March 22, 2022 3 min read

L-theanine is an amino acid that’s thought to interact with the body similarly to glutamate, an important amino acid that’s responsible for essential neurological functions. You can find L-theanine in certain foods and drinks, like green tea, though many people who wish to take advantage of L-theanine’s benefits choose a more concentrated supplemental dose instead.

Before you down that extra cup of tea, though, let’s dig into the potential L-theanine benefits you can experience by adding this magic molecule to your daily wellness routine.

Key Benefits

  • Boost immunity
  • Improve focus
  • Manage stress

1. L-theanine may help you focus.

Some research suggests that consuming tea high in L-theanine may be linked to improved focus. In a 2012 study subjects took 100 mg of L-theanine combined with 50 mg of naturally occurring caffeine. Participants who drank the tea generally made fewer errors in attention-demanding tasks than the participants taking the placebo.

Although research is limited, L-theanine is often considered a nootropic, or a “smart drug” that enhances brain performance. A comprehensive 2016 review found that L-theanine may help improve cognitive performance overall. In this study, L-theanine supplementation was linked with improved focus, reaction times, and alertness.

A woman sleeping soundly after taking a cup of tea with L-theanine for sleep.

2. It could help you sleep.

It may seem a bit counterintuitive to suggest that L-theanine can help you focus and help you sleep, but according to a 2018 study, that may be the case. This study found that participants reported better sleep quality after taking up to 900 mg of L-theanine daily for up to 8 weeks. It’s important to note that many of the participants in this study suffered from conditions that may disturb sleep, like anxiety or depression. Because evidence is limited, more research is needed to understand how L-theanine may benefit sleep.

3. It may help manage stress.

The same 2016 review found that L-Theanine (naturally occurring) in black and green tea was found to potentially improve relaxation by lowering a person’s resting heart rate. Some reports suggest that green tea (or L-theanine supplementation in general) may help a person manage stress throughout the day.

4. It could lower blood pressure, too.

In addition to generally helping to manage stress, L-theanine supplementation may help manage blood pressure during stressful situations. A 2012 study concluded that participants who took L-theanine experienced reduced Tension-Anxiety scores during psychologically stressful tasks compared with the placebo group.

5. L-theanine may help keep you healthy.

That 2016 comprehensive review above also suggests that L-theanine could boost certain immune functions that help fight off disease. In other words, regular doses of L-theanine, either by supplement or by regularly consuming it in your diet, can help prevent you from getting sick when you’re exposed to common pathogens, like the cold or flu.

Conclusion

It’s easy to see that L-theanine benefits are wide reaching and versatile, meaning L-theanine can fit into most people’s wellness routines. Many people choose to combine L-theanine with other adaptogens and nootropics to create a well-rounded regimen that targets all aspects of brain health, immunity, and physical health.

Because L-theanine supplements are not regulated as strictly as pharmaceuticals in the U.S., it’s important that you look for a high-quality supplement that’s well-made and lab tested. Using a high-quality supplement and the correct L-Theanine dosage is the best way to reap it's benefits without experiencing any of the possible side effects linked to L-Theanine supplementation. 

Always talk to your doctor before adding new supplements or making any changes to your wellness routine, especially if you take prescription medications.

Resources

  1. “Assessing the effects of caffeine and theanine on the maintenance of vigilance during a sustained attention task” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22326943/
  2. “l-Theanine as a Functional Food Additive: Its Role in Disease Prevention and Health Promotion” https://www.mdpi.com/2306-5710/2/2/13/htm
  3. “L-theanine in the adjunctive treatment of generalized anxiety disorder: A double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30580081/
  4. “Effects of L-theanine or caffeine intake on changes in blood pressure under physical and psychological stresses” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23107346/

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