What is L-theanine: Benefits, & Uses – Drink Phocus

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What is L-theanine: Benefits, & Uses

What is L-theanine: Benefits, & Uses

October 25, 2022

      First, let's get the pronunciation out of the way. L -Theanine or EL-thee-a-neen, is affectionately known at Phocus HQ as the “difference-maker.” But why? Well, there are a couple of reasons, but before we get into that, let us talk about what L-theanine is and where it’s found.

What is L-theanine?

      Discovered in 1949, L-theanine is an amino acid that naturally occurs in tea and is a primary reason for the almost universal flavor aspect across most teas [1]. From a scientific perspective, L-theanine is a non-protein amino acid, which is a fancy way of saying that L-theanine isn’t used by the body to build protein. However, it does share a similar “shape” to a very important “protein building” amino acid named glutamate that is highly active in our brains. You’re most likely thinking, what does the flavor and shape of L-theanine have to do with Phocus? Glad you asked.

      First, let’s talk about flavor. When we set out to create Phocus, we knew it had to be free from sugar, sweeteners, calories, and additives all the while delivering a great taste and a boost of energy. The problem with that list of requirements is that caffeine is bitter and without sugar or sweeteners, that bitterness can be tough to mask by flavor alone. This is the first way L-theanine makes a difference for Phocus. It helps mask the bitterness of our tea caffeine, allowing us to deliver the same boost as a cup of coffee without any unnecessary additives [2].  

      Now the “shape.” Like I said above, L-theanine shares a similar shape to glutamate, an important amino acid. Glutamate has a laundry list of functions in our brain, one of which is classified as “excitatory.” By sharing a similar shape with Glutamate, scientists believe L-theanine can bind to Glutamate receptors, decreasing the excitatory effects of Glutamate on our brain and inducing alpha waves in our brain [3]. Now, this is where the magic happens. Alpha waves are what we see on an EEG (a test that measures electrical activity in the brain) when people are in a relaxed, wakeful feeling akin to meditation.

      So, let us bring it home – we already know that L-theanine can help mask the bitter taste of caffeine in Phocus, but how do the two together affect how we feel? Caffeine alone has excitatory effects on our bodies and that is why we love it. But anyone that has consumed too much coffee or enjoyed an energy drink with a large amount of caffeine can attest to the negative feelings that often accompany it. And that is where the combination of L-theanine and caffeine comes into play. By inducing a feeling of relaxation as well as limiting some of the excitatory aspects of caffeine, we get to experience the caffeine boost without the jitters and enjoy the best caffeine experience available [4].

L-theanine in Phocus

   Our natural ingredients work together to promote a clean boost of energy without the jitters, sugar, or crashes that most caffeinated beverages have. They support enhanced clarity and drive focus. Our 100% natural caffeine, combined with our hero ingredient L-theanine, helps you stay alert and focused without stress. Make the most of your afternoon and say goodbye to those midday slumps. That’s why Phocus includes L-theanine: we love its potential benefits! 


* This has not been evaluated by the FDA. The content in this blog is for informational purposes only, is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and does not constitute medical or other professional advice. 


1.) “L-Theanine - Education and Overview.” 88Herbs, 22 Jan. 2021, https://88herbs.com/l-theanine/#:~:text=L%20Theanine%20was%20first%20discovered,in%20certain%20varieties%20of%20fungi.

2.) Download Limit Exceeded - Pennsylvania State University. https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=

3.) Hidese, Shinsuke, et al. “Effects of L-Theanine Administration on Stress-Related Symptoms and Cognitive Functions in Healthy Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Nutrients, MDPI, 3 Oct. 2019, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6836118/.

4.) Giesbrecht T;Rycroft JA;Rowson MJ;De Bruin EA; “The Combination of L-Theanine and Caffeine Improves Cognitive Performance and Increases Subjective Alertness.” Nutritional Neuroscience, U.S. National Library of Medicine, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21040626/.