L-theanine is a natural amino acid found in green tea, and the second most abundant source of this compound found in nature. In fact, drinking green tea with other types of tea will actually help increase the amount of L-theanine you get from those other teas. In this article, we’ll explain exactly what L-theanine is, its potential benefits as a standalone supplement, and how you can incorporate more of it into your daily life. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about L-theanine.
What is L-Theanine?
L-theanine is an amino acid that naturally occurs in green tea leaves and is responsible for their unique flavour and aroma. It’s also found in small amounts in a wide array of other common foods, including black and white teas, certain mushrooms, and a variety of edible seaweeds. L-theanine is primarily used as a supplement or food additive, though its various physiological effects have made it a subject of growing scientific interest over the last decade. As a dietary supplement, L-theanine is sold in tablet or powder form and is often combined with caffeine as a natural alternative to pre-workout energy drinks or coffee. It’s also commonly added to nootropic stacks and other smart drugs designed to improve mental performance.
As a compound that works in your brain, the exact mechanisms of L-theanine are not completely understood. However, researchers have been able to identify a few potential benefits of l-theanine.
- Improved mental focus – L-theanine has been shown to increase “alpha wave” activity in the brain, which is associated with a state of mental calm and attentional focus. This has led to its use as a supplement in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety disorders, and other conditions associated with poor attention.
- Reduced anxiety – Part of L-theanine’s ability to improve mental focus may be its ability to reduce anxiety. Some studies have found that this compound has anti-anxiety properties during periods of stress.
How to Take L-theanine
When consumed as a food or a supplement, L-theanine is generally well tolerated by most people. Some people may experience mild side effects, such as nausea or headache, but they are generally mild and short-lived. When taking L-theanine supplements, it’s generally recommended that you consume them with water between meals, away from other supplements and medications, and not more than twice a day.
When it comes to natural health supplements, L-theanine is one of the most well-researched options on the market. It has a wide variety of potential health benefits and is generally very well tolerated. If you drink green tea or are considering taking L-theanine supplements, keep in mind that a single cup of tea only contains around 50 mg of this compound. If you want to experience the full advantages of L-theanine, you’ll likely need to consume a significant amount of it. For optimal effect, we recommend taking anywhere from 200–500 mg of L-theanine per day. Make sure to incorporate the L-theanine in your daily routine with a healthy diet.