The acute effects of L-theanine in comparison with alprazolam on anticipatory anxiety in humans
Author: Lu K and Gray MA and Oliver C and Liley DT and Harrison BJ and Bartholomeusz CF and Phan KL and Nathan PJ
L-Theanine (δ-glutamylethylamide) is one of the predominant amino acids ordinarily found in green tea, and historically has been used as a relaxing agent. The current study examined the acute effects of L-theanine in comparison with a standard benzodiazepine anxiolytic, alprazolam and placebo on behavioural measures of anxiety in healthy human subjects using the model of anticipatory anxiety (AA). Sixteen healthy volunteers received alprazolam (1 mg), L-theanine (200 mg) or placebo in a double-blind placebo-controlled repeated measures design. The acute effects of alprazolam and L-theanine were assessed under a relaxed and experimentally induced anxiety condition. Subjective self-reports of anxiety including BAI, VAMS, STAI state anxiety, were obtained during both task conditions at pre- and post-drug administrations. The results showed some evidence for relaxing effects of L-theanine during the baseline condition on the tranquil–troubled subscale of the VAMS. Alprazolam did not exert any anxiolytic effects in comparison with the placebo on any of the measures during the relaxed state. Neither L-theanine nor alprazalam had any significant anxiolytic effects during the experimentally induced anxiety state. The findings suggest that while L-theanine may have some relaxing effects under resting conditions, neither L-theanine not alprazolam demonstrate any acute anxiolytic effects under conditions of increased anxiety in the AA model.