L-Theanine: The Nutritious Secret of Tea Leaves

by Melissa Chichester

Did you know that tea is the second most consumed beverage in the entire world?

More than one million pounds of tea are consumed by Americans alone every day, and around the world, two billion people drink tea every morning. Tea leaves contain many beneficial nutrients. One of them is non-essential amino acid L-theanine, which was discovered in tea leaves in 1949. In 1950, it was successfully isolated from “gyokuro,” a green tea from Japan that grows in the shade. Theanine is the predominant amino acid of green tea.

In addition to being found in tea leaves, it is also found in some mushrooms and other fungi. It can be absorbed across the brain; however, unlike other amino acids, it is not involved in building protein. It is closely related to the neurotransmitter glutamate.

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L-theanine benefits

L-theanine influences alpha brain wave activity, which is believed to help provide its beneficial effects.* Here’s what else it can do:

  • L-theanine supports mood centers in the brain and supports a calm and relaxed mood.* 
  • It interacts with neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-aminobutrate).* L-theanine can also help with occasional stress.*
  • When combined with caffeine, l-theanine supports mental focus by assisting with attention.
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Boost your intake of L-theanine with a nourishing cup of green tea by using the recipe below. 

Spiced Green Tea

  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 bag green tea
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Pinch lemon zest
  • Pinch freshly grated ginger (optional)

Add the lemon zest, ginger, tea bag, and cinnamon sticks to a mug. Boil water in a pot or teapot. Pour into the mug and steep for five minutes. Remove the tea bag and cinnamon sticks. Add honey and stir until dissolved. Enjoy!