Theanine is a compound that is sometimes found occuring naturally in various fungus and plant species. It can be found as one of the active ingredients of many brands of green tea.
The word theanine by itself refers to L-theanine and should not be confused with D-theanine. There is some doubt, but D-theanine may interfere with the ability of the human body to absorb L-theanine.
Therefore ingesting products that contain both D-theanine and L-theanine may not be a good idea if you are consuming the product for the properties L-theanine produces. In this article and on this website, the word theanine is used to indicate L-theanine.
Theanine Effects And Classification
Theanine is sometimes classified as a nootropic, and to a lesser extent an anti-anxiety medication. Most people will find the effects very mild at best and might not notice anything, even in large doses.
Beware of those who try to hype theanine as a miracle cure for various ailments. If you have no drug tolerance or experience it might be slightly relaxing, if you need something strong, look elsewhere.
A majority of positive reports come from those who mix it with coffee, tea, or other stimulants. Other positive results are also related to taking it an hour or so before bedtime to help with sleeping.
Other possible benefits:
May improve mood.
May reduce blood pressure.
Taken before bed, some say it improves their sleep quality. When taken with ambien (zolpidem), melatonin, or other sleep aids, theanine may increase the effectiveness of these medications.
Please be aware that the effects noted above are described as very subtle for most people. Do not expect much and there is a chance that you may be satisfied with the results.
The recommended dose size of theanine is about 100-250 milligrams and the recommended maximum daily intake is about 1.2 grams (1200 mg). Some people respond well to 100 mg doses while others require 500 mg or more.
Theanine is water soluble, but theanine powder might not mix well in cool water. If you have problems try warm water, (better still coffee, tea, hot chocolate, etcetera) it will probably mix in much better than with room temp or cool liquids.
It can be mixed with water, milk, or other drinks. It can also be put in capsules and washed down with water or other liquids. Another option is letting it dissolve under the tongue. Compared with other medications, the taste is not usually as bad.
Taken with caffeine anhydrous, or products that contain caffeine, the caffeine can increase energy while at the same time the theanine can promote relaxation. May be effective at reducing jitteriness when combined with other more powerful stimulants.
Prior to utilizing theanine, to be safe discuss it with your physician. On your first attempt it might be the best thing to try working with a small quantity, somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 milligrams or less.
A small dose size will give you an indication of the possible results as well as alerting you to any negative reactions. At small dose sizes, the effects are subtle and some people might not notice anything.
Theanine Warnings, Side Effects
Very few negative side effects have been noted, even in doses larger than the recommended 100-250 milligrams. At large dose levels there may be mental irritability and/or stomach upset.
Tolerance may build over time, especially for those that ingest it on a daily basis. If you notice that you are building up a tolerance, you can try alternating it with other substances that provide similar results.
If you are going to buy some, purchasing theanine powder in bulk may save money when compared to buying preparations from health food stores, or other businesses.
Erowid theanine experiences.
Wikipedia theanine page.