L-Theanine is a natural Nootropic promoting mood boosting and cognitive effects including reducing anxiety and encouraging relaxation, enhancing mental clarity, focus, alertness and quality of sleep.
What is L-Theanine?
L-Theanine (gamma-glutamylethylamide) is a non-essential amino acid that occurs naturally in components of green tea. It is also isolated from an edible mushroom called Boletus badius.
It is known as an excellent Nootropic for it’s positive effects on mental clarity, stress, focus, mood and quality of sleep. An analog to glutamate and glutamine, L-Theanine is broken down in the liver and intestine and is able to easily cross the blood-brain barrier, effectively reaching the brain.
The benefits of L-Theanine have been used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine. Today, there has been many extensive clinical studies on L-Theanine’s effects on brain health and enhancing focus.
As a supplement, L-Theanine is known to be a relaxing agent without sedative effects. It is commonly taken in combination or in Nootropic stacks with caffeine supplements or naturally with green tea, for impressive synergistic effects on mental performance.
For those that are looking to reduce anxiety without drowsiness, have better quality sleep and improve the ability to think clearly, L-Theanine might be a supplement worth looking into.
How Does L-Theanine Work?
L-Theanine has many different mechanisms of action, making it a complex supplement but one that may provide various different benefits and effects. It is still being currently explored by neuroscientists on it’s potential additional effects.
In studies, L-Theanine has shown to effectively cross the blood-brain barrier and enter the central nervous system. It reaches the brain within half an hour to 45 minutes.
It works by balancing brain chemistry. Limiting the neurochemicals that reduce mental clarity and cause our reaction to stress and increasing the levels of several neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) that are responsible for regulating pleasure, attention, anxiety and cognition.
One of the ways L-Theanine works to promote relaxation is by reducing glutamate. This is a major excitatory (stimulating) neurotransmitter, a chemical that nerve cells use to send signals to other cells and is associated with anxiety, agitation and tension when levels are too high.
By blocking l-glutamic acid from binding to glutamate receptors, it calms the over-stimulated chemicals which in-turn encourages feelings of relaxation and calmness.
Research shows that L-Theanine also increases the production of GABA in the brain. This is the primary inhibitory chemical messenger that works to calm the brain down by preventing neurons from firing excessively. Over activity can produce feelings of anxiety and restlessness.
In addition, L-Theanine is a precursor to Serotonin. This is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for maintaining mood balance, helping us to feel more positive, calmer, happy and have a sense of well-being.
Serotonin is also associated appetite, sexual desire and sleep cycles. Many of the benefits of L-Theanine comes from raising levels of this chemical messenger. Two other neurotransmitters are also modified including Dopamine and Norepinephrine which further contributes to feeling good and heightens motivation.
Finally, L-Theanine promotes the brain’s production of alpha waves. These are electrical frequencies that are naturally produced in the brain, associated with a sense of intense mental clarity, creativity, focus and relaxation.
Benefits of L-Theanine Supplement
There are a wide range of benefits of Theanine from boosting cognitive functions to balancing mood. The main effects are on overall sense of well-being and relaxation without drowsiness.
High levels of Theanine content found in green tea, is the reason why it doesn’t lead to anxiousness and excitability even though it contains caffeine. Theanine helps to dull caffeines most common side effects such as nervousness and jitteriness.
L-Theanine increases levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain such as GABA, Dopamine and Serotonin. These chemicals influence sleeping patterns, the ability to relax, motivation, pleasure, anxiety and cognition. This may lead to a sense of calmness, reducing anxiety, improving quality of sleep and heightening your mood.
In addition, results from studies have suggested that Theanine may enhance the synthesis of nerve growth factor (NGF) by stimulating the release of certain proteins. This regulates the growth and maintenance of targeted neurons.
This supplement also increases alpha brain waves. This promotes a feeling of alert calmness, enhanced mental clarity, attention and productivity. Many users report feeling happier, calmer with clearer thoughts.
L-Theanine has shown to provide improvements in cardiovascular health, aiding in opening up blood vessels that may help to reduce blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Finally, L-Theanine is often stacked with a Nootropic stimulant such as caffeine. Whether supplemented or taken naturally, many users have reported that taking these two in combination have a powerful synergistic effect, greatly increasing focus while reducing nervousness, which is common with stimulants such as caffeine.
L-Theanine is included many Nootropic products. It is a legal dietary supplement in the USA but is not approved by the FDA to treat or cure any diseases.
Side Effects of L-Theanine
L-Theanine has no known adverse side effects. A naturally occurring amino acid found in plants and a specific mushroom, it is thought to be non-toxic and appears to be safe.
However, some users have reported mild side effects, although rare. They include 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 take L-Theanine in combination with any stimulant drugs as it may reduce their effectiveness.
Pregnant or breast feeding women should also avoid this supplement. Like all supplements, it is always recommended to consult with your doctor first before taken them.
It is recommended to always stay at the low end dose when starting on any new supplement. This helps you gauge your body’s effect and find what works best for you.
The common dosage among users that has shown to produce the known benefits of L-Theanine ranges between 50mg-200mg per day. On the lower end, the results may be more subtle but is a good starting point. This range is approximately equivalent to 5-10 cups of tea.
The most common average daily dosage is 200mg, however some users may take up to 400mg per day. There are no known serious side effects. Determining the right dosage that will work best for you can depend of many factors such as age and natural tolerance. Our bodies are all different so experimentation is advised.