Can Matcha Help Manage Anxiety? - HONE
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Can Matcha Help Manage Anxiety?

  • 14 min read

Can Matcha Help Manage Anxiety? - HONE

Matcha may be the ticket to helping you feel less anxious. From the meditative rituals of Buddhist monks to the disciplined practices of samurai warriors, matcha has been used for centuries to promote mental clarity and inner peace. 

Let’s investigate the anti-anxiety properties of matcha. 

Article jumplinks:

What is matcha?

Why is matcha good for you?

Is matcha good for anxiety?

Can caffeine make anxiety worse?

What are matcha’s side effects?

In today's fast-paced world, managing anxiety and finding inner calm is a priority—that’s why matcha is quite possibly the greatest natural anxiolytic supplement. Let’s explore the meditative side of this vibrant green adaptogenic tea. 

What is Matcha?

Matcha is a type of green tea made fromfinely ground, shade-grown leaves of theCamellia sinensis plant. Also known as jade leaf tea, matcha has a unique, earthy flavor and an exceptionally high nutritional profile. 

Matcha contains all the beneficial compounds found in regular green tea, but in higher doses. Our ceremonial grade matcha is the healthiest matcha powder that comes straight from Japan. For the ultimate powerhouse adaptogenic drink, we combine it with cordyceps mushrooms.

Cordyceps mushrooms are another natural way to lower anxiety and fight stress. 

 Mushroom Matcha - 30 Serving Jar

Why is matcha good for you?

Matcha has a rich chemical composition. It contains caffeine, L-theanine, antioxidants, and other bioactive compounds that offer a wide range of health benefits. Many peopledrink matchato boost their metabolism and clean their gut from toxins. Others drinkmatcha teainstead of coffee for a more sustained energy boost. 

Here’s how consuming matcharegularly can improve your health.  

  1. The combination of caffeine and powerful antioxidants in matcha can help promote weight loss. Caffeine is a stimulant that can help increase energy levels and burn calories, whileepigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is a natural thermogenic antioxidant that boosts our bodies metabolism and helps you burn fat. According to Willems, et. al., “matcha green tea drinking can enhance exercise-induced fat oxidation...”
  2. Matcha can help lower cholesterol levels. Catechins are antioxidants found in matcha that can reduce the absorption of cholesterol from food and increase the production of bile acids, which help to remove cholesterol from the body. 
  3. Catechins in matcha have also been shown to have anti-cancer properties. A2020 study found that matchagreen tea extractsrich in catechins can inhibit the activity of PTP1B, a tyrosine phosphatase that is involved in pro-oncogenic pathways. This inhibition helps decrease the viability of breast cancer cells in vitro.  
  4. Matcha improves brain function.Epigallocatechin gallatecan alleviate oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain. Research suggests that EGCG can promote neuronal plasticity and help the brain adapt and build new neural connections, which is a step in the right direction for our mental health. 
  5. Matcha contains antioxidants that protect the skin from free radicals and UV damage. Polyphenols are the largest group of antioxidants in matcha (catechins and EGCG belong to it). Due to their anti-inflammatory properties, polyphenols can give you healthy skin and may even cancel out the effects of aging. Katiyar, et. al. found that “green tea possesses anti-inflammatory and anticarcinogenic potential, which can be exploited against a variety of skin disorders.”
  6. Matcha promotes healthy bones. In ananimal study, green tea polyphenols were found to reverse inflammation-induced bone loss, while EGCG improved symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. The study also showed that “EGCG treatment ameliorated clinical symptoms and reduced histologic scores in arthritic mice.”
  7. Many people turn to drinking matcha tea in the morning for a healthy boost in energy and focus. The combination of invigorating caffeine and soothing L-theanine generates a sense of calm alertness, improving focus and concentration. 

If you thought matcha was reserved only for Buddhist monks and yogis in moments of meditation, our mushroom matcha tea is here to prove you wrong. Refine your mornings with the best Japan-sourced matcha in North America, and enjoy a cup of matcha tea to awaken the senses. 

And while some people enjoy our matcha tea for its weight loss and energy-boosting qualities, there are those who seek to bring theiranxiety levelsdown. 

Matcha for Anxiety

Matcha has been revered in Japan for centuries as a natural way to promote relaxation, clarity, and inner peace. Samurai and monks who sought heightened focus during quiet times and meditation used it. People still employ matcha’scalming effect to improve focus and overall mental health. 

Matcha’s rich biochemical composition contributes to its potentanxiolytic activities

  1. L-theanine induces relaxation and helps reduce anxiety by boosting the production of “feel-good” chemicals such as neurotransmitters that regulate mood. 
  2. Catechins lower oxidative stress and neuroinflammation which can help enhance the mood and reduce the symptoms of anxiety. 
  3. EGCG is a matcha catechin that alters the activity of neurotransmitters and alleviates anxiety symptoms. 
  4. Polyphenols protect against stress-induced damage and promote relaxation. 

