How To Quit Smoking Using L-Theanine
Smoking is a habit that is notoriously hard to quit. Since the invention of the industrial-grade tobacco several centuries ago, its use has begun to cover the globe, even in times when it was seen as a very exotic commodity. But, as decades turned into centuries, so did the methodology of producing tobacco and smoking its dried, chopped-up leaves gradually began to take hold of a growing number of cultures. In a short time, the practice of smoking tobacco using pipes was expanded to rolled-up cigarettes and cigars, which provided the same process in a much more comfortable manner. In 1880’s the production process was additionally expanded by the introduction of cigarette-making machinery which expanded the productivity of cigarette factories by a factor of 100.
In many ways, this ushered the cigarette culture of the 20th century, when a huge percentage of the global population began smoking. To this day, the same effects are felt, even in spite of the well-known fact that smoking is exceedingly bad for a person’s health and their overall life expectancy. One of the main reasons for this is the embedded addictive nature of tobacco. For generations, it seemed that only a rock-strong will was the method how a person could quit smoking, but for many people, even this prove to be inadequate. But now, it appears that science has provided a new means of combating smoking addiction. The same method comes in the form of a substance called L-Theanine and its ability to influence the process of giving up this dangerous habit on a mental level. Here are the essential facts on how to quit smoking using L-Theanine.
The Nature of L-Theanine
L-Theanine represents an amino acid that is rarely found in regular nutrients (food items), meaning it does not belong either to the group of essential or nonessential amino acids. But, at the same time, it has a structure that is very similar to Glutamine, as well as the neurotransmitters that are made from it, which are glutamate and GABA. Both of these are directly related to the body’s ability to tolerate and regulate the state of alertness, which is why they are associated with anxiety, which is alertness taken to a level where it becomes unpleasant or even intrusive. L-Theanine is produced from tea leaves, usually those from the East Asia region. As a crucial part of the green tea, it was discovered in 1949 and since then, it has continued to be widely used as a both stand-alone supplement and a part of other foods and beverages.
L-Theanine can bridge the blood-brain barrier, meaning that it can survive the metabolic process and end up in the actual brain tissue, which is not something that many nutritive compounds can do. Once it does arrive in the brain, the properties of Theanine include relaxation without sedation, reduction of stress and somewhat improved attention span. The substance does not impact that sleep directly, but its presence has been known to improve the sleeping patterns of individuals.
All of these psychoactive positive traits of the substance, especially the anxiolytic properties, made it interesting for researchers and scientist who were looking for ways to aid quitting smoking. Here is what they found.
L-Theanine and Smoking
A study was organized with the purpose of testing the inhibitory effect of the same substance in relation to the neurological rewarding mechanism that comes with smoking. In other words, smokers feel a sense of reward with every smoked cigarette. The research found that in test mice, the rewarding effects of the nicotine were in fact inhibited by L-Theanine. They also reduced the excitatory factor brought about by the introduction of nicotine in the system. Both of these factors are important because the substance reduces the potential of the brain to experience a rewarding factor that comes from smoking and the overall sense of neural excitation that follows the inhalation of smoke.
Furthermore, the same research found that L-Theanine inhibited the tyrosine hydroxylase, a process that is a precursor of L-DOPA, a basic neurotransmitter. L-DOPA, in turn, lowers the subsequent production of dopamine, a very important neurotransmitter that enforces a sense of enjoyment and pleasure in the human brain by building specific dopamine pathways. These pathways are activated whenever a person does something they found pleasant, which further enforces the same behavior. For smokers, these pathways are built during the onset and forming of the habit and are activated when a cigarette is smoked. By lowering dopamine presence and production, the substance lowers the number of brain cells that are impacted by nicotine and which react to it.
Simply put, the same study clearly showed that L-Theanine lowers the reward that is nicotine-induced and does this using an inhibitory process of the dopamine-related pathways in the brain. Because of this, the same substance is exceedingly important for any process of quitting smoking because it actually blocks out the parts of the brain that desire to smoke. With it, instead of pleasure and satisfaction, the brain receives no reward after a smoked cigarette, allowing for a gradual release from this very dangerous habit.