Nootropic tendencies. Stimulating psychoactive properties. Enhanced brain cognition. 100% legal. Sounds inviting, doesn’t it? That is because it is. L-theanine is one of the basic foundational pieces of my supplemental routine. Let me preface this article by stressing that L-theanine is not a miracle supplement. However L-theanine gives me a relaxed but focused outlook to my day.
So how does L-theanine work? The mechanism of action is relatively simple which is why theanine is widely regarded as a safe supplement. L-theanine directly acts on the brain’s alpha waves instantaneously after crossing the brain barrier. More on that later. On a more molecular level, by blocking excess production of “excitatory” neurotransmitters (i.e. dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine) and stimulating “inhibitory” neurotransmitter production (i.e. serotonin and GABA), L-theanine helps the brain achieve a more desirable medium between the two. Serotonin and GABA help to balance mood and assist the mind to more easily deal with stress. Blocking excess levels of dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine prevents the brain from experiencing overexcitement which actually makes you less focused.
So, what does L-theanine do for me? The initial onset occurs within the hour and methodically increases to the peak four to six hours after dosing. The onset will be subtle, almost like a placebo effect at first. As time elapses after the initial dosage, I experience a clearer mental psyche, both more awake and relaxed. Studies like this have scientifically proved its efficacy doing so. This is largely the reason that L-theanine is regarded as one of nature’s most efficient stress managers and nature’s very own anxiolytic (anti-anxiety agent). Like the methodical accumulation to the peak, the elimination of the compound is equally methodical with traceable amounts present in the brain up to 24 hours after ingesting the supplement. Comedowns are typically equally as subtle as the initial onset, so I do not worry about crashing. Due to the day-long half-life, studies have shown that continued L-theanine supplementation will keep the body in a continual relaxed state until supplementation stops.
Now, let us go back to alpha wave production. Alpha waves are responsible for beloved human feelings such as relaxation, focus, creativity, and content. Have you ever been doing something and been super productive but relaxed at the same time? Well, those feeling came from your brain’s production of alpha waves. Those feelings you experience are simply the discernable outcome from that production. L-theanine was once thought to be the driver behind increased attention span and increased mental processes, but instead it stimulates production of these alpha waves which then give users those desired effects. This was recently proved in research by neuronal scientists here.
Now for more health conscious folks, L-theanine also is shown to molecularly protect neurons in the brain and slow down, and even reverse!, tumor growth in bones. If interested, click here for more a more in depth breakdown of those mechanisms.
For those who are not interested in the details and simply want to know how exactly L-theanine will impact their lives, below is a summary of its main benefits:
1. Anti-anxiety agent
2. Clearer, more focused mental state
3. More relaxed, creative outlook on life
4. Added protection to neurotransmitters in the brain
One of my favorite L-theanine products is Suntheanine L-Theanine. The product itself has sixty capsules (i.e. two months worth) with 200 mg of high quality product in each capsule. You can find out more below!
Sometimes I want to pursue an extra kick, and I add in caffeine to my diet around the same time I dose L-theanine. Caffeine and L-theanine are synergistic to one another, as both enhance the effects of the other. The result is a more heightened, clear state of mind that is both relaxed and alert. Synergistic dosing is entirely up to subjective debate, but I usually take 100 mg’s of caffeine (~1 cup of coffee) and 200 mg’s of L-theanine and adjust from there.
If I do not take L-theanine with a cup of coffee, my go-to supplement is below.
Next week I have an article coming out about another exciting biohacking supplement that will permanently raise your cognitive baseline levels. Stay tuned for the release!