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L-Theanine is classified as a non-essential amino acid. This means that the compound is not naturally produced by your body, nor do you need it to function.
However, while L-Theanine is non-essential, it can still be helpful and beneficial, especially if you struggle with focusing or feel stressed from time to time.
The primary natural sources of L-Theanine are found in the tea plant Camellia Sinensis. Besides tea leaves, L-Theanine can also be found in mushrooms. While there may be significant quantities in each of these sources, the amount of the compound that you can get from a supplement is much higher.
An average L-Theanine supplement contains between 200 and 400 mg of the compound. Tea, on the other hand, usually only contains between 20 and 40 mg of the amino acid. This difference in concentrations makes supplements a quicker and easier source of a higher amount of L-Theanine.
However, tea – and Boletus badius mushrooms, if you can get your hands on them – are great sources of L-Theanine as well.
The primary reason to take L-Theanine is because of its potential to impact the levels of serotonin and dopamine in your brain, which influence mood, sleep, emotion, and cortisol, helping the body deal with stress.
L-theanine can be used to help improve mood, lower stress and protect the brain and heart. It can bind to glutamate receptors and block glutamate as well as increase levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).
While further research still needs to be conducted on how significant L-Theanine’s impact is on these chemicals, the best way to determine whether the compound helps you manage stress is by giving it a try.
L-Theanine is a low-risk supplement – it has minimal potential for side effects, is typically taken in relatively small doses, and is classified as “generally recognized as safe” by the Food and Drug Administration.
However, it is perfectly natural to still have some questions, thoughts, and concerns before you start taking an L-Theanine supplement.
This post serves as a quick-read primer for taking L-Theanine. We’ll be discussing the supplement’s benefits, how to take it, warnings to consider, and dosages. Let’s get started!
Research has been conducted examining the effects of drinking tea containing L-Theanine on mental alertness and energy.
In one study, subjects reported feeling significantly more focused and alert after drinking black tea while working on a task that required mental energy. Taking L-Theanine as a supplement or getting it from tea may also help you think quicker.
The compound is thought to have a positive impact on your ability to react quickly when thinking, making it a supplement worth considering if you tend to feel mentally sluggish throughout the workday.
Research also shows that taking a product containing theanine and green tea may support cognitive function and increase the attention span in people with mild mental impairment.
While research has been conducted on L-Theanine, most of the studies examining the impact of the compound on focus and mental energy have had relatively small sample sizes. This means that researchers have typically run trials and experiments with L-Theanine using only a few subjects.
While this does not rule out the potential for L-Theanine to help you focus, it’s always important to consider that further research is still needed before conclusive claims can be made about this amino acid.
While many teas that contain L-Theanine also contain caffeine, taking an L-Theanine supplement can give you the calming benefits of the compound without the stimulating effects of caffeinated tea.
L-Theanine’s calming effect on the mind is due in large part to its potential to positively interact with GABA activity in the brain. GABA is short for gamma-aminobutyric acid. It is an amino acid that acts as a neurotransmitter in your brain.
GABA interacts with a specific protein in your brain called a GABA receptor, producing a calming effect. L-theanine has also shown similar effects to electrical activity as that of meditation, increasing alpha waves in specific regions of the brain. Alpha brain waves are associated with a state of "mindful relaxation".
If you’re planning on using L-Theanine primarily as a calming supplement, it’s best to consume the compound independently of caffeine.
Caffeine is a stimulant, meaning it can increase your feelings of mental energy – but can also make you feel jittery and on-edge. If you absolutely need a caffeine fix, drinking a cup of green tea earlier in the day is a wise way to get it.
When it comes to the proper dose of L-Theanine, the best person to consult is your doctor. A healthcare professional can equip you with a deeper understanding of your stress, trouble focusing, or any other issues that are prompting you to try L-Theanine as a potential solution.
Your doctor may recommend that you take a dose anywhere between 100 mg and 400 mg. However, doses higher than 400 mg are not typically recommended – these doses are high enough that they may produce uncomfortable side effects.
In addition, there are specific groups of individuals who may need to be especially careful with L-Theanine.
Pregnant or nursing women, people with low blood pressure, and young children should all get a doctor’s approval before supplementing with L-Theanine. While the compound is generally considered safe, it’s not always ideal for these groups.
The combination of L-Theanine and caffeine is most often found in tea. However, some people may consume caffeinated drinks alongside their L-Theanine supplements.
If you pair L-Theanine with caffeine, either in tea or in the form of a supplement, it’s important to consider the potential for interactions between the two.
Taking L-Theanine may offset the stimulating effects of caffeine. This means that your L-Theanine supplement may leave you feeling less affected by drinks like coffee, caffeinated soda, and tea.
While it might not sound like it, this may be an unexpected perk of L-Theanine supplements – they can offset the jitters and racing thoughts that can sometimes be unwelcoming side effects of caffeine consumption.
Because of its relaxing effects, L-Theanine supplements can be used as a sleep aid.
However, it’s best to get your nighttime dose of L-Theanine from a supplement instead of drinking green tea or black tea. These beverages are caffeinated, which means they can stimulate your mind and make it tough to unwind in the evening.
Looking for an easy-to-take source of L-Theanine for bedtime? Try R3SET’s Unwind capsules.
* These once-nightly supplements contain L-Theanine, along with a multitude of other calming ingredients to help soothe your mind and get you ready for a good night’s sleep.
So, what’s the bottom line on L-Theanine?
Overall, this amino acid is a safe, simple, and natural supplement to add to your daily routine. It may help to calm your mind, keep you focused, and, when it’s time for bed, help you sleep. In addition to coming in supplement form, you can also get small amounts of the compound from the right cup of tea.
When it comes to L-Theanine – or any other supplements – a good rule of thumb is when in doubt, talk to your doctor. A healthcare professional can answer any questions and respond to any concerns you may have about L-Theanine, including about its potential interactions with other medications that you take.
To learn more about L-Theanine and the other ingredients check out try the signature stress-fighting formulas from the Stress Experts from R3SET, which include a blend of botanical ingredients, all of which have been shown to have a positive impact on stress management. These ingredients, include; L-Theanine, chamomile, valerian root, GABA, lemon balm, ashwagandha, and more, and serve as the foundation for our CALM and UNWIND supplements.
Make sure to visit their blog. There, you’ll find a multitude of helpful articles to equip you for your journey to a calmer, happier life.
l-Theanine as a Functional Food Additive: Its Role in Disease Prevention and Health Promotion | MDPI
L-theanine, a natural constituent in tea, and its effect on mental state | NHRI