Research Roundup: L-Theanine and Caffeine Improves Cognition
In Research Roundup 3, we're looking at the numerous benefits of L-Theanine and caffeine, Vitamin E for extra muscle, and how to prevent muscle loss from aging.
Vitamin E Helps Build Muscle
The study at Georgia Regents University found that the fat-soluble Vitamin E plays a major role in plasma membrane health. This is critical for the repair and recovery process after resistance training as those sessions induce micro traumas to our skeletal muscle cells.
The study concluded that Vitamin E (a longtime favorite supplement of bodybuilders) enhanced the repair step, as it is essential for membranes of muscles cells to recover from the damage that occurs when muscles a broken down during resistance training.
Over the years, the efficacy of Vitamin E as a supplement has been debated, but now that this study has determined exactly how Vitamin E benefits our cells, this is compelling evidence that Vitamin E is crucial for both optimal performance and for longevity.
This is especially interesting giving that Dr. Rhonda Patrick discussed antioxidant timing in Episode #16 of the Optimal Performance Podcast.
She advised NOT to take Vitamin C or E in supplemental form immediately following stressful activity as it blunted the body's hormetic response (natural repair and recovery).
Our recommendation: Vitamin E can obviously be beneficial for numerous health and muscle building reasons. If supplementing with Vitamin E or any other antioxidants, be sure to take them at a time other than your post-workout shake.
TIP: Dietary Vitamin E is found in nuts, seeds, leafy green vegatable, but organic Virgin Red Palm Oil is one of nature's best sources of Vitamin E. It has a high smoke point which makes it great for cooking and the Vitamin E in Red Palm Oil is in both tocopherols AND tocotrienol form.
This is important as most supplements are formulated with tocopherols, yet it is the tocotrienols that are the antioxidant powerhouse.
30-50% Muscle Lost From Age 40-80
A review of 17 studies by the University of Southampton in England revealed astonishing findings - on average 30-50% of our muscle mass is lost between the ages of 40 and 80.
The studies also noted that this muscle loss is more related to decreased usage and is not a foregone conclusion. In other words, a healthy and active lifestyle throughout one's lifespan can prevent muscle wasting. Here are some of their suggestions to prevent muscle loss.
How to prevent muscle loss:
- Focus on strength and building muscle before 40.
- Give your body a reason to KEEP that muscle! Continue physical activity as long into your life as possible
- The study identified 4 categories of supplements that can attenuate muscle loss: protein powders or amino acids, Vitamin D, multivitamins, and creatine. Remember, at Natural Stacks, we're in this for the long-haul just like you - optimal health and performance NOW and LATER!
L-Theanine Counteracts Caffeine-Induced Sleep Disturbances
Caffeine is the most widely used drug in the world. Whether we get in our morning coffee or take it in pill form, 80-90% of adults use caffeine daily.
Now there may be a way to get our caffeine fix late in the day - without suffering the sleeplessness that accompanies it!
New research from Korea has shown the amino acid L-Theanine (commonly found in tea) inhibits the excitatory effects of caffeine (you'll be less jittery) and "low doses of L-theanine can partially reverse caffeine-induced reductions in Slow Wave Sleep (the transition from wakefulness to sleep); however, effects of L-theanine on caffeine-induced insomnia do not appear to increase dose-dependently."
So from that study, we see L-Theanine can reduce jittery effects of caffeine AND help prevent sleeplessness caused by caffeine consumption.
A second study from neuroscience labs here in the US found that L-Theanine in combination with caffeine had positive affects on both tonic (background) and phasic (event-related) cognition.
In this study, participants were dosed placebo, caffeine only and caffeine + L-Theanine. The participants that received the combination of caffeine + L-Theanine demonstrated significantly greater increases in mental performance than both the caffeine-only and the placebo groups.
The conclusion - nature knows best. Tea - a beverage that has been consumed for thousands of years - contains both caffeine and theanine.
At Natural Stacks, we proud to produce Smart Caffeine - a measure dose of caffeine and L-Theanine that provides the smoothest, calmest boost in energy and focus that nature herself created!
- McNeil, Paul L. The antioxidant requirement for plasma membrane repair in skeletal muscle.
Free Radical Biology and Medicine. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25843658
- Jang, HS. L-theanine partially counteracts caffeine-induced sleep disturbances in rats. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2012 Apr;101(2):217-21. doi: 10.1016/j.pbb.2012.01.011. Epub 2012 Jan 21: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/22285321/
- Kelly, Simon P. L-Theanine and Caffeine in Combination Affect Human Cognition as Evidenced by Oscillatory alpha-Band Activity and Attention Task Performance. Journal of Nutrition. August 2008 vol. 138 no. 8 1572S-1577S: http://jn.nutrition.org/content/138/8/1572S.lon