Published On: September 27, 2023
Reviewed On: September 27, 2023
Updated On: September 27, 2023
L-theanine — an amino acid found in green and black tea leaves and certain types of mushrooms — can be a potential option for people seeking natural anxiety relief. Research suggests that taking L-theanine for anxiety can help reduce stress while promoting relaxation. If you are diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder or dealing with anxiety symptoms and looking for a natural remedy, you can learn more about L-theanine here.
Keep reading to learn how an L-theanine supplement can work to reduce anxiety. Then, you can decide if you want to try it as part of your treatment plan along with your healthcare provider. We’ll look at the research behind how an L-theanine supplement works, how you can use it, and possible side effects and interactions you should be aware of.
Expert Insight“L-Theanine reduces anxiety, stress, and insomnia in people dealing with stressful life events.”
L-theanine is a compound known for its calming effect on the mind. In studies, it significantly reduced stress levels, making it a popular option today for people seeking natural remedies for anxiety.
One of the ways L-theanine is thought to help reduce anxiety is by increasing levels of certain chemicals in the brain. In particular, it can raise serotonin, dopamine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) levels, all of which are linked to stress and anxiety.
L-theanine impacts cortisol levels — cortisol is known as the “stress hormone” that’s released during times of extreme or toxic stress. Excessive cortisol can have long-term detrimental effects on the body. Cortisol contributes to increased blood pressure, inflammation, weight gain, and sleep quality disturbances, among other things.
Studies show that L-theanine lowers cortisol to a healthy level and may improve sleep quality.
How long it takes for L-theanine to work depends on several factors, including weight, individual body chemistry, dosage, and severity of symptoms. That said, some people feel relief within just 20-30 minutes of taking L-theanine.
Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a neurotransmitter linked to anxiety. Studies have found low GABA levels can play a role in anxiety disorders. As a result, taking GABA supplements is one more popular option for some people seeking natural anxiety relief.
While GABA and L-theanine have both been shown to promote relaxation, there are some differences between the two supplements.
If you’re using L-theanine to manage anxiety symptoms, you should understand how to implement it into your daily routine to get the most benefits. You can take L-theanine in multiple forms, including:
Expert Insight““L-Theanine can be taken as a tea or with coffee and it’s also available in pill or tablet form. It helps people relax without causing drowsiness.”
As with any supplement, talk to your doctor about the best dosage and ways to use L-theanine.
While research shows that L-theanine has relaxation properties that can address anxiety, you might benefit even more when combining it with other natural remedies.
Some people find added benefits by using L-theanine in combination with:
Note: Although there’s no widely accepted evidence of interactions between L-theanine and these natural remedies above, it doesn’t definitively mean they don’t exist. Our bodies are intricate and unique, so reactions to certain substance combinations can differ.
Therefore, it’s always a smart move to have a discussion with your health professional or a qualified medical expert before you start pairing L-theanine with other natural remedies or altering your existing regimen. They can offer individualized advice, considering your health history and current conditions, helping ensure your treatment plan is safe and effective. Make sure to put your health first by seeking expert medical advice at all times.
Any time you’re incorporating a new form of treatment into your care plan, you should be aware of the potential side effects and interactions you might experience.
L-theanine for anxiety can be a great option, but the following side effects should be known:
When taken in moderate amounts, L-theanine generally has very few side effects. However, if you experience any of the above, consider reducing your dosage or discontinuing use. Talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about any of the side effects you’re experiencing.
L-theanine does have the potential to interact with some medications, so make sure your doctor knows if you’re considering using it. Medications that might interact negatively with L-theanine include:
While L-theanine for anxiety can offer effective relief, you might need more to treat your anxiety symptoms. Consider additional approaches like therapy for anxiety.
Talkspace makes getting help for your anxiety simple and affordable. We offer a wide range of experienced therapists specializing in treating anxiety online. Combining online therapy with L-theanine for anxiety can be a powerful treatment plan.Remember that while L-theanine may provide temporary — even if it’s effective — relief from anxiety symptoms, it’s also important to address the underlying causes of anxiety if you hope to see long-term improvement. Reach out today to learn how Talkspace can help you address your anxiety so you can get back to living a healthy, rewarding life, free from the grip anxiety might be holding over you.
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Olga Molina is a licensed clinical social worker with approximately 40 years practice experience with diverse populations offering individual, family, and group counseling. Her research and publications focus primarily on divorce, intimate partner violence (women and children), African American and Latinx families, group work, and social work education. Dr. Molina has been in academia for approximately 20 years teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels on clinical practice with families and groups, and culturally competent practice.