2-Amino-4- (ethylcarbamoyl) Butyric Acid, 5-N-ethylglutamine, Gamma-ethylamino-L-glutamic acid, Gamma-glutamylethylamide, Gamma-N-ethylglutamine, L-gamma-glutamylethylamide, L-Theanine, L-Théanine, N-Éthyl-L-Glutamine, Teanina, Théanine.
Overview InformationTheanine is an amino acid found in tea. It is also found in some mushrooms. It is similar in structure to glutamic acid, another amino acid.
Some people take theanine by mouth for anxiety and stress, depression, schizophrenia, for preventing Alzheimer's disease, for treating attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and improving mental performance and attention. Theanine is also taken by mouth for reducing blood pressure, preventing the flu, and improving how well cancer drugs work as well as decreasing the side effects of cancer drugs.
How does it work?Theanine has a chemical structure very similar to glutamate, a naturally occurring amino acid in the body that helps transmit nerve impulses in the brain. Some of the effects of theanine appear to be similar to glutamate, and some effects seem to block glutamate.
Uses & Effectiveness
Possibly Effective for
- Mental performance. Taking theanine before a test seems to help reduce errors. Taking theanine with caffeine seems to improve a person's ability to switch attention between different tasks.
Insufficient Evidence for
- Attention. Early research shows that taking 200 mg of theanine before a test improves attention. Taking theanine with caffeine seems to work better than taking theanine alone. Taking lower doses of theanine might not improve attention.
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Early research shows that taking 200 mg of theanine (Suntheanine by Taiyo Kagaku) by mouth twice daily for 6 weeks increases restful sleep and decreases nightly activity during sleep in boys ages 8-12 diagnosed with ADHD.
- Mild mental impairment. Early research shows that taking a product containing theanine and green tea might improve memory or attention in people with mild mental impairment.
- Colon cancer. Taking a product containing cysteine and theanine might reduce side effects such as diarrhea and loss of appetite cause by some cancer drugs. This might help people with colon cancer complete cancer drug therapy.
- Depression. Early research shows that taking theanine by mouth at bedtime for 8 weeks decreases symptoms and improves sleep in people with depression.
- Stomach cancer. Taking theanine plus cysteine doesn't seem to reduce side effects such as diarrhea and loss of appetite cause by some cancer drugs in people with stomach cancer. It also doesn't seem to help people with stomach cancer complete cancer drug therapy.
- Influenza (flu). Early research shows that taking a combination of green tea extract plus theanine daily for 5 months may lower the risk of developing the flu.
- Schizophrenia. Some early research shows that taking theanine by mouth along with antipsychotic drugs improves positive symptoms but not negative symptoms of schizophrenia. Other early research shows that taking theanine with pregnenolone and antipsychotic drugs improves negative symptoms but not positive symptoms. More research is needed to determine the effects, if any, of theanine on symptoms of schizophrenia.
- Stress. The effects of theanine on stress are conflicting. Some early research shows that taking 200 mg of theanine before an exam reduces anxiety and may prevent blood pressure from increasing due to stress. Other early research shows that taking 200 mg of theanine twice daily before and during pharmacy practice decreases stress levels. However, another early study shows that taking 200 mg of theanine helps promote tranquility in people who are already relaxed. But it doesn't work in people who are stressed. Reasons for the conflicting results are not clear.
- Alzheimer's disease.
- High blood pressures.
- Reducing side effects from cancer drugs.
- Other conditions.
Side Effects & SafetyTheanine is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth, short-term. Doses of up to 400 mg of theanine daily have been safely used for 8 weeks. A specific product containing theanine and other green tea ingredients has also been used safely once daily for up to 5 months. It is not known if theanine is safe when used for longer periods of time. Theanine may cause mild adverse effects, such as headache or sleepiness.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding:There is not enough reliable information about the safety of using theanine if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Children: Theanine is POSSIBLY SAFE for children when taken by mouth, short-term. Doses of 200 mg of theanine have been safely used twice daily for up to 6 weeks in boys aged 8-12 years.
Low blood pressure: Theanine might lower blood pressure. In theory, theanine might increase the risk of blood pressure dropping too low in people prone to low blood pressure. If you have low blood pressure, discuss theanine with your healthcare provider before starting it.
Be cautious with this combination
Medications for high blood pressure (Antihypertensive drugs) interacts with THEANINE
Theanine seems to decrease blood pressure. Taking theanine along with medications for high blood pressure might cause your blood pressure to go too low.
Some medications for high blood pressure include captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), losartan (Cozaar), valsartan (Diovan), diltiazem (Cardizem), Amlodipine (Norvasc), hydrochlorothiazide (HydroDiuril), furosemide (Lasix), and many others.
Stimulant drugs interacts with THEANINE
Stimulant drugs speed up the nervous system. By speeding up the nervous system stimulant medications can make you feel jittery and speed up your heartbeat. Theanine might work to slow down the nervous system. Taking theanine along with stimulant medications might decrease the effectiveness of stimulant medications.
Some stimulant drugs include diethylpropion (Tenuate), epinephrine, phentermine (Ionamin), pseudoephedrine (Sudafed), and many others.
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
- For mental performance: A single dose of 100 mg of theanine before a test has been used. Theanine has also been used in combination with caffeine. Combination doses have ranged from 30-100 mg of caffeine and 12-100 mg of theanine.
