L-Theanine – How One White Powder Helped Me Get Rid of Anxiety
L-Theanine is a non-essential amino acid which is found in tea! Which means it’s not made naturally in your body, but you can get it from drinking tea. 
L-Theanine is a non-essential amino acid which is found in tea! Which means it’s not made naturally in your body, but you can get it from drinking tea. (Illustration: Arnica Kala/ The Quint)

L-Theanine – How One White Powder Helped Me Get Rid of Anxiety

I’m going to tell you about something I discovered quite accidentally, which has greatly improved my life, and made me a more calm, centred person. I’m talking about a little substance called L-Theanine.

L-Theanine is a non-essential amino acid which is found in tea. Which means it’s not made naturally in your body, but you can get it from drinking tea. The ingredient in green tea that calms you down is L-Theanine!

I experience anxiety often. If you’ve dealt with anxiety, you know the crippling effect it has on you. You’re always worried or uncertain, you have trouble making decisions, and it basically is a huge pain.

My anxiety is usually made worse because I drink a lot of coffee.

Listen to the podcast for the full story on how L-Theanine helped me, and can help you!

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I read about L-Theanine on a blog that discussed smart drugs and biohacking. This was a few years after I’d discovered my love for good, strong, black coffee.

This was where the L-Theanine came in! I’d read that L-Theanine and caffeine have a synergistic effect, meaning if you take them together, they interact and affect each other’s properties. In this case, L-Theanine cut the coffee-related anxiety that I experienced often.

Now a quick disclaimer: If you have an anxiety disorder, or if a doctor has prescribed you medication to help cope with anxiety or other issues, do not stop taking them suddenly. Speak to your doctor before you do anything.

I tried L-Theanine for the first time in 2016. It wasn’t prescribed by a doctor or anything. I did my own research.

Now on the topic of getting your L-Theanine from tea. I’d read that a cup of green tea usually has anywhere from 20 to 60 milligrams of L-Theanine. You can also get it in powder or capsule form.

L-Theanine is pretty simple to purchase over the counter, since it’s “generally recognised as safe” by the US FDA. And India isn’t exactly super strict about how it regulates L-Theanine.

The first time I tried it, I had one 100 milligram capsule of L-Theanine, on a day when I’d had 3 cups of black coffee. My anxiety levels were through the roof because of the coffee. My heart was pounding, I was jittery as hell, and I wasn’t thinking clearly.

I had the L-theanine, and maybe 10 minutes later, I felt more relaxed. I didn’t feel sedated, I just felt less worried, and more comfortable.

I was also a little more talkative and engaging with my colleagues more. My anxiety reduced substantially and I slept peacefully that night.

So, I started having L-Theanine with my coffee, and on days that I had a lot more coffee than usual, it helped keep the usual coffee-related jitters away. It was also nice to have something that helped with my general anxiety, but didn’t make me space out or feel like I’d been given a sedative.

Also Read : Green Tea May Cut Obesity Risk, Other Health Disorders: Study

So, how has L-Theanine helped me?

  • L-Theanine helped me fight my existing anxiety issues. I have a genetic predisposition to anxiety. My father suffered from anxiety issues, and my lifestyle and work create a lot of room for anxiety to grow. L-Theanine helped with my general overall anxiety, letting me relax and think more clearly and make better decisions.
  • It also helped with my social anxiety. I’m a fairly outspoken person with a pretty fun personality. A lot of my personality gets lost when I’m anxious or worried. On the days when I had L-Theanine, I would be funnier and more sociable. I’d also be able to connect the dots faster, write better, and generally be more “myself”.
  • It also helped me focus better. The combination of L-Theanine and caffeine, helped me work with a deeper focus.
  • L-Theanine helped me sleep better. I read online that L-Theanine promotes healthier sleep. If I had L-Theanine, I’d feel sleepy, but I wouldn’t feel drowsy or dazed. I felt like I was having better, healthier, natural sleep. I’d take anywhere from 100 to 400 milligrams, and because of it, I slept better.
  • Finally, L-Theanine also helped me cut down on my smoking. If you’ve ever been a smoker, you’ll know how hard it is to say no to cigarettes. With the help of L-Theanine, I cut down my smoking drastically. I would take 300-800 mg of L-Theanine over 2-3 doses daily when I felt a craving to smoke. It helped by reducing the amount of stress I felt because of not smoking.

Also Read : 4 Reasons Why Green Tea is Great for You 

I still do supplement my black coffee with L-Theanine on some days. I don’t have it regularly, but on the days that I really need that clarity and edge in thinking, I take 100-300 milligrams over the course of the day. And that’s more or less all I need it for.

Disclaimer: Doctors usually advise patients against taking L-Theanine if they’re on medication for high blood pressure or any medication that lowers their blood pressure. So if you’re on medication for your blood pressure, do not just start popping L-Theanine.

On top of this, L-Theanine works by altering the levels of serotonin and other hormones in your brain. Anti-depressants also alter serotonin and the levels of other hormones in your brain, so you should definitely consult your doctor before taking L-theanine if you’re on any medication that affects your blood pressure or brain chemistry.

There’s also the additional disclaimer that if you’re pregnant you shouldn’t be taking L-Theanine.

But I sincerely hope that if you’re pregnant, you’re taking your medical advice from a doctor and not a podcast about health. Long story short: Speak to your doctor first. Always!

So, there you have it. Something useful and beneficial that you’ve learned, and this time I didn’t even have to suffer because of my decisions for you to learn.

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