L-Theanine: What Does It Do and How Does It Work?

L-Theanine: What Does It Do and How Does It Work?

One of the main ingredients you’ll find in our intra-sport supplement, Revival, is L-Theanine. You might be surprised to find this amino acid in an intra-workout at first as it’s known for promoting calmness and sleep. You can find it mainly in tea leaves and a few types of mushrooms. However, you can also find it in supplement form. 

You might be wondering how our intra-sport, Revival, benefits from having this amino acid as the main ingredient. But before we get into the benefits, what exactly is L-theanine?

Related articles: Revival, What is Revival?What is L-DOPA?

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What is L-Theanine?

Originally identified in tea by Japanese scientists in 1949, L-theanine is an amino acid that helps promote relaxation, calmness and ultimately, sleep. But how does it do this?

L-theanine interacts with a number of different chemicals in your brain. These chemicals, in particular, are GABA, serotonin and dopamine. These are also known as neurotransmitters. These play a major role in a few different parts of the brain including emotions, mood, concentration, alertness, sleep, appetite, energy and other cognitive skills.

Interestingly enough, at the same time its promoting calmness, it’s decreasing the chemicals responsible for stress and anxiety. One study actually tested subjects in a laboratory setting. They were asked to perform mental arithmetic. The groups were split into a group that took L-theanine before the test, a group that took L-theanine during the test and two placebo groups. The results showed that the intake of L-theanine resulted in a reduction in heart rate and salivary immunoglobin A. (1)

L-theanine has also been shown to increase activity in the alpha frequency band which tells us that it has the ability to relax the mind without inducing drowsiness. (2) In other words, L-theanine helps put you in a state of “wakeful relaxation.” This is a state of mind where creativity and daydreaming take place. These waves are also the brain waves present during REM sleep.

So what are the benefits of this amino acid?

Some of the benefits of L-theanine include:

    1. Improved sleep
    2. Reduced stress and anxiety
    3. Enhanced focus, learning and memory

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Improves Sleep

Many people enjoy a hot cup of non-caffeinated tea because they feel it helps them sleep and they are correct in doing so. L-theanine (one of the main compounds found in tea leaves) promotes sleep by its relaxation boost it delivers. One study, in particular, examined the effect of L-theanine on the sleep of young boys with ADHD. Researchers found that the supplement worked safely and significantly improved the quality of their sleep. (3)

Reduces Stress and Anxiety

L-theanine works to reduce anxiety and stress by being an anxiolytic (a drug used to reduce anxiety). However, other anxiolytics including valerian and hops have sedative effects while L-theanine does not. When it comes to reducing stress, L-theanine has been shown to reduce both mental and physical stress by lowering heart rate and blood pressure.

Enhances Focus, Learning and Memory

Placing the mind and body under stress is necessary in order to learn and grow, especially in sport. However, it’s when the hormones in your brain start to interfere with one another that this process can possibly slow down.

When put under stress, the body produces the hormones cortisol and corticosterone. These can inhibit brain activity such as memory and spatial learning, but L-theanine works to lower corticosterone and avoid this interference altogether.

L-theanine is also thought to have positive effects on attention and reaction -- specifically with individuals who experience high levels of anxiety. One study showed the effects of L-theanine on individuals with high anxiety. Researchers took two groups of subjects, one group with low anxiety and the other with high anxiety. Both groups took L-theanine and a placebo. After being put through various tests, results showed that L-theanine had a significant difference in the high anxiety group. (4)

Why Take Revival and Stammpede Together?

Another way to enhance L-theanine’s ability to improve focus and attention is to pair it with caffeine. That's why we suggest taking Revival with Stammpede. Studies have shown that this combination has the ability to process visual information and increase accuracy when switching from different tasks.

Another study on rats showed that L-theanine is able to at least partially counteract caffeine-induced sleep disturbances in rats.

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When it comes to caffeine and L-theanine, the two actually work together pretty nicely. You see, caffeine actually inhibits certain actions in the brain. Throughout the day, a chemical called adenosine builds up. This build-up can reduce neuronal activity, which can make you feel less alert, even sluggish. Caffeine is the same shape and size of adenosine, so it’s able to mimic it easily. This can prevent adenosine from interacting with the neurons.

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L-theanine goes hand-in-hand with caffeine. It helps reduce physiological responses to stress by inhibiting excitatory responses in the brain. L-theanine allows caffeine to work its brain-boosting charm without letting it boost your anxiety or blood pressure.

Bottom Line

If you’re wondering why Revival stands out from other intra-sport supplements, look no further than these key amino acids here.

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16930802
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18296328
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22214254
  4. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1756464611000351

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