Amino acid L-Theanine is one of the many aminos that exist in living organisms. But it is not one of the 20 aminos that you usually would find in your body. Your body cannot produce it, but you can find this amino in abundance from green tea and black tea, as well as some mushroom types. They have many beneficial functions in the body. For starters, they have profound effects on the chemical composition and balance of your brain. Some of the brain chemicals it affects include dopamine and serotonin. As such, L-Theanine influences sleep, mood, and emotion. It also regulates cortisol in your brain. It helps your body to cope with stress. A disruption in these chemicals in your brain would affect your mood and increase your stress levels.
The benefits of Theanine indeed have a wide range. There have been several tests and studies on animals to validate the benefits of Theanine. These benefits indeed have a wide range. More so, experts tell us that Theanine is generally safe for consumption. However, there is yet to be solid studies on humans as of this moment. We still need some more high-quality research studies in humans to validate these benefits for humans. If you want to rev up L-Theanine levels in your body, it would be better to get it from food sources. But you can also get it from supplements if need be. We will give you a brief overview of this amino, its benefits, risks, as well as sources.
Benefits of Amino Acid L-Theanine
While there are many claims of L-Theanine yet to be validated, some other claims have existing evidence. They include the following:
1. Improves mental focus
You may have noticed that lots of people green tea and/or black tea during their working hours. This is because of the belief that it can boost mental focus. A research study in 2012 supports this belief with evidence. The experts found that taking 100mg L-Theanine would lead to fewer errors when doing a task that requires attention.
2. Promotes relaxation
To promote relaxation, you can drink one cup of green tea. Black tea is another hot beverage that can help you relax. Researchers tell us that L-Theanine in these teas contributes to a relaxed feeling. It reduces your heart’s resting rate.
3. Improves sleep quality
L-Theanine can help you sleep well if you have trouble sleeping. Several studies prove this to be true. Since they promote relaxation, using them before going to bed can help you get better sleep.
These benefits are results of L-Theanine effects on your brain chemicals. These chemicals are beneficial for improving sleep quality and relaxation. With just 450mg to 900mg of L-Theanine for 2 months daily, you will have better sleep satisfaction.
4. Improves cognitive performance
In 2016, some researchers decided to review the existing evidence on how L-Theanine is beneficial. Their conclusion was unanimous. L-Theanine indeed has many benefits for our physical and mental health. They also noted that this amino has neuroprotective effects. This helps to improve cognitive function.
5. Promotes weight loss
Taking green tea in place of your snacks can be a good part of calorie-controlled diets. This can promote weight loss. This is due to the effects of L-Theanine. It creates an umami flavor that savors your taste bud and reduces appetite. These help to promote weight loss.
6. Lowers blood pressure (BP)
Research shows us that a high BP can increase your risk of developing different health problems. This includes stroke and heart attack. L-Theanine reduces stress, which in turn, increases relaxation and lowers heart rate. That would then lower your blood pressure.
7. Boosts immunity
L-Theanine may help support your immunity. This will help your body to fight off illness. A lot of studies suggest that L-Theanine consumption can boost your immunity. This makes it less likely for you to get the flu or common colds. It also has some anti-inflammatory properties, which lends to helping you fight illness.
What Are the Risks of L-Theanine?
There is yet to be any direct or confirmed adverse effect of consuming L-Theanine. In general, it is very safe. You can drink teas and take supplements containing L-Theanine.
Researchers say there are promising results with consuming L-Theanine. But then, the teas containing L-Threonine can also contain other ingredients, which may be quite harmful, especially for people who have cancer.
For instance, green tea contains polyphenol EGCG. This compound can affect the effectiveness of certain chemotherapy drugs. One such drug is bortezomib. As such, you should consult your doctors about taking L-Theanine if you are on chemotherapy treatment.
Green tea also shares some similar effects with caffeine (or caffeinated drinks) when you drink too much. Some of these effects can be quite problematic, depending on how much you drink. These effects include:
- Upset stomach
More so, it is not advisable for pregnant women or breastfeeding mothers to take L-Theanine. And if they would drink teas, they should limit how much they drink. This would prevent loading up on caffeine.
The FDA recognizes and classifies L-Theanine as safe. This implies that they consider L-Theanine to be a safe additive. But remember to always ask your physician about the safe options for you when it comes to supplements. You should follow this same advice for your children. After you have sought expert advice, you can go ahead to take L-Theanine.
Also, speak with a professional healthcare provider about any medication you are taking currently. You must factor this in before you consume L-Theanine supplements. This is because L-Theanine can sometimes interact with certain supplements and drugs. Some of these include:
- Drugs for managing and treating high BP
- Stimulants, like those used for treating ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)
- Supplements that have caffeine in them. Examples of these supplements include:
- Black tea
- Oolong tea
Sources of L-Theanine
You can find amino acid L-Theanine in tea, particularly green tea. You can also find it in certain mushrooms. If you want to add more L-Theanine to your diet, you can get them from these foods.