If you’ve never heard of L-theanine, you’re not alone. Few people know about this beneficial amino acid that gives your mental and physical health a huge boost.
If you’re feeling stressed or you’re having trouble focusing, then keep reading, because L-theanine can get you back on track, feeling good, and ready to take on the world.
What Is L-Theanine?
L-theanine is an amino acid. It’s only found in tea leaves and certain types of mushrooms. L-theanine gives tea that savory flavor we enjoy so much.
You could take a supplement, but the most enjoyable way to get your fill of L-theanine is by switching on the kettle.
Studies suggest the longer you brew that cuppa, the more health-boosting L-theanine is extracted, but it doesn’t make a difference whether you add milk or not—so go ahead and enjoy your favorite brew the way you like it.
What Are the Health Benefits of L-Theanine?
The biggest health benefit associated with L-theanine is its ability to relax and lower stress levels without causing sedation.
But that’s not all—here are some more reasons why anxiety-relieving L-theanine should be on your radar and steaming in your mug.
1. It’s Calming
We’ve mentioned that L-theanine is soothing, but here’s the science: L-theanine gently alters neurotransmitter levels. It blocks anxiety-raising stimulating receptors and promotes the stress-inhibiting neurotransmitter GABA.
This means dopamine and serotonin—the chemicals that regulate our moods, emotions, concentration, and appetite—are free to make us feel good and alert without overwhelming interference.
In fact, L-Theanine is now grabbing the attention of scientists because it promotes calmness without the sleepy side effects some medications can bring.
For example, studies have shown that after drinking L-Theanine, stress responses were significantly reduced and remained reduced even after three hours had passed.
If you’re facing a tough time at work, ditch those jittery coffees to welcome soothing and calming L-theanine into your life.
2. Beats Insomnia
We’ve all been in the position where dreaded insomnia takes over. You’re churning an issue over in your mind and it keeps you awake at night.
A calm frame of mind helps us relax into restorative sleep, the kind that repairs our muscles and helps us process the previous day’s information. After a good night’s ZZZZs, you’ll feel refreshed and won’t crave sugary snacks to stay awake during the day.
Try a cup of green tea an hour before bedtime to boost your levels of L-theanine. It may help you nod off and increase your sleep quality. You can also use L-Theanine liquid extract to supplement.
3. Boosts Alertness
This may sound contradictory, but we’ve all experienced clear cognitive thought when we’re feeling calm rather than panicked and stressed.
Anxiety certainly has negative effects on our ability to make rational, well-thought-out decisions, and studies suggest that L-theanine improves cognitive performance by increasing alpha waves in much the same way that deep meditation does.
We could all do with some extra alertness power, especially during the second half of the week or after a night out on the town. If you’re faced with an exam or a job interview, ditch the energy drinks and opt for mind-boosting green tea instead.
4. Aids Weight Loss
If you’re carrying a few pounds too many, losing weight can make a big difference to your health. Official studies haven’t confirmed anything yet, but research may indicate that L-theanine can help reduce your BMI.
Some researchers suggest that L-theanine helps weight loss when green tea replaces sugary calorie-laden drinks. If you’re someone who turns to food under pressure, the relaxing health benefits of L-theanine may mean you won’t feel stressed into consuming those extra snacks.
Either way, if you’re looking to lose weight, L-theanine may help you, and it certainly isn’t going to add anything to the scales.
5. Fights Depression
Dealing with depression is a hard slog, and medication is vital if you’re suffering. The problem is that depression drugs can cause side effects that adversely affect your life.
L-theanine was studied in a trial for major depression and was found to help sleep issues, anxiety, and cognitive problems that depression can cause without the side effects that modern medication brings—such as sleepiness.
With mental health currently such a huge issue, a natural, low-cost amino acid treatment is very good news indeed. More research is underway to uncover all its secrets, so if you’re depressed, don’t ditch your meds. Watch this space.
6. Might Prevent Life-Limiting Illnesses
Because L-theanine blocks certain brain chemicals, researchers are looking into its capability to protect us from long-term degenerative disease, schizophrenia, and strokes.
It may just turn out to be a mental health wonder drug.
Is Taking L-Theanine Safe?
There’s no official evidence that L-theanine causes side effects, and people have been drinking doses of it in cups of green tea for thousands of years without problems.
Do be wary of consuming large amounts of tea, though, because it also contains caffeine. Too much caffeine can trigger unwanted symptoms, such as anxiety, insomnia, headaches, and an upset stomach.
How To Get More of The Good Stuff Naturally
It’s possible to take L-theanine in supplement form, but it’s just as easy and more relaxing to drink tea.
Swap out your expensive 400-calorie morning latte for a refreshing cup of L-theanine-laden green tea. Green tea contains the most L-theanine, but it’s also found in black and white tea too, so feel free to pick and choose.
Tea leaves also contain flavonoids and catechins that hold their own health benefits, so a cuppa has a double whammy of health-boosting benefits.
Make L-Theanine Part of Your Daily Routine
During stressful times, one of our first reactions is to make a nice cup of tea, and Eastern cultures have built elaborate tea-drinking ceremonies around the precious liquid for thousands of years. We instinctively know tea is good for us, and L-theanine may be the reason why.
L-theanine has the benefits of meditation stashed in a delicious and relaxing cuppa—just taste the relaxation and feel your well-being improve.