Suntheanine® is a high-quality, research-backed brand of theanine shown to improve relaxation, attention, and provide other benefits.
Suntheanine is a patented brand of popular nootropic ingredient L-theanine. This amino acid is best known for promoting relaxation and improving focus. In this Suntheanine review, we will discuss its advantages over plain theanine supplements:
- Patented. Suntheanine is produced through an innovative process that utilizes enzymes from microorganisms, and its use for improving brain function, sleep, and other health issues is protected by over 40 patents.
- Clinically Researched. Suntheanine has been the subject of over 100 studies, proving its efficacy and safety.
- Established. Suntheanine is one of the most trusted supplement ingredients with over 20 years of use and research.
Suntheanine is a patented form of pure L-theanine produced by Japanese biotech company Taiyo Kagaku. L-theanine is an amino acid naturally present in tea leaves known for consistently reducing anxiety & stress and improving focus. Coupled with its lack of drowsiness and other side effects, this has made theanine one of the most popular supplement ingredients in the world; it is consumed daily by billions of people in the form of tea, supplements, and functional foods and beverages.
Suntheanine stands out from generic L-theanine products because it is made through a patented fermentation process rather than being extracted from tea leaves. In addition, it is protected by more than 40 patents and backed by over two decades of animal and human research confirming its safety and efficacy.
Much like basic theanine, Suntheanine has a wide range of benefits and applications, including:
- Reducing anxiety and stress
- Enhancing sleep
- Improving attention, learning, and creativity
- Supporting immune system function
- Reducing the side effects of caffeine
- Improving premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
How does Suntheanine work?
L-theanine, and by extension Suntheanine works by inducing several chemical changes in the brain. Most notably, theanine:
- Promotes alpha brain wave activity, which is associated with calmness, focus, and creativity
- Enhances the activity of calming, anxiety-reducing neurotransmitters such as GABA, serotonin, and dopamine
- Reduces the activity “excitatory” neurotransmitters associated with stress and tension, such as glutamine, which may also protect brain cells from damage
Suntheanine is protected over 40 international and U.S. patents for its production process and multitude of uses. Some of the most prominent of these include:
This patent describes the innovative production method of Suntheanine (US patent 8211674). Conventionally, theanine is extracted directly from dry tea leaves. However, this method has two key downsides:
- Tea leaves contain only about 1.5% theanine
- Photosynthesis in tea leaves slowly converts theanine into catechins
Because of this, it’s rather expensive and cumbersome to get theanine from tea leaves. To solve this problem, scientists instead produce the enzyme glutaminase from bacteria, mold, or yeast, and apply it to the amino acid glutamine alongside other compounds to produce theanine. This allows for the production of theanine on an industrial scale.
This patent describes the use of Suntheanine for improving mental focus and concentration. According to the patent, it works mainly through reducing beta brain waves, which are associated with tension and anxiety (US patent 9724318).
The use of Suntheanine-containing foods and supplements for promoting sleep is protected by US patent 8293269.
This patent describes the use of Suntheanine for helping people get over smoking cravings and ultimately quit smoking (US patent 7094787).
Improving behavior in pets
Given Suntheanine’s efficacy for lowering anxiety and stress and other cognitive issues in humans, it’s not surprising that it can also be used to help with similar issues in pets. This patent describes the use of Suntheanine in combination with choline or fatty acids or for treating behavior problems such as excessive barking, scratching, and aggression in cats and dogs (US patent 6297280).
This patent covers the use of Suntheanine for improving various symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), such as fatigue, pain, acne, abdominal pain, and anger (US patent 6831103).
Suntheanine Nutritional Supplement Uses
Suntheanine is most commonly sold in standalone L-theanine supplements, and less commonly in multi-ingredient products. It is most commonly found in:
L-Theanine is one of the popular ingredients in brain-supporting supplements. Indeed, decades of research have shown that both generic theanine and Suntheanine improve attention, promote relaxation, and reduce anxiety and stress without causing any drowsiness. The reliability and consistency of these benefits have made theanine the most widely-consumed nootropic compound in the world alongside caffeine, and the two are often taken together in tea or a nootropic stack.
In addition to these effects, theanine also appears to support creativity, learning, and memory, and protect the brain from age-related cognitive decline and neurodegenrative disorders such as Alzheimer’s. Finally, there is also some early evidence that it may even improve depression.
