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Take Theanine with Coffee to Reduce Anxiety (& Improve Sleep)

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Take Theanine with Coffee to Reduce Anxiety (& Improve Sleep) – Thomas DeLauer

L-theanine is an amino acid found most commonly in tea leaves and in small amounts in Bay Bolete mushrooms.

Research indicates that L-theanine promotes relaxation without drowsiness.

A unique amino acid, L-theanine is the biologically active constituent of green tea, which has been widely studied for its ability to produce a calming effect and prevent over-stimulation.

Theanine and the Brain

L-Theanine lowers levels of “excitatory” brain chemicals.

L-theanine is often referred to as, the “adaptogen” of neurotransmitters – similar to the concept of herbs such as rhodiola in adrenal fatigue.

Because it supports GABA activity, L-theanine is a solid treatment consideration when your calming neurotransmitters (GABA and serotonin) levels have been documented to be low.

Additionally, L-theanine promotes both neuro inhibitory and parasympathetic responses.

As a result, it is useful when you are experiencing elevations of your excitatory neurotransmitters including dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine.

L-theanine promotes the release of serotonin and dopamine.

While glutamate is the brain’s most important excitatory neurotransmitter, L-theanine binds to the same brain cell receptors and blocks them to glutamate’s effects.

Alpha waves are also present during REM sleep.

L-theanine appears to trigger the release of alpha-waves, which enhances relaxation, focus, and creativity.

When alpha oscillations are prominent, your sensory inputs tend to be minimized and your mind is generally clear of unwanted thoughts.

When your brain shifts gears to focus on a specific thought—in either a positive or negative way—alpha oscillations tend to disappear and higher frequency oscillations begin running the show.

Theanine and Caffeine

There is a synergistic relationship when using caffeine with L-Theanine.

A ‘vasoconstrictor’ is a substance that makes your blood vessels smaller – temporarily increasing your blood pressure.

It seems that taking caffeine with L-Theanine helps to reduce these effects as well as improves your mood.

Taking caffeine with L-Theanine helps to reduce not only the vasoconstrictive effects of caffeine but also the anxiety


Study, in the Journal of Nutritional Neuroscience, compared 50 mg caffeine, with and without 100 mg L-theanine, on cognition and mood in healthy volunteers.

The effects of these treatments on word recognition, rapid visual information processing, critical flicker fusion threshold, attention switching and mood were compared to placebo in 27 participants.

Performance was measured at baseline and again 60 min and 90 min after each treatment (separated by a 7-day washout).

The L-theanine and caffeine combination improved both speed and accuracy of performance of the attention-switching task at 60 min, and reduced susceptibility to distracting information in the memory task at both 60 min and 90 min.


1) Nobre AC , et al. (n.d.). L-theanine, a natural constituent in tea, and its effect on mental state. – PubMed – NCBI. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18296328
2) Admin. (2018, May 30). Understanding L-theanine: Sleep better at night, feel relaxed and alert during the day – Your Guide to Better Sleep. Retrieved from https://www.thesleepdoctor.com/2017/07/11/understanding-l-theanine-sleep-better-night-feel-relaxed-alert-day/
3) L-Theanine: Dosage, Benefits, and Side Effects. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/l-theanine#benefits-and-uses
4)Brain Benefits and L-Theanine | Life Extension Magazine. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.lifeextension.com/Magazine/2016/3/Brain-Benefits-of-L-Theanine/Page-01
5) Kimura K , et al. (n.d.). L-Theanine reduces psychological and physiological stress responses. – PubMed – NCBI. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16930802
6)Lyon MR , et al. (n.d.). The effects of L-theanine (Suntheanine®) on objective sleep quality in boys with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): a randomized, dou… – PubMed – NCBI. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22214254
7)Owen GN , et al. (n.d.). The combined effects of L-theanine and caffeine on cognitive performance and mood. – PubMed – NCBI. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18681988
8)Alpha Brain Waves Boost Creativity and Reduce Depression. (2015, April 17). Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-athletes-way/201504/alpha-brain-waves-boost-creativity-and-reduce-depression
9)(2014, August 3). Retrieved from https://www.integrativepsychiatry.net/blog/ltheanine-good-for-what-ails-you-and-your-neurotransmitters/

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