It’s only 10 am and you’re already feeling sluggish and exhausted. You consider getting another coffee but dread the jitters, raised anxiety levels, and eventual crash caused by over-caffeinating.


If you resonate with this scenario, you’re not alone. It’s a common conundrum faced by millions of North Americans every day.


While the internet is bloated with ‘instant hacks’ to overcome low energy and brain fog, the effectiveness of these solutions depends on your genetic makeup, your diet, and your quality of sleep. Vital conditions that are seldom mentioned in such articles.


But recent studies have shown that low energy, burnout, and even brain fog could be treated with a wonderful amino acid known as L-theanine [1] [2] [3].


For the majority of us, this can be repaired with our good friend L-theanine.

What is L-Theanine?

L-theanine is an amino acid found in green tea and other tea leaves (Camellia sinensis). 


Over its long history of consumption, green tea has developed a reputation for promoting health and calming stressed minds.


While the popularity of green tea has spiked in recent history, the ingredient responsible for green tea’s recent rise in popularity -  L-Theanine - is still deficient in the average diet. 

What is L-Theanine Used For?

L-theanine is used for relaxation without the unwanted sedative (sleepy) side effects. There is also increasing evidence that Theanine enhances cognitive functions [5] like concentration and memory, especially when combined with a caffeine source.

How L-Theanine Benefits the Brain

L-theanine levels in the blood levels peak within 1 hour of ingestion and remain elevated for up to 5 hours. Just like Tyrosine, L-theanine can permeate the blood-brain barrier (the wall in the brain decides what goes in and out).

The mechanism of L-theanine is pretty complicated, and still not well understood. But the knowledge we have so far reveals some fascinating links to cognition.


Before these findings can be appreciated, It’s important to understand the function of the entire nervous system.


There are two main competing neurotransmitters:


  • The inhibitory neurotransmitter, GABA
  • The excitatory neurotransmitter, glutamate. 


The GABA and glutamate pathways are linked to many other neurotransmitters like dopamine, and serotonin. Changes in one of these two neurotransmitters can affect other neurotransmitters.  


Oral ingestion of L-Theanine increases GABA release.  This makes sense because it's promoting inhibition and relaxation, but why?


Many believe L-Theanine promotes GABA release indirectly by interacting with glutaminergic neurons (neurons that release glutamate). Because L-theanine’s molecular structure is similar to the molecular structure of the amino acid glutamine and glutamate, it can block transporters and receptors important for the release of glutamate.

This means L-theanine changes the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain, promoting GABA (inhibitory) over glutamate (excitatory), which increases other neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. 


In simple terms, L-theanine can activate the brain’s calming pathways and influence other neurotransmitters important for mood, motivation, attention, and memory. 

How Does Theanine Differ From Other Drugs?

Pharmaceutical drugs can achieve similar relaxation effects to Theanine but with the addition of a sedative effect.


For example, when drugs known as Benzodiazepines (or tranquilizers) are consumed, theyhave a sedative and relaxing effect. Similar to L-theanine, Benzodiazepines cause GABA levels to increase in the brain. But contrary to L-theanine, Benzodiazepines interact directly with the GABA receptors.  


L-theanine, on the other hand, indirectly increases GABA levels. This indirect stimulation of the GABA pathway is believed to be the reason why L-theanine supplementation can, not only relax, but decrease anxiety without the unwanted sleepy side effects.  

The Relationship Between Brain Waves and L-Theanine

Your brain cells operate through a series of electrical impulses. These impulses can be detected with a device called an electroencephalogram (EEG). Brain wave patterns reveal a lot of useful information about a person's state of mind. 


Here’s a list of the different types of brain waves and what they represent.


  • Beta waves are characteristic of being awake and alert
  • Alpha waves are awake and relaxed
  • Theta waves are when you are sleeping 
  • Delta waves are associated with deep sleep.

What does all of this have to do with L-theanine?

Taking L-theanine can promote alpha wave activity, making you feel more awake and more relaxed.


What’s even more interesting is that increases in alpha wave patterns are linked to decreases in circulating cortisol levels. So in times of high stress, L-theanine can promote relaxation, while also improving attention, motivation, cognition, and memory.

The Relationship Between L-Theanine and Caffeine

To maximize the mental benefits of L-Theanine, this amino acid should be combined with caffeine. This synergy results in increased attention, alertness and accuracy in healthy adults when assessed with cognitive tests.


Coffee alone has been proven to achieve similar positive results [6], but the associated tremors and eventual crash counteract many of the benefits.


L-theanine supplementation can dampen the coffee crash and reduce the "jitters" associated with caffeine intake. 


So with the addition of L-Theanine, it’s possible to maintain the cognitive advantages of caffeine while minimizing its negative side effects.

Improve Cognitive Function with MindGain

MindGain is a nootropic supplement that manipulates the specific neuro-molecular pathways related to cognitive function - neurotransmitter production, and mitochondrial health.


By also including the  amino acid L-theanine, MindGain’s proprietary formula combines the essential ingredients brains need to improve performance in complex tasks while lowering stress levels.


Feed your starving brain. Order MindGain today and experience enhanced mental cognition while supporting optimal brain health.



[1] Hidese, Ogawa, Ota, Ishida, Yasukawa, Ozeki and Kunugi (2019). Effects of L-Theanine Administration on Stress-Related Symptoms and Cognitive Functions in Healthy Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Nutrients, 11(10), p.2362.


‌[2] Owen, G.N., Parnell, H., De Bruin, E.A. and Rycroft, J.A. (2008). The combined effects of L-theanine and caffeine on cognitive performance and mood. Nutritional Neuroscience, 11(4), pp.193–198.


‌[3] Baba, Y., Inagaki, S., Nakagawa, S., Kaneko, T., Kobayashi, M. and Takihara, T. (2021). Effects of l-Theanine on Cognitive Function in Middle-Aged and Older Subjects: A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Study. Journal of Medicinal Food, 24(4), pp.333–341.


‌[4] Hidese, Ogawa, Ota, Ishida, Yasukawa, Ozeki and Kunugi (2019). Effects of L-Theanine Administration on Stress-Related Symptoms and Cognitive Functions in Healthy Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Nutrients, 11(10), p.2362.


‌[5] Nobre, A.C., Rao, A. and Owen, G.N. (2008). L-theanine, a natural constituent in tea, and its effect on mental state. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, [online] 17 Suppl 1, pp.167–168. Available at:


[6] (n.d.). Caffeine and Cognitive performance - Coffee and Health. [online] Available at: [Accessed 24 Jul. 2021].