Caffeine has become a very widely used methylxanthine over the years due to its psychoactive ability to stimulate the central nervous system of the human body. Historically, this substance has been used since the ancient times however, it wasn’t until the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries when widespread usage was observed. It was originally considered a luxury however; it is now regularly used in all backgrounds. Caffeinated drinks are the most commonly consumed drinks in the world with tea being the second most commonly consumed after water
Due to caffeine’s pharmacological effect on the central nervous system, lots of attention and research has been directed towards caffeinated drinks. Caffeine resembles a very similar structure to an inhibitory neurotransmitter; adenosine. Physiologically, although not fully understood, when caffeine has been ingested into the system, due to the similar structure to adenosine it has the ability to bind to and block adenosine receptors. Adenosine has a role of promoting sleep. When caffeine binds to the adenosine receptors, adenosine is no longer able to bind and therefore a stimulating effect is perceived.
Another significant constituent; specifically in tea is L-theanine, a unique amino acid which has had particular scientific research focused towards it. This is unique due to its ability to modulate aspects of the brain. Through its action on the alpha frequency band, it has the ability to cause relaxation on the mind. Mechanisms are not fully understood but it is believed that stress is relieved due to its ability to block binding of glutamine to glutamic receptors. This causes an inhibitory effect on cortical neuron excitation causing an anti-stress effect. Some studies have also shown that this amino acid has the ability to reduce hypertention and anxiety. L-theanine may also counteract the stimulation caused by caffeine although this is disputed.
Due to the potential benefits of both of these substances acting in a nootropic combination, regular drinkers of caffeinated drinks particularly tea generally fell more awake, have a reduced risk of hypertention, reduced anxiety and the ability to feel more relaxed. L- theanine may also have anti-cancer benefits. Despite this there have been side effects observed with caffeine. These include anxiety, depression, insomnia and tremors. Side effects of theonine have not yet been observed.
Despite tea having the ability to provide benefits, particular attention has been focused on using supplements. Although tea contains unique anti-oxidants, its levels are frequently low.
These natural nootropics can be found on sites such as Powdercity and can be purchased in powder or capsule form.