Theanine for Anxiety -
Does It Work?
Does using theanine for anxiety help to reduce the symptoms?
Theanine (L-theanine) is a non-protein amino acid that can be found in tea, especially green tea. It is surprising that people who drink green tea do not experience the stimulating effects of caffeine. This can be explained by the presence of theanine.
This amino acid is shown to have a relaxing and calming effect on the body. Experts believe that this balances out the stimulating effect of caffeine.
Let's look at some research studies on the use of theanine for treating anxiety...
studies on the benefits of using theanine for anxiety
Studies show that L-theanine works in about 30 minutes. It seems to cause the brain to switch over to alpha type brain waves.
This is the type of brain waves seen when a person is meditating.
L-theanine is involved in the production of the neurotransmitter called GABA (gamma amino butyric acid). GABA affects other neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. And these two important neurotransmitter induce a relaxed mental state.
Theanine is very safe to use and is approved for use in Japan as a food additive.
Below are two of the many research studies showing that it works.
Formulations of dietary supplements and herbal extracts for relaxation and anxiolytic action: Relarian.
Med Sci Monit. 2009 Nov;15(11):RA256-62.
In this review, the research came to the conclusion that many natural supplements and herbs such as valerian, passionflower, lemon balm, hops and skullcap have anxiolytic effects.
And the stress and anxiety reducing benefits are shown in both animal and human studies.
L-theanine relieves positive, activation, and anxiety symptoms in patients with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder: an 8-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, 2-center study.
Ritsner MS, Miodownik C, Ratner Y, Shleifer T, Mar M, Pintov L, Lerner V.
J Clin Psychiatry. 2011 Jan;72(1):34-42.
In this well-designed study involving 60 patients suffering from schizophrenia, an eight-week course of L-theanine was shown to reduce anxiety symptoms significantly.
They were given a dose of 400 mg daily.
(Editor's note: This study is randomized, double-blind and placebo controlled, the "gold standard" for designing a clinical trial that gives meaningful and "truthful" results.)
Does using theanine cause drowsiness?
One of the best advantage of using theanine is that users do not report drowsiness. This is unlike prescription drugs commonly used to treat anxiety disorders.
And what about using theanine for panic attacks?
There's no studies that specifically looked at using L-theanine for panic attacks. However, some people believe that it may be helpful since it can induce alpha brain wave patterns in the brain.
Clinical studies will be needed to find out if it really would work.
Can I use theanine for sleep?
Since theanine does not cause drowsiness, it probably won't help with insomnia. Supplements like melatonin and herbs like valerian are much more effective and they are a better choice.
See Remedies for Insomnia for a full information on treating insomnia with home and natural remdies.
Dose to use
Most studies used between 50 to 200 mg. The benefits appear in about 30 minutes.
Higher doses can be used safely. The FDA has set an arbitrary maximum dose of 1,200 mg daily. It has been used safely by the Japanese since 1964.
Thinking of using theanine for anxiety? Go for it! L-theanine found in green tea proves to have relaxing properties that can reduce anxiety levels.
The simplest way to get theanine in your diet is to drink green tea (and decaffeinated green tea might be best).
And to boost the benefits of theanine, use a combination natural remedies like PureCalm. It
contains passionflower, lemon balm and lavender, three herbs proven to
help reduce anxiety and stress.
PureCalm It is professionally formulated by a clinical psychologist using the Full Spectrum Approach (FSA)
to ensure the highest quality, safety and effectiveness. The company
backs the product with a 1-year money back guarantee.
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