If brain-boosting nootropics are (literally) on your mind, then this L-theanine vs Suntheanine showdown should give you some food for thought. Both of these are powerful and similar nootropic ingredients that can boost cognitive performance and support overall brain health.
L-theanine – known for its calming, sedative effect – is the basic form that’s derived from green tea leaves. In contrast, Suntheanine is a patented pure L-isomer-theanine form, which is similar to a concentrated form of L-theanine.
Both L-theanine and Suntheanine can boost your alpha brain wave activity to promote relaxation. Sounds great, but wondering which form is better than the other?
Dive in to find out which of these nootropic ingredients is a winner!
What Is L-theanine?
If you’ve ever had a cup of green tea and felt instantly calmer, then you already know how
L-theanine, the key bioactive compound in green tea leaves, works. There are some other bioactive compounds in green tea, including caffeine and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).
Praised for its calming properties, L-theanine is an amino acid that’s also found in other teas, such as white tea, oolong tea, and black tea. Keep in mind that the L-theanine content in tea varies due to preparation time and the processing of the tea.
L-theanine can also be found in smaller portions in some mushrooms, like porcini. [*] But the greatest amount of L-theanine is found in green tea.
Considered a non-dietary, non-essential amino acid, L-theanine comes in two forms;
L-theanine and D-theanine. The former is the most common form and is probably in your favorite nootropic stack.
As a regular L-theanine, this form has beneficial effects thanks to its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and positively influence brain activity.
Structurally similar to glutamate and GABA, two neurotransmitters that are vital for brain function, L-theanine plays a key role in the production and release of different neurotransmitters. These include serotonin, dopamine, and GABA. [*]
You can benefit from this amino acid by taking an L-theanine supplement or by drinking green tea regularly.
Alpha Brain Wave
The brain is a lively center of electrical activity. At any given moment, even during sleep, the 86 billion brain cells called neurons, are busy chatting to each other!
But instead of using words like you and I, our brain cells use electricity to communicate with one another. Brain waves are when one group of neurons sends an electrical signal to another group of neurons. [*]
There are five types of brain waves, each indicating a level of brain activity; from very slow to very fast. Alpha brain waves fall in the middle of this spectrum and indicate that you’re relatively calm and relaxed. The rhythm of these waves can have a frequency between 8 and 13 Hz. [*] [*]
We know what you’re thinking: what does this have to do with L-theanine? A lot, actually. Let’s find out!
L-theanine Benefits For The Brain
So what’s the connection between alpha brain wave activity and L-theanine? L-theanine has the ability to enhance alpha waves to ensure you’re in this state of calm and relaxation more often. [*]
In addition to increasing alpha brain wave activity, its ability to cross the BBB means that
L- theanine can reach your brain quicker and easier than many other substances out there.
Since L-theanine works well with other bioactive compounds like caffeine, it has the amazing ability to induce calm while improving alertness. By counterbalancing the stimulating effect of caffeine, you get all the benefits and none of the negative side effects connected to caffeine.
This amino acid can also reduce anxiety and studies show that it’s also effective at reducing physiological stress responses. [*]
Whether through L-theanine supplementation or the consumption of green or black tea, you’ll also appreciate other benefits of L-theanine. For example, it lowers blood pressure, especially in stressful situations. [*] Like some other nootropics, for example, Lion’s mane, L-theanine also promotes good quality sleep. [*]
As far as cognitive benefits go, thanks to L-theanine’s ability to protect brain cells, this amino acid is found to promote brain health as well as mental health and increase cognitive performance. [*]
More L-theanine benefits include its neuroprotection properties. Clinical research shows that when consumed regularly, L-theanine can reduce the risk of stroke.
In a study published in the American Heart Association journal, researchers found that the more a person drank green tea, the lower their risk of suffering a stroke.
A study of 82,369 men and women in Japan showed that those who drank four cups of green tea a day had a lower risk of suffering from stroke compared to those who routinely drank little or none of this healthy all-natural drink. [*]
L-theanine is not only super beneficial for the brain, but it is also known as an:
What Is Suntheanine?
