L-Theanine Drink: Uses, Benefits, and Risks

sleep powder with a spoon

Though the simultaneously focusing and calming effects of drinking green tea have been appreciated anecdotally for centuries, the chemical responsible for this effect – L–theanine – is becoming popular in its own right. 

L-theanine offers many potential health advantages, from anxiety relief and sleep aid to cognitive enhancement. But those interested in L-theanine may be curious: is it better to drink it in a tea, or are supplements more effective?

That's where this guide comes in. We aim to provide a comprehensive, evidence-based guide on the uses, benefits, and potential risks of drinking l-theanine. 

Key Takeaways

  • L-theanine is a naturally occurring chemical in most green teas and other tea varieties.
  • Research suggests that L-theanine has stress-reducing, focusing, and sleep-improving benefits.
  • Individuals can use L-theanine by drinking tea or by taking an oral supplement.

    What is L-Theanine?

    L-theanine is a naturally occurring amino acid commonly found in tea leaves, particularly green tea. It is known for its calming and relaxing effects on the mind and body. It was first isolated as an active component of green tea in the mid-1900s. Since then, L-theanine has also been found in black and white tea and certain species of fungi. 

    Since its discovery, L-theanine’s popularity as a stress management tool has steadily risen alongside a body of supporting scientific evidence. It’s also shown promising success as a cognitive enhancer and effective sleep aid and even helps to mitigate cravings for other substances. 

    Research suggests that L-theanine is similar in structure to glutamate, a neurotransmitter in the brain, which allows it to cross the blood-brain barrier and directly affect brain functionality. It also increases the amount and effectiveness of GABA, another neurotransmitter that plays a role in calm and overall well-being. 

    Some studies have also observed that L-theanine influences alpha brain waves by increasing their frequency. More alpha wave activity in the brain correlates with calmer and more focused mental states.

    Research is still uncovering more about L-theanine’s potential benefits and how it works, but what we know so far is promising enough to suggest its utility as a supplement.

    sleep powder with a spoon

    SHOP L-THEANINE SLEEP POWDER DRINK

    Benefits of Drinking L-Theanine

    Lowers anxiety

    One of the main uses of L-theanine is its ability to promote relaxation and reduce stress. By the mechanisms described above, L-theanine’s ability to calm restless thoughts and increase stress-reducing chemicals in the brain make it a valuable tool for those dealing with more anxiety than they’d like.

    Improves cognitive function

    Another significant benefit of L-theanine is its potential to enhance cognitive function. It has been found to increase attention, focus, and mental clarity, especially for those who face attention challenges like ADHD. L-theanine can also help improve memory and learning abilities, making it a valuable supplement for individuals looking to enhance their mental performance and productivity.

    Enhanced sleep

    L-theanine also has a positive impact on sleep quality. It can help improve sleep duration and quality by promoting relaxation and reducing anxiety. L-theanine has been found to increase dopamine and serotonin, which play a crucial role in regulating sleep. By improving sleep, L-theanine can contribute to overall well-being and daytime focus.

    Potential Side Effects and Risks

    While L-theanine is generally considered safe for most people, it’s important to remember that research on L-theanine has not been exhaustive. Researchers don’t know all of its potential side effects or drug interactions, so you should discuss with your doctor if you have any concerns.

    In rare cases, some individuals may experience slight gastrointestinal issues such as stomach pain, nausea, or diarrhea. These symptoms typically go away fast, but if you experience more severe or lasting gastrointestinal problems, stop using L-theanine and consult a healthcare professional.

    How to Drink L-Theanine

    To drink L-theanine, simply brew your favorite matcha, green tea, or white tea. Using either loose leaves or a prepared tea bag, add the tea to hot water and allow it to steep for 3-5 minutes, depending on the desired strength. Once it’s finished brewing, the tea is ready to drink.

    Alternatively, there are drink mixes with L-theanine in them, which you can mix with your choice of milk, water, or tea.

