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L-Theanine For Anxiety: Buy L-Theanine Supplements and Green Tea to Settle Your Jitters

Updated on December 30, 2012

Calmness can come from unexpected places...

If you have experience with anxiety, you should probably know a little bit about a chemical called l-theanine. It's a compound found in green tea that has been shown in studies to promote calmness, concentration, and stress reduction.

L-theanine, or simply theanine, is an amino acid found primarily in the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, which is what green tea is made out of. It's also responsible for the indescribable savor (often referred to as umami, a "fifth taste" that isn't quite sweet, sour, salty, or bitter) unique to green tea.

L-theanine crosses the blood-brain barrier fairly easily. Once it gets into the brain, its anxiety-reducing effects come into play.

What does the research say?

L-theanine increases GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid), an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. Deficiencies in GABA are associated with higher anxiety levels. More GABA means less excitation of neurons in your brain, which in turn means less anxiety. GABA supplements are available, but because GABA doesn't cross the blood-brain barrier, there are doubts as to the supplements' effectiveness. Increasing your l-theanine levels may ultimately be a better option for optimizing your stores of GABA.

L-theanine also promotes an increase in alpha brain waves, which are associated with the kind of deep calmness and focus that meditation provides. Alpha waves predominate when you're free of stress and feeling creative.

The chemical structure of L-theanine.  Anxiety, stress, and lack of focus are alleviated by this interesting little compound.
The chemical structure of L-theanine. Anxiety, stress, and lack of focus are alleviated by this interesting little compound. | Source

How to take L-theanine

Green Tea: One of the best sources of this calming chemical is green tea. The problem is, it's really hard to tell how much L-theanine you're getting in each teabag. L-theanine amounts in green tea are estimated by one source to range from around 10 mg (in your average American green tea bags) to as much as 50 mg in high-quality Japanese green teas. One study to determine L-theanine levels in tea determined that amounts ranged from 2-5 mg per gram leaf in commercial teas. According to Wikipedia's article on theanine, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment protested additional theanine in common drinks, since theanine levels naturally found in teas are hard to estimate and it would thus be hard to determine how much would constitute an overdose.

If you want to increase your l-theanine levels the "green tea" way, your best bet would be to go for Japanese gyokuro tea, which is the tea that Japanese scientists successfully separated theanine from in 1950. Gyokuro tea leaves are protected from the sun by bamboo, ensuring that the highest levels of L-theanine and other health-boosting phytochemicals are retained.

An easy way to increase l-theanine: green tea.  High-quality Japanese gyokuro might be the best in terms of theanine concentration.
An easy way to increase l-theanine: green tea. High-quality Japanese gyokuro might be the best in terms of theanine concentration. | Source

Bay Bolete Mushrooms: Bay bolete mushrooms grow in the fall and are distributed throughout North America and Europe. Besides green tea, these mushrooms are a natural nutritional source of l-theanine. They can be used in cooking.

L-theanine supplements: If you're not an avid tea drinker but you still want some relaxation, you might be able to get it in a supplement. Theanine supplements contain a much more highly-concentrated amount than you'll get by drinking green tea (although green tea has numerous health benefits). Theanine supplements are thought to be very safe, but it's wise to discuss it with your doctor before starting a regimen.

L-theanine dosage for anxiety: Studies have shown 200-250 mg to be effective for reducing anxiety. However, it doesn't mean that less would not be effective for you; you might notice a calming effect after a much smaller dose. An effective l-theanine dosage for anxiety can be as small as 100 mg, or even less--the amount you'd get from a few warm, refreshing cups of green tea.

All in all, if you're looking for less stress and more calmness in your life, try out some l-theanine. Anxiety goes right out the door and relaxation comes rushing in when you add this natural chemical to your daily life!


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      3 years ago

      Great explanation of the what it does and how to take l-theanine, i can highley recommend watching this sites which explaines it more trough images :D


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