To understand exactly how matchareduces stress and anxiety, we need to take a more exhaustive look at L-theanine and its interactions with mood-regulating neurotransmitters: serotonin, dopamine, and GABA. 

Anti-Anxiety Properties of L-Theanine

One of the heroes behind matcha’s anti-stress effects is L-theanine. L-theanine is an amino acid that is found naturally intea leaves, particularly matcha. It is known for its unique soothing effects on the mind and body. According toresearch, “L-theanine significantly increases activity in the alpha frequency band which indicates that it relaxes the mind without inducing drowsiness.”

What makes matcha so unique is the combination of caffeine and L-theanine. Among the other benefits of this mighty duo, caffeine and L-theanine haveanxiolytic effectsKochman, et. al. found that “the combination of l-theanine and caffeine may enhance concentration, vigilance and efficiency to a higher extent than the use of either compound alone, additionally alleviating stress.” 

L-theanine interacts with othermatcha componentsto alleviatestress and anxiety

According to Unno, et. al., L-theanine and arginine (another matcha compound) work synergistically. Arginine aids in the production of nitric oxide, a molecule our bodies produce that helps relax blood vessels and improve blood flow. This has a soothing, less anxious effect on people. 

Other researchers looked into the effects of L-theanine on stress indicators in people performing stressful mental arithmetic tasks. In a 2007 study, L-theanine lowered the participants’ heart rate and salivary immunoglobulin A (s-IgA) levels, indicating a milder activation of the sympathetic nervous system. The results showed that L-theanine has “anti-stress effects via the inhibition of cortical neuron excitation” and reduces psychological andphysiological stress responses. 

L-theanine also interacts with mood-regulatory neurotransmitters, the so-called “feel-good” chemicals that modulate mood, stress response, and emotional well being. Theeffects of L-theanine on serotonin, dopamine, and GABA, coupled with its ability to increase alpha brainwave activity, make it a valuable compound for improving mental health and alleviating anxiety. 

Matcha and Dopamine

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter important for motivation, reward, pleasure, and happiness. Its role as a neurotransmitter is to help transmit signals between nerve cells in the brain, facilitating communication and coordination of various brain functions. 

Balanced dopamine levels regulate mood, motivation, cognitive function, motor control, and impulsive control. Low levels of dopamine can cause fatigue, trouble focusing and staying motivated, memory problems, a lower libido, depression, and anxiety. It’s a good thing, then, that matcha can boost dopamine in the brain. 

Matcha has an antidepressant-like effect and helps the brain produce more dopamine. Kurauchi, et. al. found that “the antidepressant-like effect ofMatcha tea powder was mediated by the activation of thedopamine D1 receptor.”

More studies confirm the antidepressant-like andanxiolytic activities of matchaResearchers atKumamoto Universitydiscovered that by activating dopamine and serotonin receptors in the brain, matcha can reduce anxiety. 

…experiments revealed that Matcha's anxiolytic effects are due to the activation ofdopamine D1 receptors and certain serotonin receptors. The researchers suggest that adding a little Matcha tea to your diet may improve your health.

We hope you didn’t forget all about L-theanine, matcha’s greatest stress-reliever, because this amino acid has quite an impact on dopamine levels. L-theanine can increase the production and transmission of dopamine, which may help improve mood, focus, brain function, and sleep.

L-theanine exerts its relaxant effect by enhancing GABA levels, thereby increasing the expression of dopamine and serotonin in the brain. In animal studies, L-theanine was shown to oppose caffeine’s effect and promote sedation. (Dasdelen, et. al.)

The effects of L-Theanine on brain's electrochemical activity, antioxidant enzymes, neurotransmitters, and sleep in mice

The effects of L-Theanine on brain's electrochemical activity, antioxidant enzymes, neurotransmitters, and sleep in mice. Source:

Matcha’s other bioactive substances, such as EGCG, have been shown to change dopaminergic pathways. EGCG may protect dopamine neurons from oxidative stress and neurodegenerative processes. 

Oxidative stress is one of the main factors in the pathogenesis of [Parkinson’s disease]. The oxidative stress hypothesis… holds that oxidative stress leads to the neurodegeneration of dopaminergic neurons, resulting in the pathogenesis of PD. (Wang, et. al.)

Wang’s study on Parkinson’s disease showed the harmful effects of oxidative stress on the neurodegenerative illness. EGCG has therapeutic implications in treating Parkinson’s, and one of the methods it employs is boosting dopamine levels.

