L-Theanine is easily one of the most underrated supplements when it comes to its nootropic abilities. Check out online nootropic discussions and you’ll very likely see L-Theanine being relegated either as a nootropic for beginners or as a cognitive enhancer for those who are cash strapped. If you take time to examine its abilities and cognitive enhancing potential however, you’ll be surprised to see that there is more, much more, to L-Theanine than what some snooty nootropic users make it out to be.
Found in rich quantities in tea leaves (Camellia sinensis), L-Theanine is an amino acid and a glutamic acid analog. This amino acid is well-researched and has been found to have psychoactive properties. L-Theanine is widely available and was given by the US FDA a Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) designation.
This amino acid was first discovered to be a component of green tea in Japan in 1949. By 1964 a health and wellness movement in Japan saw L-Theanine being included in most food products, save for infant formulas. L-Theanine was first isolated from a Japanese green tea leaf in 1950.
L-Theanine has since become a popular supplement on its own or part of health supplement stacks and it has been used for the treatment and management of conditions that includes anxiety, hypertension, and Parkinson’s disease. Some studies even suggest that it can help anticancer drugs become more effective. It was also suggested in a few research on L-Theanine that it has psychoactive properties that can affect mood and enhance some of the cognitive processes within the brain.
Studies have established that L-Theanine affects the alpha band activity in the brain, which in turn is believed to increase dopamine and some experts say, even serotonin levels in the brain. With these abilities, L-Theanine supplementation may be able to help stabilize mood, reduce anxiety, and help keep depression at bay. This same effect on L-Theanine on the alpha wave activity of the brain can also increase attention and the ability to stay focused for a longer time on any given task.
Supplementing caffeine with L-Theanine has been found to produce synergistic cognitive enhancing results. Some studies show that taking L-Theanine together with caffeine improves mental reaction time to numerical problems and verbal fluency. Other studies show that the combination improves the cognitive processing abilities because it enables the brain to switch more efficiently between tasks as well as blot out unrelated stimuli effectively. Regular supplementation with L-Theanine may also prove to be effective in delaying cognitive decline or even provide a prophylactic treatment against Alzheimer’s disease as some studies suggest that it also has neuroprotective abilities.
Using L-Theanine along with other types of drugs may also increase their efficacy, as some other studies seem to show. For example, the addition of L-Theanine to some antipsychotic drugs made the effects even more efficient at cutting down schizophrenic episodes. A study on the immune system response boosting abilities of green tea is partly attributable to L-Theanine because of its ability to increase the ability to gamma delta T cells to fight disease.
- It is widely available.
- It is cheap.
- It can help stabilize mood and help you fight depression.
- It has the ability to enhance the cognitive processes within the brain.
- It has neuroprotective abilities.
- It can help certain drugs become more effective.
- It has disease fighting abilities.
- It can go along with your existing nootropic stacks for different effects.
- It can also help regulate your sleeping patterns.
- It may not be as potent as some nootropic users would want it to be.
- Using it with caffeine may result in some adverse effects to individuals who are highly sensitive to xanthenes.
- Taking it in high doses may trigger a sedating effect and brain fog.
- It may not go along well with other nootropics.
- It has a few known side effects such as diarrhea, headaches, nausea, and dizziness.
It is rare for a supplement to have very few known side effects. Given all the benefits that one can gain from L-Theanine supplementation, the trade-off between the pros and cons makes a very strong case on including it into your brain and overall health regimen. The daily recommended dosage for L-Theanine is between 100 to 200mg taken preferably with your choice of caffeine source.