L-Theanine

With a long list of cognitive benefits, and few side effects, L-theanine is one of the most powerful and effective natural nootropics available today.

It works by relieving stress and relaxing the body without any drowsiness involved.

Many use it for both anxiety and a natural aid for sleep. It is an amino acid found commonly in tea, making it easy to come by for many.

The supplement differs from others in that it has no adverse effects. The body does not become drowsy or wary but instead remains calm and collected in any situation.

What is L-Theanine?

Theanine is similar to glutamate. It helps transmit nerve impulses within the brain to balance brain chemistry.

Anxiety and stress may impair memory and cognitive function, so theanine works to combat these problems and retain mental alertness.

This amino acid is very water-soluble allowing the body to absorb it easily. The easy absorption makes the effects felt faster and more efficiently.

Standard doses help to reduce stress, relax the body, and restore attention. Theanine works similar to caffeine, yet it does not have the harsh edge that many people dislike about the substance.

It reaches the brain more effectively and begins working after just a short time. There are no sedation-like effects felt, allowing the user to remain awake and coherent.

There are also no buzzed feelings felt once the effects begin to wear away. The use of theanine improves test-taking skills

The supplement pops up online and in health food stores. It is one of the most easy-to-obtain options. It often comes in pill form, but there is a powder version available as well.

It is different from many other substances in that it is not addictive. No one becomes addicted to the pill and requires it in their daily lives.

Most people take it on an as-needed basis, without the constant desire to have it. Many folks like to include it when they know it will come in handy, such as before an exam, workout, or social gathering where their anxieties may come into play.

Other Names for L-Theanine

The simple name for the product is theanine. The scientific name is Gamma-ethylamino-L-glutamic acid. It is also sometimes called Suntheanine.

Editor’s Note

I have experience with L-Theanine. This supplement works great to calm down the body when taken with caffeine.

Many people, myself included, stack these two together, so the effects of caffeine show with an increase in mental capacity, but the harsher side of things gets downplayed.

Experiencing shakiness and jitters no longer occur thanks to the combination of L-theanine. I too take caffeine with my supplement to experience it in the best way possible.

Having too much cortisol in the body can cause you to feel stressed. Theanine works to combat this problem. I take it when I feel I have too much cortisol in my body and want to feel good rather than stressed and upset.

I take a higher dose, and it begins its effects in just 20 minutes. It makes me feel better, much more focused, and my brain no longer wanders.

I receive a wakeful relaxation that allows me to continue my daily activities without stress and without feeling too tired to do so.

I do not foresee anyone having strange side effects from a larger dose of theanine. I often see 500mg as the recommended amount, but 1000 or even 1500 is what I frequently use when I need a quick boost in mental alertness and focus.

It offers a quick way to perk me up and make me forgo the anxiety symptoms I sometimes experience. I have never experienced adverse effects while taking the supplement

L-Theanine Reviews

After scouring the Internet, it is easy to see why L-theanine is so well-liked. Many believe L-theanine works well for relaxing and avoiding the effects of anxiety.

Those with major anxiety problems have even returned to a normal way of life after incorporating this supplement into their daily routine.

It is difficult to get agitated and run out of patience while taking it. Your demeanor overall improves, and you feel much more capable of taking on anything.

Benefits and effects

The most common effect associated with theanine is a sense of relaxation, but it doesn’t cause drowsiness along with it.  It helps you deal with stress and makes you better able to collect your thoughts in a smooth and organized manner.  In addition to its use as an anti-stress agent, it can be used to boost overall cognition and cause a lift in mood.  Note that these are the effects seen when drinking green tea, especially after several cups.

The cause of the main effect of theanine (calm thought collection) is its ability to increase levels of the neurotransmitter GABA, which inhibits the overexcitement of neurons in the brain.  If you can keep your brain from overrunning itself with signals of stress, it will help your ability to concentrate on the task on hand.  Theanine can also increase dopamine levels, which can account for the boost in mood that often accompanies its use.  It is also reported that theanine affects a number of other receptors such as AMPA, which can aid in the ability to learn and process information.

Promotes Relaxation

The body often feels intense, on alert, and ready for fight or flight mode during stressful situations. Theanine helps curb the flight-or-flight response by inducing relaxation.

Rather than being on alert, people who take the supplement are more apt to being patient, loose, and ready to unwind for the day.

There are no drowsy feelings, though, making it even more beneficial. The relaxed state is partly due to the serotonin production that theanine creates.

Serotonin is needed in the body to make it relax and ready for sleep. Due to the added alertness of the pill, however, drowsiness is not part of the equation. It also increases alpha brain waves that scientists associate with relaxation and meditation.

