L-theanine is an amino acid that occurs naturally in green and black tea, certain types of mushrooms, and is also available in supplement form. The human body does not produce this compound, and it is not essential for humans. There’s evidence to suggest that L-theanine may provide a variety of health benefits, including improved mental focus and quality of sleep. L-theanine may also affect levels of serotonin and dopamine in the brain, which have a significant influence over your mood, sleep, emotion, and cortisol. A change in the balance of these chemicals can affect a person’s mood and stress levels.
How Does L-Theanine Reduce Mental Fatigue?
Many people drink black or green tea throughout the day, claiming that they feel a boost in their mental focus. In one study, researchers found that “people who took 100 milligrams (mg) of L-theanine made fewer errors in an attention task than those in the placebo group. Drinking 50 mg of caffeine or combining the L-theanine and caffeine also improved people’s focus.” This study reflects how L-theanine can benefit a person’s mental and physical health, in addition to improving brain function.
On its own, L-theanine has been shown to improve a person’s attention levels. However, if taken in combination with caffeine, the effects could potentially be increased. Caffeine is a stimulant, which could explain the increased focus. In another small study, researchers found that a combination of “L-theanine (97 milligrams, or mg) and caffeine (40 mg)” helped a group of young adults focus with more ease when participating in mentally demanding tasks. It was also recorded that the study’s participants felt more alert and less fatigue in general.
While these studies are promising, more high-quality research is necessary to determine how L-theanine might affect a person’s attention and focus.
Sources of L-theanine:
L-theanine is found primarily in green and black tea and some non-edible mushrooms. It’s also available in pill or tablet form.
Whether you’re looking for an afternoon pick-me-up or an after-dinner treat, these Iced Matcha Green Tea Frappés by Crazy Vegan Kitchen featuring a velvety green tea matcha blend provide a light caffeine boost and is a nice differentiation to the traditional coffee frappé. For this recipe, go for coconut milk as opposed to almond for optimal froth!
Is it Safe?
The FDA classified L-theanine as “generally recognized as safe.” This classification means that they believe the additive to be safe in the short term when taken by mouth according to the instructions. More research is still needed to determine if L-theanine is safe to use for longer periods, as it may cause mild side effects, such as headaches. It’s always best to check with your doctor before adding new supplements to your diet.
Learn How to Cook Plant-Based Meals at Home
Reducing your meat intake and eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammation, heart health, mental wellbeing, fitness goals, nutritional needs, allergies, gut health, and more! Unfortunately, dairy consumption also has been linked to many health problems, including acne, hormonal imbalance, cancer, prostate cancer, and has many side effects.
For those interested in eating more plant-based, we highly recommend purchasing one of our many plant-based cookbooks or downloading the Food Monster App which has thousands of delicious recipes making it the largest vegan recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet.
Here are some resources to get you started:
- Weekly Vegan Meal Plans
- Plant-Based Health Resources
- Plant-Based Food & Recipes
- The Ultimate Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition
- Plant-Based Nutrition Resources
- Budget-Friendly Plant-Based Recipes
- High Protein Plant-Based Recipes
- Plant-Based Meal Prep
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