What is L-Theanine?
L-Theanine is a simple, non-essential, non-dietary, amino acid found almost exclusively in tea. It is also known as Theanine and/or 5-N-Ethyl-Glutamine.
Unless someone regularly consumes tea, it is very rare that L-Theanine would show up in their diet.
Which is a shame, because this is one of the most helpful and synergistic amino acids for promoting wakefulness, concentration, and relaxation without sedation.
How does L-Theanine work?
L-Theanine has a structural similarity to glutamine and the neurotransmitters that are produced from it, (GABA & glutamate), meaning that after being ingested orally it follows along the same pathways as those neurotransmitters to reach the brain.
All-in-all, it usually takes L-Theanine from 45 minutes to 1 hour to reach the brain where it targets four key neurotransmitters: GABA, Serotonin, Dopamine, and Norepinephrine.
These neurotransmitters are responsible for feelings of arousal, stress, pleasure, and attention.
L-Theanine helps to prevent the over-excitement of these neurons which in turn leads to a more relaxed, uplifted, less-stressed, mood. With an increase in cognitive functions, alertness, and wakefulness as well.
Scientific studies have concluded that: “L-theanine significantly increases activity in the alpha frequency band which indicates that it relaxes the mind without inducing drowsiness.” (SOURCE)
What are the benefits of L-Theanine?
- Reduces stress
- Improved memory
- Improved focus
- Increased attention to detail
- Improved information retention and learning ability
- Increased motivation
- Takes the edge off caffeine (it is amazing at doing this)
- Promotes relaxation without sedation
How to use L-Theanine?
The traditional way of consuming L-Theanine is to simply drink some tea. Green tea is the most well-known drink containing ample amount of L-Theanine, however it can also be found in various black, red, & white teas.
As a dietary supplement, L-Theanine tends to be taken in the 100 – 200 mg range daily.
When taken with caffeine as a 1:1 ratio (100 mg of caffeine & 100 mg of L-Theanine) a strong synergistic bond is created that helps to boost the energizing & wakefulness aspects of caffeine while also promoting relaxation and reducing or removing the jitters and anxiety that can often follow caffeine ingestion.
Possible Side Effects of L-Theanine
L-Theanine is considered safe to use and has no known significant side effects.