Reduces General Stress

Theanine reduces stress within the body. All signs of stress get erased, so a person feels relaxed and ready to be part of any social situation.

It is ideal for people with anxiety who often feel fearful, worried, and shaky during social interactions. These symptoms get eliminated immediately after taking a dose of the supplement. The body instead feels relaxed and the mind worry-free.

Stimulates Production of GABA

L-Theanine stimulates the production of GABA. Gamma-aminobutyric acid reduces the activity of nerve cells, which helps to calm the brain.

With increased production of this amino acid, an even further relaxed state may prove possible. GABA prevents the excessive firing of neurons. Without them firing off rapidly, the brain may feel more relaxed and not on high alert like usual.

Improves Alertness and Attention

While many anti-anxiety medications make a person tired and unable to drive, theanine reacts in the opposite way.

The body feels relaxed, yet the mind is alert and at full attention. It allows a person to handle any situation easily, without feeling stressed or unable to do so.

How It Works

L-Theanine is a psychoactive substance. It has direct access to the central nervous system, allowing it cross the blood-brain barrier.

It interacts with the brain itself rather than simply sending messages through other carriers. With the ability to reach the brain, theanine reacts quickly in the body and makes the effects felt faster.

Both dopamine and serotonin levels increase with the use of theanine. These are responsible for happiness and relaxation.

The theanine produces a higher amount of both chemicals, causing an enhanced reaction within the body. You feel happier, more relaxed, and better able to handle anything.

It is best to take the supplement in the morning. Never consume food while taking it because it will inhibit the effects.

Amino acids work best on an empty stomach, as the body more easily absorbs them. They can adhere to proteins in food and lose their effectiveness in the bloodstream and on the brain.

Most people take a small dose of theanine, such as 200mg. It can take time to work, but should not take more than an hour to feel its effects.

A higher dose can make the effects felt much faster. Take as much as you feel you need to combat your anxiety symptoms and make yourself relaxed.

Dosage

Theanine has great potential as a supplement, being relatively cheap to buy and having several scientifically proven effects.  Multiple studies from both the United States and Japan have shown theanine (or the green tea it’s contained in) to have significant efficacy in decreasing stress and facilitating cognition.  If one wanted to start including it in their diet, they could simply start drinking green tea.  However, the theanine content of tea can be wildly variable, so it is easier to use a theanine supplement to predict the level of intake and ensure you are taking enough to see its set of benefits.

As a separate substance, theanine is most commonly found as a fine white powder, although it can be found packaged in capsules or tablets as well.  It can be dissolved into any beverage and taken that way, and my favorite thing to do is to mix it into a cup of hot green tea.  Theanine powder has one of the most pleasant tastes for nootropic powders with a sweet and somewhat savory taste.  The typical dosage is 200 milligrams, although it’s well tolerated in the body, so it can be safe to take a larger amount.

You can find theanine on many health and supplement websites in either its powder or pill form, and it will generally cost about $16 for 60 200mg capsules, or a little under $20 for a container of 50 grams of powder.  I recommend using the powder route, as it’s much cheaper and it tastes good enough to simply take as-is.

The most common doses are between 100 and 200mg, although some may require up to 400mg in one serving. 1200mg is the highest maximum dose recommended per day.

You can take it once or twice daily. It does not take much to make a person feel the relaxing effects. Most people take it with caffeine, whether in supplement form or by consuming a drink with the stimulant as an added ingredient.

Body weight may make the dosage different for everyone. A larger man requires a higher dose of theanine than a smaller woman.

Women and men may take the supplement, but any breastfeeding or expectant mother must first consult with a doctor. It is not often recommended to take even a small dose of it during this time.

L-theanine Dosage for Anxiety

L-theanine is commonly used to treat anxiety. The supplement provides a sense of relaxation without the feeling of being sedated.

While 200 mg is the standard, you don’t have to take it all at once.

Some people have found that splitting their dosage to take 100 mg in the morning and 100 mg in the evening is effective. If you find you’re anxious in the afternoon, you could try a morning-afternoon split instead.

Monitor your anxiety and usage carefully in the first few days, to determine what works best in your case.

L-theanine Dosage for Depression

L-theanine is also known to increase dopamine in the brain. This effect improves your mood and can heighten your energy.

The standard 200 mg dosage for adults is normally sufficient for those taking L-theanine for depression.

L-theanine Dosage for Sleep

Since L-theanine is a relaxing agent, it can also help you sleep. However, it’s far from the most potent sleep supplement available.

Those with very mild sleep problems may not see much effect. Typically you should experience feelings of relaxation 30 minutes to one hour after taking L-theanine.

One study in Japan suggested that L-theanine also improves sleep quality.

Healthy participants took 200 mg of L-theanine one hour before bed for six days. Compared to a control group given placebos, those who took L-theanine reported less exhaustion and less need for sleep.

