L-what? Most people have no idea what I am talking about when I start talking about this unique amino acid at events. But it’s a word worth remembering if you’re someone interested in the health and wellness of your brain and body. So, what is L-theanine? And more importantly, what are the benefits of L-Theanine?


L-Theanine is a naturally occurring non-protein amino acid mainly found in tea leaves, especially in green tea. This bioactive compound, also found in certain types of mushrooms, is known for its calming effects on the brain and body, and has been used for centuries to enhance focus, reduce stress, and promote relaxation. Despite its prevalence in tea, L-theanine is not a stimulant like caffeine; instead, it exerts calming effects on the brain by increasing alpha brain wave activity. This unique mechanism of action promotes relaxation without causing drowsiness, resulting in a state of focused alertness.


L-theanine has been gaining traction recently for its potential to boost mental and physical health, and has been added as an ingredient in many supplements as of late such as energy drinks, functional beverages, and pre-workouts. Below we'll delve into the science behind L-theanine, its diverse benefits, its potential to alleviate various conditions, and its synergistic effects with other nootropic and adaptogenic ingredients. We'll also explore how you can incorporate more L-theanine into your diet and the supplements where it's commonly found. So, grab a cup of green tea and settle in while we dive into the benefits of L-theanine.


Benefits of L-Theanine 


L-theanine offers a myriad of benefits for individuals of all ages and backgrounds:


  • Stress Relief and Anxiety Reduction: Stress is a major problem that affects us all at some point, and it’s believed about 7 million Americans suffer from general anxiety disorder. L-theanine has been shown to promote relaxation and reduce stress levels by modulating neurotransmitter activity in the brain. This can lead to improved mood and a greater sense of well-being. This amino acid compound achieves this by increasing the production of neurotransmitters such as GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), which has calming effects on the brain. 


  • Enhanced Focus and Attention: By increasing alpha brain wave activity, L-theanine can sharpen focus and concentration, making it easier to stay alert and attentive during tasks. By influencing neurotransmitters, L-theanine can help boost attention, creativity, and problem-solving skills, making it a valuable asset in both personal and professional spheres.


  • Improved Sleep Quality: L-theanine's calming effects can help promote better sleep quality by reducing anxiety and quieting a racing mind, leading to more restful and rejuvenating sleep. L-theanine not only helps you fall asleep faster but also enhances the overall sleep experience by increasing the duration of restorative REM sleep cycles. A good night's sleep is crucial for maintaining physical and mental health, making L-theanine a valuable ally in one’s wellness journey.


  • Cognitive Enhancement: Research suggests that L-theanine may improve cognitive function, including memory, learning, and decision-making abilities. 


  • Enhanced Immune Function: The benefits of L-theanine extend to the realm of immunity. As immune systems can be influenced by hormonal fluctuations, stress, and other factors, L-theanine's immunomodulatory properties can help fortify the body's defenses. By bolstering immune function, it aids in warding off infections.


  • Cardiovascular Health: Maintaining cardiovascular health is crucial for us all as heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women. Research suggests that L-theanine may contribute to heart health by helping to regulate blood pressure and reduce cholesterol levels. These effects can have a positive impact on long-term well-being.


  • Weight Management: For people looking to manage their weight, L-theanine offers a unique advantage. It may help control appetite by influencing the brain's reward center, potentially reducing the consumption of high-calorie, comfort foods during moments of stress.


  • Skin Health: L-theanine's antioxidant properties can also contribute to healthier skin. By neutralizing free radicals and reducing oxidative stress, it may help combat the signs of aging.


The Benefits of L-Theanine for Stress and Anxiety in Women:

Women in particular may derive additional benefits from L-theanine due to their unique physiological and hormonal makeup. One of the most prominent benefits of L-theanine for women is its ability to promote relaxation and reduce stress and anxiety. Animal neurochemistry studies suggest this functional amino acid achieves this by increasing the production of neurotransmitters such as GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), dopamine, and serotonin which have calming effects on the brain and influence mood, sleep, emotion, and cortisol, which helps the body deal with stress. 

L-theanine also is able to enhance brain waves in a way that converts them to an alpha wave pattern. Alpha waves are seen when we are complexly relaxed in both body and mind. And women are in desperate need of stress reduction: studies show that women are twice as likely to suffer from anxiety than men. With women juggling multiple roles and responsibilities, a naturally occurring compound like L-theanine offers a potential solution to help manage stress and maintain mental well-being. Some other areas l-theanine can help women with:


  • Hormonal Balance: L-theanine's stress-reducing properties may help balance hormone levels, particularly during times of hormonal fluctuation such as menstruation or menopause.


