Have you ever realized when you’re drinking a glass of green tea while reading a book how calm and focused you feel? And how reading that book changed from something you just do during your leisure time into something that you actually enjoy doing? Well, we have an amino acid to thank for these stress-reducing capabilities and it’s called L-Theanine
L-Theanine is commonly found in black or green tea. Theanine coupled with caffeine produces a compound that can not only enhance your cognitive function without jitters or harmful side effects, but it can also provide a variety of health benefits.
What Is L-Theanine?
Theanine is an amino acid, which is a building block of proteins primarily found in green tea. People use theanine to help treat high blood pressure, anxiety, prevent Alzheimer’s disease, and even make cancer drugs more effective.
How Does L-Theanine Work?
Theanine has a chemical structure very similar to glutamate, a naturally occurring amino acid in the body that helps transmit nerve impulses in the brain. Theanine helps increase your brain’s serotonin and dopamine levels and, when coupled with caffeine, can be extremely beneficial for improving cognitive performance and mood.
Theanine also positively affects your GABA levels, which is your body’s natural tranquilizer. It improves your alpha brain activity, setting your mind at ease while enhancing your focus and improving your deep REM sleep.
5 Benefits of Using L-Theanine
As stated earlier, theanine is an amino acid that is predominately found in fungi (mushrooms) and tea leaves that promise an array of benefits that can help improve your mood and reduce stress. Aiding many common ailments and conditions, theanine can help protect your brain and heart too.
Theanine Can Reduce Your Stress Levels
In a study conducted by the Nagoya University Department of Psychology, participants who consumed green tea extracts reported having lower stress symptoms along with lower blood pressure and reduced heart rates, as opposed to those who just took a placebo.
It also promoted relaxation in the test subjects without causing sedation or fatigue. In addition, theanine can also have stimulating effects in small doses.
Theanine Promotes Brain Health
Theanine has been reported to help increase concentration while improving memory which is an added bonus for brain power. According to a study assessed by the Journal of Medicinal Food, both men and women who suffered from minor brain damage and consumed 1,680 mg of green tea extracts improved their memory during mentally stimulating exercises. The test subjects also reported feeling more alert and were able to recall information more quickly.
Theanine Helps Protect Your Heart and Blood Vessels
Theanine promotes blood vessel function by increasing nitric oxide production while preventing the fat peroxidation of LDL (low-density lipoprotein), which reduces the risk of clogged and hardened arteries.
Theanine was also proven beneficial in reducing blood pressure in hypertensive rats.
Theanine Helps Reduce the Negative Effects of Caffeine
Almost everyone looks forward to enjoying a cold frappuccino or a hot cup of coffee to keep them alert during the day, but most aren’t looking forward to the jitters and fatigue that come along with it. Fortunately, the duo of caffeine and theanine significantly reduce fatigue, improve alertness and overall cognitive functions.
Human studies have concluded that theanine helps reduce caffeine jitters without hindering the stress-reducing capabilities of caffeine.
Theanine Helps with Weight Loss
Along with all the previously mentioned benefits, as an extra added bonus, theanine helps promote weight loss too! Considering theanine is a component of green tea, theanine can reduce triglyceride and fatty acid levels in the blood.
Why You Should Add L-Theanine to Your Daily Diet
With all of the previously mentioned benefits of consuming theanine, it makes you wonder why it’s not talked about more. Theanine is easy to use and is predominately found in tea leaves (black or green) and Bay Bolete Mushrooms.
It’s appropriate for everyday use and consuming 50 to 200 mg consistently can provide many health benefits. So grab yourself a cup of green tea and reap the brain-boosting benefits of theanine.