When you’re feeling acute stress and want to calm down, you can take some deep breaths, meditate, or drink a cup of tea.
Enjoying a cup of hot tea is a comforting way to relax for a few minutes, and not counting water, it’s the most widely consumed beverage in the world.
Tea is soothing, and it’s not just due to the flavor. Tea is a rich source of flavonoid antioxidants. It also contains L-theanine.
L-theanine is an amino acid, also known as a building block for proteins, found in green and black tea, and in smaller amounts in bolete mushrooms.
Theanine has a chemical structure similar to glutamate, an amino acid that occurs naturally in the body and helps transmit nerve impulses in the brain.
So while you can get L-theanine from green or black tea, most people get it from a supplement to help with relaxation, focus, and sleep.
Taking a supplement has the added bonus of getting the benefits of green tea without the caffeine jitters.
L-theanine helps with sleep because it calms you down, but it can also calm you during the day without causing drowsiness.
So most users say that L-theanine will help you sleep better at night, yet feel relaxed, more focused, and alert during the day—something we all want!
Taking L-theanine can provide a sense of calm during your work day to help you manage stress and think clearly under pressure.
Research suggests it may be the most beneficial for those dealing with high levels of anxiety.
Five randomized-controlled trials with a total of 104 participants found L-theanine reduced stress and anxiety in people who were experiencing stressful situations.
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that L-theanine decreased anxiety and improved symptoms in people with schizophrenia.
It can still help others with anxiety of all kinds, and it offers other health benefits as well.
L-theanine may help boost cognitive skills. Research shows L-theanine can increase attention span and reaction time in people who are prone to anxiety.
It can help improve accuracy too—one study shows that taking L-theanine reduced the number of errors made in a test of attention.
Evidence from human electroencephalograph (EEG) studies show that it has a direct effect on the brain.
L-theanine significantly increases activity in the alpha frequency band which indicates that it relaxes the mind without inducing drowsiness.
In an article titled, “Three Step Approach to Happiness,” Michael T. Murray, ND said, “If you are having trouble focusing because of stress, you may want to try a product that contains L-theanine.”
He quotes author and holistic pharmacist Sherry Torkos as saying, “In addition to helping alleviate stress, L-theanine has been shown recently in clinical studies to significantly improve the ability to concentrate and think clearly."
It’s easy to test if L-theanine works—I took one supplement pill before writing this article and can feel a difference in my focus!
L-theanine elevates levels of GABA, serotonin, and dopamine—and all three of these are neurotransmitters that regulate emotions, mood, concentration, alertness, sleep, appetite, energy, and cognitive skills.
These three neurotransmitters are calming to the brain.
L-theanine also lowers levels of “excitatory” brain chemicals that raise our stress level.
It enhances alpha brain waves too, which linked to our wakeful relaxation state, or what you feel while meditating, daydreaming, or in REM sleep.
Alpha brain waves enhances relaxation, focus, and creativity too, so L-theanine can help you focus and be more productive.
L-Theanine is a great way to feel relaxed yet alert, so it’s a natural addition to St. John’s Wort, which helps with mood.
L-Theanine and St. John’s Wort are listed together as a top supplement for anxiety and depression.
The website True Stress Management says St. John’s Wort contains therapeutic ingredients that elevate dopamine and serotonin. Among them are hypericin, hyperforin, and xanthones.
It goes on to list the clinical evidence from Cochrane, a healthcare research organization, which conducted a review of 29 trials involving over 5,000 patients with major depression. St. John’s wort was noted to be as effective as standard antidepressants
For L-Theanine, the same website says, “L-theanine increases dopamine, serotonin, and GABA, a neurotransmitter that curbs excessive nerve cell activity. Within 30 to 60 minutes of taking L-theanine, you’ll feel depression and anxiety lift.”
A 2008 study reported by the National Institutes of Health advises that L-theanine stimulates the production of alpha brain waves, reducing the effects of stress.
This popular herb supports normal mood function, so it can work in conjunction with L-Theanine to give you calm, alert, even moods.
St. John’s wort, or Hypericum perforatum, is a plant that grows in the wild, and it’s been used for centuries for mental health conditions.
This herb is known as the bright yellow antidepressant because some people prefer it over prescription drugs. It’s all natural and doesn’t have the side effects of prescription meds.
A literature review featured in the September 2008 issue of the Journal of Holistic Nursing confirmed that St. John's Wort is "more effective than placebo and, in several studies, more effective than common antidepressant medications in treating minor depression."
While St. John’s Wort is a known mood lifter and mild sedative, it actually fights fatigue.
It’s used to treat:
This is a powerful herb, so check with your doctor about drug interactions—it can reduce the effectiveness of birth control.
You can get both of these as separate supplements to control your dose, or you can find a combination supplement.
There are blended supplements with both of these and even more calming herbs, many of which offer even more health benefits.
Nutrition Blends Inner Peace Formula uses L-theanine and St. John’s Wort along with 16 other natural ingredients for ultimate relaxation, calm energy, better digestion, stable mood, and overall well-being.
Learn more about the Inner Peace Formula at www.nutritionblends.com, where you’ll also find a long list of studies to support the benefits of each ingredient.
Nobre AC, Rao A, Owen GN.L-theanine, a natural constituent in tea, and its effect on mental state. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. (2008)
Juneja et al. Trends in Food Science & Tech 1999;10;199-204.
Kimura K, et al.L-Theanine reduces psychological and physiological stress responses. Biol Psychol. (2007)
l-Theanine as a Functional Food Additive: Its Role in Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. https://www.mdpi.com/2306-5710/2/2/13/htm