Can Matcha Tea Reduce Your Stress?
Matcha is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinesis plant, which are typically grown in shade to keep the amino acid content in the leaves high and the caffeine content lower than other green teas2. Theanine, a common amino acid in matcha green tea, has been shown to increase dopamine and serotonin levels, which can reduce anxious behaviors and thoughts3, while too much caffeine can actually reduce the levels of theanine and increase stress and anxiety. How can consuming caffeinated matcha green tea help with anxiety, then? Although matcha green tea has caffeine, high-quality matcha have higher levels of theanine, which stops the increase of anxiety from caffeine.
Matcha green tea has been tested in mice to evaluate its effects on anxiety. In one study, four-week-old mice were placed in cages with a wall dividing them, and then the wall was removed after one week to induce confrontational stress. A common symptom of stress and anxiety is enlarged adrenal glands, so these glands were removed and weighed after 24 hours to determine the effects of anxiety on the body. The adrenal glands of mice given matcha during this experiment were significantly smaller than mice not given matcha, illustrating matcha’s positive effect on stress and anxiety reduction.4
Matcha tea has a similar effect on anxiety reduction in humans, as seen through the study of 39 pharmacy students at the University of Shizuoka, Japan. Before beginning, the students participated in a State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, a self-reported way of determining levels of anxiety.5 The students were then split into two groups, one group given placebo-matcha and one given test-matcha. After a week of practicing pharmacy and going to school, the students were asked to redo the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory and have their saliva samples taken to see if and how their autonomic nervous system was responding to stress. After one week, the students who took test-matcha reported suppression of anxiety and had lower measurements of physiological stress in their saliva than those given placebo-matcha.4
The studies above confirm that matcha green tea is able to reduce anxiety in mice and humans, revealing that matcha is a great supplement to take since it can reduce stress in the mind and body.
After reading this, are you now looking to give drinking matcha tea a try to reduce your stress? Hold your horses! There’s one last very important note you should know before going out to the store. Matcha tea varies greatly in nutritional content depending on which brand you buy and how the matcha is grown and produced.
The key to managing stress with matcha tea is to make sure that the ratio of theanine to caffeine in your tea is ideally 1 to 2 and does not exceed a ratio of 1 to 3.6. We highly recommend Superfood Science matcha green tea as the ratio of theanine to caffeine is 1 to 1.74, making it effective in helping you reduce your stress levels.