  • Improved Sleep: Many women struggle with sleep issues, whether due to hormonal changes, stress, or other factors. L-theanine's calming effects can help promote better sleep quality, leading to more restful nights and increased daytime energy.

Conditions L-Theanine Can Help With


In addition to its general benefits, L-theanine has shown promise in alleviating various health conditions, including:


Anxiety and Depression: L-theanine's anxiolytic and mood-enhancing properties make it a promising supplement for individuals struggling with anxiety or depression.

ADHD: Research suggests that L-theanine may help alleviate some symptoms of ADHD, such as hyperactivity and impulsivity, by promoting a calmer, more focused state of mind.

Cognitive Decline: L-theanine's neuroprotective effects may help protect against age-related cognitive decline and improve cognitive function in older adults.

Sleep: L-theanine is commonly used to treat sleep disturbances, non-rapid eye movement sleep, and reduce psychological stress. Studies suggest L-theanine increases GABA levels, which increase dopamine and serotonin, which create a relaxing effect.


    Synergistic Effects of L-Theanine Combined with Other Ingredients


    L-theanine alone has shown copious benefits in studies ranging from cognitive to skin health. But what is really interesting is that it appears L-theanine’s benefits can be enhanced when combined with other nootropic or adaptogenic ingredients:


    • Caffeine: When paired with caffeine, L-theanine can provide a balanced and sustained source of energy without the jittery side effects often associated with caffeine alone. Over at bia BLENDS we like to call it a “calm focus”; we harness the power of this combo in our gentle energy drink and have seen the benefits firsthand.


    • Rhodiola Rosea: Combining L-theanine with adaptogens like Rhodiola Rosea can further reduce stress and fatigue while increasing mental clarity and resilience.


    • Bacopa Monnieri: L-theanine and Bacopa Monnieri have been shown to work together to improve memory and cognitive function, making them a powerful duo for boosting brain health.


    • Ashwagandha: While L-theanine promotes relaxed alertness, ashwagandha adds an energizing yet calming effect creating a harmonious synergy to balance body and mind. L-theanine and ashwagandha have both been shown to reduce stress, so pairing them together could be a wonderful recipe for stress relief.

    How to Get More L-Theanine in Your Diet

    While L-theanine is most commonly found in tea leaves, particularly green tea, there are other dietary sources you can incorporate into your daily routine:


    • Green Tea: Enjoy a cup of green tea regularly to reap the benefits of L-theanine. Matcha, a powdered form of green tea, is particularly rich in L-theanine.


    • Black Tea: While not as high in L-theanine as green tea, black tea still contains notable amounts of this amino acid.


    • Mushrooms: Some varieties of mushrooms, such as Bay Bolete, may contain small amounts of L-theanine.


    Supplements Containing L-Theanine


    If you prefer a more concentrated source of L-theanine, you can look to supplements or functional foods and beverages. More and more we’re seeing brands incorporate L-theanine and other nootropic and adaptogenic ingredients into their offerings, and given all of the benefits of L-theanine, I don’t think that’s slowing down any time soon! Here are some ways you can get more L-theanine into your daily routine:


    • L-Theanine Capsules and Powder: These convenient capsules provide a precise dose of L-theanine for easy supplementation.


    • Nootropic + Adaptogenic Foods + Drinks: Many nootropic supplements include L-theanine as a key ingredient alongside other cognitive enhancers, and you can find them in all sorts of things like chocolate bars and sparkling drinks. A few that we’re into at the moment are:
    • Vital Leaf Adaptogenic Chocolate
    • Recess Mood Beverages
    • Reggie (made for your furry four-legged friend!)


    • Sleep Aids: L-theanine is often included in sleep supplements to promote relaxation and improve sleep quality. Beam Sleep Powder is one to check out!


    • Pre-workout Powders and Energy Drinks: We’re starting to see more drinks like this include L-theanine in their formulation and the big reason is for mitigating the jittery side effects common in most pre-workout and energy drinks. Our gentle pre-workout energy drink at bia BLENDS combines low caffeine and l-theanine along with b-vitamins and more for a gentle, focused boost without that wired feeling you often find after taking these types of drinks.



    L-theanine is a versatile supplement with a wide range of benefits for both general and specific populations. Whether you're looking to reduce stress, enhance cognitive function, or improve sleep quality, L-theanine offers a natural and effective solution. Consider incorporating L-theanine-rich foods into your diet or exploring supplements to experience the difference it can make in your overall well-being.


    By Gina Southern-Monson, RYT, CHWC