L-theanine is found in tea and is the source of the relaxing effects that are associated with tea. Research with human volunteers has demonstrated that L-theanine creates a sense of relaxation 30-40 minutes after oral ingestion.

L-theanine directly stimulates the production of alpha brain waves which creates a state of deep relaxation and mental alertness similar to the effect seen in the brain during meditation. Figure 1 demonstrates the alpha brain waves induced by L-theanine over time vs water.

History of L-theanine

In 1949 Japanese researchers discovered L-theanine’s presence in tea leaves. In 1964, after proving its safety, L-theanine was approved in Japan for unlimited use in all foods.

Even though it was discovered by science in 1949, the L-theanine content of Japanese ceremonial tea scales actually correlates with the grade of tea. Matcha has the greatest percentage of L-theanine of any tea, followed by Gyokuro and sencha green teas.

Matcha has the highest concentration of L-theanine due to the growing process. L-theanine is created by the plants in the roots, and then sent to the leaves to be utilized as an anti-oxidant against the sun. Matcha however, is shaded in its last weeks before being picked. this causes the L-theanine to continue to be sent to the leaves, but to not be used up.

Even in Matcha, L-theanine constitutes only between 1 and 2 percent of the dry weight of tea leaves. So to do commercial scale extraction of L-theanine, it required extremely large quantity of tea leaves and it was not economically viable.

Then in 1990, food scientists from Taiyo Kagaku in Japan, developed a process that uses enzymes to make a form of L-theanine that is chemically identical to the form found in tea. The process requires a slow, 4-month long fermentation process to make a batch, but that batch is pharmaceutical grade (greater than 99% purity), and it does not require ton of tea leaves.

Once the process was standardized, Taiyo Kagaku patented the process and trademarked the name Suntheanine. Nootroo then licenses this extremely pure, nature-identical form of L-theanine from Taiyo.

The benefit of utilizing Suntheanine branded L-theanine in Nootroo Gold and Silver is that the purity is guaranteed and it is known that it is the same exact molecule used in nearly all clinical research on the L-theanine. It was only after Taiyo scaled up their process for processing Suntheanine that researchers began studying L-theanine in human volunteers.

Warning: Most L-theanine out there is not actually L-theanine

There is a reason that Nootroo is the Gold Standard in Nootropics. We are commited to utilizing only the best possible ingredients in our formulas, and when we selected Suntheanine, that was no exception.

If you are utilizing a competing product, or purchasing bulk L-theanine, then this section will be of interest to you.

It turns out that most of the “L-theanine” the market is actually a mix of D-theanine and L-theanine. As can be seen in the image.

Alpha waves are induced by L-theanine