Amino acid unique to tea could help patients with Parkinson's
Meta-analyses of tea consumption and reduced risk of Parkinson's disease have thrown light in the pathway of exploring beneficial properties of tea components.
On the basis of dry mass, a typical black or green tea beverage contains approximately 6% of free amino acids, which impart high quality, taste and distinctive aroma to the tea infusion. L-theanine (chemically known asγ-glutamylethylamide) is a non-proteinogenic amino acid of tea that takes part in the biosynthesis of its polyphenols.
Recently discovered neuroprotective effects of L-theanine can be attributed to its structural analogy with glutamate, the principal excitatory neurotransmitter in brain. This unique amino acid also bears a potential to ameliorate the pathophysiological changes associated with Parkinson's disease as it displays antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, improves motor behavioral abnormalities, increases dopamine availability and may cause a favorable downshift in neurodegeneration due to glutamate excitotoxicity.
The American College for Advancement in Medicine (ACAM) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to educating physicians and other health care professionals on the safe and effective application of integrative medicine.