits and I encourage people to drink green tea, it is very hard to obtain significant amounts of L-theanine by drinking green tea alone. Although most of the benefits of L-theanine are experienced with doses of 50-400mg, the typical green tea sold in North America contains less than 10mg of L-theanine per serving. The finest grades of green tea sold in Japan may have much more L-theanine (as high as 50mg per serving) but this grade of tea is very hard to find in North America and, if you do find a reliable source, it tends to command such a high price that it is far more economical to purchase nutritional products with defined levels of Suntheanine to enjoy the benefits of L-theanine on a daily basis. As well, green tea with the highest levels of L-theanine also tends to have the highest levels of caffeine, which may pose a problem with higher levels of consumption. To experience the numerous benefits of L-theanine it is wise to consume products with Suntheanine even if you do drink regular amounts of green tea.
- How much is too much?
- Suntheanine can have noticeable benefits with doses as low as 50mg. However, for most adults, doses of 100mg to as much as 400mg or more are often used for greater effects. In doses of 400mg or greater, some people will experience some degree of sedation. This is advantageous if you are using Suntheanine to improve sleep quality, but it can be a problem during the day. Doses as high as 1000 mg of Suntheanine are safe but caution should be exercised if taking higher doses when you have to drive or operate machinery.
- Is Suntheanine safe for children?
- L-theanine is a naturally occurring molecule that is present in the diets of children around the world where tea is a consumed and no concerns have ever been raised about its safety. Suntheanine, which is a purified form of the same amino acid found in green tea, has also been approved as a food ingredient and nutritional supplement in some countries for many years and in these countries it has a perfect safety record. Recently, I was in charge of a large double blind study in which 200mg of Suntheanine was consumed twice per day for six weeks in boys 8-12 years with attention deficit disorder. No side effects were reported in any of these boys and I now view Suntheanine as one of the safest natural products that can be given to a child.
- Does green tea have caffeine?
- Caffeine is present in all varieties of green and black tea. In fact, the best grades of green tea have more caffeine than any type of black tea and may have nearly as much caffeine as found in coffee cup for cup. Since the best types of green tea also have higher levels of L-theanine, the side effects of caffeine are not as apparent but it is still important to note that green tea drinking can contribute to anxiety and insomnia in susceptible individuals.
Board Certified Family Physician and Triathlete
Would you drink 20 cups of green tea to help you win your next game?
There is a more realistic way to stay calm and focused when you train or compete.
Top athletes understand that mental clarity and focus are essential to their performance. A split second loss of concentration can mean defeat or injury. And when it comes to natural alternatives for boosting alertness, there really is not a lot out there. Studies have shown that L-theanine, an ingredient found in green tea, can help you stay calm yet alert, which can be a competitive advantage for even weekend athletes. But you would have to drink as many as 20 cups of green tea in one sitting to get this benefit. Thank goodness there is a more practical solution!
L-theanine is an amino acid that causes alpha wave production, the same alpha waves you get when you meditate. Because products containing a proprietary form of L-theanine identical to the amino acid found in green tea, called Suntheanine, promote the production of the brain's alpha waves without the side effects of caffeine, I call them 'meditation in a bottle'. The good news is that it does not make you drowsy as you might think meditation would.
My personal fitness story
I have personally overcome some of the most common excuses for being out of shape: having no time, inheriting so-called 'fat genes. and dealing with weight gain due to pregnancy.
People talk about inheriting fat, and that is nonsense. Everyone in my family, except my parents, was huge and they suffered the resulting health complications. I have never been obese but I have been overweight. I decided to shock my body so that by my 45th birthday I would have the body I had before having children.
I joined a gym, and hired a personal trainer to keep me motivated. I did all the things I tell my patients to do. At one point my trainer suggested that I think about competing, and it got me thinking about taking my physical fitness to the next level. Short course triathlons made the most sense for me.
