So is L-Theanine good for social anxiety?
Social anxiety is one of the most common anxiety disorders, with an estimated 15 million people in the United States suffering from this condition.
Research has shown that L-Theanine has a lot of beneficial effects, especially for calming the nerves. It also helps increase creativity, blood flow to the brain, and learning capacity.
This is why I believe L-theanine can also be an especially good nootropic, either as part of a stack, or on it’s own.
So without further ado, let’s find out how L-Theanine works, shall we?
What is L-Theanine?
The most common natural source of L-Theanine is tea, with the highest concentration being found in green tea.
L-Theanine is an amino acid that is nearly identical in structure to the neurotransmitter glutamate.
Glutamate is known as an excitatory neurotransmitter, because it stimulates the central nervous system.
Stress can cause huge amounts of glutamate to be released into the brain, resulting in glutamate toxicity. When this happens, brain cells can actually get overstimulated, and die.
L-Theanine has the ability to occupy receptor sites that would normally bond with glutamate, preventing glutamate toxicity.
In effect, it stops stress from damaging the brain.
Studies have also shown that when L-Theanine is taken as a dietary supplement, levels of dopamine and serotonin go up.
This of course leads to improvements in mood, and helps fight off the symptoms of depression.
L-Theanine supplementation also leads to more production of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA.
GABA is essential for regulating many of the normal functions of the body, like breathing.
Naturally, increased GABA levels encourage a greater state of calm.
In fact, EEG scans show that Alpha brainwave activity increases with L-Theanine use, but that the wave activity becomes smoother without leveling off.
Modulated Alpha brain waves are a key indicator of relaxed mental focus, creativity, and enhanced flow states.
It’s very similar to the state of mind many people try to achieve through meditation. It’s a wakeful state of focus.
Last but not least, people that take L-Theanine almost always report that in addition to all of the benefits listed above, they sleep better.
This is generally attributed to the increased levels of GABA, because GABA is one of several factors known to improve quality of sleep.
L-Theanine also lowers blood pressure, and has been shown to help prevent heart disease as a result.
So there you have it. The advantages of L-Theanine supplementation all in a neat little package.
Now let’s move on to the issue of social anxiety.
What is Social Anxiety? – What are the Symptoms?
Basically social anxiety is the fear of being judged by others, and people that have it often feel like they are ‘on stage’.
This visceral fear usually manifests itself in the form of behavior that could be attributed to shyness.
But social anxiety is so much more than being a wallflower at a party.
Physical symptoms can include dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath, fast heart rate, trembling, and even choking sensations.
Social anxiety is usually triggered by certain ‘social situations’. The social situations that make someone feel nervous are unique to the individual.
A person with social anxiety could be a performer that is fine being on stage, for example, but be terrified of having intimate relationships.
According to Anxiety Canada, there are 2 types of social situations;
- Performance Situations
- Interpersonal Interactions
The most common response to the emotional upset that social anxiety causes is avoidance. And let’s be clear here. It’s normal to be on edge before a job interview, or giving a speech at a wedding.
But when someone starts to become reclusive to the point of not being able to function socially, it starts to become a larger problem.
So why do I think L-Theanine is the best nootropic to help manage social anxiety?
I’m going to tell you. Right now…
L-Theanine for Anxiety – Why is it the Best Choice?
I want to play the ‘matching game’ with you.
Let’s recap all of the benefits L-Theanine provides as a nootropic, and see how well they counteract the symptoms of social anxiety.
Benefits of L-Theanine:
- Anxiety/Stress Protection
- Mood Improvement
- Alpha Brain Wave Enhancement – mental state of relaxed focus is established
- Sleep Improvement
- Blood Pressure is Lowered
Basically, L-Theanine provides an incredible amount of protection from stress and anxiety.
It prevents glutamate toxicity, and increases the production of GABA at the same time.
People with social anxiety disorder often have problems with negative thoughts creeping into their consciousness, and L-Theanine helps prevent that by increasing dopamine and serotonin levels.
It’s also common for people suffering from social anxiety to have ‘blackout moments’ where they act like a deer in headlights.
They’re afraid of being embarrassed, or saying something stupid.
L-Theanine provides a relaxed state of focus, where creative problem solving and verbal reasoning is enhanced.
This can prevent people from being caught off guard or being tongue tied at the wrong moment.
Finally, insomnia and social anxiety are usually closely related. Where you find one, you’ll find the other.
Insomnia can often be caused by constant worry, which can be triggered by stress, which is made worse with lack of sleep.
It’s a black hole that people can easily get sucked into, never to be seen again.
