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L-theanine contained within green tea has been used as a general health-tonic throughout Asia for untold centuries; renowned for its plethora of medicinal properties – green tea stands intransigently against big-pharma and this defiance and prolific superiority has been its sure route to wide-spread popularity and success. Can l-theanine really be a nootropic? Let’s find out.


Although green tea is rich in antioxidants and potentiators of glut4 activity (Glucose transporter type 4) this article will explore the unique amino acid l-theanine and its effects in-vivo. Theanine is glutamine and glutamate analog, and readily crosses the blood-brain barrier rendering it a psychoactive chemical. Able to decrease both physical and mental stress, theanine demonstrates an affinity for the brain inhibitory transmitter GABA. Its mechanisms of action do not stop there. Akin to the racetam family – theanine has also demonstrated moderate affinity with AMPA receptors and has been shown to increase the monoamine neurotransmitter dopamine. In clinical studies theanine has demonstrated efficacy in promoting alpha-wave brain patterns – associated with meditation, increased concentration and creativity. People debilitated with anxiety disorders take note: l-theanine has been clinically demonstrated to possess significant anxiolytic properties.


•Anxiolytic mechanism may benefit those with anxiety disorders
•Dopamine uprating may improve drive and focus
•AMPA modulation could lead to aniracetam-type properties
•Alpha wave propagation could improve focus and creativity
•Boosts the activity of gamma delta T cells hence increasing immuno-response.
•Potent anti-psychotic for use in schizophrenia

The consumption of green tea in Asian countries may only lead to an average daily exposure of 20mg of l-theanine or less and thus long-term safety in humans has not been established. Rats fed high dose l-theanine for 13 weeks demonstrated no biological abnormalities perhaps indicating that l-theanine is a safe and well tolerated amino acid and nootropic agent.


As always precautionary allergy testing is recommended using a minute dose; once safety is established the current recommended dosage is between 50-200mg and electronic scales will be required to accurately ascertain this quantity.


I received an order of l-theanine last week and after an allergy test dosed with 200mg. The effects were more subtle than expected however not psychosomatic. I experienced a slight feeling of tranquility and focusing of thought (in the morning) that is normally unobtainable until the later hours of the day. Additional doses of this nootropic have further improved my focus and attention span (I would recommend using lumosity or n-back training to fine tune your nootropic stack) So should this chemical be added to your list of nootropics? YES. Go and pick some up now.