L-Theanine

Overview:
L-Theanine is an amino acid analog of glutamate and glutamine found in green tea from Camellia sinensis with neuroprotective effects. L-Theanine has anxiolytic activity and studies suggest that it may improve memory.

Scientific Name:
L-gamma-glutamylethylamide

Mechanisms:

  • Increases alpha brain waves – promotes attention and relaxation without sedation[1, 2]
  • Synergistic with caffeine in promoting concentration, motivation and memory
  • Can modulate the release of Dopamine, improving mood[3]
  • Weak antagonist of NMDA Glutamate receptors
  • Antioxidant effects and protects neurons from damage and hypoxia[4]
  • May upregulate the production of proteins associated with neuronal growth[5]
References

[1] Gomez-Ramirez M, et al (2007). The deployment of intersensory selective attention: a high-density electrical mapping study of the effects of theanine. Clin Neuropharmacol, 30(1):25-38. doi: 10.1097/01.WNF.0000240940.13876.17
[2] Rao TP1, et al (2015). In Search of a Safe Natural Sleep Aid. J Am Coll Nutr, 34(5):436-47. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2014.926153
[3] Yokogoshi H, et al (1998). Effect of theanine, r-glutamylethylamide, on brain monoamines and striatal dopamine release in conscious rats. Neurochem Res, 23(5):667-73. doi: 10.1023/A:1022490806093
[4] Sumathi T, et al (2016). l-Theanine alleviates the neuropathological changes induced by PCB (Aroclor 1254) via inhibiting upregulation of inflammatory cytokines and oxidative stress in rat brain. Environ Toxicol Pharmacol, 42:99-117. doi: 10.1016/j.etap.2016.01.008
[5] Takeda A, et al (2011). Facilitated neurogenesis in the developing hippocampus after intake of theanine, an amino acid in tea leaves, and object recognition memory. Cell Mol Neurobiol, 31(7):1079-88. doi: 10.1007/s10571-011-9707-0