L Theanine And GABA: Are They A Great Formulation For Sleep?

L Theanine and GABA

L Theanine And GABA: Are They A Great Formulation For Sleep?

According to a WTO survey, approximately 10%-49% of people worldwide suffer from insomnia to varying degrees. Many insomnia patients take sleeping pills for a long time to relieve their symptoms. More than 50% of the respondents stated that they “have never consumed sleep.” Comparing the data on users who need to improve sleep, there is still a big market gap in sleep consumption. Potential demand may bring greater growth to the sleep consumption market.

2 Active Amino Acids In Tea: L Theanine And GABA

γ-Aminobutyric Acid, GABA for short, is a natural active ingredient. It is also a non-protein functional amino acid and an important inhibitory neurotransmitter in the mammalian central nervous system. It regulates various functions of the body. This ingredient is widely distributed in animals and plants, such as seeds, rhizomes, legumes, ginseng tissue fluids, Chinese herbal medicines, etc. GABA has functions such as improving brain activity, calming, lowering blood pressure, improving learning ability, and improving liver and kidney function.

L-theanine is the main amino acid in tea. It has relaxing, memory-improving, blood-pressure-lowering, neuroprotective effects.

Both occur naturally and are natural active ingredients. They perform a variety of physiological functions without causing side effects. It has important application value in food, health care, and medical treatment. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that protects overexcited neurons. The main function of L-theanine is to increase GABA levels and the content of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain. Therefore, it exhibits many of the same physiological functions as GABA.

L-Theanine And GABA: Differences In The Relaxing Effects

Brain waves can be used to evaluate whether a person is relaxed. There are four types of brain waves. When the number of alpha waves increases, it indicates that the person is in a “relaxed” state. When people are awake, thinking, or actively acting, the brain emits beta brain waves. Research has proven that L-theanine can promote the generation of alpha waves on the brain’s surface, making the human body feel comfortable and happy. However, it will not cause an increase in the number of theta waves during sleep. Taking L-theanine will make people “clear-headed,” “emotionally stable,” and “easily inspired.”

Experimenters who took GABA and L-theanine showed a significant increase in the number of alpha waves. However, the number of beta waves in the subjects who took GABA was significantly reduced. The results showed that alpha waves were significantly increased only when GABA was ingested, but beta waves were significantly inhibited. Taking GABA calms the brain and reduces stress. It can be seen that the relaxing effects produced by L-theanine and GABA are slightly different. L-theanine focuses on relaxation and pleasure. GABA focuses on calming.

GABA/L Theanine Mixture Has Potential Synergistic Sleep-Enhancing Effects

γ-aminobutyric acid is the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter. Activation of A receptors in GABA is beneficial to sleep. L-theanine is a natural amino acid first discovered in green tea. It is also a well-known anti-anxiety supplement. It has proven relaxing properties.

One study used a pentobarbital-induced sleep test to find the appropriate concentration to have a sleep-promoting effect in ICR mice. The total sleep time and sleep quality of normal SD rats and caffeine-induced consciousness models were analyzed and studied through electroencephalography. Real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) was used to research whether the sleep-promoting mechanism of GABA/l-theanine mixture involves transcriptional processes.

The study results showed that compared with GABA or theanine alone, the mixture of L-Theanine And GABA (100/20 mg/kg) shortened sleep latency (20.7% and 14.9%) and prolonged sleep duration (87.3% and 26.8%). The GABA/l-theanine mixture resulted in an obvious increase in rapid eye movement (REM) (99.6%) and non-rapid eye movement (NREM) (20.6%) compared to the control group. In animal models of wakefulness, administration of a GABA/L-theanine mixture restored sleep duration and quality to normal levels compared with GABA or L-theanine alone. Administration of this mixture resulted in increased expression of GABA and glutamate GluN1 receptor subunits.

In summary, compared to GABA or L-Theanine alone, the L-Theanine And GABA mixture has a positive synergistic effect on sleep quality and duration. The increase in GABA receptor and GluN1 expression was attributed to the potential neuromodulatory properties of the GABA/l-theanine combination. It appears to affect sleep behavior.

Source from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30707852/

L-Theanine And γ-Aminobutyric Acid Application In food

Is gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) legal?

Although EFSA allows GABA to be added to food, it stipulates that the upper limit of dietary intake of GABA is 550 mg/d. However, its main functional characteristics still need to be supported by rigorous population test results.

Based on toxicity test results, the FDA stated that GABA is safe to be added to food. The scope of use includes beverages, coffee, tea, and chewing gum. However, it is not allowed to be added to baby food, meat products, or some products containing meat.

  • Product Cases

Swisse launches Swisse Me Osmanthus Oolong flavored gamma-aminobutyric acid gummies. Each tablet contains 25 mg of GABA and natural tea theanine is added to help calm the nerves and promote sleep. Erythritol, etc., are sweeteners with zero fat and low sugar.

By-Health launches citrus-flavored Xinghaoban gamma-aminobutyric acid drink. The core ingredients are GABA and theanine extracted from tea leaves. Each bottle contains 450mg of GABA. In addition, it also contains plant extracts such as Poria cocos and lily, as well as vitamin B6 ingredients, with 0 sugar and 0 fat, and is claimed to be effective in promoting sleep.

WonderLab launches new sleep-filled gummies. The main raw material is GABA. It naturally extracts three major raw materials: tea theanine, passionflower, and lemon balm to help improve sleep quality.

The Black Zero brand of Bloomage Biotechnology launches Black Zero GABA sleep drink. Added 98% high-purity GABA, combined with tea theanine, lily, passionflower extract, valerian root extract, and Ziziphus seed.

Japanese Finebase GOOD Night27000 Theanine Soothing Capsules. L-Theaminophen is combined with 6 active ingredients to assist sleep: casein hydrolyzate, gamma-aminobutyric acid, glycine, apocynum leaf, tryptophan, and chamomile, making sleeping soundly a habit.

Although the sleep economy started late, the industry has entered a period of rapid development in recent years. Nutri Avenue expects that in the future, as the sleep product market penetration continues to increase and product types continue to increase, the market size will continue to grow. Combining γ-aminobutyric acid and theanine can relax nerves, reduce excitement, and relieve anxiety, further expanding the sleep market.


Facing the huge sleep market demand, major food companies have seized the opportunity and launched drinks and products focusing on sleeping. Among them, γ-aminobutyric acid and L-theanine powder have become popular raw materials in the sleep aid market. Studies have also proven that these two ingredients have potential synergistic sleep-enhancing effects. Nutri Avenue provides related sleep ingredient raw materials to support the rapid development of the sleep market.

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