Ever since it was first discovered over fifty years ago, the amino acid L-theanine has provided users with a range of different mental and physical benefits. Adults, children, and even pets can benefit from taking L-theanine as part of their supplement routine.
While it’s a naturally occurring amino acid, L-theanine isn’t something your body produces. To unlock the benefits of L-theanine, supplementation is necessary. Today, we’ll take a closer look at how an L-theanine supplement can benefit you and discuss how to take L-Theanine effectively.
L-Theanine is an amino acid that’s naturally found in green and black tea. First discovered by Japanese scientists in the 1940s, extensive testing on L-Theanine has revealed a variety of positive effects from stress relief to improved sleep.
What’s more, there’s also some nootropic and neuroprotective effects of L-Theanine which makes it a popular supplement for those looking to achieve the mental edge they need to succeed.
While L-Theanine can be found naturally in black tea, green tea, and certain kinds of mushrooms, you won’t be able to get a therapeutic dose of L-theanine without using a supplement.
Once ingested, L-Theanine goes to work supporting many critical processes that are going on in your body at all times.
Research suggests that L-Theanine affects the production and release of dopamine, serotonin, and GABA. These brain chemicals have a profound effect on your stress responses and overall mood. They can also affect how well you sleep.
There also appears to be a neuroprotective effect, as L-theanine may be able to reduce inflammation and quell excitatory brain chemicals which can increase stress and anxiety levels. This powerful amino acid also helps protect cells against stress and age-related decline.
L-theanine can bond to the same receptors as glutamate, which is one of the brain’s most important excitatory chemicals, which is responsible for many of our internal stress responses. But, since L-theanine is inhibitory, it actually reduces the stress response of these receptors, which translates to a feeling of reduced stress.
L-Theanine also appears to increase alpha brain waves, which are tied to our ability to relax. The effect is dose-dependent, with higher doses leading to greater increases in alpha brain waves.
The benefits of L-theanine are well researched. However, as with any drug or compound, the science behind it is always developing and evolving. Based on what we know so far, it seems that L-theanine provides a range of powerful benefits that help improve everything from your stress responses and mental state to the quality of your sleep.
Since L-theanine can bond to the same receptors that are affected by glutamate, they reduce the brain’s ability to respond to stress. This is critical for neurohackers who need an edge to thrive in high-stress environments.
L-theanine also increases the production of GABA, and GABA has anti-anxiety and anti-stress properties, which further reinforce the calming benefits of L-theanine. Possibly related to the anti-stress effects, studies have also shown that L-theanine can improve focus and alertness while you remain relaxed, and attenuate high blood pressure resulting from stress.
The relationship between stress and cognition is well documented, and it’s something you experience in your daily life. When you’re stressed or anxious, it’s difficult to focus, your mind wonders, and your concentration deteriorates. Since L-theanine seems to inhibit stress and anxiety, it’s no wonder that recent studies have suggested that L-theanine can improve cognition and focus.
L-theanine also helps boost nitric oxide production, which is a critical chemical that affects how well blood flows through the arteries, and more nitric oxide helps to reduce the risk of ischemic stroke. Some studies have also suggested that L-theanine supplementation immediately following a stroke can reduce the severity and damage of the episode.
Since L-theanine helps to reduce feelings of stress while increasing feelings of relaxation, it’s no wonder that studies show that L-theanine can lead to easier, more restful sleep.
When administered with caffeine, the two compounds appear to exhibit a symbiotic function, increasing the effectiveness of both. As such, L-theanine and caffeine is a popular combo in the nootropic community.
At this point, you’re probably noticing there’s a theme here: L-theanine’s ability to reduce stress and anxiety leads to a variety of other benefits that are connected to how our body reacts to stress. This is also true for those suffering from schizophrenia since their symptoms are also brought on by heightened stress and anxiety. The reduction in stress than L-theanine provides may help to reduce the symptoms of the disease.
Further still, the benefits of L-theanine aren’t limited to humans, either. Dogs and cats can also benefit from L-theanine, and pet lovers who have particularly anxious and highly stressed pets consider it to be heaven-sent. One study that examined a group of cats response when given L-theanine found that their stress-related symptoms were reduced with L-theanine dosage.