Pretreatment with EGCG (10 mg/kg) preserved the number of TH-positive neurons and increased dopamine levels, indicating that EGCG protected against [lipopolysaccharide]-induced neurotoxicity by reducing inflammatory mediators and preserving dopamine levels in the midbrain… At the same time, EGCG preserves dopamine and its metabolites, DOPAC and HVA, in the striatum. (Wang, et. al.)

Matcha and Serotonin

Serotonin (5-HT1a) is a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in controlling mood, sleep, appetite, and other important processes. Balanced levels of serotonin promote feelings of happiness, contentment, and overall mental well-being. In contrast, when your serotonin levels are low, you might be vulnerable to depression, mood disorders, and anxiety. 

Research revealed that “matcha tea powder exerts ananxiolytic effect through the activation of the dopaminergic and serotonergic systems.” Matcha may also boost serotonin levels through theeffects of L-theanine. L-theanine in matcha is believed to enhance serotonin production by modulating brain activity and promoting a state of relaxation without causing drowsiness. 

The studies on theeffects of matcha on serotonin are limited. Further research is needed to fully understand the specific mechanisms by which matcha’s compounds affect serotonin. What we do know is that matcha’s L-theanine has an interesting interaction with another important neurotransmitter that helps alleviate symptoms of anxiety. 

Everyone, meet GABA. 

Effects of Matcha on GABA

Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that helps regulate how our body responds to stress. It inhibits or reduces the activity of excitatory neurotransmitters and counterbalances the effects of stress and anxiety. 

Excitatory neurotransmitters like glutamate and acetylcholine are required for normal brain function. Glutamate is involved in cognitive functions, while acetylcholine plays a role in attention, arousal, and muscle contraction. While they are vital for healthy brain function, overactivation of these systems can manifest itself as symptoms of anxiety. 

The complex chemical composition ofmatcha green teainfluences the function of GABA and excitatory neurotransmitters. A study conducted at theUniversity of Shizuoka(Stress-Reducing Function of Matcha Green Tea inAnimal Experiments and Clinical Trials,Unno, et. al.) discovered that increasedlevels of theanineand arginine in matcha boost GABA and improve its function.

…EGCG reportedly facilitates the release of glutamate. Although central glutamatergic activity is crucial to cognitive function, excessive release of glutamate causes excessive excitation. The level of GABA, the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain, is increased by theanine ingestion. 

Remember how L-theanine interacts with differentmatcha componentsto create an enhanced stress-relieving effect?Another study by Unno, et. al. shows that L-theanine and arginine counteract the excitatory effects of caffeine and EGCG and modulate levels of GABA and glutamate in stressful situations. 

In the hippocampus of mice that consumed theanine for two weeks, the level of GABA increased, and conversely the level of Glu was significantly reduced, suggesting that theanine may modulate the balance between GABA and Glu. Suitable synaptic excitation is important but excessive excitation causes synaptic deficits and triggers neurodegenerative disorders. Therefore, theanine and Arg may be required at a certain ratio to suppress excessive excitation in the coexistence of caffeine and EGCG under stress loading.

GABA is a very important brain element that helps us feel calm and less anxious. Because of its intricate interaction with GABA and other mood-regulatory neurotransmitters,matcha tea can reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. 

Can Matcha’s Caffeine Cause Anxiety?

Matcha may reduce anxiety

Caffeine is one of the main compounds in matcha. Thecaffeine contentin matcha is higher than coffee. Matcha contains between 18.9 and 44.4 mg of caffeine per gram, while coffee has 3.59–8.09 mg of caffeine. 

Since caffeine is a stimulant that improves alertness and raises energy levels, too much of it has the serious potential to cause anxiety or jitteriness. But that’s not the case when it comes to matcha. The unique combination of caffeine and L-theanine in matcha is far less likely to give you caffeine-induced jitters than other caffeinated beverages. 

L-theanine helps to counterbalance the possible jittery response to caffeine, delivering a more balanced and sustained energy boost. Despite the highercaffeine content, when taken in moderation, matcha is perfectly safe from giving you anxiety or agitating it. 

Some people may have lower tolerances for caffeine. If that is the case, we recommend you stick to the recommended daily dose of matcha powder, which is between 2 and 4 grams, or even lower. If you’re just starting out with matcha for the first time, aim for 2 g per day. Test the waters and see how your body reacts to caffeine before increasing the amount. 

Because of the overstimulatingeffects of caffeine, drinking matcha before bed or later in the day may not be such a good idea. You may feel a bit antsy and have trouble sleeping. We recommend our 10-pack mushroom matcha tea in the morning or early afternoon. Simply whip out a tea packet, pour hot water over it, whisk it until frothy with our magic matcha wand, and enjoy every sip of wellness in a cup. 

