Stress Relief

OverviewBenefits and EffectsMechanism of ActionDosageSide EffectsFAQ

Summary: L-theanine is a natural amino acid, often called the “natural xanax”. It almost only exists in green tea leaves. It works brilliantly in unwinding and relaxing the body and brain without causing drowsiness, while reducing stress and increasing cognitive function. Due to not causing drowsiness, it is the perfect choice to combine with stimulants of any sort to take the edge off.

L-theanine Video TTS

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Overview

What is L-Theanine?

L-theanine is a relaxing, non-sedating amino acid that is synergistic with stimulants to ‘take the edge off.' Especially with coffee, it synergizes so well resulting in clean energy, furthermore preventing the nasty caffeine crash that many people experience after caffeine intake. It is also useful on its own, promoting relaxation and minimizing stress without causing drowsiness. A combination of L-theanine with caffeine at a 2:1 ratio is increasing in popularity as a remarkably synergetic combination that boosts cognition and attention.

It is an amino acid that naturally exists in green tea leaves as its main active ingredient, and that is the only source that provides it. It is famous for its fantastic nootropic features such as improving memory, expanding learning capacity, as well as providing a calming, zen-like effect.

L-Theanine, for the most part, is a relaxing but not sedating amino acid that is synergistic with stimulants such as caffeine as it can ‘take the edge off'. It is effective by itself in the standard supplemental dosages as well, and although it can be attained via a diet high in green tea ingestion that is the only dietary source of L-Theanine.

Examine.com

L-Theanine has also been in the list of 6 best natural nootropics as second to caffeine.


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Benefits and Effects

What Are L-Theanine Benefits?

  1. Reduces Anxiety & Stress
  2. Improves Memory, Attention, and Cognition
  3. Enhances Sleep Quality
  4. Promotes Longevity and Increases Lifespan
  5. Reduces Symptoms of Depression
  6. Promotes Relaxation without causing Drowsiness
  7. Significantly Reduces Symptoms of Schizophrenia
  8. Enhances Blood Flow and Stimulates Nitric Oxide Production
  9. Reduces Negative Effects of Caffeine & Improves Cognitive Boosting Effects
  10. Additional Benefits

Supporting Research:

Reduces Anxiety & Stress

A review by researchers of a small set of trials concluded that there are benefits of L-theanine in reducing acute stress and anxiety in people with stressful conditions. [R]

Oral intake of L-theanine in rats at feasible dosages reduces circulating biomarkers of stress with or without an actual stressor being present. Therefore, it reduces the adverse effects of stress such as memory impairment. Reductions of perceived stress reported in human subjects given oral theanine at the standard dosages. [R] [R] [R]

Improves Memory, Attention, and Cognition

In a 16-week long study on individuals with mild cognitive impairment, supplementing with l-theanine shows an improved delayed recognition as well as immediate recall comparing to those receiving a placebo during a mental exercise. Furthermore, attention span and alertness levels increased during the memory test. [R]

Enhances Sleep Quality

Theanine enhances sleep quality. In a study measuring sleep time with individuals supplementing with L-theanine, sleep time increases by 11 and up to 21%, therefore making it a valuable compound for achieving better nighttime sleep. (R)

Promotes Longevity and Increases Lifespan

In a study using the model organism C. elegans, L-theanine shows to promote longevity and promote healthy and increased lifespan. Due to those findings, the study suggests that the compound might have similar effects on mammals and humans (R)

Reduces Symptoms of Depression

L-Theanine intake for a period of eight weeks during an open-label study helped easing depressive symptoms, anxiety, sleep disturbance, as well as cognitive impairments in subject suffering major depressive disorder. (R)

Promotes Relaxation without causing Drowsiness

Theanine is proving to be a great agent in promoting relaxation without the accompanying effect of drowsiness. The company developing ‘suntheanine', l-theanine supplement, won the 1998’s Food Ingredient Research Award for the outstanding research and findings. (R)

Significantly Reduces Symptoms of Schizophrenia

In persons diagnosed schizophrenia receiving 400mg L-theanine in addition to antipsychotic medication for eight weeks were able to reduce anxiety as well as psychopathology symptoms significantly. (R)

Enhances Blood Flow and Stimulates Nitric Oxide Production

Theanine appears to promote nitric oxide formation at relatively low concentrations and is likely practically relevant following oral ingestion. (R)

Reduces Negative Effects of Caffeine & Improves Cognitive Boosting Effects

Theanine and caffeine are typically found together in tea. A combination of caffeine and theanine together significantly improves alertness, reduce fatigue, and improves task-switching accuracy.

