Theanine, a major amino acid in green tea, exhibits a stress-reducing effect in mice and humans. Matcha, which is essentially theanine-rich powdered green tea, is abundant in caffeine. Caffeine has a strong antagonistic effect against theanine. The stress-reducing effect of matcha was examined with an animal experiment and a clinical trial. The stress-reducing effect of matcha marketed in Japan and abroad was assessed based on its composition. The stress-reducing effect of matcha in mice was evaluated as suppressed adrenal hypertrophy using territorially-based loaded stress. High contents of theanine and arginine in matcha exhibited a high stress-reducing effect. However, an effective stress-reducing outcome was only possible when the molar ratio of caffeine and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) to theanine and arginine was less than two. Participants (n = 39) consumed test-matcha, which was expected to have a stress-reducing effect, or placebo-matcha, where no effect was expected. Anxiety, a reaction to stress, was significantly lower in the test-matcha group than in the placebo group. To predict mental function of each matcha, both the quantity of theanine and the ratios of caffeine, EGCG, and arginine against theanine need to be verified.
Keywords: adrenal hypertrophy; anxiety; caffeine; catechin; green tea; matcha; salivary α-amylase activity; stress-reduction; theanine.