Theanine, L-Theanine 

L-Theanine use has been growing as it is more commonly used to help balance glutamate and GABA, by increasing GABA and blocking glutamate receptors.  However L-theanine is also a glutamate analog, and what may work for some, may not work for all.  If you have trouble converting glutamate to GABA, this may actually contribute to the imbalance between these two neurotransmitters, by increasing glutamate.  If you are unaware of how well you’re able to convert glutamate to GABA or have a sensitivity to caffeine or mushrooms (what the supplement is typically derived from) you may want to proceed with caution when trying this supplement. It has also been suggested not to use it for longer periods of time, according to WebMD, no longer than 8-weeks. This is in no way considered medical advice.

  • “Theanine is an analog of glutamate and the major aminoacid in green tea. It has received growing attention in recent years because of its beneficial effects on the central nervous system. Theanine was shown to increase levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor and to stimulate neurogenesis. Anti-stress and calming effects of theanine are the most apparent and well-studied. A number of studies showed neuroprotective effects of theanine after an ischemic cerebral injury or the exposure to toxic chemicals. It also improved cognitive function including attention, memory and learning. Recent studies demonstrated a promising role of theanine in augmentation therapy for major depressive disorder and schizophrenia. Theoretical grounds for using theanine in treatment of bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder and some neurodegenerative disorders are discussed.”

Why Is This Important?

Glutamate is also the most abundant neurotransmitter, responsible for regulating over 50% of the nervous system. It is classified as an excitatory neurotransmitter, which means it excites or stimulates nerve cells located throughout the nervous system. Glutamate also has the ability to regulate other neurotransmitters, dopamine, serotonin and GABA are great examples. When glutamate is in excess it is extremely toxic to the brain and nervous system. It can become so excitatory, it is considered a excitotoxin, which means that it overstimulates brain cells to the point of killing them or damaging them enough to cause severe mitochondrial dysfunction (associated with low muscle tone) and neurological inflammation. Excess glutamate is believed to be involved in a variety of neurological and neurodegenerative disorders including autism, obsessive compulsive disorders, hyperactivity disorders, complex motor stereotypes, tics, insomnia, anxiety disorders, seizures, sensory processing disorder, addiction, depression, chronic fatigue, PANS, PANDAS, Alzheimers, and so on. Excess glutamate also impairs methylation and depletes glutathione levels, which are vital for detoxification, controlling inflammation and gut health.  Working to lower glutamate/inflammation and balance GABA, is key to improving overall health.

Obviously diet (REID) is one of the most important, if not, the most important step in lowering glutamate. However, this natural option may prove beneficial in helping when experiencing a peak of symptoms related to high glutamate and neurological inflammation, i.e. following consumption of a high glutamate food, trauma or a “flare” from PANS (pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorder) or PANDAS (pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections).  Additionally, working to lower inflammation/glutamate by treating underlying sources inflammation (metals, microbial imbalances, parasites, microglial activation, poor detoxification pathways, various toxins, etc.) will also be hugely beneficial.  We’ve personally found homeopathy to be great for this.

I do not have personal experience with all options mentioned in the “Lowering Glutamate” page, nor would I recommend all of them (especially the pharmaceutical options). You will want to read the comments as some of the items used to temporarily lower glutamate, can actual work to increase glutamate/glutamate sensitivity over time.

The information shared within this blog has been gathered by a mother, not a physician, and should not act as medical advice. Under no circumstances shall I, or any contributors and affiliates of the blog, be responsible for damages arising from use of the blog.