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March 22, 2022
Health Benefits of L-Theanine: 6 Reasons to Add It to Your Routine
L-theanine is a non-essential amino acid most commonly found in green tea—though it also shows up in black tea, white tea, and some mushrooms.
The reason L-theanine is becoming so popular is because it reacts with certain chemicals in the brain like serotonin, dopamine, and GABA, helping to boost your mood and help you feel calmer (1). But that’s not all…
This powerful amino acid also leads to sharper focus, lower stress, and better sleep.
Since it doesn’t occur naturally in the body, it’s a coveted commodity for your system.
Read on to learn the 6 powerful benefits of L-theanine, along with the best two simple ways to add it to your daily routine…
6 Ways L-Theanine Can Help Skyrocket Your Health
Since L-theanine doesn’t occur naturally in the body, any amount that you supplement with is a welcome bonus for your overall health. Here are 6 health benefits that are unique to L-theanine…
1. A Happier Mood
L-theanine increases your brain’s production of dopamine and serotonin, two happy-making neurotransmitters (1). This equates to brighter moods, better energy, and often even better life satisfaction in general.
Not only does an increase in serotonin and dopamine make you more joyful, but this boost can also improve your overall cognitive function.
2. Reduced Stress and Anxiety
L-theanine has been found to increase the amount of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid)—your brain’s main inhibitory neurotransmitter (2).
GABA’s main job is to block certain signals in your central nervous system and slow down your brain’s electrical activity. Which, in turn, helps to reduce feelings of anxiousness.
Some research indicates that in certain situations, L-theanine may also reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol in your system (3). When cortisol levels are high, your body is essentially ringing alarm bells. Your heart rate and blood pressure increase, and your brain becomes hyper-alert. In short, you enter “fight or flight” mode.
Cortisol’s effects can be useful in moments of true danger, but when you experience a cortisol spike in everyday life, it’s hard to channel that energy into something beneficial. Long-term increased cortisol (i.e. chronic stress) is associated with numerous health issues, like high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, and gut issues (4). Thus, reducing its presence in your life is an ideal move for long-term health.
In addition to decreasing cortisol, L-theanine has been found to soothe other stress responses, too, including lowering your resting heart rate (5). This adds to the equation to create an even calmer mood.
L-theanine’s stress relieving benefits may be particularly powerful in times when you’re under pressure (and thankfully, that’s when you need them most). In a review of five randomized trials, four trials indicated a connection between L-theanine and lower stress and anxiety during high-pressure situations (6).
All in all, supplementing with L-theanine is an effective way to slow down those racing thoughts so you can finally find some peace inside your own head.
3. Positive Effects on Cancer Prevention and Treatment
While more research is needed, some studies have indicated that L-theanine may be able to help some forms of chemotherapy work more effectively (7). That said, L-theanine or green tea may have other ingredients that may conflict with cancer treatment. So if you’re going through treatment, discuss with your doctor before adding L-theanine to your routine.
Some studies of green tea drinkers have indicated that green tea (which, of course, includes L-theanine), may reduce the risk of cancer. One 2012 study found that women who drank green tea had 32% lower odds of developing pancreatic cancer than those who didn’t (8). Another study that same year found that women diagnosed with ovarian cancer who drank at least one cup of green per day lived longer than those who didn’t drink green tea (9).
4. Sharper Focus, Especially Under Pressure
Get ready to breeze through your to-do list with superhero focus…
Studies have found that L-theanine may be an effective way to eliminate distractions, helping those who take it zone in on complex projects, increase their reaction time, and hold their attention better during conversations (10, 11).
Of course, there’s something even better than just focusing well on a task…
Completing that task flawlessly.
L-theanine can help make that happen, sending thoughtless errors into the rearview. A study in 2021 found that people who took L-theanine made fewer errors in an attention-demanding task than those who didn’t (12). That means lower odds of writing the wrong account number on a bank form, forgetting your debit card at the gas pump, or missing an important deduction on your taxes.
Is there a way to get an even bigger focus boost?
According to several studies, there is. By combining L-theanine with caffeine, one can keep their concentration even more, especially during demanding tasks (13). It’s probably no surprise that when combined, these two ingredients are a productivity dream team. Participants in many of these studies also reported feeling more energetic and alert.
Wondering how to get your daily dose of L-theanine and caffeine?
One popular way that NativePath customers get theirs is with a creamy Matcha Collagen Latte—which contains 200 milligrams of L-theanine and 45 milligrams of caffeine, along with 7.25 grams of fat-burning MCT oil and 2.5 grams of youthifying collagen powder.
Anne says, “I LOVE this product. I drink it in the afternoon to boost my energy after my coffee buzz wears off... The MCTs in NativePath Matcha Collagen make it taste super creamy and even buttery, plus it curbs my appetite too—which is a bonus perk!”
5. Better Blood Pressure, Even When You’re Stressed
When it comes to managing blood pressure, L-theanine offers a bit of a niche perk…
While it’s important to keep your blood pressure at a healthy level overall, moments of high stress can be particularly risky for unhealthy spikes.
A 2012 study found that for people who tended to experience higher blood pressure after certain stressful mental tasks, L-theanine helped reduce the risk of it increasing (13). Talk about staying cool under pressure…
6. Deeper, Better Sleep
Studies have found that L-theanine may be the missing piece of the puzzle when it comes to increasing deep sleep. It can help you drift into a doze more easily, and sleep more deeply through the night (14).
In a 2018 study, participants with anxiety reported better sleep satisfaction after taking L-theanine regularly for eight weeks (15). This is thanks to L-theanine’s GABA-boosting abilities, allowing your mind to slow down for the night (2).
With that being said, L-theanine is a fantastic sleep-enhancing supplement that helps turn off those anxious, racing thoughts that keep you tossing and turning for hours on end. Which is exactly why we include a hefty 200 milligrams of L-theanine in our Collagen PM Powder. It’s a vital part of falling (and staying) sleep.
The Bottom Line
L-theanine is a non-essential amino acid most commonly found in green tea—though it also shows up in black tea, white tea, and bay bolete mushrooms (a type of edible mushroom native to Europe and North America).
But teas and mushrooms aren’t the only ways to get your share of L-Theanine’s benefits…
If you’re feeling anxious, distracted, and tired…
Or wondering what to do if you can’t fall asleep…
L-theanine may just be your answered prayer. Make yourself a morning or afternoon cup of matcha green tea or a bedtime drink with Collagen PM for a more rested, less anxious, and better-focused life. It’s all just a sip away.
As a writer, editor, and wellness seeker, Claire has written for Self, Health, Prevention, CNN, Mic, Livestrong, and Greatist, just to name a few. When she's not writing, she specializes in traveling, getting lost in health-related research rabbit holes, and finding new ways to spoil her cat.
This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Chad Walding nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement, or lifestyle program.