As a calming and mood-regulating nutrient you might not think that L-theanine and weight loss go hand in hand. But you’ll be surprised at just how effective this amino acid is for shredding body fat and getting you ripped.
To truly discover a leaner, stronger and more athletic physique, you need every angle covered. Blasting through workout after workout gives you the fuel to smash chucks from your current physique ; but nutrition gives you the building blocks to construct a new body altogether.
L-theanine is an amino acid found in tea leaves. It’s used in pre workouts and nootropics to boost mindfulness and focus, as well as to ramp up performance and fat loss.
In this article we take a look at L-theanine and weight loss, specifically how this nutrient can speed up results in a fast and safe way…
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- What is L-theanine and what are its benefits?
- L-theanine and weight loss research
- Smart caffeine and its effects on performance
What Is L-Theanine?
Have you ever felt calm and relaxed after a soothing cup of steaming hot green tea? If you have, chances are that the amino acid L-theanine is the reason why.
Identified by Japanese scientists in the late 1940s, L-theanine is found in the leaves of the camellia sinensis plant. Because green, white and black tea come from the same leaves, you find the nutrient in practically all leaves – but green tea has the highest concentrations.
L-theanine is also found in small amounts in mushrooms, and is thought to be a source of the savory taste known as umami. In Japan, it is commercially available in all adult foods and used to reduce the bitterness of foods such as grapefruit and dark chocolate.
In the US it has been given GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status and is safe to consume.
Elevated levels of GABA and increased relaxation and calm
As a proteinogenic amino acid, L-theanine is an analogue of another amino acid called L-glutamine. It promotes relaxation and calm by producing gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which in turn helps boost levels of mood-regulating chemicals serotonin and dopamine.
These important neurotransmitters directly affect the nervous system, lowering the ‘excitary’ arm of your nervous system (fight or flight) and optimization rest and recovery.
Here are the main benefits of L-theanine:
- Reduced stress and anxiety
- Better sleep quality
- Improves mental task quality
- Hightened attention, memory and focus
- More motivation and energy
Improved ‘wakeful relaxation’ with optimal alpha brain waves
When you ingest L-theanine you experience better concentration, alertness, energy, and motivation. But that’s not all – feelings of stress and appetite decrease and both memory and cognitive ability increase, helping to protect your brain from age and environmentally-related damage.
The mental boost from L-theanine comes from an increase in alpha brain waves that’re seen during REM sleep .
This optimizes the way your central nervous system works, reducing brain fog, daydreaming, loss of concentration and elevates everything from creative thoughts and focus, to determination and drive.
Key Point: L-theanine is an amino acid that optimizes brain waves in order to reduce brain fog and boost mental clarity.
L-Theanine and Caffeine to Ramp Up Fat Loss
Weight loss strategies are often associated with heavy strength workouts or high-intensity cardio sessions, not calm and relaxation. But it’s actually an effective nutrient for speeding up fat loss. Ultimately, L-theanine and weight loss go hand in hand.
L-theanine and weight loss properties
A study published in the journal In Vivo looked at different chemicals in green tea and their effects on weight loss :
The clinical team involved in the research found that when the three main constituents of green tea were assessed for their effects on anti-obesity, L-theanine and caffeine significantly reduced triglyceride (fat cell) levels.
The researchers suggested that “at least caffeine and theanine were responsible for the suppressive effect of green tea on body weight increase and fat accumulation”.
Appetite-suppressing effects of L-theanine
Stressed people are far more likely to break from their diet due to increased cravings for sugary, high-calorie foods.
When you’re anxious or stressed, your body yearns for something that’ll provide pleasure. Sweet treats and treats release serotonin, changing your mood chemistry to make you feel better.
The problem is that this is only temporary and can start a cycle of guilt and bingeing.
One of the biochemical effects of L-theanine supplementation is a reduction in appetite. If your goal is weight loss, this amino acid will help you curb your cravings and hunger and focus on achieving the all-important calorie deficit.
The result? A faster, easier journey to single-digit body fat.
Improved sleep means better weight loss
Research shows that those who sleep longer have a healthier body composition.