Side Effects of Matcha

Matcha has no known long-term negative side effects. Most people feel the invigorating effects of matcha, but there are those who don’t respond to caffeine too well. Due to its highcaffeine content, people sensitive to it should refrain from consuming matcha in excessive amounts. Here’s what excessive amounts of caffeine may cause:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Feelings of restlessness 
  • Problems with digestion (upset stomach, nausea, or diarrhea)
  • Sleep disturbances

These effects fade after the caffeine wears off. 

Matcha for Anxiety FAQ

Is matcha a natural antidepressant?

Matcha is rich in bioactive compounds that have been associated with potential antidepressant effects. AsKurauchi, et. al. suggested before, “Matcha tea powder exerts an antidepressant-like effect through the activation of the dopaminergic system.”

Matcha is derived from theCamellia sinensisplant and contains potent mood-boosting bioactive compounds. Because components in matcha raise levels of serotonin and dopamine, the general consensus is thatmatcha can help reducethe symptoms of stress, anxiety, depression, and other types of mental illnesses, likebipolar disorderand social anxiety. 

Does matcha give you serotonin?

Matcha does not directly give you serotonin, but it can help boost its levels in our brain. Serotonin is an endogenous neurotransmitter synthesized in the body. The abundance of L-theanine and EGCG supportsserotonin (5-HT1a) receptor-mediated mechanisms and indirectly influences serotonin levels. Matcha's unique combination of amino acids, caffeine, and antioxidants work together to support overall mental health. 

Further research is needed to investigate the interaction of matcha with serotonin and serotonin-related mechanisms.

Can too much matcha cause anxiety?

Because it’s rich in caffeine, matcha has the potential to produce caffeine-induced jittery responses and make you feel a bit more stressed than usual if consumed in excessive amounts. Caffeine is a stimulant and can potentially exacerbate anxiety in some people sensitive to its effects. However, matcha also contains L-theanine, which has a calming effect and may counteract the anxiety-inducing properties of caffeine. 

As with any other caffeinated beverage,drink matchain moderation and try to limit your daily intake. 

Does matcha have GABA?

Matcha tea does not naturally contain GABA. But matcha's high amino acid content, including L-theanine, may indirectly influence GABA levels and receptor activity, promoting relaxation and calmness.

Why does matcha make me feel so good?

Matcha containsvarious beneficialcompounds that make you feel alert, energized, focused, and relaxed. The synergistic interaction of these components promotes a state of mental clarity andreduces stress, leading to an overall positive experience. Matcha is also an adaptogen, which means it helps your body respond and adapt to stress. 

If matcha makes you feel good, wait until you try our cordyceps matcha tea. The combination of matcha’s bioactive compounds is enhanced by a hearty mix of cordyceps mushrooms. (Not to mention the taste these two powerhouse adaptogens bring to the table.)

If you want a cup of wellness every day, our 30-serving jar of mushroom matcha powder is all you need to start off fresh and alert. 

Does matcha help with mental clarity?

Drinking matcha tea has been associated with improved mental clarity and focus. The combination of caffeine and L-theanine in matcha promotes an alert yet calm state of mind, enhancing cognitive performance and concentration.Matcha’s L-theanine is particularly effective in alleviating some symptoms of ADHD and boosting focus and motivation. 

For more information, check out our article on the best natural supplements that help increase energy levels and focus

Does matcha increase stress hormones?

Matcha does not increase cortisol, the so-called “stress hormone.” In fact, the opposite might be true: stress-relieving matcha is great at reducing levels of cortisol. L-theanine in matcha seems to modulatestress responsivityand promote relaxation without a significant increase in the stress hormone. 

Can matcha trigger anxiety?

Matcha tea, when consumed in moderation, is unlikely to trigger anxiety in most individuals. However, some individuals may be more sensitive to caffeine or other components in matcha, and excessive consumption may lead to increased heart rate, jitteriness, or anxiety-like symptoms. Be mindful of your personal tolerance and adjust your matcha intake accordingly.

Can matcha cure anxiety?

While matcha tea has been recognized for its potential anxiolytic effects, it is not a cure for anxiety. Matcha can be a valuable component of a comprehensive approach to managing anxiety, including a healthy lifestyle, stress reduction techniques, and professional guidance

Does matcha make you less anxious than coffee?

Despite its highercaffeine content, matcha is less likely to make you anxious when compared to coffee. The combination of matcha's bioactive compounds can make matcha a potentially better choice for individuals seeking a beverage that is less likely to induce anxiety or jitters. 

Matcha's anxiolytic activities and stress-reducing function are supported byvarious beneficialcomponents and the activation of dopamine D1 receptors and serotonin 5HT1A receptor-mediated mechanisms. They contribute to matcha’s potential to help reduce anxiety levels and promote a sense of calm alertness without the same pronounced stimulatory effects associated with coffee.


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