13 Health Benefits Of Using L-Theanine Supplements
L theanine benefits are plentiful, and whereas before it was based on anecdotal evidence, now there is scientific and medical evidence proving it really works.
The benefits are extensive as it’s good for the physical, emotional and mental state.
To avail of these benefits though you have to understand what this substance is and how it works. We will also look at what science has to say.
What is L-theanine?
L-theanine is an amino acid which boosts cognitive functions and improves mental alertness. It is similar in a way to caffeine in terms of benefits but doesn’t cause the jitters or its other side effects.
How Does L-theanine Work?
This amino acid works by enhancing the dopamine and serotonin levels in your brain which stimulates better memory and greater capacity to learn.
As the amino acid works in its way in your system, it increases the top neurotransmitter’s production or the GABA.
At the same time, L-theanine ups the glutathione levels in your body.
Glutathione molecules are responsible for fighting toxins and are one of the most important antioxidants in your system.
Regular intake of L-theanine stimulates alpha brain waves; It is connected to sleep. The more rest and sleep you get, the better it is for your cognitive functions.
Theanine provides many benefits, but it functions the same way. This amino acid crosses the bloodstream and has a direct effect on the brain.
To be specific, L-theanine goes after the chemicals that affect pleasure, attention, anxiety, and arousal.
L-theanine makes it way into the blood quickly. In rats, this takes less than hour and probably the case with humans as well.
The amino acid reaches its peak inside the brain and dissipates in 24 hours. It’s while in the brain that L-theanine boosts dopamine and serotonin levels to stimulate memory.
Once the dopamine and serotonin levels pick up, it starts a chain reaction that enhances the cognitive functions.
Mental Benefits of L-theanine:
While L-theanine is known mainly as a brain booster, its benefits go much more profound and further.
1. L-theanine Blocks Stress and Anxiety:
Studies conducted at Nagoya University Department of Psychology revealed that L-theanine lowers blood pressure and slows down rapid heartbeats, both of which help reduce stress and anxiety levels.
Participants who took part in the test experienced better stress reduction compared to those who took a placebo.
With regular intake, the participants didn’t have to deal with a lot of anxiety when performing various physical and mental tasks.
The studies also showed that L-theanine relaxes even healthy individuals and even regular doses don’t lead to sedation.
Even when the dosage is less than half the recommended amount, you’ll still get stimulation.
What makes L-theanine effective in relieving stress and anxiety is it is a lot like glutamate, but the effect it generates is the opposite.
Glutamate is the primary neurotransmitter that controls excitability. L-theanine however, does the opposite in that it acts as an inhibitor, so you’re calm and relaxed. It is this calming effect that reduces anxiety levels.
These same studies also show that L-theanine keeps blood pressure from suddenly rising when you’re stressed out.
It’s common for blood pressure to shoot up when you’re stressed, and this can lead to all kinds of health complications.
By keeping your blood pressure normal, you’ll be less vulnerable to diseases related to hypertension.
2. L-theanine Improves Brain Function:
L theanine benefits for brain neurons are extensive. With regular dosages, you’ll have stronger memory, greater focus, and attention.
Research conducted at LG Household and Health Care Co., Ltd., Daejeon, Korea reveals that people with minor brain damage got better memory when they took L-theanine.
The tests were conducted on both men and women, and the results proved that the participants’ alertness and focus improved.
They also performed better in memory tests compared to other brain damage patients who didn’t take L-theanine. The mental benefits extend to those who are vulnerable to anxiety.
3. Minimizes Bad Effects of Caffeine:
Caffeine and Theanine are common ingredients in tea, and it is this combination that provides you with the essential caffeine benefits minus the side effects.
With regular dosage, you’ll notice significant improvements in task switching, delay the onset of fatigue and lead to greater alertness.
Taking more than 250 mg of caffeine or 2+ cups of coffee causes hypertension and jitters.
But studies demonstrate that L-theanine reduces these side effects. While Theanine can mitigate the side effects, it is better if you minimize coffee intake as well.
4. A Powerful Antioxidant:
L-theanine is one of the most potent antioxidants, as it flushes out a lot of toxins in your body.
It is capable of restoring liver cells’ antioxidant properties and make it more resistant to injuries. Regular dosing also makes you less vulnerable to liver failure.
Scientists also discovered that regular dosing of L-theanine in rats lowers oxidative related damage and minimizes inflammation.
5. Reducing Schizophrenia Symptoms:
Doctors have discovered that taking 400 mg of Theanine for 8 weeks cuts down the number of schizophrenic episodes in patients.
The same study also indicates that schizophrenics complain less of muscle problems, sensory difficulties, and less anxiety.
Its ability to inhibit glutamate is the reason why it’s being looked into as a treatment for schizophrenia.
A lot of work still needs to be done, but it seems capable of influencing the parts of the brain that focus on aggression, fear, and memory.
This could explain why L-theanine is good for reducing schizophrenia symptoms. As research continues, L-theanine may be used to treat substance dependence, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other mood-related disorders.
6. L-theanine Reduces Stroke Impact:
Laboratory research indicates that L-theanine may prevent strokes and reduce the damage they cause if it does strike. What L-theanine does enhance production of nitric oxide (NO) in the artery lining cells.
