Lab Tested: EISAI Matcha Potency Revealed

matcha potency caffeine, l-theanine, egcg and catechins in matcha

The colour green has always been associated with good health.


It stands for balance, nature, spring, and rebirth. In Japanese culture, green is associated with  eternity, youth, vitality and energy.


So naturally, when commencing your matcha ritual your body already anticipates what’s to come and you begin to feel good even before you take your first sip.  


We, at Purematcha can reveal that there is scientific evidence behind the feel good effect of drinking matcha tea on a daily basis.


Time and time again, we have received positive customer feedback about the benefits of Matcha tea has on their health and wellbeing.


The common themes expressed by our customers are - improved focus, sustained energy, improved sleep and an overall improvement associated with their wellbeing. 


Here's just a snippet of some of the feedback we've received (Swipe to view feedback)

There are a number of claimed super foods available on the market today and green tea has most definitely earned its place. 


There are numerous scientific studies to back up that positive effect you feel after every sip. 

Compounds found in matcha tea can improve your cognitive function

In the past we've run a series of safety tests for nasty things like radiation and heavy metals in our Matcha tea - all of which have passed by Australian standards. 


This time around we wanted to verify the potency of our very own EISAI Pure Matcha tea and to measure levels of compounds such as L-Theanine, caffeine and catechin content.


We contacted Eurofins Food Testing Australia to conduct compound extraction tests to find out how much of the brain boosting nutrients and levels of antioxidants are actually present in our tea. 


But first, let's dive into the individual compounds that make up Matcha green tea.

What is Theanine? (AKA L-Theanine)

L-Theanine is a natural occurring amino-acid found primarily in green tea,  black tea and some mushrooms.


Matcha contains higher levels of L-Theanine compared to regular loose leaf tea because Matcha is a shade-grown tea. 


A study [1] that assessed the Theanine and Caffeine content of 36 commercial brands of tea showed that green tea had a mean Theanine content of 6.46mg/g and mean caffeine content of 16.28mg/g. 


The UPLC analysis method used to measure the Theanine and Caffeine content of our EISAI matcha resulted in 21.3mg/g for Theanine and 33.3mg/g for caffeine


Nutritional Antioxidant Analytical Report

Nutritional AntioxidantsMethodResult
TheanineM901G<21,300 μg/g
CaffeineM904F<33,300 μg/g

Sample test date: 30th July 2021.
Sample name: EISAI Ceremonial Grade Matcha (Purematcha)
Reception temperature: 18 °C
Sample code: 726-2021-00016913
Testing agency: Eurofins Food Testing Australia Pty Ltd


So why does Matcha have higher levels of Theanine and Caffeine than commercial grade tea bags?


It's because the shade growing process used with matcha mitigates the photosynthesis in the leaves, which preserves the L-Theanine and other amino acids in the process.


In contrast, tea plantations grown in full-blown sunlight typically have lower levels of L-Theanine due to oxidisation. 


Ceremonial grade matcha has even higher levels of L-Theanine because the baby tea leaves at the top of the plant are ripe with chlorophyll and L-Theanine. 

What Health Benefits are Associated with L-Theanine?

Numerous research publications recognise L-Theanine as a promoter of calm state of mind, ability to reduce anxiety and elevate alpha-brain wave activity

Main Health Benefits of L-Theanine

Reduces anxiety
In a review of five randomised controlled trials that included 104 participants, four trials linked L-theanine with reduced stress and anxiety in people experiencing stressful situations. Read the study here [2].

Improves sleep
Some research indicates that L-theanine could be beneficial for a good night’s sleep, which could be because it helps to promote relaxation.

Researchers in one study [3] found that L-theanine greatly improved sleep in animals and humans.

Theanine in matcha tea can improve sleep

Elevate alpha brain waves
L-Theanine enhances brain alpha-wave activity, a marker of relaxation. This effect has been observed to be most pronounced in individuals subjectively feeling the highest levels of stress. 

What this means, is that people who stress more actually get a greater benefit when consuming L-Theanine. 

In one study, healthy participants were given 50 mg L-theanine or a placebo, and brain waves were measured after taking the supplement and 45, 60, 90, and 105 minutes later.

Alpha-wave production was significantly higher in the L-theanine group compared to the placebo group. 

Matcha - Best Natural Source of L-Theanine

Matcha powder tea is an excellent natural source of L-Theanine. You get 100% of the nutrients when you consume green tea matcha, because you are drinking the entire leaf in powder form. 


This is massively different to a regular tea where 60% - 70% of the actual nutrients are thrown away in the tea bag. 


1g of EISAI matcha tea powder contains 21.3mg of L-Theanine per serve.


This proves to be an excellent potent natural source of this amazing health benefiting compound. 

Japanese matcha green tea poweder - EISAI Purematcha

The Paradoxical Effect of Caffeine and L-Theanine

The synergy of caffeine and L-Theanine when consumed together is where it really gets interesting. 

Nowadays there are entire product lines that sell L-Theanine and caffeine together in capsules. Even some energy drinks are combining the two together. 

As mentioned above, L-Theanine promotes calmness and relaxation.... but not to the point of sedation. 

Caffeine on the other hand is a stimulant that elevates a higher state of mental alertness, but caffeine alone gets absorbed hard and fast and can increase anxiety. 

The two compounds are paradoxical in that they are calming, but alerting at the same time.

In fact one study [3] published in the journal Biological Psychology, showed faster simple reaction time, faster numeric working memory reaction time, and improved sentence verification accuracy with groups taking 100mg of L-theanine and 50mg caffeine combined. 

