L-Theanine Supplements for AnxiousnessJul 07, 2020
by Henry Emmons, MD
[adapted from The Chemistry of Calm]
p.s., You've read Part 1 of this series and the introductory article about balancing GABA and glutamate, right? If not, head to those posts first.
L-theanine is an amino acid found in high concentrations in green tea. But you'd have to drink a whole lot of it to get a therapeutic dose of theanine. You can get more by taking a green tea extract, but you can also take a supplement containing l-theanine alone, or in combination with other calming agents.
L-theanine and Anxiety
Researchers have found that it changes brainwaves as measured on EEG, promoting the relaxed and alert state associated with alpha-brain waves.11 That makes it unusual because it can sharpen mental focus and calm anxiety at the same time.
L-theanine Dosage and Use
L-theanine is one of my most common treatments for anxiousness and may help any of the three sub-types. It's usually taken in doses from 50-100 mg once or twice daily. In more severe cases, it may be taken 3 or 4 times per day. It is not habit forming like many anti-anxiety medications.
L-theanine Side Effects
Side effects are minimal, though some people report mild sedation (usually solved by taking at bedtime) or nausea (usually solved by taking with food). There are no known drug interactions, but folks should talk to their doctor before taking or adding to a medication.
Peace of Mind contains 200 mg of L-theanine per capsule.
Stress Support is a blend of L-theanine (50 mg per capsule) with additional nutrients and herbs to help combat the negative effects of stress.
*Note: Some of the supplements discussed in this series can cause side effects, but many people tolerate them much better than prescription medications. They are generally considered safe, however, they should not be started without your doctor’s knowledge and supervision. If you are taking medication already, be sure to talk with your doctor before adding any of these items. If you are considering going off medication, remember never to stop your medication suddenly—always consult with your doctor about how to safely taper off any psychiatric medication.
**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Dopamine can improve motivation, support the experience of pleasure, and enhance microcirculation in parts of the brain. Unless dopamine becomes really excessive, your anxiety may improve if you gently boost your dopamine levels. Read more.
- Hassel, B., & Dingledine, R. (2006). Glutamate. In Siegel,G. J., Albers, R. W., Brady, S. T., & Price, D. L. (Eds.), Basic neurochemistry: Molecular, cellular, and medical aspects (267-290). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
- Kim, A. H., et al. (2002). Blocking excitotoxicity. In Marcoux, F. W., & Choi, D. W. (Eds.), Neuroprotection (3-36). New York: Springer.
- Krimer, L. S., et al. (1998). Dopaminergic regulation of cerebral cortical microcirculation. Nature Neuroscience, 1, 286-289.
- Wichers, M., & Maes, M. (2002). The psychoneuroimmuno-pathophysiology of cytokine induced depression in humans. International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, 5, 375-438.
- Peled, R., et al. (2008). Breast cancer, psychological distress and life events among young women BMC Cancer, 8.
- Alhaj, H. A., et al. (2006). Effects of DHEA administration on episodic memory, cortisol and mood in healthy young men: A double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Psychopharmacology, 188(4), 541-551.
- Darbinyan, V., et al. (2007). Clinical trial of Rhodiola Rosea L. extract SHR-5 in the treatment of mild to moderate depression. Nordic Journal of Psychiatry, 61(5), 343-348.
- Bystritsky, A., et al. (2008). A pilot study of Rhodiola rosea (Rhodax) for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 14(2), 175-180.
- Khanum, F., et al. (2005). Rhodiola rosea: A versatile adaptogen. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, 4, 55-62.
- Lombard, J. (2006, September). Neurobiology of mood and cognition: Strategies and protocols of neurotransmitter balance. Presented at Great Lakes Conference.
- Kobayashi, K., et al. (1998). Effects of L-theanine on the release of alpha-brain waves in human volunteers. Journal of the Agricultural Chemical Society of Japan, 72(2), 153-157.
- Lake, J. (2008). Integrative Management of Anxiety. Psychiatric Times, 25(1), 13-16.
- Grant, J., et al. (2007). N-acetyl cysteine, a glutamate-modulating agent, in the treatment of pathological gambling: A pilot study. Biological Psychiatry, 62(6), 652-657.
- Grant, J., et al. (2009). N-acetylcysteine, a glutamate modulator, in the treatment of trichotillomania. Archives of General Psychiatry, 66(7), 756-763.
- Mori, M., et al., (2002). Beta-alanine and taurine as endogenous agonists at glycine receptors in rat hippocampus in vitro. The Journal of Physiology, 539, 191-200.
- Wu, H., et al. (2005). Mode of action of taurine as a neuroprotector. Brain Research, 1038(2), 123-131.
- Palatnik, A., et al. (2001). Double-blind, controlled, crossover trial of inositol versus fluvoxamine for the treatment of panic disorder. Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, 21(3), 335-339.
- Abdou, A., et al. (2006). Relaxation and immunity enhancement effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) administration in humans. BioFactors, 26, 201-208.
- Kinrys, G., et al. (2009). Natural remedies for anxiety disorders: Potential use and clinical applications. Depression and Anxiety, 26, 259-265.
- Akhondzadeh, S., et al. (2001). Passionflower in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder: A pilot double-blind randomized controlled trial with oxazepam. Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics, 26, 363-367.
- Yuan, C. S., et al. (2004). The gamma-aminobutyric acidergic effects of valerian and valerenic acid on rat brainstem neuronal activity. Anesthesia and Analgesia, 98, 353-358.
- Panijel, M. (1985). Therapy of symptoms of anxiety. Therapiewoche, 41, 4659-4668.