When it comes to easing anxiety, reducing stress and aiding sleep, L-theanine is the latest natural ingredient to be hailed as a fuss-free stress solution.
But do not be put off by its scientific name. This naturally occurring amino acid is found in a number of different types of plants and fungal species. Never heard of L-theanine before? If you are a tea-drinker, you may have been getting your daily fix without even realising…
Here’s everything you need to know:
The boost you need
Feel as if life is just better with a cup of tea? You are not alone. Many people say tea makes them feel cosy, happy and relaxed – as well as energised. “Science says it’s due to the L-theanine,” says nutritionist Dr Naomi Newman-Beinart.
“It increases levels of the three ‘happy’ chemicals in the brain – serotonin, dopamine and GABA. They regulate your mood, sleep, energy and focus, and promote a sense of relaxation.”
Your daily dose of calm
Swapping your usual brew and going green could be an effortless way to boost your levels of L-theanine. “Different teas contain L-theanine, but green tea has the highest amounts,” says nutrition expert Mina Khan. “However, you’d need at least 10 cups for any benefits.”
A 2016 study by the University of Szeged in Hungary looked into the amount of L-theanine in each tea type. They found they contained the following:
Green: 6.56 mg/g
White: 6.26 mg/g
Oolong: 6.09 mg/g
Black: 5.13 mg/g
Backed by science
While it’s early days, research into the benefits of L-theanine look positive. “Studies have already found that the compound can work within 30 minutes,” says Mina. “Plus, it could potentially benefit symptoms of ADHD and other mental health issues.”
Get your fix
L-theanine is being added to a number of buys. Not sure which product to pick? “Capsules will hold higher concentrations of L-theanine than tea, so start with a lower dose and slowly increase it,” says Dr Newman-Beinart. You could try:
The day helper: Solgar L-Theanine 150 mg R417.00, Knysna Health – take one capsule twice daily, between meals.
The night aid: SOLAL SLEEP NATURALLY Sachets R359.95, Dis-Chem – this combines three natural ingredients (glycine, theanine and magnesium) to promote deeper sleep, faster.
The tea: Khoisan Organic Green Matcha Tea R165.00, Faithful To Nature – “Matcha is the best way to get the most out of L-theanine,” says Dr Newman- Beinart. “Rather than soaking tea leaves and then removing them, it’s made by grinding them into a powder.”
How much is enough?
“Adults can safely take between 100–400 mg of L-theanine per day,” says Dr Newman-Beinart. “You may get results without needing the full dosage.”
Feature Image: Unsplash