Being a naturally occurring compound that can be found in both black and green teas, L-theanine is also going to be readily available in supplement form as well. Research that has been done suggests that consuming L-theanine may be able to provide you with a wide range of health benefits, those of which include an improved amount of mental focus, as well as a better quality of sleep. In this article, you will discover exactly why you should start incorporating L-theanine into your daily diet and all of the health benefits and risks that it can provide you with. But first, you must understand exactly what L-theanine actually is.
L-Theanine: What is it?
In its simplest form, L-theanine is a non-protein amino acid. Your body is not able to produce L=theanine, but that is ok as this particular amino acid is not an essential one to humans. It can be found in teas and certain types of mushrooms, but the best sources are going to be either green or black tea.
When you ingest L-theanine, it may have an effect on the levels of some certain chemicals within your brain. These chemicals include dopamine and serotonin, which are responsible for influencing your sleep, emotion, and mood, as well as cortisol, which helps your body when it comes to dealing with stress. If you were to have any type of change in the levels of these two chemicals, it would potentially cause a change in your stress levels or mood.
Some of the small studies that have been done on animals has sown that the amino acid L-theanine, may offer a variety of benefits when consumed. While the experts consider L-theanine to be completely safe for daily use, there has not been a whole lot of research in regard to how it affects humans and whether or not they too will benefit the same ways that animals that were tested benefited. With that being said, here are the benefits of L-theanine.
The Benefits of L-Theanine
L-theanine is going to provide you with several different health benefits when taken on a regular basis. Here are some of the ways that L-theanine can help improve your health.
Helps Improve your Mental Focus
There are many people out there who consistently drink either green or black tea while they are at work. They do this because they believe that it helps to boost their mental focus abilities. A study that was done in 2012, has backed up this particular claim, reporting that L-theanine does indeed help improve mental focus.
The researchers in the study found that those who took at least 100 mg (milligrams) of L-theanine made far less errors in tasks that required them to pay attention, as compared to the placebo group. On a side note, drinking roughly 50 mg of caffeine or even combining caffeine with L-theanine was also able to help boost people’s mental focus as well.
While it has been proven that L-theanine does help improve your ability to focus and be alert, further research is going to need to be done in order to fully understand how it is able to do this.
Helps to Improve your Quality of Sleep
Several of the studies that have been done on L-theanine have suggested that it can actually help you relax if taken right before you go to bed. On top of that, it is also able to help you fall asleep more easily and even get into a deeper state of your sleep cycle. All of these benefits are more than likely due to the specific effects that amino acids are going to have on your brain chemicals, as these chemicals are in charge of your sleep cycle.
A study that was done in 2018 has found that people who took between 450-900 mg of the amino acid L-theanine on a daily basis for 8 weeks in a row, reported that they had a much greater amount of sleep satisfaction when compared to before they started taking the L-theanine. In this particular study, the participants all had generalized anxiety disorder and they were all also taking antidepressants. The authors of the study also reported that the test subjects did not report any type of improvement when it came to their levels of anxiety or severity of their insomnia.
L-Theanine Helps you Relax
Many people who enjoy drinking a cup of tea or some other type of hot beverage, do so in order to help themselves relax. Research that has been done with L-theanine has suggested that black and green tea may help contribute to your feelings of relaxation, as they will help reduce your resting heart rate.
It can Help Increase your Cognitive Function
In the year 2016, researchers were able to review some of the existing research that had been done on the benefits of taking L-theanine and they were able to conclude that it can potentially benefit your physical, as well as mental health. They made note that there seemed to be some neuroprotective effects, which would aid in improving your brain function.
When taken alone, L-theanine is able to improve your reactions times and your ability to pay attention. When combined with caffeine, it can potentially lead to even greater improvements, some of which include alertness and number skills. Just keep in mind that caffeine is a stimulant, meaning that it can help you to stay focused and alert.
While most of the studies done on L-theanine agree, not all of them have come to the same conclusion. Some studies report that L-theanine cannot actually help improve your cognitive abilities. While there is still a lot of research that is going to have to be done on the matter, the sooner L-theanine’s effects on your brain can be verified definitively, the better.
It Aids in Weight Loss
If you are on some type of calorie-controlled diet or eating plan, when you replace one of your snacks with black or green tea (or any other low-calorie hot beverage for that matter), it can aid you in your weight loss journey.
L-theanine that is found in green and black teas can help to provide a savory taste, one that is more commonly referred to as umami flavor. Research has suggested that these umami flavors are able to help reduce your appetite, another way that will aid with your overall weight loss.
Helps to Boost Your Immune System
L-theanine can potentially help support your immune system and your body’s ability to fight off illness. There have been a number of different studies done that have all suggested that L-theanine can aid in boosting your immune system, meaning that you will be much less likely to come down with the flu or a common cold. On top of that, L-theanine’s anti-inflammatory effects are also able to help fight off illness as well.
Helps Reduce your Blood Pressure
There is no doubting the fact that if you have high blood pressure, you are also going to have an increased rate for several different serious health problems, these including heart attacks and strokes. L-theanine can potentially help reduce your stress levels, which a reduction in your stress will help increase your relaxation, which will in turn lower your heart rate. What all this means is that your blood pressure will go down.
It can Help Support Certain Types of Cancer Drugs
Research that has been done on animals has suggested that L-theanine can possibly increase a certain chemotherapy drug called doxorubicin, rate of effectiveness. This is because L-theanine can possibly increase how much of the doxorubicin is actually going to end up being in the actual cancer cells.
Is it Safe to Take L-Theanine?
Upon the advice from several different experts, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has classified L-theanine to be generally safe to take. This means that they believe the amino acid to be safe to consume, as long as you are taking it according to the recommended usage that the packaging suggests. However, if you are breastfeeding or pregnant, you should not us L-theanine.
As for any potential side effects that you may be able to expect when taking L-theanine, there really are not going to be many, the main thing being that it can possibly interact with some of the medications that you are taking. With that being said, it is best to first consult with your primary health care professional about any particular medications that you may be taking and what that means if you were to start taking L-theanine too.
L-theanine is a great way to boost your health without having to worry about any types of serious side effects. Just be sure that when you do start taking it, that you start with smaller dosage sizes so that you can see how your body is going to react. Once your body is familiar with it, then you can start increasing your dosage sizes in a safe, controlled manner.