An increase in nitric oxide minimizes stroke risk because NO is a facilitator of muscles and blood flow in your arteries.
A high NO level means improved blood circulation and better relaxing and constricting blood vessels.
A separate study proves that L-theanine inhibits TNF-a and reduces adhesion molecule expression, effectively cutting down the possibility of an obstruction or clot.
This amino acid also protects your body from blood refilling or reperfusion which occurs after a stroke.
Administering L-theanine 12 hours following a stroke provides protection to your brain cells. Regular dosing also reduces the area damaged by a stroke.
7. L-theanine Improves Sleep Quality:
A 2011 study conducted at the University of British Columbia, BC, Canada demonstrated that participants who took 200 mg of L-theanine for 6 weeks had a more relaxing sleep.
Those who were given a placebo didn’t experience any benefits, underscoring its efficiency.
The researchers determined that taking L-theanine produces a superior sleep percentage and a more comfortable sleep.
The amino acid also cuts down the amount of time people stay up at night.
8. L-theanine is Neuroprotective:
L theanine for anxiety works well because it provides protection for the brain.
In a study done at the Behavioural Neuroscience Laboratory, Department of Physiology in Australia, the researchers determined that L-theanine keeps the brain sharp.
Studies conducted in China and Japan reveals that people there who drink tea with L-theanine are better at focusing, concentration, processing information and keeping their attention span.
The study has been repeated in several tea drinking countries with similar results.
The researchers also determined that L-theanine improves memory and cognitive functions even among those with mild cognitive impairment.
A follow-up study conducted at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center demonstrates that L-theanine has protective properties for Alzheimer’s and stroke.
Follow up studies would go on to demonstrate that Theanine prevents brain cells from dying after a stroke. L-theanine also safeguards your brain from neurotoxins in the environment.
These neurotoxins, researchers believe, is one of the triggers for Parkinson’s disease. Since Theanine improves blood flow to the brain, it could stave off cognitive decline.
9. Strengthens Weak Immune System:
A study published in 2000 and another in 2008 by Harvard Medical School stated that L-theanine improves your body’s T cells, making you more resistant to inflammation, tumors, and infections.
These two studies – supported by other ones – demonstrate that tea drinkers have more cytokines in their T cells compared to those who drink coffee.
When your body produces too much cortisol and stress, it shifts the T cell balance in favor of th2 than th1. Dosing on L-theanine tilts the balance in favor of th1 and reduces the stress your body feels.
L-theanine also cuts down the production of histamine and igE and allows your body to better fight off allergic reactions and triggers.
10. Supportive Cancer Treatment:
L-theanine alone is not going to kill cancer, but combined with other treatments it helps fight treat cancer.
According to researchers, L-theanine fortifies the anti-tumor properties of cancer medication.
It also reduces these medications’ toxicity levels, so they’re not as harmful to non-cancerous tissues.
11. An Antidepressant:
One of the more interesting findings is that L-theanine reduces depression symptoms.
The research was done in Tokyo at the Department of Mental Disorder Research, the National Institute of Neuroscience and the National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry.
Based on the studies, taking L-theanine for 8 weeks daily was enough to reduce depression symptoms as well as cognitive impairments, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, stress and other signs of depression.
12. Weight Loss:
Weight loss isn’t what people usually think of when L-theanine is mentioned, but it is effective when combined with a healthy diet and exercise.
The benefit is not limited to shedding of pounds. However, during the test period, the researchers also learned that the L-theanine lowers blood fatty acid levels as well as triglycerides.
Mice that were given L-theanine lost body fat and consumed less food, and the same thing happens when humans consume it.
13. Reduce Stomach Aches and Pains:
There is a growing body of evidence which suggests that L-theanine is good for healing a wide array of stomach aches and pains including ulcers.
A dose of 10 mg per kg of body weight is the standard given, but it may be increased to 40 mg per kg for serious cases of ulcers.
Studies also indicate that L-theanine stimulates prostaglandin E and limits the side effects of anti-inflammatory medications. With its antioxidant properties, the rest of your body gets sufficient protection from toxins.
Natural Sources of Theanine:
Tea leaves are the most prevalent source of L-theanine. Most kinds of tea have L-theanine but the most widely used are Japanese Camellia green tea.
This amino acid is also found in Bay Bolete mushrooms.
A growing number of health providers now include L-theanine so you can take advantage of it even if you don’t drink tea.
However the potency of these supplements vary, so you need to be selective and go only for those you’re sure has the right level of L-theanine.
Side Effects of L-theanine:
So far we have been talking about the benefits of L-theanine, but what about the side effects?
Researchers at the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology Medical College in Virginia Commonwealth University did a study in 2006 which indicates that animals suffered no ill effects even at high doses.
There are no known side effects on humans apart from slight stomach upset, dizziness and headaches, but you still need too be careful especially if you take other medications.
L-theanine may interact with other drugs you take and cause low blood pressure. Too much Theanine may also cut back the efficiency of stimulants you’re taking.
L theanine benefits are plentiful, and for men women, the young and the elderly, there is no question that this amino acid delivers results.
With regular dosage and awareness of the side effects, you’ll be able to get maximum value from it.