Since it’s virtually impossible to take in a meaningful amount of L-theanine from natural sources, those looking to unlock the powerful benefits of L-theanine must incorporate a supplement into their routine.
When it comes to L-theanine dosage, Reddit users seem to mirror the accepted standard doses are usually in the 200-400mg range, taken once or twice daily.
Users have also noted using L-theanine at much higher doses with no noticeable side effects, and since it’s so well-tolerated, there really is no such thing as an L-theanine maximum dosage.
The effects of L-theanine are dosage dependent, and you may find that a dose you’d take for general stress and anxiety relief could be different from a dosage you’d take to promote sleep or the dosage you’d give to a child or pet to reduce stress and anxiety. Size and weight also play a part in the effectiveness of a dose.
The list below has some general guidelines for different L-theanine daily dosages.
- Typical L-theanine dosage: 200-460mg
- L-Theanine dosage for anxiety: 300-900mg
- L-theanine dosage for panic attacks: 300-900mg
- L-theanine dosage for severe anxiety: 600-1,200mg
- L-theanine dosage for insomnia: 400-1,000mg
- L-theanine dosage for ADHD: 300-900mg
- L-theanine dosage for depression: 300-900mg
- L-theanine and caffeine dosage: 2:1 ratio (i.e., 200mg L-theanine and 100mg caffeine per dose)
- L-theanine dosage for Children: 100-300mg
- L-theanine dosage for cats: 50-200mg
- L-theanine dosage for dogs: 50-1,000mg depending on size
L-theanine can be taken with or without food. After dosage, the onset of the effect takes roughly 30 minutes to an hour, and the peak effects last for two to four hours, while residual effects may be felt for several hours longer.
Those who are taking L-theanine for sleep should take their dose 30-90 minutes before bedtime.
L-theanine may become less effective over time as your body develops a tolerance. To inhibit this, many users will cycle five days on and two days off.
Those who like to enjoy a drink will be happy to know that L-theanine seems to present no negative interactions with alcohol. In fact, the antioxidant effects of this amino acid suggest that it may help reduce hangover symptoms.
L-theanine has been studied extensively, and it’s safe when consumed at standard dosage, and it isn’t habit-forming. Side effects of L-theanine include headaches, dizziness, or nausea. These side effects are quite rare, and if present, they’re usually only seen with higher doses. If you experience these symptoms, reduce your dosage, or stop taking L-theanine entirely.
L-Theanine Dosages for Pets
When it comes to L-theanine for pets, Dr. Heidi Lobprise, DVM recommends preparing for any stress-inducing episodes like fireworks, parties, or car rides, by providing a dosage twelve hours and two hours before the activity.
While a dosage of 50-100 mg is usually sufficient for cats and small dogs, you’ll need to increase the dosage to account for larger pets. So, if you have a mastiff, for example, a dosage of 500mg or more may be recommended. Consult the label for more specific information on the proper dosage.
Dosage Notes for Beginners
L-theanine is a great starting point for anyone looking to see what nootropics are all about, or if you’re just looking to reduce stress and anxiety naturally and without prescription drugs.
If this is your first-time taking L-theanine, ramp up your dosage slowly as you find the best dosage for you. Start with a low dosage of around 200mg and increase it as necessary until you’ve found the ideal range for you.
Whether you’re using Noopept or any other nootropic, it’s important that you exercise caution when incorporating new supplements into your routine. If you experience any side effects when taking Noopept, decrease, or discontinue use altogether.
Always follow recommended dosage guidelines, and consider getting started with half the recommended dose and ramping up from there so you can learn how your body reacts to Noopept in a more controlled way.
If you’ve used a racetam before, keep in mind that while the effect may be similar to Noopept, the Noopept dosage is much smaller than a typical dosage of a racetam. Where users may take 1,000mg of piracetam in a dose, a typical dose of Noopept is 10mg.
Whether you’re looking to incorporate a safe and effective nootropic that can help reduce stress, anxiety, and even improve your sleep, or you’re hoping to help your pets or children do the same, L-theanine is a great supplement to add to your regimen.
L-theanine is unique in the sense that there’s a wide dosage range, and the typical therapeutic dose of L-theanine can vary greatly depending on your reasons for using this supplement. Our dosage guidelines above are a great starting point to work from. As you learn more about different nootropics and what your body reacts best with, you can amend the dosage from there.