Read more: L-theanine as a nootropic
Suntheanine has been shown to reliably reduce anxiety and stress, with particular efficacy in people who are prone to these everyday concerns. In addition to this, Suntheanine also helps lower blood pressure – one of the most common symptoms of stress.
Read more: L-theanine for stress
Multiple studies have shown that Suntheanine makes it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep, enhancing the overall quality of sleep. In addition, it lacks the sedation often experienced with pharmaceutical sleep products. This has made theanine one of the most popular natural sleep aids.
Read more: L-theanine for sleep
Weight Loss Supplements
Given the popularity of green tea as a weight loss aid, it’s not surprising that some experts have implicated L-theanine as one of the compounds responsible. Indeed, there’s a good case to be made for L-theanine indirectly supporting weight loss efforts by enhancing sleep and reducing stress.
As for more direct effects, the science is still somewhat mixed, but there is some evidence that theanine reduces fat gain in animals.
Read more: L-theanine for fat loss
Immune System Supplements
Suntheanine has the potential to be used in immunity-boosting supplements because it has been demonstrated to support the immune system in combination with other compounds. In particular, two randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies found that:
- Suntheanine plus another amino acid (cysteine) improved immune function and helped prevent infection in athletes undergoing intense training 2
- Suntheanine plus green tea catechins (the second major active ingredient in green tea after theanine) helped ward off cold & flu symptoms 3
In addition to the above, Suntheanine has the potential to be used for more specific concerns, such as premenstrual syndrome (PMS), the side effects of caffeine, elevated blood cholesterol levels, and even quitting smoking.
Compared to generic L-theanine, Suntheanine has the advantages of being:
- Research-backed: The anxiolytic, stress-reducing, relaxation-promoting, and other benefits of Suntheanine are backed by dozens of high-quality human studies.
- Patented: Suntheanine is protected by over 40 patents that describe its unique method of preparation using microorganisms to turn glutamine into theanine, as well as its use for improving focus, reducing anxiety, and other common health issues.
- Safe: Multiple studies have shown that Suntheanine to be completely safe, and it has been successfully used in supplements, foods, and beverages for decades. In addition, it is considered GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) by the FDA.
- Established: Since being released in 1994, Suntheanine has become one of the most widely-used food, beverage, and supplement ingredients.
With decades of research and hundreds of studies, Suntheanine is one of the most researched supplement ingredients. The results of this research indicate that Suntheanine reduces stress and anxiety, helps promote relaxation, enhances attention, makes it easier to sleep, and has many other benefits such as easing the symptoms of PMS.
In this double-blind study, researchers gave 35 people either 50 mg of Suntheanine or placebo and administered EEG tests (which measure the brain’s electrical activity) before and after supplementation. They found that the theanine group experienced a significant boost in alpha brainwaves, which are associated with relaxation and attention.
- The researchers concluded that “L-Theanine, at realistic dietary levels, has a significant effect on the general state of mental alertness or arousal.”4
In this placebo-controlled, double-blind study, 18 university students were first divided into two groups based on whether they were naturally inclined be anxious. They were then given either a placebo or Suntheanine (200 mg) and asked to perform a visual attention task and an audio response test. The results showed that only individuals in the high-anxiety group had significantly enhanced alpha band activity, reduced heart rate, and improved attention and reaction time response compared to placebo.
- The study concluded that “l-theanine clearly has a pronounced effect on attention performance and reaction time response in normal healthy subjects prone to have high anxiety.”5
In this crossover, randomized, placebo-controlled investigation, 14 healthy adults were given placebo, Suntheanine (200 mg), or caffeine (100 mg) every day for 1 week and asked to complete a stressful task. L-theanine significantly limited blood pressure elevation in participants whose blood pressure increased by more than average after performing a mental task. Moreover, according to the Profile of Mood States (POMS) scores, L-theanine reduced tension & anxiety scores compared to placebo.
- The study concluded that “L-theanine not only reduces anxiety but also attenuates the blood-pressure increase in high-stress-response adults.”6
This randomized, double-blind, crossover study tested the efficacy of Suntheanine as a sleep aid. Twenty healthy men were given placebo or Suntheanine (200 mg) tablets 1 hour before bed for 3 days, and were assessed by questionnaire and other methods. A similar trial was then repeated with 20 older women (average age of 57).