This is why daily consumption of Matcha tea might be influencing your state of mind.

The caffeine and L-theanine combination from matcha promotes a balanced sense of alertness for a longer time (4-6 hours).

This slow release of caffeine is due to matcha’s high antioxidant and amino acid count.

The caffeine binds with the antioxidants and gets released into the body as it absorbs the antioxidants over the course of a few hours.

So whether you need that early morning pick-me up, about to sit for an exam, feeling nervous or anxious about something playing on your mind or you just want to wind down after an intense study session -  drinking Matcha might be all you need to help settle you naturally with no downside. 

Woman drinking matcha while working

What are Catechins?

Catechins are compounds that can help regulate blood pressure, increase weight loss, and protect the brain from disease.

Catechins are natural phenols and antioxidants that are also known as flavan-3-ols.

Some of these compounds, including one of the most potent EGCG, are found exclusively in tea.

Previous epidemiological studies have suggested that the catechins found in tea could potentially possess a protective quality against various human cancers, including both colon and rectal cancers. 

Many studies have looked at the role of green tea and breast cancer prevention. 

Not all of them have found an association between drinking green tea and lower breast cancer risk, but some of the largest, most credible studies have.

Several studies have found the division of breast cancer cells and increase in size of a tumor (albeit in a lab dish or in mice) was decreased by green tea components. Read this study here. [4]

In this research study [5], carried out by scientists at the Biomedical Research Centre at Salford University, found matcha green tea may help prevent breast cancer cells from spreading. 

It was discovered the natural compound of matcha green tea can help overcome cancer cell resistance to chemotherapy. 

In all cases, much more research is needed on how green tea consumption may influence cancer risk.

Which foods contain Catechins

Catechins are present in many dietary products such as plants, fruits (such as apples, blueberries, gooseberries, grape seeds, kiwi, strawberries), green tea, red wine, beer, cacao liquor, and chocolate.

Green tea contains high concentrations of four main types of catechins. The green tea catechins are:


Some of these catechins including EGCG are found solely in tea.

Out of all the catechins found in matcha tea, the most powerful catechin is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).

In 1 gram of EISAI ceremonial grade matcha, the test results measured 56mg per gram. 

EGCG has been studied extensively. It may help fight inflammation in your body, help maintain healthy arteries, and promote cell repair.

In this study [6], researchers found that the catechins in green tea had a favourable anti-inflammatory effect on human and animal studies. 

The catechin content of any given type of tea depends largely on where and how the tea is produced.

So how much of each catechin compound is found in 1 gram of  EISAI ceremonial grade matcha?

Take a look at the test results below.

Nutritional Antioxidant Analytical Report

Nutritional AntioxidantsMethodResult
CatechinM903W<5 μg/g
Catechin gallateM903W<5 μg/g
EpicatechinM903W<5 μg/g
Epicatechin GallateM903W9,210 μg/g
EpigallocatechinM903W<5 μg/g
Epigallocatechin GallateM903W56,000 μg/g
Gallic acidM903W<5 μg/g
GallocatechinM903W<5 μg/g
Gallocatechin gallateM903W<5 μg/g
Total CatechinsM903W65,200 μg/g

Sample test date: 30th July 2021.
Sample name: EISAI Ceremonial Grade Matcha (Purematcha)
Reception temperature: 18 °C
Sample code: 726-2021-00016913
Testing agency: Eurofins Food Testing Australia Pty Ltd

The Bottom Line

Today we live in an age of cutting edge technologies and new age therapies to combat diseases and slow down the oxidisation of cells that causes premature ageing and illnesses.  

Synthetic supplements are sometimes hard to resist by just reading all the promises written on the product label. 

It just so happens that the catechin antioxidants, like EGCG and amino-acids like L-theanine found in matcha tea powder still remain as one of the best natural allies that you can offer your body's immune system.

Green tea has a long history spanning over 1000 years of cultivation. 

The early adopting Zen buddhist monks consumed matcha tea for the very same reasons we are discovering today, and its effects have been proven with science backed evidence. 

Introducing a daily matcha ritual into your life is in our opinion one of the best preventative measures you can take to defend your body from illnesses and give your mind the cognitive boost we all desire. 

References

[1] Klára Boros, Nikoletta Jedlinszki, and Dezső Csupor (2016). Theanine and Caffeine Content of Infusions Prepared from Commercial Tea Samples

[2]J.M.Everett, D.Gunathilake, L.Dufficy, P.Roach, J.Thomas, D.Upton, N.Naumovski (2016) Theanine consumption, stress and anxiety in human clinical trials: A systematic review

[3] Suhyeon Kim, Kyungae Jo, Ki-Bae Hong, Sung Hee Han, Hyung Joo Suh (2019) GABA and l -theanine mixture decreases sleep latency and improves NREM sleep

[4] Kimberly Mantzke Baker,  Angela C. Bauer (2015) Green Tea Catechin, EGCG, Suppresses PCB 102-Induced Proliferation in Estrogen-Sensitive Breast Cancer Cells

[5] Gloria Bonuccelli, Federica Sotgia (2018) Matcha green tea (MGT) inhibits the propagation of cancer stem cells (CSCs), by targeting mitochondrial metabolism, glycolysis and multiple cell signalling pathways

[6] Tomokazu Ohishi, Shingo Goto, Pervin Monira, Mamoru Isemura, Yoriyuki Nakamura (2016) Anti-inflammatory Action of Green Tea

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