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What is the Difference between L-Threonine and L-Theanine?

Updated on March 25, 2010

What is the Difference between L-Threonine and L-Theanine?

Both L-Threonine and L-Theanine are amino acids, and they are easily confused because their names only differ by a couple of letters. Even vitamin shop clerks confuse them and can bring you l-theanine powder instead of l-threonine capsules or vice versa. Below I’ve listed the main differences between l-threonine and l-theanine.

L-threonine is an amino acid typically found in meat (especially heart, skeletal muscles) and in the nervous system. You shouldn’t confuse it with L-theanine, an amino acid found uniquely in green tea, which is a very different substance.

What Does L-Threonine Do?

L-Threonine is a precursor of glycine synthesis in the spinal cord and is essential for a healthy nervous system.

The supplement plays an important role in the formation of collagen and elastin. When combined with l-aspartic acid and l-methionine, L-threonine supports liver function through its lipotropic action, which removes body fat. L-threonine also helps control the activity of nervous system.

What Does L-Theanine Do?

L-theanine produces calming effects in the brain by increasing levels of serotonin and dopamine. It blocks the binding of l-glutamic acid to glutamate receptors. This supplement causes no adverse reactions and can be used in large doses. In fact, L-theanine in Japan is added to soft drinks and chewing gums to induce relaxation.

The supplement helps increase alpha-brain waves, producing a calming, mood-enhancing effect without drowsiness. In other words, L-theanine is a perfect mood modulator.

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