L-theanine, as Suntheanine, has a long history of being tested and studied in clinical settings. Most of this research has used the gold standard for testing: randomized, double blind and placebo-controlled trials. This has resulted in a solid body of science demonstrating that Suntheanine safely supports sleep, stress reduction and cognitive function.
During this Natural Medicine Journal podcast, Taiyo’s Derek Timm, Ph.D, RDN and NutriScience Innovations’ Michael Lelah, Ph.D. discussed Suntheanine’s safety as well as the latest research and clinical uses for this popular ingredient. Natural Medicine Journal is the official journal of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians.
Below are just a few highlights of their conversation.
How Suntheanine works
L-theanine is generally consumed naturally in green tea or as a dietary supplement. “The overall effect of L-theanine,” commented Timm, “is an increase in an alpha wave brain pattern which is associated with a relaxed yet alert state of mind similar to what is generally achieved through meditation.” Within an hour after consuming Suntheanine, you may feel a zen state of mind, with better focus and concentration.
“The good thing about L-theanine is that the compound has been consumed for thousands of years as a natural component of green tea so it really has a long safety history,” said Timm.
“We have conducted all the safety and toxicology work on the enzymatic fermentation process used to produce Suntheanine, and it’s been shown to be very safe.” He added that since Suntheanine is a water-soluble molecule, it’s absorbed and metabolized quickly without building up in the body.
Suntheanine has a wide range of benefits for multiple age groups
In addition to its long history of usage and testing, podcast listeners learned that unlike many ingredients, Suntheanine has been studied in children, middle-aged adults and seniors without any major side effects or contraindications. “Not many supplements are studied clinically for children,” commented Lelah.
Lelah and Timm went into greater detail about some of Suntheanine’s best benefits, referencing some of the many studies:
- Cognition: A 12-week study done on middle-aged adults showed that just 100 mg of Suntheanine daily resulted in significant improvements on attention. Another study, done on children diagnosed with ADHD, showed that a combination of Suntheanine and caffeine yielded sustained improvements in attention and cognitive function. A third study measured a 200 mg dose of Suntheanine’s effect on stress, sleep and cognitive function in healthy adults. There were improvements in all three areas.
Based on these and earlier studies, Lelah observed that Suntheanine’s cognitive support would most benefit adults aged 50-plus, as well as children diagnosed with ADHD who may need improved cognitive support and help with calming so they can sleep better at night.
- Sleep: Consuming Suntheanine about an hour before bedtime can help calm a racing mind. Timm explained that it doesn’t cause sleep but it relaxes your mind so you’re better able to fall asleep. Lelah added that some studies have found that Suntheanine may also increase the quantity of sleep.
- Focused energy. When combined with caffeine, similar to the natural combination that occurs in tea leaves, Suntheanine helps to improve concentration, rounding out the jitters and other negative effects typically associated with caffeine.
Timm predicted that science will soon reveal even more benefits related to Suntheanine. “It’s one of those ingredients that has a large range of possible applications. That’s what makes it so interesting to study.”