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L-theanine, Unique Amino Acid of Tea, and Its Metabolism, Health Effects, and Safety

Duygu Türközü  1 Nevin Şanlier  1


Tea has been a very popular beverage around the world for centuries. The reason that it is delicious, enabling hydration, showing warming and relaxing effect can be mentioned why it is consumed so much in addition to its prominent health effects. Although the catechins and caffeine are the primary bioactive components that are related with the health effects of the tea, the health effects of theanine amino acid, which is a nonproteinic amino acid special to tea, has become prominent in recent years. It has been known that the theanine amino acid in tea has positive effects especially on relaxing, cognitive performance, emotional status, sleep quality, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, and common cold. The results of acute and chronic toxicity tests conducted on the safety of theanine express that L-theanine is reliable in general even if it is consumed too much with diet. However, it has not revealed a clear evidence-based result yet regarding theanine metabolism, health effects, and its safety. Within this frame, chemical structure of theanine, its biosynthesis, dietary sources, metabolism, health effects, and safety are discussed in present study.