Theanine is found in green tea — one of the healthiest beverages on the planet. Green tea has numerous benefits including fat burning, relaxation and concentration. Theanine is a compound responsible for some of the health benefits of green tea.
There are no large scale studies on the benefits of theanine on anxiety but there are several small studies that show that it may be an effective alternative to those who would rather not use potentially addictive prescription medication to treat anxiety.
You can get theanine in your diet by consuming green tea several times a day or taking it as a standalone supplement.
According to the “Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition” electroencephalograph (EEG), which records the electrical activity of the brain shows that theanine directly impacts the brain and can influence it’s function. The journal notes that theanine increase alpha wave activity which promotes a relaxed metal state without inducing tiredness or sleep.
Therefore, theanine may possible help with hyperactivity and it’s symptoms and general uneasiness. Here is a look at some of the studies focused on theanine.
Seems to Improve Anxiety-related Sleep Issues
The “Alternative Medicine Review” investigated the effects of theanine on approximately 100 boys that have been diagnosed with ADHD. The boys in the double-blind, placebo study took 200 milligrams twice a day – one with breakfast and another after school.
The results showed that the boys who took theanine slept more than those who did not. The study did not find any side effects and a dose of 400 milligrams per day is considered safe.
So what does this have to do with anxiety?
ADHD and anxiety tend to go hand in hand – a common comorbid psychiatric disorder. Most people with ADHD will suffer some symptoms of anxiety. It seems as though theanine reduces the anxiety symptoms found in ADHD, such as overthinking, phobias and restlessness. By reducing these symptoms, boys with ADHD have a higher chance of falling asleep. The study did not find any evidence that theanine helps children with ADHD fall asleep any quicker.
Helps Anxiety Symptoms Associated with Mental Illness
L-theanine’s anti-anxiety effects also benefits those who are diagnosed with mental illness. The “Journal of Clinical Psychiatry” published a study reviewing it’s effects.
The study involved 60 participants who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. They were given 400 milligrams of theanine or placebo for 8 weeks along with any antipsychotic medication the participant was receiving.
Using a PANSS scale, the study found that theanine also reduced the positive score, which may include hyperactivity, delusions and hostile behavior.
The study states that theanine did not produce any significant side effects or the ability to function.
Reduce Coffee-induced Anxiety
Theanine helps reduce the anxiety or ‘jitters’ some people get when consuming caffeine found in coffee. Combining theanine and caffeine also helps boost memory, performance and mood.
While coffee alone helps improve memory and focus, the anxiety and increase in blood pressure associated with coffee consumption can affect your concentration. Theanine with coffee reduces the side effects of caffeine.
However, the “Psychopharmacology” journal published a study on the effects of theanine and caffeine. The participants in the study received either theanine and caffeine, either one or placebo.
The study found that theanine helped reduce the spike in blood pressure associated with coffee but did not affect alertness or the jittery feeling of caffeine. This study suggest that the anti-anxiety effects of theanine is dose dependent. The study used 250 milligrams of caffeine and 200 milligrams of theanine.
For an anti-anxiety effect, aim for a 2:1 ratio; for example, if you consume 200 milligrams of caffeine, you should take about 400 milligrams of theanine.
Theanine as a Supplement
Since it’s difficult to measure the bioavailability of theanine in green tea, you can take it as a supplement. It also comes in anti-anxiety supplement complex, such as theanine and lemon balm. Look at the ingredients and make sure stacks have at least 200 milligrams of theanine. and 300 milligrams of lemon balm.