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- Giesbrecht, T., Rycroft, J. A., Rowson, M. J., and De Bruin, E. A. The combination of L-theanine and caffeine improves cognitive performance and increases subjective alertness. Nutr Neurosci. 2010;13(6):283-290. View abstract.
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- Matsumoto, K., Yamada, H., Takuma, N., Niino, H., and Sagesaka, Y. M. Effects of green tea catechins and theanine on preventing influenza infection among healthcare workers: a randomized controlled trial. BMC.Complement Altern.Med. 2011;11:15. View abstract.
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- Kahathuduwa CN, Dassanayake TL, Amarakoon AMT, Weerasinghe VS. effects of theanine, caffeine and theanine-caffeine combination on attention. Nutr Neurosci 2017;20(6):369-77. View abstract.
- Kakuda T, Nozawa A, Unno T, et al. Inhibiting effects of theanine on caffeine stimulation evaluated by EEG in the rat. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 2000;64:287-93. View abstract.
- Kakuda T, Yanase H, Utsunomiya K, et al. Protective effect of gamma-glutamylethylamide (theanine) on ischemic delayed neuronal death in gerbils. Neurosci Lett 2000;289:189-92. View abstract.
- Kardashev A, Ratner Y, Ritsner MS.Add-on pregnenolone with L-theanine to antipsychotic therapy relieves negative and anxiety symptoms of schizophrenia: an 8-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Clin Schizophr Relat Psychoses. 2018;12(1):31-41. doi: 10.3371/CSRP.KARA.070415. View abstract.
- Kawada S, Kobayashi K, Ohtani M, Fukusaki C. Cystine and theanine supplementation restores high-intensity resistance exercise-induced attenuation of natural killer cell activity in well-trained men. J Strength Cond Res 2010;24(3):846-51. View abstract.
- Kelly SP, Gomez-Ramirez M, Montesi JL, Foxe JJ. L-theanine and caffeine in combination affect human cognition as evidenced by oscillatory alpha-band activity and attention task performance. J Nutr 2008;138(8):1572S-1577S. View abstract.
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- Miodownik C, Maayan R, Ratner Y, et al. Serum levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor and cortisol to sulfate of dehydroepiandrosterone molar ratio associated with clinical response to L-theanine as augmentation of antipsychotic therapy in schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder patients. Clin Neuropharmacol 2011;34(4):155-60. View abstract.
- Miyachi T, et al. Perioperative oral administration of cystine and theanine enhances recovery after distal gastrectomy: a prospective randomized trial. JPEN. 2013;37(3):384-391. View abstract.
- Murakami S, Kurihara S, Koikawa N, et al. Effects of oral supplementation with cystine and theanine on the immune function of athletes in endurance exercise: randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 2009;73(4):817-21. View abstract.
- Owen GN, Parnell H, De Bruin EA, Rycroft JA. The combined effects of L-theanine and caffeine on cognitive performance and mood. Nutr Neurosci 2008;11(4):193-8. View abstract.
- Park SK, Jung IC, Lee WK, et al. A combination of green tea extract and l-theanine improves memory and attention in subjects with mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled study. J Med Food 2011;14(4):334-43. View abstract.
- Ritsner MS, Miodownik C, Ratner Y, et al. L-theanine relieves positive, activation, and anxiety symptoms in patients with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder: an 8-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, 2-center study. J Clin Psychiatry 2011;72(1):34-42. View abstract.
- Sadzuka Y, Sugiyama T, Miyagishima A, et al. The effects of theanine, as a novel biochemical modulator, on the antitumor activity of adriamycin. Cancer Lett 1996;105:203-9. View abstract.
- Sadzuka Y, Sugiyama T, Sonobe T. Efficacies of tea components on doxorubicin induced antitumor activity and reversal of multidrug resistance. Toxicol Lett 2000;114:155-62. View abstract.
- Sadzuka Y, Sugiyama T, Sonobe T. Improvement of idarubicin induced antitumor activity and bone marrow suppression by theanine, a component of tea. Cancer Lett 2000;158:119-24. View abstract.
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- Scheid L, et al. Kinetics of L-theanine uptake and metabolism in healthy participants are comparable after ingestion of L-theanin via capsules and green tea. J Nutr. 2012;142(12):2091-2096. View abstract.
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- Sugiyama T, Sadzuka Y, Tanaka K, Sonobe T. Inhibition of glutamate transporter by theanine enhances the therapeutic efficacy of doxorubicin. Toxicol Lett 2000:121:89-96. View abstract.
- Sugiyama T, Sadzuka Y. Combination of theanine with doxorobucin inhibits hepatic metastasis of M5076 ovarian sarcoma. Clin Cancer Res 1999;5:413-6. View abstract.
- Tsuchiya T, Honda H, Oikawa M, et al. Oral administration of the amino acids cystine and theanine attenuates the adverse events of S-1 adjuvant chemotherapy in gastrointestinal cancer patients. Int J Clin Oncol 2016;21(6):1085-90. View abstract.
- Unno K, et al. Anti-stress effect of theanine on students during pharmacy practice: positive correlation among salivary a-amylase activity, trait anxiety and subjective stress. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2013;111:128-135. View abstract.
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- Yoto A, Motoki M, Murao S, Yokogoshi H. Effects of L-theanine or caffeine intake on changes in blood pressure under physical and psychological stresses. J Physiol Anthropol. 2012;31:28. View abstract.
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