L-Theanine: A Health Boosting Nootropic

by Khyati Kapur

L-Theanine: A Health Boosting Nootropic

You know that green tea is so good for your brain health. Ever thought why?

It’s one of the most popular drinks in the world, and has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda practices for generations. Even many Buddhist monks attest to their increased ability in meditation and sharpened focus after drinking green tea.

In ancient times, people didn’t have access to the amazing knowledge we do today. Now with modern research, we can confidently say that one of the secrets to green tea’s powerful health-boosting effects comes from all of the antioxidants it’s loaded with, especially polyphenols.

But there’s another special component to green tea that has allowed monks and other tea-lovers to concentrate and focus so well after drinking a fresh cup of tea. Any idea what it might be? 

Caffeine? Not exactly. L-theanine? Getting warmer!

Why not both?

Click here and discover a unique product that combines the best of both caffeine and L-theanine!  

But if you’re itching to learn more about L-theanine, read further to find out the complete story!

What exactly is L-theanine?

L-theanine is an amino acid derived mainly from Camellias sinensis leaf, the tea plant where green tea is made from. L-theanine can also be found naturally in certain mushrooms (Xerocomus badius). It’s structurally similar to L-glutamine, but they’re not the same! While L-glutamine is one of the most abundant amino acids in the human body, L-theanine is fairly rare to find in nature apart from being in green tea leaves. 

To better understand L-theanine’s effect on the human body, a quick lesson in biochemistry is needed (I promise it’s short and won’t hurt!). Quick facts about our body’s biochemistry:

  •     Remember that amino acids are the fundamental building blocks of proteins, macromolecules that are essential to all of life. Our muscles are mainly made of protein.
  •     Also remember that your DNA codes for 20 different amino acids, which are assembled into proteins. There are 21 different amino acids that we need for our proteins to function normally on a daily basis. Of those 21, your body can make around half of them on its own (non-essential), while the other half you need to get from your food (essential). 
  •     Now technically, there are many other amino acids found in nature (around a thousand have been discovered so far), but these amino acids are considered “nonprotein,” meaning that they aren’t coded by our DNA.
  •     L-theanine is a nonprotein amino acid, our body doesn’t make it, and it’s not essential for survival.

If it’s not essential, why would you want L-theanine then? The benefits are so worth it!

Benefits of L-theanine

L-theanine has a wide range of benefits for the body that scientists have been discovering the past few decades. Probably the biggest benefit that L-theanine can give you is for your brain health, since L-theanine acts as a nootropic. With research on L-theanine suggesting its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, you may be able to harness its benefits in a direct, tangible way and in a short amount of time.

Some of the major brain health benefits that have been associated with L-theanine are [1]: 

  •     Improvements in overall brain function, where L-theanine has been shown to stimulate neurogenesis (the creation of new neurons), improve cognitive performance in spite of damage caused by PCB (a toxic chemical), lead to greater relaxation from increased dopamine production, and even improve poor sleep induced by caffeine intake. 
  •     Neuroprotective effects, where L-theanine was shown to protect against damage from aluminum, fungal toxins (3-NP), and neurotoxins associated with Parkinson’s Disease; L-theanine also reduced damage caused by onset of cerebral ischaemia (low blood flow and oxygen to the brain), and even reduced symptoms of epilepsy when used with melatonin. 
  •     May reduce anxiety and stress. Symptoms of stress, anxiety, and the effects of opioid-withdrawal were all reduced after L-theanine consumption, and even oxidative damage to the brain from chronic stress was reversed. L-theanine has also been shown to act as an antidepressant by stimulating brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) production in the hippocampus region of the brain. 

At a glance, the scientific evidence shows that L-theanine can really help protect your brain health in both the short and long-term. Even today there are studies actively being conducted to further understand how L-theanine could benefit our health. 

One of the other biggest functions L-theanine has is to reduce mental fatigue and stress by amplifying alpha brain waves. This leads to a calming alertness but with heightened creativity [2]. Also, in a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled study on healthy adult volunteers, those with heightened anxiety where shown to have increased alpha brain wave activity, while general stress levels were also lowered [3].

L-theanine also functions as a great anxiolytic, or in other words it helps reduce stress. How? By reducing levels of cortisol and modulating GABA, serotonin and dopamine levels which help promote calmness and focus [4]. All of these molecules are neurotransmitters, which act as chemical messengers in your brain to send signals between neurons throughout your body. The delicate balance of these and many other molecules in the brain is so important to ensure a healthy brain function. The full body of research on L-theanine suggests that it may help in balancing the levels of these neurotransmitters.

So, with all of these incredible benefits, what’s stopping you from including L-theanine into your daily or weekly routine?

How you can incorporate L-Theanine into your lifestyle 

Remember how tea is loaded with L-theanine and caffeine? 

Researchers have discovered that when combined together, L-theanine and caffeine exhibit a synergistic effect on the body, where these two molecules work more effectively in the presence of the other than when they are separate [5]. This means you can get enhanced focus over a longer period of time, whereas drinking anything with just caffeine by itself (soda or regular coffee) gives you the familiar “crash” after a few hours or so. 

So what if you’re just not that into tea and more of a coffee-person and still want some awesome health benefits? Good news!

We know L-theanine is a great nootropic. But when it’s coupled with coffee it can have an amazing synergistic effect similar to that of green tea (since coffee also has naturally occurring caffeine), leading to increased energy, awareness, and mental endurance. 

So if you can’t live without a fresh cup of coffee, what’s standing in your way from upgrading to something even better? 

Seva Soul’s Neurovana Nootropic Coffee boasts a powerhouse of ingredients that’s packed with antioxidants and stimulating compounds. It features Indian Dried Spray Coffee and L-theanine, along with other important nootropics including Lion’s Mane and Chaga, Rhodiola, and Mct oil powder, all of which play a vital role in brain health.

And to get the most out of L-theanine, always remember that that moderation is key, coupled with a healthy lifestyle and diet. 

PLEASE NOTE that this article is not in lieu of medical advice from your doctor. All content found on this website, including articles, text, images, audio, videos, or other formats were created for informational purposes only.  This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. 

 



Khyati Kapur
Khyati Kapur

Author