High dose caffeine (250 mg, equivalent to 2.5 cups of coffee) has some negative effects, such as jitters and increased blood pressure. Theanine was able to mitigate the increase in blood pressure.

“L-Theanine decreases the negative and jittery effects of caffeine in rats.

However, human studies found that L-Theanine helps reduce caffeine jitters, although the changes were not significant.

L-Theanine changes the pharmacological profile of caffeine in humans, as the combination of caffeine and L-Theanine have somewhat different cognitive enhancement effects. ” – Selfhacked

Additional Benefits

Large studies in humans have not been undertaken; however, several smaller-scale studies (fewer than 100 participants) have shown increased alpha wave generation and lowered anxiety, along with benefits to sleep quality in people with ADHD. [R]


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Mechanism of Action

How Does L-Theanine Work?

L-theanine has a comparable chemical composition to glutamate, an amino acid that assists in the transmission of nerve impulses in the brain. Thereby, providing a host of benefits for the mind. It has a remarkable ability of crossing the blood-brain barrier, which means that it reaches the brain directly. Furthermore, it has positive effects on stress levels proving to increase both dopamine and serotonin levels in brain; which are two of the brain’s feel-good chemicals. Green tea is known to be effective at helping people relax due to the positive impact on those neurotransmitters.

L-Theanine dosage
L-theanine skeletal structure

Theanine is an antagonist of the NMDA receptors (albeit with fairly weak efficacy) and can inhibit synaptic release of glutamate via blocking the transporter competitively. Theanine may also reduce glutamate levels, but this is also a fairly weak mechanism requiring a high concentration of theanine – Examine


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Dosage

How to Take L-Theanine?

The effective l-theanine dose is 200mg. For optimal nootropic results, take l-theanine with caffeine (coffee or supplement, whatever suits you) at a 2:1 ratio. As a stack, it would be:

  1. L-Theanine 200mg
  2. Caffeine 100mg

For those interested, you can actually purchase a supplement pre-made that has 200 mg Theanine & 100 mg Caffeine pressed into one capsule. I've personally used and still use Nootropic Depot's.

Note: if you have anxiety or hypertension, you may want to skip caffeine entirely as it aggravates the symptoms.

Experimenting is the best way to find out how you react to it.


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Side Effects

What Are L-Theanine Side Effects?

L-theanine is very safe as very high doses have failed to cause toxicity. However, that doesn't mean you should go for such high dosage. (R)

L-theanine is exceptionally reliable. Furthermore, it is classified Generally Recognized as Safe by the Fraud and Deception FDA in the US.


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Conclusion

L-Theanine is a natural safe amino acid offering many benefits. It's a popular choice for individuals wanting a simple and effective way to boost their mental performance. Alone, with caffeine, or even with an advanced nootropic stack; L-theanine is worth trying.


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Frequently Asked Questions

What is L-Theanine and how does it work?

L-theanine is one of the main psychoactive constituents of green tea (camellia sinensis) generally used as a dietary supplement to promote relaxation, lift mood, and reduce anxiety without sedation. Beyond that, it's been shown to generate creativity and higher learning via the ability to ignore distracting information during complex tasks. Now the science: L-theanine induces a calm state of mind by promoting alpha waves in the brain, and has been shown to increase dopamine, GABA, and glycine levels in various areas of the brain, as well as modulate BDNF (Brain derived neurotrophic factor) and NGF (Nerve Growth Factor) levels. In fact, in one recent animal study l-theanine consumption was associated with about a 25% increase in BDNF and about a 100% increase in NGF in the hippocampus. L-Theanine has structural similarities to glutamine and both neurotransmitters that are produced from it (GABA and glutamate) help balance and maintain stress levels while maintaining a state of wakeful relaxation. Lately, L-theanine has been growing in popularity due to its synergistic effects with caffeine to help boost focus. Systematic reviews show that L-theanine significantly mitigates the anxiety inducing side-effects of caffeine to create a balanced focus.

