L-Theanine – What Is The Hype Behind It
There are many compounds with supposed benefits relating to good sleep, mood, mental clarity, calmness and more. Unfortunately, most fall short. Luckily, one compound can have numerous positive effects and is much more accessible than most people believe. It is called l-theanine.
Let’s examine theanine, how it works and what benefits it provides.
What is L-Theanine?
L-theanine is an amino acid primarily found in green tea. It can also be found in mushrooms, back tea and dietary supplement formulas.
According to research, l-theanine has the unique ability to promote calmness without causing drowsiness, making it a suitable compound to take with caffeine.
How Does L-Theanine Help?
L-theanine has a remarkable impact on the mind. But to understand it, we must first take a brief look at brain waves.
A brain wave is a collective signal sent from one group of neurons to another. These waves are classified into five broad categories depending on their speed. Gamma waves are the quickest at a frequency of 35 Hz or more, whereas Delta are the slowest at 0.5 to 4 Hz.
L-theanine increases levels of alpha waves, which have a frequency of 8 to 12 Hz.
Alpha waves are associated with wakeful relaxation and become predominant during activities where the mind is relatively engaged but not to the point of causing anxiety or stress. Producing these types of waves is necessary for our well-being and the ability to tackle difficult situations.
L-theanine promotes alpha wave production within as little as 30 to 40 minutes after consumption.
What Benefits Does L-Theanine Offer?
One of the most notable benefits of l-theanine supplementation is an improved ability to achieve and maintain a flow state. In that state, you’re fully immersed in an activity and experience feelings of energized focus.
Being able to fall into the zone regularly is an excellent way to improve your studying abilities, work productivity and overall satisfaction. You’re less likely to be distracted by external factors and more likely to enjoy what you’re doing.
L-theanine can also have a favorable impact on memory and overall cognition. Feeling more at ease can contribute to better learning, an improved ability to recall information and a clearer mind.
The third notable benefit of l-theanine is that it can promote good sleep by increasing levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain: gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), serotonin and dopamine.
Each of these affects sleep in some way. For example, GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that reduces nervous system activity, promoting relaxation. Similarly, serotonin is a chemical precursor to melatonin––a hormone produced in response to darkness that promotes sleep.
Dopamine also appears necessary for sleep as it can reduce the risk of insomnia.
L-theanine is an amino acid that shows a lot of promise for promoting relaxation, cognition, sleep and more.
The primary way in which l-theanine benefits us is by increasing alpha waves in the brain. It can also raise levels of crucial neurotransmitters, including GABA, serotonin and dopamine.
Overall, theanine appears incredibly beneficial on several fronts and well-tolerated among study participants.