Study: L-Theanine & Stress

A team of researchers out of Japan have recently published a new report in the Nutrients Journal that speaks about how stress is one of the most dangerous invisible health risks the global population is contending with today.

Going on to show that even the healthiest individuals on the planet are also dealing with unprecedented amounts of stress and pressure during their day to day lives, in large part because of the way that we live our hyper connected and “always on” modern lifestyles, the Japanese researchers show that we are getting less sleep, our brains aren’t functioning as efficiently as they should, and our overall “emotional armor” is starting to wear thin.

In this new reports the Japanese researchers also go on to highlight just how effective L-Theanine supplementation can be at pushing back against stress, and mending our emotional armor, and at providing our bodies with the biochemicals it needs to navigate this incredibly stressful modern world.

Over a four-week stretch of time, researchers provided 30 otherwise healthy individuals (between the ages of 20 and 69 years of age) 200 mg of the L-Theanine amino acid every single day. No other changes were made to their daily diet.

A second group of test subjects, also numbering 30, were provided with a placebo supplement for the same four-week stretch of time.

At the conclusion of the four-week test, Japanese researchers found that the individuals that had been supplementing their daily diet with 200 mg of the L-Theanine amino acid had significantly reduced feelings of stress, anxiety, and overwhelm – but that they were also sleeping a lot better as well.

Individuals that had consumed a placebo song no noticeable changes whatsoever in their level of stress and continue to deal with sleep issues if they had been dealing with them previously.

On top of that, the test subjects that consumed L-Theanine found that they had reduced feelings of depression as well. They generally felt happier, healthier, and more energized.

Moving forward, the Japanese researchers tested the L-Theanine subjects to see if they had improved cognitive ability as well. Over a short block of time the test subjects were asked to name off as many words as possible in rapid succession, with the L-Theanine individuals not only finding it easier to name more over the same duration of time but also able to name longer and more complex words as well.

The Japanese research team suspected that L-Theanine worked to improve the overall modulation capabilities of NMDA receptors in the brain.

They believe that by triggering these receptors one at a time the brain has a more streamlined approach to the way we think, but also is able to more effortlessly navigate stressful situations – particularly when stress hormones like cortisol are entered into the mix.

The research team was surprised to find that L-Theanine also had the ability to de-stimulate these same receptors in other parts of the brain. This is what led them to believe that L-Theanine works wonders as an anti-stress agent, and the results certainly seem to be in line with their hypothesis.

Right now this team of researchers is starting to look into how L-Theanine can be used as a nutraceutical solution, particularly an anti-stress, anti-anxiety, and anti-depression alternative medications.

The team also believe that L-Theanine could be used to help improve the overall cognitive capabilities, memory, and “emotional armor” in individuals that aren’t dealing with feelings of stress, anxiety, and overwhelm – essentially operating as an “brain booster”, similar to how nootropics work.

It is still pretty early in the research phase but the current understanding of L-Theanine and how it works to help our bodies and our brains fight back against stress is very promising.