Amino acids have been getting some attention–for good reason. These building blocks of proteins help you maximize your muscle tone, growth, and recovery, help you increase focus, concentration, and mental stamina, and help you meet your mental and physical performance goals in some amazing ways.
Today we are going to focus on L-theanine benefits, an amino acid found most commonly in tea leaves.
Read on to find out what is L-theanine, and how can it help you turn into the ultimate gamer.
Use It to Maximize Performance
The amino acid L-theanine is found in both green and black teas. Since teas have been consumed for enjoyment and medicinal purposes for thousands of years, L-theanine is nothing new. Studies have even shown that regular green tea drinkers live longer than those who do not drink it, and L-theanine may be a key factor in that benefit.
What is new, however, is using L-theanine as a nootropic to improve mental function and maximize performance. It’s one thing to live longer, it’s another to live well. Ideally, you get to do both.
L-theanine causes a relaxation effect. When combined with caffeine the effect works better. Users report feeling less tired in general (in as little as thirty minutes), but the L-theanine seemed to also help counteract the potentially negative side effects of caffeine (stress, anxiety, irritability, etc).
As part of a more relaxed state, L-theanine users experienced a decreased resting heart rate, which also may correlate to a longer life expectancy.
L-theanine benefits also include:
- Relaxation without drowsiness
- Better sleep
- Increased focus
- Improve blood pressure (more on that later)
- Decreased symptoms of ADHD
- Decreased symptoms of depression
The improvement in ADHD symptoms came from a study of 8-12-year-old boys. L-theanine isn’t yet approved for children and needs more extensive study, but it’s some promising results that also correlate to the improved focus, concentration, and executive function that adult users report.
Use L-Theanine Benefits to Beat Anxiety
Beyond just general relaxation, L-theanine users report decreased levels of anxiety.
Individuals experiencing anxiety can use L-theanine for stress relief, but it also works during current stressful situations. In a study, those who experience stress-related increased blood pressure were found to relax, even seeing blood pressure return to normal levels, with the use of L-theanine.
L-theanine has even proven powerful enough to improve the symptoms and anxiety of people with schizophrenia, in one study.
Capitalizing on L-theanine anxiety benefits, PepsiCo will soon release a drink for stress release and better sleep, containing the amino acid as an active ingredient.
Use It to Beat Inflammation
L-theanine has helped users with all kinds of inflammatory conditions. Users with digestive issues reported decreased gut inflammation. The amino acid may also help thin mucus, which has been shown to improve sinusitis and decrease the incidence of upper respiratory infection in those taking it.
So, given the fact that the amino acid can cause relaxation, yet improve focus, decrease blood pressure, yet increase stamina, and overall boost the immune system, you can’t go wrong with L-theanine containing teas or supplements.
…But Don’t Over-use It
In some cases, supplementing with L-theanine may not be a good idea.
Amino acids can interfere with chemotherapy, so anyone on chemotherapy should check with their doctor before consuming or taking L-theanine. In some studies, L-theanine has helped chemotherapy work better, so it’s important to have professional input on that one.
People drinking tea for the benefits of L-theanine can also still end up over-caffeinated. Too much caffeine has been linked to upset stomach, nausea, irritability, and other side-effects. Too much caffeine during pregnancy may cause problems. Some people also react so strongly to caffeine (get heart palpitations, can’t sleep, that sort of thing), that the benefits of L-theanine make no real difference. So, if you’re sensitive to caffeine or pregnant, you should also talk to a doctor before taking an L-theanine supplement.
There are caffeine-free teas or supplements containing L-theanine for sensitive users.
Bottom line: L-theanine is safe to use to help ease stress and unwind. It can help you get into the right frame of mind to be on your A-game.