What is L-Theanine?
While many people have heard that black and green tea provide excellent health benefits, they aren’t sure why. The mystery behind that question lies in an amino acid called L-Theanine; found only in black and green tea leaves from a plant called Camellia sinensis. L-Theanine is not naturally occurring in the body and is therefore not an essential amino acid. However, it is similar to glutamate, the amino acid we use to transmit nerve impulses to the brain.
Tea has been used as medicine for over 5,000 years, and there is now strong scientific backing for its effectiveness. People drink tea not only because it’s good for them, but also because they enjoy the taste. Others don’t drink tea at all but rely on a measured dose of L-Theanine to carry out their day. Today, we will discuss the benefits of L-Theanine, as well as the reliable and efficient L-Theanine plus caffeine nootropic stack.
L-Theanine Benefits for Cognitive Function
L-Theanine is considered a nootropic, or a supplement that is taken for positive effects on the brain. This amino acid can provide relaxation, anxiety relief, improved sleep quality, increased attention span, as well as stress control and mood balance. Most people attribute these effects to the caffeine content in tea, but in reality, without the L-Theanine, they would feel a much different effect. It’s the synergistic effect of both caffeine and theanine working together that makes it so influential on brain function.
L-Theanine can easily cross the blood-brain barrier giving it the power to have positive nootropic effects on vital neurotransmitters affecting cognitive function and mood. Because of this, people use supplemental L-Theanine to prevent depression by blocking stress hormones called glucocorticoids that disturb the balance of serotonin, dopamine, and other crucial brain chemicals.
Besides being an excellent nootropic, L-Theanine has several other noteworthy health benefits. Due to its anxiolytic properties, L-Theanine is used as a mood enhancer by modifying the levels of amino acids impacting serotonin. Some users also take L-Theanine to treat high blood pressure, prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, decrease risk of stroke, suppress weight gain, and to enhance focus and learning capabilities.
Why Caffeine is Dangerous by Itself
Most Americans need to ingest caffeine at some point throughout the day to keep them going. While many contribute their alertness to their morning cup of coffee, what they don’t know is that caffeine can stay active in your body for 8 to 10 hours. Caffeine ingestion alone then creates a cycle of alertness during the day, and sometimes restlessness at night. This can cause extended periods of sleeplessness, anxiety, and irritability. The lack of sleep contributes to increased levels of brain fog, making you more susceptible to accidents and mental errors.
When exerting yourself mentally, excessive caffeine can also increase the amount of stress hormone cortisol within the body. When your body secretes extra cortisol, you may experience weight gain, fatigue, muscle aches, high blood pressure, and even additional stress. It’s an unfortunate cycle that leads people to think they need more caffeine when they don’t. Taking caffeine without an additional supplement to create stability in the body (like L-Theanine) may cause a whole host of unforeseen problems.
L-Theanine & Caffeine Stack
L-Theanine can lessen the negative effects of caffeine without detracting from your alertness. By pairing L-Theanine with caffeine, the theanine can go to work on inhibitory neurotransmitters GABA and glycine. These neurotransmitters can create a balanced environment by slowing the effects of excitatory neurotransmitters. This inhibitory effect counteracts the adverse reactions of caffeine, putting your body into a relaxed state of smooth mental and physical energy.
Though tea can have the same (or more) caffeine, it is the stacking of the L-Theanine and caffeine within green or black tea that creates the balanced environment in your body. Caffeine in isolation is a more aggressive approach, whereas the two nootropic supplements together serve as a neutralizer. If you connected your brain to an EGG machine, you could see your brain waves evening out with the paired supplements. This study proves your mind and body are more relaxed, yet not fatigued when stacking L-Theanine and caffeine. Drinking green or black tea rather than coffee has also shown to improve sleep quality and recovery from exhaustion.
Summary on L-Theanine
Even though L-Theanine is not an essential amino acid for you to have in your body, it doesn’t hurt to drink a few cups of tea here and there. Even if you don’t have considerable health concerns, you can use it for its nootropic benefits such as focus, increased cognition, alertness, and overall mood. If these are the brain enhancement features you’re after, make sure to pair the supplement with caffeine for the full effect. Though tea has been known to have positive medical impacts on its drinkers for over 1,000 years, it’s only recently that scientists were able to back the claim. It’s amazing what a cup of tea a day could do for you.