A Powerful Calm: L-Theanine

Contributed by Rylen Feeney

Need an afternoon boost that improves your sense of wellbeing and focus while taking stress down a notch? Need help dealing with test, performance or generalized anxiety? Consider L-Theanine, a free (non-protein) amino acid found primarily in tea leaves, (Camilla Sinensis).

Functions and benefits of L-Theanine

L-Theanine, otherwise know as gamma-ethylamino-L-glutamic acid, is thought to be the key to tea’s subtle but calming effects despite the caffeine content in tea.

L-Theanine is thought to counter the stimulating effects of caffeine by increasing the production of alpha brain waves. Alpha waves are associated with a state of deep relaxation while being mentally alert.

In studies, subjects on L-Theanine exhibited alpha brain wave patterns similar to the state achieved by those during meditation.

Additionally, L-Theanine easily crosses the blood brain barrier, and is thought to play a role in increasing and regulating several neurotransmitters, most notably GABA (gamma amino butyric acid), which is an important inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. GABA promotes a pleasant calm without the drowsiness. L-Theanine is thought to interact with dopamine and serotonin as well, resulting in increased focus, improved memory and learning ability.

Other potential benefits of L-Theanine:

  • Gently lowers mildly elevated blood pressure
  • Antioxidant
  • Boosts immunity
  • ADHD & ADD
  • Reduces PMS symptoms
  • Increases effectiveness of Chemotherapy drugs, while protecting healthy cells and reducing side effects of the drugs themselves
  • Brain protective (reduces damage incurred from strokes, other potentially brain damaging conditions, i.e. Alzheimer’s, Lou Gehrigs, ALS etc…)
  • Antidote to being over-caffeinated

L-Theanine as a supplement

L-Theanine is available as a supplement (without caffeine), it is considered very safe with little and/or mild reported side effects. There are no known contraindications or interactions. In 1964 the Japanese government approved it as a food additive available for all foods other than infant formula and foods.

Typical dosage is 50 – 200mg at a time, with 200mg being the most common dose. Alpha brain wave levels rise in 30 -40 minutes and the effects last up to 8 hours. Although there are no reported toxicity levels the FDA recommends 1200mg as the upper limit in a 24-hour period.

Want to learn more about holistic health?

If you found this post interesting and valuable, sign up for our newsletter to receive more quality content around the theme of holistic health delivered to your inbox every month. You can also stay in touch with The Wellspring School on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.



Comments are closed.