The importance of a non essential amino acid
L-theanine is a non essential amino acid. This amino acid is considered to be very important in regulating different biochemical reactions in the body. Amino acids are the precursors of proteins molecule. L- theanine is also known as an analog of glutamic acid. Variable number of amino acids join with each other by a specific type of covalent bond called as peptide bond to form protein molecules. Other than these amino acids are distributed as essential and non essential amino acids. The essential amino acids are limited to twenty, these twenty essential amino acids then further combined in different patterns to form non essential amino acids. L-theanine as a non essential amino acid, is not present in all the protein molecules, but plays a very important role in the human body. L-theanine consists of two functional groups, the amino group and the carboxyl group. All the amino acids which are part of the protein molecules are having an amino group at alpha position to the carboxyl group. As in case of theanine the carboxyl group is also attached to the alpha carbon atom, so it is called as L-theanine. L- theanine is having very special function in the human body as it can cross the blood brain barrier. L- theanine is found to have psychoactive properties. The green tea is felt to have the greatest concentration of L-theanine in it.
Green tea and the L- theanine connection
Other than the green tea plant L- theanine is also present in few mushrooms. L-Theanine (delta-glutamylethylamide) is one of the predominant amino acids ordinarily found in green tea, and historically has been used as a relaxing agent. A few years back L-theanine was successfully extracted from the leaves of green tea plant. The reason why people used green tea in ancient times was that, theanine present in the green tea enhanced the ability to learn. In some countries, the leaves of the tea plant are used to make kehva. The leaves of the plant are dipped in the boiling water, and then the kehva is served to the people. Few people think that kehva have relaxing effect on the mind. The tea plants are mostly grown in tropical areas. Green tea and black tea are produced in the countries such as Kenya, India and Korea. These tea leaves are collected by hand and then dried. After processing and packing these tea packs are made available in the market. This bio extract was found to be playing a very special role in the human body. One of its amazing property is that it can cross the blood brain barrier.
L- theanine was found to have a similar structural formula as of glutamic acid. Gamma glutamylethylamide or L-theanine is considered to be the major amino acid present in the black tea and green tea. Few people say that the amount of theanine is more in the fresh leaves of the green tea plant, but no specific research is available about the content. L-theanine also imparts a specific taste to the green tea. According to few researches the taste of green tea and black tea is due to the theanine. L- theanine plays very important role in the brain. It blocks the binding of L-glutamic acid to glutamate receptors in the brain. This results in the release of special neurotransmitters which can reduce stress and anxiety. In few cases, L-theanine may show signs of enhanced relaxation. This great response of L-theanine is only because it can cross the blood brain barrier. Amino acids are playing different roles in the human body and are the most abundant organic molecules in the human body. L- theanine is hydrolyzed in the liver into Glutamic acid and Ethylamine. Glutamic acid which is formed as the result of L- theanine is responsible for the production of different compounds. Glutamine produced from the glutamic acid is responsible for supplying an ammonia molecule to the distal convoluted tubules of the kidney.
Glutamic acid formed after the breakdown of the L-theanine is a very important excitatory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. L- theanine is essential for the production of further useful products for the body. L-theanine can also enhance the response of the immune system, because the characteristics of L-theanine suggest that it may influence psychological and physiological states under stress. People who believe that the green tea is very effective in providing relief from stress are using it in greater concentrations, although, no scientific research data is available on the precise issue.