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L-Theanine - the mystery ingredient in tea

2 min read

What is theanine?

Theanine is an amino acid and is found naturally in large quantities in tea - particularly green tea.

What are the effects of theanine?

Theanine is known for its relaxing effects and is thought to take the 'buzz' out of caffeine thereby offsetting its effects.  Tea has proportionately more caffeine in it than coffee yet we get a caffeine buzz and a kick from coffee and not tea. This is thought to be down to the calming effect of theanine. A cup of tea is one of the first things we turn to in moments of stress or shock and it is only recently that this 'magic' has been attributed to the presence of theanine.

There is science behind the effects of theanine - it is an important inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain and has been referred to as the brain’s 'natural sedative'.

It is thought to help combat disruptive conditions such as:

  • restlessness
  • insomnia

Theanine also increases levels of dopamine, a brain chemical with mood enhancing effects.

What has it been used to help treat?

A Japanese study monitored the effects of women taking theanine for two months in doses of 100 mg twice a day. The results found that it helped to control the symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) by reducing the mental, social, and physical symptoms of PMS.

Theanine has been shown to clinically lower blood pressure.

Because of its calming effects it has been linked to the treatment of stress and hyperactive disorders e.g. attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), insomnia, panic and anxiety attacks and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

A healthy balanced diet is the best way to consume all the nutrients we need. Sometimes however this isn't possible and then supplements can help. This article isn't intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying any supplements or herbal medicines.