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  • Promotes relaxation without drowsiness
  • Improves mood and focus, especially when used with caffeine
  • Multiple health-promoting effects


L-theanine is a calming and focusing non-dietary amino acid that is uncommon in food sources and is found primarily in green tea. It is most commonly used for its relaxing and mildly stimulating effects but has also been found to increase mood and focus, improve sleep quality and have other health promoting effects. Recommended dosage is 100-200 mg once or twice daily. There is hardly any evidence of side effects from L-Theanine use.


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L-Theanine reviews


"Liftmode's L-Theanine is the most effective supplement that I have ever taken. There is no question of placebo effect...The thing I love most about this product, is that if taken before bed, I fall asleep faster, and always spring out of bed the next morning feeling extremely well rested..."

- L-theanine review on Liftmode by Paul


As I have been plagued with (stress) for most of my adult life, I am always experimenting with natural remedies. I found that L-Theanine and Phenibut work synergistically to (reduce stress and support a healthy mood). Liftmode's products have done what only toxic and very addictive substances have been able to do in the past. Allow me to socialize and live life comfortably...


John R.” - Liftmode L-thaeanine review


L-theanine product reviews


  • L-theanine is a calming and focusing nonessential amino acid that is uncommon in diet and is found primarily in green tea


  • It is most commonly used for its relaxing and mildly stimulating effects but has also been found to increase mood and focus, improve sleep quality and have other health promoting effects


  • Recommended usage is 100-200 mg once or twice daily




L-theanine is a relatively rare phytochemical found in a few species of tea and mushrooms. It is especially associated with green tea, where it plays a part in some of the tea’s flavour. It is an uncommon amino acid (protein part) and does not take part in forming proteins.[1] Green tea has been used throughout the world, especially in the East, for thousands of years and has long been known to have positive effects on human health. In 600 AD a Chinese writer, Lu Yu wrote a book called the Cha Jing (the Tea Classic), documenting some of the known history of green tea and how the perfect cup should be created[2]. It wasn’t until much more recently that we discovered the chemical makeup of tea!

L-theanine is being studied presently for a number of health benefits including stress reduction, improved mood and focus, better sleep quality and antitumor effects, among others.

An excerpt from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center’s piece on L-theanine:

“[L-theanine] is consumed for its perceived antioxidant and relaxant effects. Several in vitro and animal studies have shown that L-theanine has lipid-lowering, neuroprotective, antiobesity, and antitumor properties.[3]


L-theanine effects / benefits


One of the most important effects of an L-theanine supplement is its ability to lower the effects of stress. In a study dated from 2004, the effects of L-theanine were compared to those of a commonly prescribed anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) medication in 16 volunteers. L-theanine was found to reduce baseline stress levels by creating a more calm and relaxed feeling in those who took it while the common anti-anxiety pill had no effect on baseline stress levels[4]. Stress is often related to depression and so it follows that L-theanine has also been shown to have potential antidepressant effects[5].

L-theanine has been directly shown in a number of studies to increase the activity of alpha brainwaves. An increase in alpha brainwaves are associated with a relaxed mental state without drowsiness. Alpha brainwaves are also related to a positive influence in attention and arousal, and L-theanine has been shown to directly increase the activity of alpha brainwaves[6]

The structure of L-theanine is highly similar to glutamate - a molecule known for its function in memory. It is able to penetrate through the blood-brain barrier and has been shown to protect neurons (brain cells) from damage and decay[7]. Other studies have shown that L-theanine effectively increases brain serotonin, dopamine and GABA levels[8]. Increases in these chemicals are associated with increases in mood, attention and relaxation. In both the East and the West, it has been known for a long time that drinking tea helps with managing stress. At least one scientific study has backed up this claim and shown that L-theanine is able to reduce the effects of both psychological and physical stress[9].

There has been a lot of research into the effects of L-theanine when combined with caffeine, and they have all shown that the combination boosts both mood and brain power[10].  One double-blind placebo study (the most acknowledged type in science) on 44 young adults and their response to a difficult cognitive task showed that L-theanine, in combination with caffeine, was able to increase alertness and boost brain power[11].

 There is evidence that L-theanine supplementation can significantly improve sleep quality. In a 2011 study on male children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity (ADHD) disorder, it was found that daily supplementation of 400mg L-theanine significantly improved sleep quality over a six-week period[12]. 98 boys aged 8-12 years old and previously diagnosed with ADHD were given L-theanine or placebo over 6 weeks. Their sleep quality was monitored for five nights at the start and end of the period using wrist actigraphy and a Sleep Questionnaire completed by parents. A second test, also in Japan, on 22 healthy young men over a 6 day period, found that L-theanine was a safe and effective supplement for the improvement of sleep and also for reducing nightmares. Sleep quality was assessed using wrist actigraphy and questionnaires[13].

