L-theanine is a naturally occuring amino acid from the leaves of the green tea plant (i.e. Camellia sinensis). Its relaxing effects, along with its ability to improve concentration, have been known and valued for a long time.
The nootropic and cognitive enhancing attributes involve an increase in concentration and attention span on a given task, as well as an improved resistance to distractions. The state of relaxation promotes the acquisition of knowledge and improves cognitive efficiency.6
Orally administered L-theanine reduces any excess stimulation caused by stress, reduces the frequency of cardiac contraction (HR) and reduces the secretion of salivary immunoglobulin (s-IgA) which is related to an organism's reaction to threat.4
L-theanine is sometimes used to reduce the effects of stimulation caused by stimulants.
L-theanine prevents the destruction of nerve cells as a result of oxidative stress caused by active forms of oxygen (free oxygen radicals).
L-theanine may help prevent certain types of cancer and cardiac diseases, has a beneficial effect on the immune system, and aids in weight loss.6
L-theanine is a rather weak NMDA receptor antagonist, and works by inhibiting the secretion of glutamate, being able to slightly lower the levels of this neurotransmitter.4
In terms of chemical structure, L-theanine resembles glutamate and GABA – 2 key neurotransmitters. L-theanine easily crosses the blood-brain barrier and affects the nervous system, increasing the activity of alpha waves (α-1: 8-10Hz) just 30-45 minutes after administration. Alpha waves are related to the state of deep relaxation, as well as an increased selective awareness and mental stimulation.5
It is considered that the effect of L-theanine on the frequency of brain waves is direcly correlated with its stress reducing and concentration improving qualities.
In standard doses, L-theanine does not significantly affect the levels of dopamine and serotonin, but in higher doses may lower levels of serotonin and noradrenaline.
L-theanine can be taken in doses between 100-200mg. It effectively synergizes with caffeine.2
L-theanine is a safe and non-toxic substance (even at high doses).
L-theanine and caffeine is a uniquely favorable set and qualifies as one of the „classics.”
Just 97 mg of L-theanine and 40 mg of caffeine can significantly improve concentration, improves cognitive performance, eliminates fatique, and softly stimulates the nervous system.2 The dosage however can vary from individual needs and preferences- some sources suggest a dose of 200mg L-theanine and 100mg caffeine.
(CAUTION: caffeine dosage should undergo a strict level of control, as it is a potentially dangerous substance!)
L-theanine has a positive effect on the immune system (stimulating the production of Tγδ lymphocytes) reducing the frequency of flu and cold symptoms.
L-theanine can reduce the feeling of bitterness in taste by modulating the umami taste receptors.
Trace amounts of L-theanine can be found in certain types of fungus – i.e (Xerocomus badius).
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