What Is L-Theanine?
L-Theanine is an amino acid that is most commonly found in black, green, and white tea leaves. It’s been connected to a number of exciting cognitive and anxiolytic benefits in numerous scientific reports and clinical studies.
L-Theanine affects various functions in the human brain. As a non-dietary amino acid, L-Theanine is not considered “essential” and is not required to “support human life”. However, L-Theanine does enhance cognitive functionality and contributes to a wide range of cognitive benefits across the brain.
Those benefits include reduced stress, improved memory, and an overall feeling of calmness and relaxation. These benefits are thought to occur because of L-Theanine’s ability to stimulate serotonin receptors and GABA receptors.
Tea is the second most popular beverage in the world today behind water. That means you’ve probably already consumed L-Theanine in your life. However, in low doses – like the doses found in tea leaves – few people are able to access the full potential of L-Theanine.
With an L-Theanine supplement, you can enjoy the powerful benefits of L-Theanine in the most bioavailable way possible.
The history of L-Theanine is essentially the history of tea. For thousands of years, people in ancient China drank tea and enjoyed its benefits – although they didn’t necessarily realize that they were ingesting a certain powerful amino acid.
Tea – particularly green tea – dates back to the third century AD. It plays an important role in Buddhist culture. In fact, Buddhist monks have been known to drink green tea in order to stay calm – and awake – during long hours of meditation.
Beyond Buddhism, tea has been widely popularized due to its health benefits. Over the years, it’s also played a role in various religious practices and used as a symbol of wealth.
But when did L-Theanine turn from an ingredient in tea to a popular nootropic supplement? Well, we can trace that date back to 1949, when L-Theanine was discovered as a component of green tea. One year later, Japanese scientists were able to successfully extract L-Theanine from a tea leaf.
Before long, L-Theanine was being extensively tested and researched. But it wasn’t until 1999 that someone decided to test the cognitive benefits of L-Theanine. In that 1999 study by Food Science and Technology, researchers observed people who received a weekly dose of 50mg to 200mg of L-Theanine.
Their brain waves were measured and it was observed that those who had taken L-Theanine exhibited more alpha brain waves than those who did not take L-Theanine. Alpha brain waves promote feelings of calmness and relaxation while also allowing the brain to be alert and attentive enough to perform complex tasks.
Today, more and more research is being performed on the benefits of L-Theanine. Scientists are currently investigating L-Theanine’s claims to longevity, improved neuron health, and other physiological benefits.
How L-Theanine Works
Like many nootropics, L-Theanine is a bit of a mystery. We don’t fully understand how it works. We just know that in numerous clinical and scientific settings, it has worked.
That being said, we do know a fair amount about the mechanisms of L-Theanine. We know, for example, that L-Theanine quickly crosses the blood-brain barrier after being absorbed into our bloodstream. It goes to work quickly and its effects are immediately noticeable.
Once it goes to work, L-Theanine enters the central nervous system and begins targeting neurotransmitters like Serotonin, Dopamine, GABA, and Norepinephrine. These neurotransmitters all have powerful effects on the brain – but they act on different mechanisms and functions.
GABA, for example, creates a calming, anti-stress effect across the brain and the body, reducing anxiety. Serotonin helps to improve one’s mood while also enhancing motor control. Dopamine has similar effects, but is more responsible for the reward and pleasure aspects of mood enhancement.
Norepinephrine is responsible for the “fight or flight” response alongside epinephrine and increases our alertness and focus. Norepinephrine is also shown to improve oxygen and blood flow to the brain, which can boost mental energy while also improving overall brain health.
As demonstrated above, L-Theanine affects a surprising number of mechanisms within your brain. These mechanisms all lead to some powerful benefits.
Here are the major benefits you can expect while taking L-Theanine:
General Feeling Of Relaxation And Calmness: L-Theanine boosts GABA, serotonin, and dopamine levels in the brain. All three of these neurotransmitters have a powerful effect on our mood. Each promotes a feeling of calmness or anti-stress in different ways. The end result is that people L-Theanine users typically tend to feel more relaxed while still being in full control of their cognition, focus, and motor actions.
Improved Learning And Memory: L-Theanine has been shown to improve memory, often by decreasing interference from outside stimuli. This enhances your ability to learn new information, store that information, and recall it at a later date. Ultimately, you can concentrate more effectively and focus on the task at hand.
Increase Alpha Wave Generation For A More Relaxed, Yet Awake State: Alpha waves are an interesting cognitive phenomenon. In various studies, Alpha waves have been shown to give users a more awake state while also being more relaxed at the same time.