Should I take L-Theanine every time I drink coffee? Are there any adverse effects from long-term L-Theanine usage?

Yes, and no. Let me explain. L-Theanine is a phenomenal compound when mixed with coffee, due to the stacking of effect, as well as the reduction in some of the negative effects of caffeine itself. For example, in my biohacking course The Alchemist’s Guide To Biohacking, I talk about how I stack coffee blended with grass-fed butter, coconut oil, MCT, L-Theanine, macadamia or almond butter, and sometimes raw honey almost every single morning. It’s a part of my daily routine, and probably my most favourite (and definitely tastiest) part of it, if I have to choose one. However, like all compounds I take on a regular basis, I try to observe a 6/1 or 6/2 cycle with them, meaning six weeks on, then one or two weeks off, depending on the compound. This is to reduce dependency, as well as ensure my body isn’t getting used to the effects, resulting in me possibly having to take more. I’m currently in an off phase now with pine pollen, one of my go-to herbal supplements to boost my testosterone levels. With L-Theanine, I tend to take a week off at the same time I give myself a week off from coffee/caffeine, as it helps to do both at the same time for me.

Has anyone used L-Theanine as a meditation aid?

When you take L-theanine your thinking will seemingly slow down considerably, but you are not fully conscious when L-Theanine is in your bloodstream. It shuts off certain areas of the brain and limits the bandwidth of brain waves to predominantly alpha waves (1). Full meditative consciousness requires great brain wave bandwidth from delta – to high gamma waves and full activity of the neurotransmitter systems. It is best to meditate completely sober, then your brain will adapt properly to fully receive consciousness. Theanine is beneficial though, after it has metabolized by the body. It acts like an adaptogen and increases strength of brain. Your alertness increases 24 h after consumption and meditation is easier for 48 h. This is because brain have adapted to the presence of L-theanine, and once it has been metabolized, the brain neurons will fire with greater intensity, until brain is again adapted to absence of L-Theanine. L-theanine, a natural constituent in tea, and its effect on mental state.

Further and Related Readings

  1. L-Theanine & Caffeine Stack: Making the Best of Both Worlds
  2. Acetyl-L-Carnitine aka ALCAR
  3. N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine aka NALT
  4. The Ultimate Nootropics FAQ List

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IntroductionBenefits & EffectsMechanisms of ActionDosageUser ExperiencesFAQs

Summary: N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine, often abbreviated to NALT, is a more bioavailable form of L-Tyrosine, an amino acid that also has nootropic benefits. It improves mood, memory, and enhances cognitive abilities in many ways. It has great effects of reducing stress and maintaining mental performance during sleep deprivation.

tyrosine
N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine Skeletal Structure
NALT Youtube Video

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Introduction

What is N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine? (NALT)

Tyrosine is an amino acid the body produces from various dietary sources. Some of its primary functions are maintaining brain chemistry. A result of providing the necessities for the formation of dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine; which are vital neurotransmitters that profoundly affect energy levels, moods motivation, and brain function. It works as the buffer delivering the necessary materials for the brain to produces them. Particularly under conditions where stress has depleted them. Another feature is its protein synthesis and the regulation of hormones required in the creation of melanin; supporting skin, hair, and eyes.
Moreover, Tyrosine is related to the thyroid hormones.

It also supports weight maintenance and loss by suppressing appetite and helping the body's ability to burn fats. Although the body produces sufficient amounts of L-Tyrosine on its own, studies suggest that additional supplementation provide physical and mental benefits especially under the circumstances of environmental stress.

