Natural L-Theanine Benefits for Relaxation, Anxiety and Focus

L-Theanine is a natural amino acid found mostly in green tea leaves and is considered an excellent supplement to help induce feelings of calmness and relaxation without sedation.

Type: Amino Acid
Used For: Mood, Focus, Attention, Relaxation, Anxiety, Stress, Depression, Quality of Sleep, Cognitive Performance
Half-Life: 2.5 hrs-4hrs
Typical Dosage: 100 mg-250 mg per day
Possible Drug Interactions: Anti-Hypertensive or Stimulant Drugs
Supplement Interactions: May interact with herbs or supplements with hypotensive effects

What is L-Theanine?

L-Theanine (L-gamma-glutamylethylamide) is a naturally occurring amino acid (a building block for proteins) found in the components of green tea leaves and other types of real tea. It was discovered in 1949 in the camellia sinensis plant species and is also found in small amounts in the edible Boletus badius mushroom.

L-Theanine Supplement Benefits & UsesAlthough there are over a thousand chemical compounds that have been identified in real tea, L-theanine seems to be the most beneficial in promoting mental and cognitive health.

Demonstrated in some studies to increase energy levels and reduce stress, this natural supplement is most commonly used as a relaxation aid, promoting reduced feelings of anxiousness and a sense of well-being without drowsiness or sedative effects.

L-Theanine is an analog to glutamate and glutamine known to easily cross the blood-brain barrier, meaning it reaches the brain effectively. It is considered a unique Nootropic supplement helping to increase alpha brain waves which promote heightened creative thought and relaxed but alert mental states.

It also boosts levels of Dopamine, Serotonin and GABA in the brain, important neurotransmitters that have a number of effects on cognitive processes, mood, sleep cycles and the brains reward system.

L-Theanine is noted to have powerful synergistic effects when stacked or taken in combination with caffeine, promoting enhanced mood, concentration and attention without the jittery effects that normally accompany caffeine intake.

Before using L-Theanine, let’s take a look at the reported benefits associated with this supplement, how it works, the potential side effects and dosage guidelines.

L-Theanine Effects

How does L-Theanine work? L-Theanine closely resembles glutamate and glutamine, a form of glutamic acid that is capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier.

It is absorbed into the bloodstream fairly quickly after oral ingestion leading to reported noticeable relaxing effects within half an hour to forty-five minutes.

Although the exact mechanisms of action of this supplement are still being explored by neuroscientists, once it reaches the brain, it is believed to target important neurotransmitters and their receptors Dopamine, GABA and Serotonin, boosting their levels.

These chemical messengers are associated with positive moods and motivation and regulate stress, attention, arousal and sleep-wake cycles.

GABA is a primary inhibitory neurotransmitter helping the brain to calm down by reducing excessive firing of neurons. It plays an important role in the ability to relax and in the reduction of symptoms of anxiety. When levels of this neurochemical are low it can result in an inability to quiet the mind and tends to accompany feelings of being overwhelmed.

In addition, L-Theanine boosts levels of Serotonin and Dopamine, “feel good” neurotransmitters involved in memory, regulating mood, social behavior, sexual desire, stress response and the control of sleep-wake cycles.

This supplement seems to exhibit neuroprotective effects by blocking damage caused by the overstimulation of glutamate. It also stimulates an increase of other important brain chemicals such as NGF (Nerve Growth factor) and BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor) involved in the maintenance of neurons and the growth of new neurons and brain cells.

Finally, the most unique effect of this supplement is that it appears to trigger an increase in alpha brain waves, which occurs from synchronized electrical impulses in the brain when large amounts of neurons communicate with each other. Interestingly, this is the same brain state when meditating and is associated with enhanced attention and relaxation.

Benefits of L-Theanine Supplement

There are a wide range of benefits associated with L-Theanine from promoting a boost in mood and helping to improve your quality of sleep to enhanced mental performance. The main effects are an overall sense of well-being, a relaxed calmness of the mind without drowsiness.

The L-Theanine content found in green tea is the reason why it doesn’t lead to anxiousness and excitability even though green tea contains caffeine. Theanine helps to blunt the most common side effects of caffeine such as nervousness and jitteriness.

Uniquely, there is evidence suggesting that combining L-Theanine with caffeine helps to improve the speed and accuracy of attention switching performance, alertness and lowers the potential for distraction when needing to perform cognitively demanding tasks. It also may reduce the stimulating effects of caffeine and encourage a more motivated, energetic state.

In addition, while this compound is not associated with helping you fall asleep, it is known to promote an enhanced quality of sleep and is commonly used as a natural sleep aid.

This supplement also appears to trigger the release of alpha brain waves. Many users report feeling calm and relaxed with a heightened sense of awareness, experiencing enhanced clarity and an improved ability to focus.

Additionally, some people have reported that L-theanine helps to alleviate anxiety and panic attacks which may be due to this supplements connection with boosting several neurochemicals which help fight anxiety and stress responses. Although the research on the use of L-Theanine for anxiety is promising, more research is needed to determine its efficacy.

L-Theanine is included in many Nootropic products. It is a legal dietary supplement in the USA but is not approved by the FDA to prevent or treat any conditions.

L-Theanine Side Effects & Safety

L-Theanine is considered a safe and generally well-tolerated supplement with a GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) status in the US by the Food and Drug Administration.

Although very rare, some users have reported mild side effects such as headaches, dizziness and diarrhea. It is not known whether this supplement was combined with caffeine which may have caused gastrointestinal effects.

L-Theanine may lower blood pressure. It is not recommended for people taking medications for high blood pressure since it can potentially cause your blood pressure to drop too low.

In addition, it is not recommended to use this supplement in combination with any stimulant drugs as it may reduce their effectiveness.

L-Theanine Dosage & How to Use

The typical daily dosage of L-theanine ranges between 100mg-200mg per day and is safe to take on a daily basis. On the lower end, the results may be more subtle but is a good starting point.

This supplement can be taken with or without food, either way, its effectiveness is not hindered. Although it is considered effective on its own, many people combine L-Theanine with caffeine which can found in the obvious cup of coffee, caffeine pills (100 mg-200 mg approximately equals one cup of coffee) or in small amounts in real tea.

The reported best ratio of Caffeine and L-Theanine is approximately 1:2 (100 mg of caffeine with 200 mg of L-theanine) which is considered a popular and extremely safe way to help enhance attention and concentration while reducing the jittery negative side effects of caffeine.

Other people prefer to stack L-Theanine with other cognitive enhancers such as Noopept or Piracetam while others are looking for more heightened anxiolytic effects (reducing anxiety) and combine L-Theanine with Aniracetam.

Determining the right dosage that will work best for you can depend on many factors such as age and natural tolerance. Our bodies are all different so experimentation is advised.

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