L-Theanine addresses this issue very well by increasing GABA production, thereby improving quality of sleep.
The increase in dopamine and serotonin production also helps reinforce this positive cycle.
This is my argument for using L-Theanine to manage social anxiety.
So assuming that I’m onto something here, what’s the best way to use L-Theanine?
L-Theanine Dosage – Recommended Forms
L-Theanine is naturally available in tea, but you have to drink about 10 cups of tea a day to see any therapeutic benefits.
A typical cup of green tea will provide anywhere from 10-20mg of L-Theanine, and the recommended dosage of L-Theanine is 100-200mg/day.
This amount can be taken either once or twice a day, depending on the dosage provided by the supplement you are taking.
Supplements are the preferred way to take L-Theanine, and are available as either tablets or capsules.
If you relied on tea as your theanine source, you would have to be running to the washroom every 30 minutes.
Sad to say, but it’s true!
I should also mention that not all L-Theanine forms are equal in quality. The best L-Theanine source that I am aware of is a patented product called Suntheanine.
A Japanese company called Taiyo developed a method of making a very pure form of L-Theanine in 1998, and Suntheanine was born.
Ever since then, Suntheanine has been the golden standard for the best L-Theanine supplements.
There have been no known case of allergic reactions or adverse effects from taking Suntheanine. It is considered extremely safe to use.
However, L-Theanine does lower blood pressure significantly. So anyone who happens to be diabetic, or is taking blood pressure medication should talk to their doctor first.
There are a lot of L-Theanine supplements that you can buy, but I would encourage you to simply look for a Suntheanine product that works for you.
Then you can be confident that you are getting a quality product.
That being said, I take a full spectrum nootropic supplement myself called Mind Lab Pro, and Suntheanine is on the list of ingredients.
I have piece of mind knowing that my daily stack has the best quality L-Theanine money can buy.
Speaking of nootropic stacks, one thing I’ve neglected to mention up until now is the fact that L-Theanine makes a really good stack when taken with caffeine.
L-Theanine and Caffeine – A Good Basic Stack
Chocolate and peanut butter.
Wine and cheese.
Beer and nuts.
You get the idea.
A lot of neuro-hackers use L-Theanine and caffeine together because of the natural synergy between these 2 compounds.
Basically, L-Theanine can curb the edginess that often comes with caffeine consumption.
At the same time, caffeine can provide more physical endurance, and a greater ability to shift attention than L-Theanine alone.
Research has shown that the magic formula is a 2 to 1 ratio for maximum effect.
It’s common to see stacks with 100mg of L-Theanine, and 50mg of caffeine paired together. Usually 2 capsules a day are recommended at this dosage.
I also need to warn you; caffeine consumption can be a two-edged sword.
Caffeine will boost performance as the dosage goes up, but it reaches a tipping point, and then performance actually starts to decline.
This is because of caffeine toxicity.
Caffeine is a diuretic, which is a fancy way of saying that it makes us run to the washroom.
When this happens, B-vitamins are also flushed out of our system. B-vitamins play several key roles as catalysts for energy metabolism.
So when we take too much caffeine, we actually start to get dehydrated and slow down.
This is why many higher quality nootropic stacks have B-vitamins included with L-Theanine and caffeine; it counteracts the effects of caffeine toxicity.
Now that you are aware of how useful L-Theanine and caffeine can be as a basic stack, let’s wrap things up shall we?
L-Theanine – Final Recommendations
So is L-Theanine good for social anxiety?
Yes, based on what I know about it, L-Theanine can be an excellent tool for managing this crippling disorder.
L-Theanine has many advantages for people having trouble with anxiety, cognition, depression, and insomnia.
I firmly believe that for a very modest price tag, L-Theanine supplementation can offer these folks a new lease on life.
It’s very sad to think that there are thousands of people in the world suffering in silence, hiding away not just from other people, but from their own lives.
Anyone giving L-Theanine supplementation a try should look for a Suntheanine product to ensure the best quality.
A daily dosage of 200mg/day is recommended starting out. The dosage should then gradually be raised to 200-400 mg/day for best results.
A good basic stack for enhancing energy and focus is L-Theanine with caffeine in a 2 to 1 ratio. Performance Lab Stim is the best product I am aware of for this purpose.
Well, that’s about all I had to say about theanine for social anxiety.
I sincerely hope that you found this article helpful. Please share it with anyone you know that could benefit from reading it.
In my next article, I will be exploring the benefits of Turmeric as a nootropic. It’s more than just a spice!
See you there!
P.S. – If you know of a good L-Theanine supplement you have tried other than Stim, please post a comment below.