    Dosing

    A typical cup of tea contains about 20 mg of L-theanine, whereas most L-theanine supplements contain 50-250mg per serving. 

    Alternatives methods

    If you’d prefer higher doses of L-theanine, oral supplements may be more effective than the small amount in tea. However, there doesn’t seem to be any difference in effects between drinking L-theanine or taking it as a supplement; it’s entirely up to user preference.

    The Bottom Line: Should You Drink L-Theanine?

    Overall, L-theanine offers a range of uses and benefits that make it worth trying. L-theanine can be taken by drinking certain teas like green, white, or matcha, in drink mixes. It can also be taken as a tablet or pill form, which usually contains higher doses.

    L-theanine helps promote relaxation, reduce stress and anxiety, enhance cognitive function, improve sleep quality, and provide antioxidant and cardiovascular support. However, it is essential to note that individual responses to L-theanine may vary; consult a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen.

    If you want to try drinking L-theanine, check out our Sleep Powder, which contains L-theanine, melatonin, with a delicious cocoa flavor.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Is it safe to drink l-theanine?

    Yes, L-theanine is safe to drink and is commonly found in green and white teas.

    When should I drink l-theanine?

    Daytime use of L-theanine may help individuals focus and maintain mental clarity as they move throughout the day. Evening L-theanine use can help relax the mind before bed and prepare for a good night’s rest.

    Is l-theanine good for ADHD?

    A few studies have indicated that L-theanine was an effective supplement for improving focus and reducing distractedness associated with ADHD, though not a standalone treatment.

    Sources

    1. Hidese, S., Ogawa, S., Ota, M., Ishida, I., Yasukawa, Z., Ozeki, M., & Kunugi, H. (2019). Effects of L-Theanine Administration on Stress-Related Symptoms and Cognitive Functions in Healthy Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Nutrients, 11(10). https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11102362
    2. Hidese, S., Ogawa, S., Ota, M., Ishida, I., Yasukawa, Z., Ozeki, M., & Kunugi, H. (2019). Effects of L-Theanine Administration on Stress-Related Symptoms and Cognitive Functions in Healthy Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Nutrients, 11(10). https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11102362
    3. Kimura K, Ozeki M, Juneja LR, Ohira H. L-Theanine reduces psychological and physiological stress responses. Biol Psychol. 2007 Jan;74(1):39-45. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2006.06.006. Epub 2006 Aug 22. PMID: 16930802.
    4. Hidese, S., Ogawa, S., Ota, M., Ishida, I., Yasukawa, Z., Ozeki, M., & Kunugi, H. (2019). Effects of L-Theanine Administration on Stress-Related Symptoms and Cognitive Functions in Healthy Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Nutrients, 11(10). https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11102362
    5. Baba, Y., Inagaki, S., Nakagawa, S., Kaneko, T., Kobayashi, M., & Takihara, T. Effects of l-Theanine on Cognitive Function in Middle-Aged and Older Subjects: A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Study. Journal of Medicinal Food, 24(4), 333-341. https://doi.org/10.1089/jmf.2020.4803
    6. Dasdelen, M. F., Er, S., Kaplan, B., Celik, S., Beker, M. C., Orhan, C., Tuzcu, M., Sahin, N., Mamedova, H., Sylla, S., Komorowski, J., Ojalvo, S. P., Sahin, K., & Kilic, E. (2022). A Novel Theanine Complex, Mg-L-Theanine Improves Sleep Quality via Regulating Brain Electrochemical Activity. Frontiers in Nutrition, 9. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnut.2022.874254 
    7. Nathan PJ, Lu K, Gray M, Oliver C. The neuropharmacology of L-theanine(N-ethyl-L-glutamine): a possible neuroprotective and cognitive enhancing agent. J Herb Pharmacother. 2006;6(2):21-30. PMID: 17182482. 

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