How Long Does It Take For L Theanine to Work?

L-theanine is an amino acid primarily found in green and black tea, with smaller amounts present in white tea and certain mushrooms. Unlike most amino acids, L-theanine does not serve as a building block for proteins in the body. It is considered a non-dietary, non-essential amino acid, as our bodies do not require it for survival. However, L-theanine offers a range of potential health benefits, particularly in the realm of mental well-being.

There are a couple of different funcitons associated with L Theanine and they have different action times and efficacy levels. It's currently being most studied in relation to sleep, anxiety and weight loss.

Short Answer: Most claims suggest that L-Theanine can take action within an hour.

How Long Does It Take L-Theanine to Work for Anxiety?

The timing of L-theanine consumption can influence its effects on anxiety. Many individuals report feeling a calming effect within 30 to 40 minutes after taking L-theanine, with the effects lasting up to eight hours. The best time to take L-theanine depends on your desired goal. If you are taking L-theanine to alleviate anxiety symptoms, it is recommended to split the dosage into two separate administrations, such as 100mg in the morning and 100mg in the evening. This consistent intake can help maintain a steady level of L-theanine in your system throughout the day. [1,2]

How Long Does It Take L Theanine To Work For Sleep?

If you are seeking better sleep, taking a dose of 50-200mg of L-theanine approximately 30-60 minutes before bedtime may promote relaxation and support a restful night's sleep. [3]

Reducing Caffeine's Effect On Disrupting Sleep

Caffeine and L-theanine both exist in green tea, with caffeine acting as a neural stimulant and L-theanine acting as a depressant. Previous studies have indicated synergistic effects of caffeine and L-theanine on cognition and mood, particularly in tasks related to attention. [4]

Some studies also suggest that this effect which takes some of the "edge" off of caffiene also improves sleep in caffinated individuals although this isn't overly well backed it stands to reason as L Theanine does seem to lower caffeine related side effects. As a result the specific interactions between caffeine and L-theanine require further investigation. [5]

How Long Does It Take L Theanine To Work For Focus and Brain Health? 

For enhancing mental focus and energy, L Theanine is claimed to work within an hour, but data on this is limited. Previous research has highlighted the neuroprotective properties of L-theanine. It has been shown to prevent delayed neuronal cell death and reduce excitotoxicity in the hippocampal region of the brain. Additionally, L-theanine has been found to promote neurogenesis, suggesting its potential in reducing cognitive impairment. For it's benefits on brain health it would require long term usage. [6]

How Long Does It Take L Theanine To Work For Weight Loss?

This depends on what mechanism of action, if we're looking at reduced stress and cravings it should work within the same 1 hour time frame that we've come to expect from L Theanine, but of course results themselves will take longer as L Theanine's function as a weight loss supplement is generally as an appetite and mood regulation ingredient. There is some speculation around fat breakdown, but this is not overly well backed at time of writing.

L-Theanine as an Anxiolytic

L-theanine acts as an anxiolytic, meaning it has anxiety-reducing properties similar to anti-anxiety medications. Unlike prescription drugs, L-theanine offers these benefits without the risk of serious side effects or addiction. It promotes a state of calm energy, enhanced concentration, and improved mental focus. You can obtain L-theanine through dietary supplements or by consuming green tea.

How Does L-Theanine Work?

L-theanine has been the subject of numerous studies investigating its role in reducing symptoms of anxiety and stress. One randomized controlled trial published in the journal of Nutrients demonstrated that adults who took 200mg of L-theanine for four weeks experienced significantly improved scores on subjective measures of anxiety and stress. [7]

The anxiety-reducing effects of L-theanine can be attributed to several mechanisms. First, it increases alpha brain wave activity, which is associated with a calm and focused mental state. Alpha brain waves are present during periods of relaxation, meditation, and daydreaming.

Additionally, L-theanine regulates neurotransmitter activity in the brain. It dampens the responses caused by excessive levels of glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter. By increasing the activity of GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter, L-theanine counteracts the anxiety-inducing effects of glutamate. This delicate balance between GABA and glutamate helps promote a calming effect. This is what helps it improve sleep quality. [8]

Furthermore, L-theanine stimulates the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that supports the growth and maintenance of neurons in the brain. Low levels of BDNF have been associated with an increased risk of anxiety disorders, making the neuroprotective properties of L-theanine particularly beneficial for individuals with anxiety. 

Lastly, L-theanine lowers blood pressure, which is often elevated in individuals experiencing anxiety. By reducing the central nervous system's stress response and promoting the production of nitric oxide, a compound that dilates blood vessels, L-theanine helps lower blood pressure and potentially alleviate anxiety symptoms. [9]

Safety and Side Effects of L-Theanine

L-theanine is generally considered safe for consumption, as it is a natural compound found in green tea. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted L-theanine Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status. Minimal side effects have been reported, and the compound has low toxicity even at high doses. However, it is important to note that excessive doses of L-theanine may lead to increased anxiety symptoms in some individuals. It is also advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before taking L-theanine if you are currently taking any prescription medications, particularly stimulants or drugs for high blood pressure.

Recommended Dosage of L-Theanine

The optimal dosage of L-theanine for anxiety may vary from person to person. Research suggests that most individuals experience the benefits of L-theanine at doses ranging from 50mg to 200mg. Clinical trials have commonly used a dosage of 200mg to achieve significant improvements in anxiety symptoms. It is advisable to start with a lower dose and gradually increase it if necessary. 


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