Poor sleep habits can lead to reduced immune system function, decreased emotional well-being and sub-optimal cognitive and physical performance.
Research has shown that athletes who achieve 10 hours of good sleep each night perform better, sprint faster and have better reaction time  – all important characteristics if you’re serious about performance.
On the other hand, manage 5 hours of sleep (or less) and chances are you’ll not achieve the weight loss you’re after.
A study from PLoS Med  found that diminished sleep levels were correlated with elevated hunger. This is because:
Leptin levels were 15% lower – this is the hormone released from your fat cells that tells you you’re full after eating.
Ghrelin levels were 14.9% higher – this hormone promotes appetite and hunger.
When these hormones are skewed you’ll always feel hungry. No matter how much you’ve just eaten.
L-theanine promotes good sleep hygiene and can help you slumber your way to a healthier weight. Not only does it help objective feelings of sleep quality, it also helps general restfulness and relaxation .
For more on the sleep/weight loss connection, our friends over at Sleep Advisor have put together a great article with a wealth of great stuff. Check it out at Athletes & Sleep.
More energy, better workouts
The performance-enhancing effects of L-theanine are even more evident when the tea leaf compound is combined with the stimulatory effects of caffeine – forming what’s known as smart caffeine.
We put L-theanine and caffeine in our premium pre workout supplement 4 Gauge to help supercharge your endurance, stamina and maximal strength.
And let’s be right – the reason you take such a potent supplement is to blow the lid off your workouts and make them as productive as possible.
Adding L-theanine to a caffeine supplement helps “improve performance and cognitively demanding tasks according to one research study” . It also accelerates cognitive performance too, meaning better concentration, motivation and drive during competition .
Key Points on L-theanine and weight loss:
- L-theanine and weight loss are closely related.
- This powerful nutrient directly reduces triglyceride levels and helps with weight loss.
- Helps you work out harder in the gym.
- Curbs cravings for sugary and high-calorie foods.
Bottom Line – L-theanine and Weight Loss – Lose More Fat With This Amino Acid
L-theanine is a calming, relaxing compound found in the leaves of the camellia sinensis plant. As a proteinogenic amino acid, it elevates levels of the neurotransmitter GABA, which in turn reduces stress and optimizes wakeful relaxation.
If your goal is to shred body fat, boost energy and performance, heighten your senses and ramp up motivation, focus on concentration, L-theanine and weight loss are very much related.
The result: L-theanine is a must-have nutrient in your weight loss pre workout stack.
Smash Your Workouts With 4 Gauge
4 Gauge is an exhaustively researched, all-natural pre workout designed to rip the lid off your gym sessions, sports games or workouts.
Packed with performance-enhancing nutrients such as caffeine, L-theanine and creatine, 4 Gauge will take your training to a completely new level.
Smash your workouts – feel your nervous system firing on all cylinders
Cell-splitting muscle pumps – harness the power of vasodilation and deliver more nutrients to your muscle cells
Determination like never before – feel unparalleled focus and motivation
Relentless energy – train for longer without fatigue
- Mason, R. L-theanine boosts alpha waves, promotes alert relaxation. Alt Compl Therapies. 2001
- Zheng, G et al. Anti-obesity effects of three major components of green tea, catechins, caffeine and theanine, in mice. In Vivo. 2004; 18(1): 55-62
- Mah, CD et al. The Effects of Sleep Extension on the Athletic Performance of Collegiate Basketball Players. Sleep. 2011; 34(7): 2011
- Taheri, S et al. Short Sleep Duration Is Associated with Reduced Leptin, Elevated Ghrelin, and Increased Body Mass Index. PLoS Med. 2004; 1(3): e62
- Lyon, MR et al. The effects of L-theanine on objective sleep quality in boys with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Altern Med Rev. 2011, 16(4): 348-54
- Owen, GN et al. The combined effects of L-theanine and caffeine on cognitive performance and mood. Nutr Neurosci. 2008; 11(4): 193-8
- Giesbrecht, T et al. The combination of L-theanine and caffeine improves cognitive performance and increases subjective alertness. Nutr Neurosci. 2010; 13(6): 283-290