If you take care of every day stress or hassle sleeping, you’ve in all probability turned to a sizzling cup of tea to settle your nerves. Indeed, there’s good purpose tea has a repute for being so comforting. Research exhibits that tea can assist with everything from lowering cholesterol to improving gut health

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So, it’s pure to consider the substances in tea that make it so useful. Enter L-theanine — an amino acid that’s current in tea leaves. It’s additionally used as a complement, as it could assist with nervousness and sleep circumstances. 

Dietitian Julia Zumpano, RD, LD, talks about what l-theanine is and what you need to know earlier than you contemplate taking it.

What is L-theanine?

L-theanine is an amino acid present in tea leaves, notably inexperienced tea and loose-leaf tea, that has a number of potential well being advantages. But first, let’s go over what amino acids are and why they’re vital. 

“Amino acids are proteins and they’re really the building blocks of our life,” explains Zumpano. “Amino acids are molecules used by all living things to make proteins. In total, we as humans need 20 different amino acids to function properly. But there are those 11 essential amino acids that our body really needs to get through food.”

While L-theanine isn’t important for our survival, its presence in vegetation and fungi has been studied for its attainable influence on our mind perform. 

L-theanine might be taken by consuming sure teas like inexperienced teas, white teas or matcha. It may also be taken as a pill or tablet type. 

Benefits of L-theanine

But if you happen to’ve appeared up the advantages of L-theanine, you will have began to scratch your head. Some proponents declare it will possibly allow you to really feel extra alert, whereas others say that it will possibly assist with insomnia. So, which is it? As Zumpano factors out, the easiest way to get essentially the most use out of L-theanine has rather a lot to do with when you’re taking it and what you’re pairing it with. 

It’s additionally vital to know that these results might fluctuate from individual to individual and that there’s nonetheless restricted analysis on the advantages of taking L-theanine to assist with psychological and cognitive points.

Here are a few of the explored advantages of L-theanine: 

Improving sleep high quality

You might have heard that taking L-theanine earlier than mattress can assist if you happen to expertise disruptive sleep or have hassle falling asleep. A 2019 study explored the advantages of an L-theanine and GABA complement mixture on sleep high quality and size. GABA, quick for gamma-aminobutyric acid, is a naturally occurring chemical messenger in your mind that’s been linked to creating a relaxing impact. It’s additionally obtainable as a dietary complement. The research confirmed that this mix might doubtlessly improve sleep duration and REM sleep. 

According to Zumpano, if you happen to’re seeking to strive L-theanine in tea or complement type, it’s a good suggestion to take it within the night earlier than going to mattress and not pair it with any espresso or caffeinated beverage. If you’re experiencing extra critical sleep points like insomnia or sleep apnea, L-theanine seemingly gained’t do the trick.

Also, you need to ask your healthcare supplier earlier than pairing any prescription medicines with L-theanine earlier than mattress. L-theanine might be safely taken with melatonin, nonetheless.

Reducing stress and nervousness

Remember how a cup of tea can calm you down after a busy day? Research shows that L-theanine dietary supplements can elevate your ranges of GABA, dopamine and serotonin, which promotes rest and reduces nervousness ranges. 

A randomized trial from 2019 discovered that wholesome adults who took L-theanine over the course of 4 weeks had a lower in stress-related signs. While these outcomes are promising, it’s vital to do not forget that stress discount will look totally different for everybody, relying on what stress response you’re having and if you’re experiencing it. 

Boosting psychological readability 

If you’re feeling mind fog or a common blah feeling, L-theanine could possibly assist offer you a lift of psychological readability and improve your skill to focus. According to the same 2019 study, L-theanine helped wholesome adults with verbal fluency and the power to remain targeted. The advantages are heightened when taken with caffeine.

“If you’re going to take L-theanine to gain more alertness and mental clarity, you should take it during the day,” advises Zumpano. “It does seem to do better with coffee or a caffeinated beverage.”

Side results and dangers

L-theanine is mostly thought-about secure and well-tolerated when taken at acceptable doses. In common, it’s really helpful that you just don’t exceed 500 milligrams (mg) a day. Most wholesome adults can take between 200 mg and 500 mg a day. 

But like every complement, it could trigger unwanted effects, notably at excessive doses. You may merely strive upping your tea consumption to assist get a very good dose of L-theanine.

“If you’re trying to get your L-theanine in the form of black tea or green tea, then you’re going to have similar side effects like having too much caffeine,” notes Zumpano.

Some of the reported unwanted effects of L-theanine embody:

  • Headaches.
  • Dizziness.
  • Nausea.
  • Jitteriness.
  • Irritability.
  • Diarrhea.

Is it secure?

It’s vital so as to add that these L-theanine unwanted effects are comparatively unusual and are usually gentle. L-theanine is mostly thought-about secure for most individuals, but it surely’s all the time a good suggestion to speak to your healthcare supplier earlier than taking any new complement, particularly when you have any underlying well being circumstances or are taking medicines. In addition, pregnant or breastfeeding (chestfeeding) individuals must also train warning when taking L-theanine, as there’s restricted analysis on its security in these populations.

“As of right now, the FDA has classified L-theanine as generally safe, but we don’t have specific guidelines on how to take it, just what the studies have shown,” provides Zumpano. 

It’s additionally vital to know that, like all dietary supplements, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t assessment or regulate L-theanine merchandise. This means nobody checks what’s offered to make sure it’s secure and efficient. If you’re planning to strive L-theanine in complement type, you need to search for a high-quality model with no added fillers.

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