What is L-Theanine & Does it Help With Depression?

Being a major health concern, depression affects more than 15 million Americans annually and is considered to be one of the most common health problems around the globe. L-Theanine is an herbal supplement which can prove to be quite helpful in controlling depression. Here, we analyze the relation between L-Theanine and depression.

Though medication and psychotherapy can prove helpful in the treatment process there are some medicines which can have adverse effects on the body and give rise to complications in the long run. It was these side effects and complications that compelled researchers to find better and natural alternatives to medicines for depression. After several attempts, researchers are now narrowing down the amazing benefits of L-Theanine, an herbal supplement which has been proven to work wonders for patients suffering from depression.

What is L-Theanine?

What is L-Theanine?

Commonly found in the leaves of tea, especially green tea, L-Theanine is an amino acid compound. It can also be found in Boletus badius, which is a species of edible mushrooms. Though the clinical research in still in the initial stages, researchers believe that the use of L-Theanine either in its supplement form or tea form can help patients of depression to feel relaxed and calm without having to incur the common side-effects that medicines for this disease have. This could be a major breakthrough in the management of depression and the link between L-Theanine and depression is worth understanding.

Since L-Theanine is extracted from the leaves of tea to manufacture supplements (tablet or capsule form) it is absolutely natural and has no presence of drugs or medicines at all. Researchers studying this herb for a long time now also stated that it showed great potential in calming the body’s nervous system. This calming effect is quite essential for a patient of depression and also instrumental in curing the disease.

Does L-Theanine Help With Depression?

Feeling sad or low is not the same; depression means that you are suffering from a real medical disorder which can negatively affect your life. It gives rise to severe symptoms such as fatigue, tension, irritability, sadness, insomnia, changes in appetite, constant pain in muscles and even a dislike for activities and hobbies which you once enjoyed doing. Patients suffering from severe depression also commit suicide if they are unable to bear the mental stress.

Statistics reveal that also 80 percent of depression patients get very little or no treatment as they fail to talk to the people around them. In most cases, the family members are unable to understand what exactly is wrong with the patient. Though the exact cause of depression is not yet known, several theories and studies reveal that it is mainly caused where an imbalance in the brain’s neurotransmitter known as serotonin occurs.

In order to treat this imbalance, most psychiatrists prescribe antidepressant medicines to the patient which is also combined with psychotherapy if need be. However, in some cases it has been found out that dietary supplements such as L-Theanine can be helpful in calming the mind and restoring its normal balance. This is the main reason why treatment with L-Theanine and depression can be related.

One of the major issues that patients of depression experience is inability to relax and let go off their mental stress. A recent study revealed that L-Theanine induced a sense of relaxation combined with alpha brain waves in the participants of the study; all of whom were suffering from depression. Also, another study suggested that L- Theanine had positive effects on behavioral depression on several lab mice thereby assuring the fact that this herb indeed has the power to alter negative behavior patterns.

A very recent study was performed on around 100 subjects; all of which were suffering from immense psychological distress. This study showed that the subjects who were given 4 to 5 cups of green tea to drink on a daily basis suffered from very little psychological distress as compared to those who were not. Since L-Theanine is a major ingredient in green tea, it showed positive results in lowering psychological distress in all the subjects.

Though the results of all the studies mentioned above are quite promising, more research is required to confirm the fact that L-Theanine is indeed quite beneficial for patients of depression.

Though the various studies point to the fact that L-Theanine and depression are linked and that its supplements and green tea can help in managing depression, it is necessary to consult your physician before taking any of these. Also, if you are depressed or falling into depression, it is strictly advisable not to self-diagnose the problem and instead consult your mental health practitioner and discuss all the treatment options available.


Depression is a condition which can worsen with time and without proper treatment. Using dietary supplements liked L-Theanine or green tea may help in managing depression, but are best taken only with medical advice. Also, do not stop consuming any prescribed medications unless your physician advises you to do so.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:November 10, 2017

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