L-Tyrosine and Depression

L-tyrosine is a precursor to L-dopa, which is a precursor to dopamine. L-dopa competes with 5-HTP at AAAD enzyme (Aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase) to be converted to dopamine. You can view that enzyme as a dumb robot that simply converts whatever it sees to a neurotransmitter. If you have more 5-HTP then you will make more serotonin, if you have more L-dopa, then you make more dopamine. You can imagine the process as trying to let an infinite crowd of people through a small door. If the crowd has an equal distribution of red hats and half blue hats, then the room inside will have an equal proportion of both colors. If you increase people wearing red hats, then less people with blue hats will squeeze in.

If you were to supplement L-dopa directly, then there would be no doubt that you could be decreasing your serotonin and causing your symptoms (increased energy from increased dopamine, feeling depressed from decreased serotonin). But supplementing l-tyrosine is not guaranteed to increase l-dopa. The rate limiting step is converting l-tyrosine to L-dopa. In other words, that's the point in the reaction where the brain decides whether it wants more dopamine / norepinephrine. If it wants more dopamine, then it increases activity of tyrosine hydroxylase, which is the enzyme that converts l-tyrosine to l-dopa, and then l-dopa will be converted by AAAD to dopamine possibly at the expense of serotonin because less 5-HTP will be catalyzed.

So you have to think whether you're doing something to your brain that also that increases dopamine, and if so then you could be throwing gasoline into the fire with tyrosine supplementation and depleting serotonin.


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Benefits & Effects

What Are the N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine (NALT) Benefits?

  1. Enhances Cognition Under Stress
  2. Improves Memory Under Pressure and Challenges
  3. Increases Dopamine in the Brain and Boosts Cognitive Flexibility
  4. Increases Focus and Supports ADHD Treatment

Supporting Research:

N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine Enhances Cognition Under Stress

A recent study found that Tyrosine effectively impacts memory and information processing decline under stressors such as extreme weather or extreme cognitive demand. The study hypothesizes that this effect is because tyrosine grants substance from which the brain can produce neurotransmitters. Thereby neutralizing the depletes caused by stress. The report concludes that individuals are facing demanding requirements, whether mountain climbing or meeting job deadline, can benefit from L-Tyrosine. (R), (R)

Improves Memory Under Pressure and Challenges

A study investigating L-Tyrosine's impact on individuals doing challenging mental tasks shows that those receiving L-Tyrosine perform better at the more difficult levels of the job. The study confirms L-Tyrosine to provide most benefits at higher levels of demand. (R)

Additionally, NALT is able to attenuate a decrease in memory formation associated with acute stressors

Increases Dopamine in the Brain and Boosts Cognitive Flexibility

A study of 22 individuals shows L-Tyrosine supplementation enhances cognitive flexibility as well as the ability to switch between tasks and thoughts. This result is attributed to L-Tyrosine's capability to increase dopamine in the brain, which further enhances mental versatility.

Increases Focus and Supports ADHD Treatment

A study on ADHD patients shows 77% of participants receiving L-Tyrosine alone showed significant improvement over a period of 10 weeks. Further studies indicate that the simultaneous use of L-Tyrosine especially boosted the effect of ADHD medication such as Ritalin and Adderall. Non-ADHD nootropic users report that tyrosine improves focus. Therefore it is commonly added in nootropic stacks for that purpose. (R)


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Mechanism of Action

How Does N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine Work?

L-Tyrosine forms in the body from a range of high dietary sources such as meats, fish, seeds, milk, yogurt, and cheese. It develops as a result of the precursor aminoalkanoic acid, known as essential amino acid, metabolizing within the liver. After metabolizing into L-Tyrosine, it further metabolizes by an associate protein known as hydroxylase, which prepares L-Tyrosine to be in use for the creation of different neurotransmitters. Once the protein hydrolyzes it, L-Tyrosine is carried in plasma and may metabolize into catecholamines in various membranes.