Now when patients tell me they have no time to work out, I do not buy it. I am a single mom, a full time physician and a triathlete. Since I started training, my patients tell me I look younger. I feel that way too. I like the example I am setting. The best part is that my patients are now coming in and telling me about their new fitness routines. I am not asking them to do triathlons, only that they do not give into excuses. I tell them the right exercise is the one that they can stick with.
The L-theanine advantage
People today deal with a lot of anxiety and stress. They are worried about paying the bills, staying healthy, keeping their kids safe... normal everyday stressors. Exercise is one key to dealing with stress, and I get a lot of great feedback from my patients about how Suntheanine helps them take the edge off and allows them to keep working out.
I do not know anyone who does not get nervous before a race. When you are training at a high level, there are very few differences in fitness levels among those who win and those who lose. Part of the winning edge is technique, but another important key is being able to think clearly, to breathe calmly and to remain focused. Suntheanine can be your secret competitive advantage - and it is completely safe.
I also make sure I get adequate hydration. Most people need hydration long before they notice they have become thirsty. I have seen people fall down from being dehydrated. To calculate your baseline needs, divide your body weight in half. That is how many ounces of water or liquids you should consume daily.
When you work out at the level that I do, it is also a stress on the body. Most triathletes do not have time to nap after a workout which would enable their bodies to recover, and so their immune systems become suppressed. That is why I also incorporate antioxidants into my workout recovery routine, including a high quality green tea extract or grapeseed extract, an all-natural tomato lycopene complex, and a natural hyaluronic acid for joint protection.
Because L-theanine has been shown to support the immune system, re-hydrating with one of the many recently released L-theanine containing beverages, such as all-natural Zenmaster, VitaminWater b-Relax or LifeWater Enlighten, is another great way to help the immune system bounce back.
CSCS, NSCA-CPT, e-RYT
Athletes know that preparation starts long before they get to the practice field, and guys studying Empowered Yoga are doing the same. Gillespie encourages his students to offset the stress in their lives, and prepare their bodies for a workout, by adding specific vitamins, minerals and supplements to their daily regimens. Drinking plenty of water, and avoiding processed foods, also go a long way toward keeping men in prime condition.
To maintain calm, balance and focus before and after a workout, Gillespie also encourages men to consume foods and beverages containing Suntheanine (a pure form of L-theanine). "It's like yoga in a bottle because it helps to bring men back into balance with their nervous systems. Suntheanine brings a state of clarity into your day, which can help you make better lifestyle decisions."
Board certified internist and director of the Annapolis Research Center for Effective CFS/Fibromyalgia Therapies.
Doctors have a slew of anti-anxiety medications to jot on their scrip pads, including Paxil and Valium. “But these drugs are often not just ineffective – they are also rife with side effects, such as addiction, sedation, and sexual dysfunction,” cautions Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, the medical director of the Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Centers of America and author of Pain Free 1-2-3: A Proven Program to Get You Pain Free! (McGraw-Hill, 2006)
Find peace of mind with L-theanine, an amino acid found in green tea and “an outstanding treatment for anxiety,” says Teitelbaum. “One of the greatest benefits of L-theanine is that you can use it without becoming sedated or lethargic in the process.”
L-theanine works in a couple ways, according to Teitelbaum. First, it directly stimulates the production of alpha brain waves, which are associated with a relaxed-but-alert state of mind, similar to the state meditation achieves. Secondly, he explains, L-theanine is involved in the formation of the neurotransmitter GABA, which calms you while you’re awake but deepens sleep at night. “L-theanine also naturally stimulates the release of the ‘happiness molecules’ serotonin and dopamine.” One study earlier this year, conducted by researchers at the program in Cognitive Neuroscience at the City University in New York, found that by boosting people’s alpha brain waves, L-theanine helped people stay more focused and responsive while performing mundane tasks. Teitelbaum suggests 50 to 200 mg of the Suntheanine brand of L-theanine, which is identical to the amino acid found in green tea, a few times a day.
An excerpt from the September 2007 issue of Alternative Medicine magazine