The non-dietary amino acid L-Theanine is one of the most beneficial anti-anxiety/productivity compounds that you can take in a natural supplement form.
Found almost exclusively in Green Tea, the American diet is completely void of L-Theanine (and its benefits) unless you are a tea drinker.
What makes L-Theanine so incredibly special, is its ability to increase focus all the while promoting relaxation and tranquility.
That means less distractions and less stress so you can more easily handle the work you need to do.
Editor’s Note: Without a doubt, L-Theanine is the most beneficial compound that you can supplement with if you face tough deadlines, constantly changing projects, and high stress work. This is our go-to supplement for fighting procrastination and anxiety when work has to get done. The best part is, there are no side effects and it goes extremely well with caffeine.
[Jump Ahead to the 5 Best L-Theanine Supplement Brands]
Before we had pure L-Theanine supplements available in pill form, L-Theanine was unknowingly consumed in Tea for over 5,000 years. Since then, we as humans have studied its effects.
L-Theanine Is One of the Best Supplements for Calm Focus
It is believed that L-Theanine inhibits the binding of L-glutamic acid to glutamate receptors in the brain. Naturally, the binding of L-GA to the glutamate receptors causes excitation in neurons. By L-theanine reducing this binding, your nerves are literally calmed.
Evidence Suggesting L-Theanine Supplementation to promote calmness and reduce anxiety:
- In Japan a 2006 Double Blind study found that L-Theanine supplementation before an arithmetic test (stressor) reduced anxiolytic effects of raised heart rate and salivary immunoglobulin secretion in comparison to placebo.
- A 2009 study published in the Journal of Brain Topography examined the effect that L-Theanine supplementation has on alpha brain waves. They determined that L-Theanine does influence alpha brain waves as attentional processing is improved, but were unable to specify exact ‘deployment processes’.
- An Israeli Study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that L-Theanine supplementation displays positive effects as a therapy agent for schizophrenics. This suggests that L-Theanine may have a strong ‘restoring and balancing’ effect on mental health.
Evidence Suggesting L-Theanine Supplementation to Improve Focus and Performance:
- A recent 2011 study published in the Journal of Functional Foods evaluated the effects of L-Theanine on attention and reaction times in university students. They found that L-Theanine supplementation did indeed improve attention and reaction times all while reducing anxiety and bodily signs of anxiety. The greatest improvements were seen in high anxiety individuals, suggesting such individuals may benefit the most from L-Theanine supplementation.
- A 2007 study published in the Journal of Clinical Neuropharmacology sought out to evaluate the effects of L-Theanine supplementation on the brain through High-Density Electrical Mapping. What they found, was that L-Theanine supplementation increases the attention-related anticipatory alpha brain wave. This suggests that L-Theanine has clear psychoactive properties on attention span and quality of attention.
Clearly, L-Theanine has some significant benefits to it. But what’s even more impressive to us, is the lack of side effects associated with L-Theanine supplementation. In fact, there are none. This is incredibly rare in supplements used to improve focus and reduce anxiety.
But it gets better.
L-Theanine Can Enhance Caffeine While Mitigating Anxiety and Jitters
Yes, you can have your cake and eat it too.
How many times have you drank a massive cup of hot coffee in desperate need of energy – just for the jitters to get the best of you and steal your focus?
Well, L-Theanine can literally take the edge off coffee. This, allows you to harness the extra energy from caffeine while enjoying the increased attention span of L-Theanine.
Evidence Suggesting Synergism between Caffeine and L-Theanine for Mental Performance:
- A 2008 study published in the Journal of Biological Psychology sought out to determine if L-Theanine and caffeine produced different effects than caffeine alone. What they discovered, was a positive L-Theanine and caffeine interaction delayed word recognition reaction time, suggesting that L-Theanine further enhances cognitive function beyond caffeine alone.
- A 2010 study from the Netherlands published in the Journal of Nutritional Neuroscience sought out to evaluate the effects of 97 mg L-Theanine with 40 mg caffeine. Their results were supportive of previous literature, suggesting L-Theanine and caffeine in unison to help focus and attention during demanding cognitive tasks.
As you can see, L-Theanine does appear to work synergistically with caffeine.
Our interpretation of this, is that while caffeine increases energy and cognitive alertness, L-Theanine reduces the negative side effects of caffeine while honing focus through limiting distractions.
