Why Adding L-Theanine to Your Daily Routine Can be a Game Changer
Why Adding L-Theanine to Your Daily Routine Can be a Game Changer
What is L-theanine?
With the rising popularity of nootropics and natural brain-boosters, L-theanine is a term that you might be familiar with. But what is it exactly, and what does it do?
Simply put, L-theanine is an amino acid commonly found in green tea. It provides your noggin’ with many mental and cognitive benefits, but its most common use is reducing anxiety and promoting relaxation without drowsiness. When you combine L-theanine with caffeine, it levels up as a nootropic, and the stack works seamlessly to provide numerous benefits to both your mind and body.
What are the health benefits of L-theanine?
1. L-theanine is neuroprotective
L-theanine has been shown to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease as well as protect brain cells from energdamage following a stroke. It’s also been shown to help protect the brain from environmental toxins, which can cause Parkinson’s disease. In addition, L-theanine results in the increase of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and increase of nerve growth factor, which means that it helps with brain growth and development.
2. L-theanine boosts cognitive performance
If you find yourself beginning to lose your edge (or even if you’re not), you could benefit from taking L-theanine. According to studies, L-theanine can improve memory and learning, and drinking tea (which is high in L-theanine) was correlated with better cognitive performance. Theanine has also been shown to improve cognitive functioning in individuals diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment. After all, a healthy brain is a happy brain.
3. L-theanine reduces the response to stress
Like most people in today’s society, stress is probably something you’re a little too familiar with. Good news - L-theanine can increase resilience to stress by reducing both your physiological and psychological response to it. L-theanine actually decreases the heart rate and helps maintain a normal blood pressure in stressful situations, like when you think it’s Saturday only to realize that it’s Sunday.
4. L-theanine reduces feelings of anxiety
If you’re curious about the science behind it, L-theanine is thought to block the binding of L-glutamic acid to glutamate receptors in the brain, and has been considered to cause anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) and anti-stress effects by inhibiting brain cell excitation. But all you really need to know is, it naturally helps you feel relaxed and at ease.
5. L-theanine fights depression
The results of a recent study show that long-term L-theanine administration to individuals with major depressive disorder show that it significantly reduced depressive symptoms and even increased their cognitive performance. We can’t call it a cure just yet, but it definitely can play a role in lifting your mood.
6. L-theanine can help you sleep better
Sleep disturbances and deprivation are associated with an elevated risk of various diseases. Meanwhile, sleep medications often result in dependency and have numerous side effects. But we get it - you need your sleep! So we aren’t proposing you flush every sleep aid medication you might have. Instead, we’re just suggesting you give this a try, because according to recent scientific studies, L-theanine improves sleep quality by reducing anxiety and increasing relaxation without causing excessive drowsiness.
7. L-theanine can help you relax
Brain waves (also known as neural oscillations) are patterns of electrical activity produced by brain cells in order to communicate with each other. There are five types of brain wave patterns, each associated with different types of activity in the brain. One of the most interesting properties of L-theanine is that it increases alpha wave activity, which is the type of neural oscillation associated with relaxation and focused attention, which can also be achieved by meditating.
Taking L-Theanine Supplements vs. Drinking Tea
There are several ways to obtain L-theanine, and two of the most convenient of them are drinking tea or taking supplements. So, which of these two methods is more beneficial?
Experts have yet to reach a consensus regarding which way to take L-theanine produces the best results. Scientific studies show beneficial effects of L-theanine after drinking green tea and taking supplements. But, to date, there are no large-scale and conclusive studies which compare these two methods to each other.
However, there are certain benefits and disadvantages associated with each of these methods.
- Since a cup of green tea contains about 25 mg of L-theanine, and a single dose of L-theanine contains around 200 mg of the amino acid, you would need to drink a lot of green tea to obtain the same dosage of theanine (which also means many, many trips to the bathroom).
- Tea is a diuretic, and drinking too much of it can leave you feeling dehydrated.
- However, tea is loaded with antioxidants and beneficial phytochemicals, which have beneficial effects on the body and the brain, and which you would miss out on if you quit drinking tea and only took L-theanine supplements.
Now, what are the benefits of combining L-theanine and caffeine?
- Caffeine provides a number of health benefits, including boosting alertness, attention capacity and memory, helping us to maximize our productivity.
- The combination of L-theanine and caffeine creates a super duo that exerts synergistic and beneficial effects on brain function. Yes, please.
- When taken together, caffeine and L-theanine help improve visual information processes, as well as attention and memory.
- In addition, L-theanine reduces the negative effects of coffee and helps to reach peak cognitive performance without feeling anxiety. This makes combining theanine and caffeine an effective option to boost performance and productivity while reducing caffeine-induced “jitters” for professionals in jobs that involve high levels of concentration.
- The mix of L-theanine and caffeine has also become popular in the nootropics community (the word “nootropic” originates from Greek, where “noos” means “mind.” Nootropics is the term used to describe supplements designed to safely enhance our cognitive abilities.) These supplements are currently available in many forms, and have been steadily gaining popularity due to their positive effects on brain function. The combination of caffeine and L-theanine is referred to as "The People's Stack" in the nootropic community due to its relative safety and availability
In what doses should L-theanine be taken?
Scientific studies have shown 50-200mg to be the dosage range of L-theanine consistently shown to have beneficial effects. Generally, we’d recommend a dosage of 200-400 mg of theanine, taken once or twice a day, with a daily limit of 1200 mg.
How should L-theanine and caffeine be combined?
If you want to dabble in nootropics, and make your own mix of caffeine and theanine, it is generally recommended to start with a 1:1 ratio and adjust is as necessary. Keep in mind that the recommended daily limit of caffeine is 400 mg (which equals to about 4 cups of coffee). Another important factor to consider is that consuming higher doses of L-theanine can make you sleepy (over 500 mg), so it is best to avoid consuming large amounts of it when driving or operating heavy machinery. Alternatively, a safe way is to chew Neuro’s Smart Energy Caffeine Gum, which also adds Vitamins B6 and B12 to synergistically increase energy and reduce stress.
Does L-theanine cause any side effects?
L-theanine is generally considered to be safe. A few of the reported side effects associated with its use include dizziness, headache and upset stomach. In addition, since L-theanine can lower blood pressure, it may be contraindicated in individuals taking blood pressure medication. It may also be contraindicated in individuals undergoing chemotherapy, since it could interact with the medication, and in pregnant women, due to the lack of studies which could rule out its potential adverse effects during pregnancy.
L-theanine and caffeine make up a nootropic stack that provides not only energy, but also mental alertness. Because these “smart drugs” have the additional benefits of improving cognitive function, memory, creativity, and motivation in healthy individuals, they can benefit you in many more ways than if you were to take caffeine alone.