Suntheanine is basically the distant relative or branded form of L-theanine. Considered the superior form of L-theanine, Suntheanine is the trade name for a patented pure form of
Unlike its distant relative, Suntheanine isn’t derived from green tea leaves. Instead, Suntheanine is produced through a patented process that mimics the natural process that’s found in green tea. This process results in a pure L-isomer-theanine. [*]
This form of L-theanine is clinically researched and backed by 40 U.S. and international patents including its patented proprietary technology. [*]
As the subject of over 60 clinical studies, Suntheanine is said to be a clean and reliable form of L-theanine. In addition, the studies show that Suntheanine is extremely potent.
Suntheanine Benefits For The Brain
According to clinical studies, the benefits of Suntheanine include improving sleep quality, promoting focus, and boosting learning performance. [*]
Able to cross the BBB, Suntheanine can enhance cognitive performance and promote brain health. In addition, Suntheanine stimulates an increase in alpha brain wave activity, which – as we’ve previously mentioned – helps ensure you’re in a calm and relaxed state.
Due to its relaxation effect, Suntheanine can be taken by those who experience anxiety or want to improve their physiological stress responses.
Formulated to mirror the properties of green tea leaves, the benefits of Suntheanine seem to echo those we’ve already mentioned for L-theanine. So how do they compare to each other?
Does it mean that the Suntheanine supplement is more potent and thus better than the regular consumption of green tea, which contains L-theanine? One way to find out!
L-theanine Vs Suntheanine: Are They Even Different?
Okay, so which is the best form out of these two ingredients? Let’s start with L-theanine – this amino acid stands out for many reasons. It’s a natural compound that one can get from consuming tea or through theanine supplements.
As a popular ingredient, it can be found in almost every nootropic stack out there – a testimony to its superior abilities to support brain function, improve cognitive performance, and induce calmness, among others.
Its distant relative, Suntheanine, is said to have similar functions and thus offers similar benefits. For example, according to its manufacturer, Suntheanine can promote calmness, reduce stress, and offer cognitive benefits.
As you can see, L-theanine and Suntheanine seem to have identical benefits. This is because both of these forms are intended to offer similar benefits to the body.
For example, both can cross the blood-brain barrier, which means that you should feel their effect not long after consuming them.
That’s not all. Both have the ability to reduce anxiety and offer the benefit of calmness combined with alertness, all without the caffeine crash after drinking coffee.
Studies show that L-theanine supplements promote focus, improve sleep, increase cognitive performance, and support mood. [*]
L-theanine Vs Suntheanine: The Winner
Now that you have seen the L-theanine vs Suntheanine showdown, what are your thoughts? We admit, that these two nootropic ingredients seem to be very similar and from studies, appear to offer the same benefits.
However, is one better than the other, and if so, how? According to our research, we believe that L-theanine is hands down, the superior ingredient. So why do we say L-theanine is the winner of this L-theanine vs Suntheanine showdown? For a few reasons.
Firstly, it’s important to highlight that while Suntheanine’s benefits seem remarkable and identical to that of L-theanine, all the structure and function claims are based on studies from the Suntheanine brand.
In other words, the clinical research showing the efficacy of this form of L-theanine are all studies done by the manufacturer of Suntheanine. Secondly, we don’t really know what this patented “natural process” of Suntheanine entails or how safe it is.
While it’s claimed that Suntheanine is more potent than L-theanine itself, we found no independent and verifiable evidence to support this claim. As we already have mentioned, all the studies on Suntheanine are done by the manufacturer of Suntheanine.
No surprises here but we have to say it as it is. Unlike the uncertainty surrounding Suntheanine, L-theanine is a natural compound. This means you know exactly what you’re getting. That’s not all! The benefits and functions of L theanine are not hearsay but backed by countless, independent, and verifiable sources.
For these reasons, we would say that if you’re in the market for a nootropic ingredient that boosts brain performance, improves memory, tackles anxiety, and much more, L-theanine is the best choice.
Whether you choose to get its benefits from consuming green tea, taking an L-theanine supplement, or pairing it with caffeine is totally up to you. Click below for the best nootropic stacks that contain L-theanine.