Posted on Tue, 3 Oct 17
The first clinical trial of theanine for depression suggests it can help relieve symptoms such as anxiety, sleep disturbance and cognitive impairments.
Theanine is an amino acid present in green tea and has well-established anti-stress and anti-anxiety effects in several human clinical studies. The impact of theanine in people with depression, however, had not yet been investigated.
In a new clinical study a small group of 20 people diagnosed with major depressive disorder were given theanine (250 mg/day) along with their medication for 8 weeks.
Assessment of symptoms before and after theanine suggested that it contributed to a good reduction in clinical symptoms, including overall symptoms of depression, anxiety and sleep problems. Theanine also appeared to improve cognition and memory.
This was a small exploratory study, so more research is needed before firm conclusions can be made about the benefit of theanine for depression. But previous experimental and clinical research supports these observations. Theanine is known to have anti-depressant, mood-stabilizing and cognitive-enhancing effects.
Considering its safety, ability to be used as an adjunct to medication and effects across not only depressive symptoms but anxiety, sleep and cognition, theanine deserves more attention as a nutritional treatment for depression.
Hidese S, Ota M, Wakabayashi C, 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.