L-Theanine and Alcohol: Do They Interact?

In this article, I will explain the scientific evidence behind the combined use of L-Theanine and alcohol. Firstly, we will talk about L-Theanine, its origin, and protective effects, and then we will understand its complex interaction with alcohol. Keep reading!
Frederika Malichová

Frederika Malichová

Neuroscientist at the University Of Cambridge.

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Combining L-Theanine and Alcohol

There is no direct scientific evidence implying that L-Theanine and alcohol cannot be combined. While studies have been conducted to determine the effects of L-Theanine on alcohol, these were not done on humans.

While there is no direct scientific evidence suggesting that L-Theanine and alcohol cannot be combined, it's important to note that both substances affect the central nervous system. L-Theanine is known for its calming effects, while alcohol is a depressant. Therefore, combining the two may potentially enhance these effects. Always consult with a healthcare professional before mixing any substances.

What Is L-Theanine?

L-Theanine is one of the major amino acids found in green tea and some mushrooms. This non-proteinogenic amino acid is what leads to the unique flavor of green tea and creates the umami taste [1, 2, 3, 4]. However, L-Theanine is also available as a pill or tablet to be swallowed as a dietary supplement [5]. Recently, we have seen a boom of L-theanine gummies.

L-Theanine has been shown to increase brain serotonin, dopamine, and GABA levels. In addition to this, it also has micromolar affinities for AMPA, Kaignate, and NMDA receptors and exerts neuroprotective effects in animal models [1].

This amino acid has hepatoprotective effects and has been shown to possess anti-apoptotic activity [5]. Read about the connection of L-theanine and cancer.

Further, it has been found to have several health benefits like helping to improve the immune, brain, and gastrointestinal function, cancer drug therapeutic efficacies but also antihypertensive effects [6].

L-theanine can also affect pregnancy.

Does L-Theanine Interact With Alcohol?

L-Theanine has been studied in relation to alcohol and the interactions this combination may elicit. Interestingly, what has been found is that L-Theanine may have protective effects against alcohol-induced liver damage.

One study found that L-Theanine significantly protected liver cells against alcohol-induced cell cytotoxicity. In this study, the researchers found that L-Theanine was able to inhibit ethanol-induced apoptosis in liver cells and even restored the antioxidant capability of hepatocytes, which was originally reduced by ethanol [7].

Another study also found that L-Theanine could protect against the toxicity of liver cells. In fact, they reported that the administration of L-Theanine decreased the blood alcohol concentrations and increased the activities of alcohol dehydrogenase and aldehyde dehydrogenase in the liver, both of which are enzymes involved in alcohol metabolism [8].

If you are interested in learning more about the interactions of L-theanine and other substances like Adderall or Lexapro, use the links to find out more!

However, these studies need to be replicated in human studies to confirm the findings and confirm whether they can be translated into humans. Either way, it is important to stay responsible when drinking.

Can You Combine L-Theanine With Alcohol?

While L-Theanine may have beneficial effects on alcohol metabolism and liver cell toxicity, excessive combined use is not recommended, due to the calming/depressing effects of both substances.

In case you want to start L-Theanine supplementation, or you are trying to gather information on how to deal with alcohol more efficiently, make sure to consult that your healthcare professional.

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Frederika Malichová

Frederika Malichová

Frederika is a postgraduate researcher at the University of Cambridge, where she investigates new biomarkers for Frontotemporal Dementia and other tauopathies. Her research has been published at prestigious conferences such as the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2023. She obtained her BSc in Biomedical Sciences from UCL, where she worked closely with the UK Dementia Research Institute.