The discharge is activated by stimulation of adrenergic neurons within the brain, creating a restrictive interior system that maintains adequate internal secretion levels when the body is experiencing stress. Once there's a high demand on the body’s stores of the vasoconstrictor, the brain responds with the release of adrenergic transmitters. The release, therefore, increases the quantity of the modifying protein discharged. A lot of L-Tyrosine transforms into catecholamines, thereby preventing deficits. This process is associating evidence in favor of L-Tyrosine supplement.

Once the discharge multiplies over a sustained amount, internal secretion synthesis is assumed to be addicted to concentrations of amino acid. Moreover, supplementation could increase internal secretion synthesis and unleash by making a certain sufficiency of amino acid throughout prolonged periods of stimulation.


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Dosage

How To Take N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine (NALT)?

The NALT dosage, however, is lower due to its higher bioavailability. With NALT, the typical daily dosage is 300 mg.

How To Take L-Tyrosine?

The standard L-Tyrosine dosage is 500-1000 mg daily, divided into 2 to 3 doses, half-hour before meals.

“Studies in humans showing most anti-stress promise for acute supplemental L-Tyrosine use a dosage range of 100-150mg/kg bodyweight which can be taken 60 minutes before exercise; this is a dosage range of 9-13.5g for a 200lb person and 7-10g for a 150lb person.

If using higher doses and finding digestive issues, this may be split into two doses separated by half an hour (30 and 60 minutes prior to acute stress).” as mentioned on Examine.com


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Conclusion

L-Tyrosine is highly effective at improving cognition in situations involving intense stress. A robust body of research indicates that L-Tyrosine prevents cognitive decline in these situations. Furthermore, studies show that it enhances memory, increases cognitive flexibility, and improves mental performance under stress and cognitive demand.

The clinical studies, as well as anecdotal data from the nootropic community, indicate that L-Tyrosine is useful to everyone; not necessarily limited to those experiencing military-grade stress.

Working or studying long hours, struggling with anxiety, and even intense exercise are all stressors that impact cognition. Because L-Tyrosine is available through familiar dietary sources, supplementation is a choice rather than a health necessity. In situations that involve acute environmental stressors, it is a wise choice that will boost cognition. Therefore, tyrosine is worthy of consideration as a day to day supplement.


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User Experiences

From Reddit user experience:

I have been taking l-tyrosine with some other amino acids and supplements every day 3 times a day for a while now. I take it bc I am on Adderall and Wellbutrin, so I like to give support to those systems they affect. I've had no side effects. I think they are doing great for my mood, but that could be the dl-phenylalanine, too.

Another Reddit user, taking L-Tyrosine for ADHD:

I have been taking L-Tyrosine for 15 years or so as part of my ADHD stack. I do 500mg once a day 3-5 days a week. It can elevate anxiety levels and I find it seems to elevate norepinephrine more than dopamine based on my experience with other nootropics and meds. I notice if I go more than three or four days without it I start to feel foggy and don’t have the same level of mental clarity. But I take it with Taurine to take the edge off. If I take it for a couple of days without Taurine I also notice that it makes me a little edgy. It’s definitely a balance with this one.


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Frequently Asked Questions

How does L Tyrosine help with fatigue?

The amino acid tyrosine (500 – 1000 mg each morning) is the raw material your body uses to make the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine. These both stimulate energy. There can be some immediate boost, but it takes six weeks to see the full steady-state effect

Does taking L-tyrosine supplements actually increase dopamine production in the brain?

A study of 22 individuals shows L-Tyrosine supplementation enhances cognitive flexibility as well as the ability to switch between tasks and thoughts. This result is attributed to L-Tyrosine's capability to increase dopamine in the brain, which further enhances mental versatility.

Can L-Tyrosine ease depressive symptoms in a patient being treated for ADHD with stimulant medication?

Yes, it is helpful in relieving stress, building adrenaline stores, improving mood and in improving mental acuity. … Some studies show that children suffering from ADHD usually have low levels of Tyrosine. Both my sons take L-Tyrosine with their Adderall and Concerta respectively. I tried a lot of things before I finally let them try medication. Bingo! That was the magic bullet for them.

Further and Related Readings

Tyrosine – Wikipedia

L-Theanine – Nootropics Information

Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALCAR) – Nootropics Information


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