Reduced Physical And Mental Stress: The calming effects of L-Theanine are well-documented. You can reduce physical and mental stress by taking L-Theanine.
Improved Cardiovascular Health: L-Theanine has been shown to regulate heart rate, helping return it to more normalized levels. It’s also been linked with lower blood sugar and better immune system functionality.
Reduce The Negative Effects Of Caffeine Consumption: Caffeine is a powerful cognitive enhancer. Unfortunately, it also comes with bad side effects. It can cause digestion problems, sleeplessness, jitters, and “crashing”, for example. L-Theanine stacks extremely well with caffeine because the positive effects enhance each other while the negative effects are neutralized.
Better Focus And Concentration: Despite the widespread feelings of calmness and relaxation inspired by L-Theanine, users still enjoy high levels of focus and concentration. Studies have shown that users are able to focus on difficult tasks more effectively while taking L-Theanine.
As you can see, many of these benefits are also associated with drinking tea – but when drinking tea, you just get these benefits in smaller amounts. Most people won’t even notice the positive effects of L-Theanine while drinking a glass of green tea.
When taking an L-Theanine supplement, however, the effects are more immediately noticeable and powerful. You can enhance these benefits even further by stacking L-Theanine with caffeine – which is one of the most popular nootropic stacks on the market today.
How to Use L-Theanine
Most users take 100mg to 200mg of L-Theanine per day. However, if you’re just starting to use L-Theanine for the first time, you may want to reduce your dosage to as little as 50mg.
L-Theanine is water-soluble, which means it’s typically taken with a glass of water and can easily be ingested by your body. It doesn’t really matter whether you’re ingesting on a full stomach (with a meal) or an empty stomach (before a meal), but some users report feeling more significant effects when taking L-Theanine on an empty stomach.
After taking L-Theanine orally, you should start to feel the effects within an hour, with the peak occurring 5 hours after ingestion. After 24 hours, L-Theanine should have completely left your system.
L-Theanine is safe to use on a daily basis, although few studies have looked at the long-term effect of L-Theanine supplementation. Some people cycle on and off L-Theanine to avoid developing a tolerance. In that case, you may want to take L-Theanine for a week before stopping for a week. Some people also cycle higher doses in the middle of the week, while leaving smaller doses for Fridays and weekends. However, you will not form a chemical dependence by using this substance.
Want to enjoy all of the benefits of L-Theanine – plus a lot more? Consider stacking the supplement with caffeine, in which case you get to enjoy powerful cognitive benefits, supreme focus and attention, and better overall mood – all from taking two simple supplements.
L-Theanine + caffeine may be the nootropic community’s most popular stack due to its increased alertness and attention. L-Theanine also helps avoid the negative side effects associated with caffeine – including jitters, crashes, and difficulty falling asleep. If you do want to stack caffeine with L-Theanine, you should take one part caffeine to two parts L-Theanine for maximum effectiveness.
L-Theanine Side Effects
L-Theanine is well-tolerated in virtually all scientific reports and clinical studies. Humans have been consuming green tea for thousands of years and its benefits are well-demonstrated. The FDA has labeled L-Theanine as being safe for human consumption.
Few adverse effects have been reported. However, there are still a number of side effects which deserve to be mentioned. Some users report feeling headaches or dizziness, for example.
Aside from those minor side effects, L-Theanine appears to be very well-tolerated. You should still talk to your physician before adding L-Theanine to your diet – especially if you are already taking any type of medication. In large doses, L-Theanine can cause your blood pressure to drop to dangerously low levels, which means you should avoid taking the supplement if you are already taking medication to lower your blood pressure.
L-Theanine Supplements Online
L-Theanine is easy to find online and in-store. You’ll find it in health food stores, pharmacies, and drugstores in many countries around the world. L-Theanine typically goes by the name “L-Theanine” on store shelves under various brands, although certain brands like SunTheanine, which is a patented L-Theanine blend, have attempted to carve their own niche within the community.
Ultimately, I recommend buying L-Theanine online if you’re going to buy it anywhere. Buying online helps you enjoy competitive pricing and a convenient ordering process. Currently, L-Theanine is a legal nutritional supplement in the United States and is approved by the FDA. It’s also legal in most other western countries, including the United Kingdom and Canada.
Whether you buy L-Theanine online or in a pharmacy, you can enjoy a wide range of powerful cognitive and mood-enhancing benefits.