Readily available as a dietary supplement, L-theanine is mainly used to help increase your ability to focus, concentrate, and even to help increase your ability to relax. This particular non-protein amino acid is mainly found in certain types of tea, the main ones being either green tea or black tea. Research done on L-theanine has shown that there is a direct correlation between consuming it on a regular basis and having an increased brain function and feeling less stress and anxiety as well. While consuming L-theanine from teas is considered to be relatively safe, you should always be sure that you consult with your health care provider before starting any type of new supplement or change to your diet. This way you will be able to stay safe and minimize any potential negative effects that can happen.
But before you start adding L-theanine into your daily diet, you should first be aware of exactly what it is going to be doing to you after you consume it. Here is everything that you will need to know about L-theanine.
What is L-Theanine?
L-theanine is one of the amino acids that can only be found in tea naturally. While it is also found in some forms of mushrooms, the tea variety is much easier to consume and will allow you to feel its effects much quicker. L-theanine is a very similar structure to that of glutamic acid, which is another amino acid.
While some people will take L-theanine in oral form to help them control and prevent their stress and anxiety from getting out of control, it is also used for several other reasons, some of which include depression, preventing Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, treating ADHD (attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, and even improving your ability to pay attention and increase mental performance. On top of that, L-theanine is also taken to help reduce blood pressure, to help prevent catching the flu, and even for improving how well the drugs that are taken for cancer work, as well as to help decrease some of the negative side effects that are associated with those cancer drugs.
L-theanine has a chemical structure that is very similar to that of glutamate. Glutamate is one of the naturally occurring amino acids that helps to transmit certain nerve impulses within your brain. Studies have shown that some of the effects of taking L-theanine will mimic that of glutamate, as well as help your brain to block excess glutamate from building up. T
Getting L-Theanine into Your Daily Diet
While there are several manufacturers who have started adding L-theanine into their commercial beverages, tea is going to be the only source of L-theanine that is actually naturally occurring. So, if you are interested in getting more L-theanine into your diet naturally, tea is going to be the only way that you will be able to start getting more of this non-protein amino acid. L-theanine comprises roughly 1 to 2.5 percent of the entire dry weight of the tea leaves that you will be using to make your tea. Since L0theanine is very water soluble, when you are preparing your tea, just about all of the L-theanine that the tea leaves contain is going to be dissolved into the water. While the L-theanine content of your individual tea leaves is going to vary from tea leaf to tea leaf, green tea is going to contain a much higher amount than any other type of tea.
L-Theanine Helps Enhance Your Brain Activity
A study that was done by the Asia Pacific Journal of Nutrition in 2008, confirmed the fact that L-theanine consumed in amounts that were similar to what you get when you drink tea, will enhance your brain activity. Researchers were able to examine the brain activity of several different healthy adults right after they had consumed amounts of L-theanine. These researchers were shocked to discover that the L-theanine is able to significantly increase the alpha brainwave activity. Since your brain’s alpha waves are what promotes relaxations within your body without causing any kind of drowsiness, this means that you will be able to stay alert and focused, but also remain calm at the very same time.
Another second study that was done replicated the very same results, meaning that L-theanine is the real deal when it comes to increasing your ability to focus and stay alert, as well as remain calm. Essentially, when you start to incorporate L-theanine into your regular daily routine, you will also be helping to improve your ability to concentrate, as well as remain alert.
L-Theanine Helps You Combat Your Stress
L-theanine appears to help you when it comes to combating your stress levels, according to one study that was published by the Journal Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, in October of 2013. Scientists were able to evaluate the effects that L-theanine had on a test group of graduate students during their pharmacy practice. The results revealed that L-theanine was able to significantly lower their stress markers when the students were under the very stressful situation of their pharmacy practice, as compared to the students who were in the placebo group. The researchers concluded that L-theanine can potentially be a very useful anti-stress agent.
Precautions for Supplements and Tea When it Comes to L-Theanine
When it comes to getting more L-theanine into your daily diet on a regular basis, you are either going to start drinking more green and black tea or start taking an L-theanine supplement. If you are going the more natural, tea drinking route, you are going to want to know that most herbal teas are not actually made from traditional tea leaves, which means that they are not going to contain any amount of L-theanine. The types of teas that you are going to want to drink will be green teas, black teas, and oolong that will contain L-theanine, but also supply caffeine as well. Due to the excess amount of caffeine that is attached to these particular types of beverages, it is not highly recommended that you drink too much of tea to get all of your L-theanine on a daily basis. If you do, the caffeine can potentially cause you to experience some side effects that you may not enjoy. And to be clear, all of these side effects would be solely from consuming much more caffeine than you should be on a regular basis. Luckily however, most of the decaffeinated teas that are available will have comparable amounts of L-theanine, similar to that of the caffeinated versions.
Another benefit of incorporating L-theanine into your daily diet, is the fact that L-theanine has also been proven to help reduce your blood pressure. This means that if you are having any kinds of problems with high blood pressure, L-theanine can potentially help reverse those conditions. With that being said, it is always strongly advised that you take some time to schedule an appointment with your health care provider to fill them in on what it is that you are trying to do with L-theanine. This will make sure that you are going about it the right way, and with your health care provider knowing what it is that you are doing, they will be able to make sure that you are safe every step of the way. On top of that, they will be by your side to answer any questions that you may have or that may come up.
How Much L-Theanine is Recommended on a Daily Basis?
When it comes to how much L-theanine you should be taking on a daily basis, it really does depend upon the reason you are taking it. With that being said, as long as you are taking the L-theanine by mouth for only a short amount of time, doses up to 400 mg on a daily basis are considered to be safe as long as you only repeat this 400 mg intake for not longer than 8 weeks. There are, however, some L-theanine supplements and other green tea ingredients that are also safe to take and that have been used for as long as 5 months on a daily basis. While there are no real studies that have been done on the long-term use of L-theanine, what is known about taking L-theanine for a longer period of time, is that you may start to experience certain side effects. While these side effects are very mild, they can potentially include things such as feeling sleepier than usual or having headaches.
If you are going to start taking an L-theanine supplement or start drinking green or black tea, be sure that you don’t overdo it. With all of the potential health benefits that L-theanine has attached to it, it can be easy to think that you will simply drink more and reap more benefits. And that is not even accounting for how delicious green and black teas are. Just remember to start adding L-theanine into your daily diet slowly at first, which will give you some time to gauge how your body reacts to it. If everything is good, feel free to increase your amount of L-theanine. If you start seeing adverse side effects, you can simply stop taking it.