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Coffee and Chemistry: 3 ways L-theanine will boost your coffee.

There are numerous articles touting the mental benefits of the combination of L-theanine in coffee, but mental clarity is not the only advantage this ingredient provides. This ingredient is the nonessential amino acid L-theanine. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and are necessary for proper health and life. Generally amino acids that are classified as "nonessential" are produced in our bodies and "essential" amino acids need to be obtained through diet. L-theanine is unique because it is non-essential and we do not produce it, therefore humans rarely utilize it. The most abundant source of L-theanine is tea leafs and smaller amounts are found in certain mushrooms and fermented foods. So lets look at three reasons why we want this with our coffee.
  1. Mental Clarity: The combination of caffeine and L-theanine have some very beneficial cognitive effects. In one study published in The Journal Of Nutrition  L-theanine with caffeine  enhanced performance in attention switching and the ability to ignore distractions (1). Another study in from 2015 in the scientific publication Psychopharmacology, found that L-theanine eliminated unfavorable effects of caffeine such as vasoconstriction and improved behavioral effects when combined with caffeine (2). So if you want to increase your mental focus while reducing coffee jitters then Smart Owl Coffee: Cognition Blend is a must.
  2. Immunity: The immune system uses various signaling proteins to communicate. These signaling proteins are shorter in length and can be as small as 2 amino acids in length and are called cytokines. These cytokines can not pass through cell walls so in order to communicate with a cell they act on surface receptors. L-theanine is an amino acid and has been shown to modulate immune cytokines. A study conducted in the Medical Science Monitor show that L-theanine altered the cytokines TH2/TH1 for improved immune response (3).
  3. Digestion: Coffee is a great after meal drink. Studies show that coffee stimulates digestion (4). This stimulation is not from caffeine but rather a pharmacological effect from the release of cholecystokinin. One way to boost the natural pro-digestive effects of coffee is to add L-theanine. There are 2 benefits to adding L-Theanine. The first is that it help regulate insulin and glucose levels. This means that may help with the post meal crash that we get after a large meal. The second benefit is based on a study in BioMed Research International that demonstrated that L-theanine improved nutrient absorption (5).
These are just a few benefits you can get by adding this one simple amino acid to your morning cup of coffee or to you after dinner decaf. This is why Smart Owl Coffee adds this unique amino acid to all of our coffee blends.
(1). Kelly SP, Gomez-Ramirez M, Montesi JL, Foxe JJ. L-theanine and caffeine in combination affect human cognition as evidenced by oscillatory alpha-band activity and attention task performance. J Nutr. 2008;138(8):1572S‐1577S. doi:10.1093/jn/138.8.1572S
(2).Dodd FL, Kennedy DO, Riby LM, Haskell-Ramsay CF. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study evaluating the effects of caffeine and L-theanine both alone and in combination on cerebral blood flow, cognition and mood. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2015;232(14):2563‐2576. doi:10.1007/s00213-015-3895-0
(3).Li C, Tong H, Yan Q, et al. L-Theanine Improves Immunity by Altering TH2/TH1 Cytokine Balance, Brain Neurotransmitters, and Expression of Phospholipase C in Rat Hearts. Med Sci Monit. 2016;22:662‐669. Published 2016 Feb 28. doi:10.12659/msm.897077
(4).Boekema PJ, Samsom M, Smout AJ. Effect of coffee on gastro-oesophageal reflux in patients with reflux disease and healthy controls. Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 1999;11(11):1271‐1276. doi:10.1097/00042737-199911000-00015
(5).Yan Q, Tong H, Tang S, Tan Z, Han X, Zhou C. L-Theanine Administration Modulates the Absorption of Dietary Nutrients and Expression of Transporters and Receptors in the Intestinal Mucosa of Rats. Biomed Res Int. 2017;2017:9747256. doi:10.1155/2017/9747256

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