L-theanine has been shown to decrease the negative effects of alcohol on the liver. In an animal study it was shown that all ethanol metabolising enzymes in the liver are regulated by L-theanine. Basically, alcohol was found to be metabolised faster and that negative effects from long-term alcohol consumption could be decreased by using L-theanine supplements[14].

Derivatives (similar chemicals) of L-theanine are being studied for their antitumor effects. At least one study has found four chemically similar molecules to L-theanine that have significant effects in reducing movement and growth of lung cancer and leukemia cells[15].


L-theanine recommended dosage


According to Examine.com, L-theanine is usually taken in doses of around 100-200 mg, usually with caffeine[16]. Many of the studies on L-theanine used doses of 200 mg twice daily. L-theanine from Liftmode.com comes with a 0.65cc measuring scoop and is gauranteed to be at least 99% pure, with an included certificate of analysis (CoA).


L-theanine side effects / warnings


WebMD lists L-theanine as possibly safe when used over short periods of time. There is not enough data on use in pregnant women to make a conclusion about safety during pregnancy[17]. The studies on L-theanine for its various purposes that we examined in this article all listed L-theanine as a safe and effective supplement, possibly excluding the need for other more dangerous chemicals. 

RXlist lists possible interactions with blood-pressure lowering (antihypertensive) medication and stimulants. If you are using any of the above medication it is recommended that you consult your physician prior to consuming L-theanine supplements[18].  Even very high doses have not been associated with negative side effects.


Word of caution: Taking pure caffeine or caffeine extracts can be dangerous and death from overdose is possible - please be careful if consuming caffeine with L-Theanine.




[1] Blog post: “L-theanine: Why drinking green tea is relaxing”, Ricardo Caicedo, My Japanese Green Tea http://www.myjapanesegreentea.com/l-theanine

[2] “Green tea history” Revolutiontea.com http://www.revolutiontea.com/tea-articles/green-tea-history.html, accessed 24-09-2015

[3] “L-Theanine”, June 2015 Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center online resources https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/l-theanine

[4] “The acute effects of L-theanine in comparison with alprazolam on anticipatory anxiety in humans.” Lu K et al, Hum Psychopharmacol. 2004 Oct;19(7):457-65.


[5]Antidepressant-like Effects of L-theanine in the Forced Swim and Tail Suspension Tests in Mice” Cui Yin et al, Phytotherapy Research Volume 25, Issue 11, pages 1636–1639, November 2011


[6] “L-theanine, a natural constituent in tea, and its effect on mental state” Nobre AC, Rao A, Owen GN, Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2008;17 Suppl 1:167-8.


[7] “Neuroprotective effects of theanine and its preventive effects on cognitive dysfunction” Takami Kakuda, Pharmacological ResearchVolume 64, Issue 2, August 2011, Pages 162–168


[8] “The neuropharmacology of L-theanine(N-ethyl-L-glutamine): a possible neuroprotective and cognitive enhancing agent.” Nathan PJ, Lu K, Gray M, Oliver C, J Herb Pharmacother. 2006;6(2):21-30.


[9] “L-Theanine reduces psychological and physiological stress responses” Kimura K et al,Biol Psychol.2007 Jan;74(1):39-45. Epub 2006 Aug 22


[10] “Distracted? Tea might help your focus” Janet Raloff, Sept 2007, Sciencenews.org https://www.sciencenews.org/article/distracted-tea-might-help-your-focus accessed 24-09-2015

[11] “The combination of L-theanine and caffeine improves cognitive performance and increases subjective alertness.” Giesbrecht T et al, Nutr Neurosci. 2010 Dec;13(6):283-90. doi: 10.1179/147683010X12611460764840.


[12] “The effects of L-theanine (Suntheanine®) on objective sleep quality in boys with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial.” Lyon MR, Kapoor MP, Juneja LR, Altern Med Rev. 2011 Dec;16(4):348-54.


[13]“L-theanine and sleep quality” ISMH.org, http://www.ismh.org/en/scientific-spotlight/l-theanine-and-sleep-quality/ accessed 23-09-2015

[14] “Effects of Theanine on alcohol metabolism and hepatic toxicity” Sadzuka Y et al, Biol Pharm Bull. 2005 Sep;28(9):1702-6


[15] “Inhibition of lung tumor growth by targeting EGFR/VEGFR-Akt/NF-κB pathways with novel theanine derivatives” Zhang G et al, Oncotarget. 2014 Sep 30;5(18):8528-43.


[16] “Theanine” scientific review of L-theanine on Examine.com http://examine.com/supplements/theanine/ accessed 24-09-2015

[17] “Theanine” review of supplement on WebMD.com http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-1053-theanine.aspx?activeingredientid=1053&activeingredientname=theanine, accessed 24-09-2015

[18] “Theanine” RXlist http://www.rxlist.com/theanine-page3/supplements.htm accessed 27-09-2015