L-Theanine is a compound you can naturally find in tea but also in mushrooms. You can also find it in supplement form. This amino acid can help with relaxation, focus, and sleep. The specific compound is a relatively newer one, with a Japanese scientist discovering it as recently as 1949. A unique feature of this amino acid is that it works to increase alpha brain waves. These are the brainwaves that create a sense of “wakeful relaxation”, such as what you might experience when you are meditating or daydreaming. Therefore, this is a real winner for anytime your mind needs a little rest.
L-Theanine for a Tranquil Mind
L-Theanine is so great at what it does, there are studies to prove it. In fact, a doctor commenting on the research says, “Our findings suggest that L-theanine has the potential to promote mental health in the general population with stress-related ailments and cognitive impairments.” This physician’s team conducted a study of nine men and 21 women, with an average age of 48. Participants had no major psychiatric illness but were interested in reducing stress and improving sleep quality.
Over a four-week period, the men and women took a placebo or 200 mg of L-theanine per day. Participants self-rated their symptoms of depression, anxiety, and sleep quality. Those taking L-theanine got to sleep sooner, woke up less during the night, and took less sleep medication, compared to placebo. Symptoms of depression and anxiety also improved more for L-theanine than placebo, as did verbal letter fluency: the ability to list words beginning with a specific letter. Doctors said L-theanine stimulates alpha brain waves for a relaxed but alert mental state.
L-Theanine works to promote a tranquil mind by also boosting the brain chemicals GABA, dopamine, and serotonin. More specifically, these chemicals are neurotransmitters that regulate emotions, mood, concentration, alertness, and sleep, as well as other cognitive skills.