L-theanine Dosage for ADHD

L-theanine’s ability to increase attention and focus can be useful for those with ADHD.

L-theanine is often combined with other supplements, the most common being caffeine. The two are naturally stacked in green tea or can be taken in different forms.

When taking caffeine with L-theanine, it is best to take it in a 4:1 ratio, with four parts L-theanine and one part caffeine.

While a one to one ratio can work, the calming effects of L-theanine might be reduced. If your standard dose of L-theanine is 200 mg, you can supplement it with a 50 mg capsule of caffeine.

ADHD can also be associated with disturbed sleep, L-theanine can help in this case. A 6-week long study on 8 to 12-year-old boys with ADHD found that taking 200 mg of L-theanine twice a day contributed to improving sleep quality.

Theanine Dosage for Children

The increase of neurotransmitters caused by L-theanine can also increase focus and learning. These attributes make this supplement ideal for children, including those with ADHD.

Children should generally take half the dosage of any medication or supplement, and the L-theanine dosage for kids is no different.

However, additional factors like ADHD should be taken into account and may allow for higher doses.

Since 200 is the standard dosage for adults, you shouldn’t start off your child with more than 100 mg of L-theanine.

Just as with adults, you may want to try 50 mg at first. Monitor your child’s reaction and ask others about any changes in behavior.

Chewable tablets and liquid solutions are also available, making it easier for children to take them.

Theanine Dosage for Dogs

Anxiety can be a serious problem in dogs. Theanine is a safe alternative that has very little risk of any side effects.

The supplement increases GABA and dopamine levels in the brain, influencing calmness.

There are a number of supplements now available for dogs. Consider your dog’s weight category when determining the dosage.

Dogs that are under 20 lbs may not even need an entire tablet to see effects. When in doubt, check with your vet.

Side Effects

Side effects do not typically occur with theanine. It is considered safe to take as long as it gets used for just a few weeks at a time and not as an everyday part of life. Extended studies have not been completed to determine side effects of long-term use.

You should not take theanine with medications that lower cholesterol. It is also best to avoid taking it with food, especially items high in protein.

Amino acids tend to bind to proteins, resulting in smaller amounts for the body to absorb and utilize.

Stacking

It is important to note that many people believe they are taking L-Theanine but are finding D-Theanine in their stacks. You need to read carefully to ensure you consume the correct version. [1]

Taking theanine alone may make you feel more tired than you hope. The trick is to stack theanine with caffeine. This allows your body to enter a relaxed state without feeling overly tired and ready for bed.

The caffeine provides the stimulation to your mind, which makes you feel alert and at top mental capacity. The theanine then works alongside it to destress the body and allow only positive effects to remain. [2]

Keep in mind that caffeine is found in many soft drinks and teas. It is possible to experience adverse effects if these are regularly consumed while taking an additional caffeine supplement.

There may be more jitteriness than usual, along with an extended period where it is hard to achieve sleep.

1-2x Per Day

  • 100mg L-Theanine
  • 50mg Caffeine

Alternatives

1. Kava

Many people compare the effects of Kava to theanine. It is often taken as a tea by people with social anxiety, or just purely for enjoyment and relaxation.

If you suffer from ADHD or ADHD-like symptoms, Kava may help improve concentration at work and at home. While this is an alternative, it is not always recommended for everyone.

In my opinion, Theanine is the better option, but some people just respond better to Kava.

2. Rhodiala Rosea

Rhodiala Rosea is another natural option, well-liked by those looking for something milder that has little to no side effects. It is intended as a mild anti-anxiety herb with limited downside.

It only takes around a half an hour for the effects to kick in, with the peak of them felt at the one hour mark. It also does not make people jittery as caffeine does.

You won’t feel lethargic after taking Rhodiala Rosea, and as such it helps boost performance during an intense workout by keeping you calm.

3. Aniracetam

To enhance mood, focus, and memory, Aniracetam is a valid option. It offers the most beneficial components of taking caffeine and l-theanine together.

The body is still in a relaxed state and able to handle stressful situations, yet the focus and memory of the mind is greatly enhanced.

It often takes a stronger dose, usually around 750mg per day, but the effects are seen quickly and can last longer. Aniracetam can also be a mild mood booster, like L-theanine.

Closing Thoughts

L-Theanine offers a way to relax your brain and body, allowing you to feel much more at ease in the world. Anxiety struggles get reduced, and even stressful situations no longer feel hard for you to handle.

The supplement provides an opportunity to get through the day with more patience, resulting in less angry outbursts and resentment towards others and your life.

It pairs well with caffeine to ensure the full effects of mental alertness are felt without the harsh effects caffeine can cause.

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