Theanine, an amino acid in tea, has significant anti-stress effects on animals and humans. However, the effect of theanine was blocked by caffeine and gallate-type catechins, which are the main components in tea. We examined the anti-stress effect of green tea with lowered caffeine, low-caffeine green tea, on humans. The study design was a single-blind group comparison and participants (n=20) were randomly assigned to low-caffeine or placebo tea groups. These teas (≥500 mL/d), which were eluted with room temperature water, were taken from 1 week prior to pharmacy practice and continued for 10 d in the practice period. The participants ingested theanine (ca. 15 mg/d) in low-caffeine green tea. To assess the anxiety of participants, the state-trait anxiety inventory test was used before pharmacy practice. The subjective stress of students was significantly lower in the low-caffeine-group than in the placebo-group during pharmacy practice. The level of salivary α-amylase activity, a stress marker, increased significantly after daily pharmacy practice in the placebo-group but not in the low-caffeine-group. These results suggested that the ingestion of low-caffeine green tea suppressed the excessive stress response of students. This study was registered at the University Hospital Medical Information Network (ID No. UMIN14942).
Keywords: anti-stress effect; clinical study; green tea; salivary α-amylase; theanine.