The theanine was found to improve sleep on all five aspects of the questionnaire, and also improved sleep and dream quality, good mood and self-confidence, the feeling of recovery, and the feeling of being refreshed upon waking up.
- The researchers concluded that “L-theanine can be considered an excellent aid for improving the sleep state.“7
In this double-blind, placebo-controlled investigation, 12 adults performed a mental arithmetic task as a way to simulate a stressful situation. They were given one of 4 treatments: 200 mg of Suntheanine at the start of the task, 200 mg halfway through, a placebo, or nothing. Relative to placebo groups, both Suntheanine groups had reduced heart rate and salivary immunoglobulin A (s-IgA) responses to the task, suggesting reduction of stress.
- The study concluded that “the oral intake of L-Theanine could cause anti-stress effects via the inhibition of cortical neuron excitation.”8
This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study examined the efficacy of Suntheanine for reducing symptoms of premenstual syndrome (PMS). A total of 42 women were given placebo or Suntheanine (200 mg) daily for 12 weeks. The treatment improved symptoms of irritability, anger, mood swings, and crying.
- The researchers concluded that “…efficacy of the L-theanine to help reduce symptoms of premenstrual syndrome is suggested based on this clinical trial.” 9
This study examined the effects of Suntheanine (0-600 mg) on sensorimotor gating – the brain’s ability to filter out unnecessary stimuli from the outside. Fourteen adults underwent testing of sensorimotor gating 90 minutes after taking 9, 200, 400, or 600 mg of Suntheanine. The 200 and 400 mg doses improved test performance.
- The researchers concluded that “The observed effect with 200-400 mg of l-theanine on PPI suggested that l-theanine at a particular dose range increases sensorimotor gating in humans.” 10
- Standalone supplements usually come in 100-200 mg capsules
- Complex supplements typically include smaller theanine doses of 50-100 mg
- Human studies have used doses ranging from 50 to 600 mg, with 200 mg being the most common
- Generally speaking, it’s best to start with 50-100 mg and gradually increase until you get the desired effect
Supplements in Review Recommendation
- Suntheanine®, 50-400 mg.
Suntheanine is the most trusted, research-backed brand of L-theanine. Suntheanine has been used and studied for over 20 years, confirming that it is the highest quality L-theanine ingredient available.
Start out with 50-100 mg and move up to a desired dose. Some people can feel the effects of Suntheanine with only 50 mg, while others may have to increase to 100 mg and beyond to experience a significant effect. As such, it’s best to start low and move up if needed.
- Scheid L et al. Kinetics of L-theanine uptake and metabolism in healthy participants are comparable after ingestion of L-theanine via capsules and green tea. J Nutr. 2012 Dec;142(12):2091-6. ↩
- Murakami S et al. Effects of oral supplementation with cystine and theanine on the immune function of athletes in endurance exercise: randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2009 Apr 23;73(4):817-21. ↩
- Rowe CA et al. Specific formulation of Camellia sinensis prevents cold and flu symptoms and enhances gamma,delta T cell function: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. J Am Coll Nutr. 2007 Oct;26(5):445-52. ↩
- Nobre AC, et al. L-theanine, a natural constituent in tea, and its effect on mental state. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 01/2008; 17 Suppl 1:167-8. ↩
- Higashiyama A, Htay HH, et al. Effects of l-theanine on attention and reaction time response. J of Functional Foods. 2011 Jul;3(3):171-8. ↩
- Yoto A, Motoki M, et al. Effects of L-theanine or caffeine intake on changes in blood pressure under physical and psychological stresses. J Physiol Anthropol. 2012 Oct 29;31:28. ↩
- Rao TP et al. In Search of a Safe Natural Sleep Aid. J Am Coll Nutr. 2015;34(5):436-47. ↩
- Kimura K, Ozeki M, et al. L-Theanine reduces psychological and physiological stress responses. Biol Psychol. 2007 Jan;74(1):39-45. ↩
- Judi Quilici Timmcke et al. Efficacy and Short-Term Safety of L-Theanine in Randomized, Double-Blind, Parallel-Group Study. FASEB Vol. 22, No. 2 April 2008. ↩
- Ota M et al. Effect of L-theanine on sensorimotor gating in healthy human subjects. Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2014 May;68(5):337-43. ↩
- Hidese S et al. Effects of chronic l-theanine administration in patients with major depressive disorder: an open-label study. Acta Neuropsychiatr. 2017 Apr;29(2):72-79. ↩