For many of us, L-Theanine supplementation by itself is a great option if you are already energized, and looking to beat procrastination and brain fog to get things done. However, if you are tired and feel drained – combining L-Theanine with caffeine can significantly energize you while helping you focus your efforts on one project.
Additional Benefits of L-Theanine Supplementation
For our own personal use, L-Theanine has been valued for its cognitive and relaxing effects. However, we have read about several other L-Theanine Benefits. They Include:
- Brain Health
- Heart Health
- Cancer Fighting
- Fat Burning
- Insulin Sensitivity
Now, we haven’t read major research articles on these benefits, as, the research is lacking and our focus is on the cognitive effects. However, we feel comforted knowing that L-Theanine supplementation has an overall good atmosphere, without any bad effects (which again is mega rare).
5 Best L-Theanine Supplement Brands
Upon examining the differences between all of the best L-Theanine supplements we have tried, we discovered that the actual quality of ingredients are similar among many different brands. With that, we found the most quality and price variation upon the form of L-Theanine used. That being, pill, powder, sublingual, or liquid.
Here, we have listed for you the highest quality L-Theanine supplements that are worth the price they cost.
#1 Solgar L-Theanine 150 mg – Good Quality but Expensive
Solgar is known for having high end vitamin, mineral, and herb supplements. Their L-Theanine is no exception.
In this formula, they use 150 mg of the patented Suntheanine form of L-Theanine. This is a nearly 20 year old patented way of making L-Theanine, which they claim to contain the highest percent of actual L-Theanine.
Alternatively, L-Theanine supplements contain both L-Theanine and d-Theanine as prevalent naturally in the Tea plant. Of important note, there have not been any negative correlations found between D and L forms of Theanine, which makes us question the real value of paying extra.
Despite this, as an all-around brand, Solgar is still a trusted source.
#2 Nutricost Pure L-Theanine Powder 200 mg
Another well-known brand that we have utilized for a lot of our supplement reviews is Nutricost. This brand provides hundreds of different supplements, and assures that they are all manufactured to the highest standards in the United States.
What is really special about this option, is that you will have 500 servings of 200 mg L-Theanine. As long as you do not mind it being in powder form, which you mix into water – this is the best value that you will find!
We believe that for individuals looking to experiment mixing L-Theanine with other supplements – this is the best L-Theanine supplement option since it’s in powder form.
#3 EZ Melts Sublingual Fast Melting L-Theanine Tablets 200 mg
Next, we have the fast dissolving sublingual option for L-Theanine supplementation. While sublingual’s boast rapid absorption and uptake, there are a few things that we do not like (aside from the taste).
For starters, there are a lot more added ingredients to a quick dissolve tablet versus a standard pill. For instance, a standard pill like our #1 Best L-Theanine Supplement only contains rice flour and the capsule.
The EZ Melt tab, on the other hand also contains mannitol, modified cellulose, xylitol, natural flavor and color, citric acid, magnesium vegetable stearate, silica, stearic acid, stevia, and monk fruit. That’s a lot of added ingredients that you may not normally be aware of!
In our opinion, its best to avoid them.
#4 Nutra Liquid L-Theanine 50 mg
Our last option is liquid L-Theanine by Nutra Liquid. This version, comes with 150 servings of 50 mg L-Theanine. Which, they claim that their liquid L-Theanine is the equivalent to 200 mg regular L-Theanine.
We prefer this liquid version of L-Theanine because it uses a pump applicator versus a liquid dropper – meaning it’s a lot more convenient to use without risk of mess.
However, like the EZ Melt tabs, what we don’t like are the added ingredients.
Along with your L-Theanine, this product also contains: Propylene glycol, Polysorbate 80, Mannitol, malic acid, sodium bicarbonate, glucono delta lactone, potassium sorbate, hyaluronic acid, and bisabolol. That’s a long list of nasty preservatives!!!
Concluding the Best L-Theanine Supplements
So, what do you do? We suggest going with our #1 choice of L-Theanine. Alternatively, you can go with our second choice, but it is significantly more expensive and there isn’t any evidence that it’s ultimately a better product.
Obviously, we would recommend against both EZ Melts and Liquid L-Theanine as the added ingredients are pretty nasty.
Have you tried L-Theanine? We welcome you to comment below with you experience, questions, or concerns below.