The Interaction Between L-Theanine and Lexapro

In this article, we will take a close look at the potential interaction between L-Theanine, a major amino acid found in green tea, and Lexapro, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). We will delve into the individual properties of these substances, their uses, and the implications of their combined use.
Natasha Puttick

Natasha Puttick

Graduate medical student at Barts and London.

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What is Lexapro?

Lexapro, also known as escitalopram, is a type of antidepressant medication classified as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). It works by increasing the activity of a chemical known as serotonin in the brain, which helps regulate mood [1].

Lexapro is typically prescribed to people who have depression or generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). It's approved for use in adults and children 12 years and older [2, 3].

The medication comes in the form of an oral tablet and an oral liquid solution. Most people who take Lexapro take 10 to 20 milligrams once per day [1].

What is L-theanine?

L-theanine is a major amino acid uniquely found in green tea. It is a non-proteinogenic amino acid derived from green tea (Camellia sinensis) and some mushrooms, contributing to the unique flavor and umami taste of tea [4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9].

L-theanine has been historically reported as a relaxing agent, prompting scientific research on its pharmacology. Animal neurochemistry studies suggest that L-theanine increases brain serotonin, dopamine, GABA levels, and has micromolar affinities for AMPA, Kainate, and NMDA receptors [4].

It has been shown to exert neuroprotective effects in animal models possibly through its antagonistic effects on glutamate receptors. Behavioural studies in animals suggest improvement in learning and memory [4].

L-theanine has been confirmed to have hepatoprotective (liver protective) effects, and it has been shown to possess anti-apoptotic activity, which can be attributed to suppression of the intrinsic mitochondria-mediated apoptosis and MAPK phosphorylation signalling pathways [10, 11].

Moreover, L-theanine has been commercially developed as a valuable ingredient easily used for various applications in food and pharmaceutical industries [7, 8]. Check out our other blogs on the synergistic effects of L-theanine here.

The Interaction Between L-Theanine and Lexapro

L-Theanine is an amino acid found in tea and is known for its potential benefits on mental health. It has been studied for its effects on stress, anxiety, and cognitive function [12, 13, 14, 15]. Lexapro, on the other hand, is a prescription medication used to treat depression and anxiety [13].

However, the current body of research does not specifically investigate the interaction between L-Theanine and Lexapro. Therefore, there may not be sufficient evidence to provide a definitive answer on whether these two can be used together safely.

It's important to note that Lexapro can interact with other substances, potentially altering their effects [13]. Therefore, it's crucial to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement, including L-Theanine, while on Lexapro. They can provide personalized advice based on your health history and current medications.

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Natasha Puttick

Natasha Puttick

Natasha is a medical student at Barts and the London school of Medicine and Dentistry, with an interest in the social determinants of health. She graduated from the University of Oxford with a BA in Human Sciences and has obtained two publications. Her most recent work investigating clinical vaccine trials has been published in BMJ Public Health.