Is L-Theanine HALAL or HARAM?

Khadija Ahmed

August 18, 2023
Muslim woman reaching for L-theanine for better sleep

One of the common queries arising within our Muslim community today revolves around dietary supplements and their permissibility within the bounds of Islamic law. It is indeed our responsibility, as believers, to ensure that everything we consume is halal and tayyib (pure and wholesome).

In this article, we will delve into one of the most common questions posed recently: is L-Theanine halal or haram, and what benefits does it offer?

What is L-Theanine?

L-Theanine, commonly seen as Theanine, is a unique and natural amino acid primarily found in tea plant leaves (especially green tea leaves) and some types of fungi. In the human body, it is known to promote a relaxed state and sleep quality without causing drowsiness due to the effect it has on the brain's alpha waves, making it a popular dietary supplement for stress relief and healthy cognitive function.

L-theanine is often derived from tea leaves

How is L-Theanine made?

For industrial production and use in health care products, L-Theanine is chemically synthesised from glutamine or glutamate (a glutamine derivative). Historically in 1950 Japanese scientists in Kyoto successfully isolated it from gyukoro leaf, however today it is still better commercially to synthesise a pure form of L-Theanine naturally from glutamic acid and ethylamine.

What are the health benefits of L-Theanine?

  1. Promotes Relaxation: L-Theanine is known to boost alpha brain waves, giving a relaxing effect. This state can help with stress relief and anxiety management, inducing calmness without any sedative effects.

  2. Enhances Cognitive Function: Studies have shown that L-Theanine can improve focus, mental alertness, and memory, particularly when consumed with caffeine. This is why it's often paired with caffeine in many 'nootropic' or brain-enhancing supplements which aim to improve one's mental state.

  3. Supports Immune System Health: Some research suggests L-Theanine might aid the body's immune response, potentially helping to fend off illnesses by managing the body's blood pressure.

  4. Improves Sleep Quality: While it doesn't induce sleep, L-Theanine can improve quality sleep time by promoting relaxation before bed and reducing anxiety.

How is L-Theanine consumed?

Muslim man looking for the best sleep supplement before going to bed

In 2023 L-Theanine can be found in a wide array of dietary supplements including gummy vitamins, pills in a capsule shell, free form powders, Crescent Days Dream Sticks, and of course naturally-occurring in green tea. L-Theanine is not known to have any adverse side effects and one study found that a dose of between 250mg and 400mg of L-Theanine helped to improve sleep in animals and humans.

Consumers often take L-Theanine alongside other supplements like Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin B or with multi-vitamin vegan capsules.

Is L-Theanine Halal?

Muslim woman sleeping well with L-theanine

The Quran, the reference book for all Muslims, has given us clear guidelines regarding what we can and cannot consume. Allah (SWT) says in the Quran,

"He has only forbidden to you dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine, and that which has been dedicated to other than Allah. But whoever is forced [by necessity], neither desiring [it] nor transgressing [its limit], there is no sin upon him. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful." (Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:173)

The permissibility of consuming L-Theanine as a supplement depends on its source and the method of its extraction and processing. If it is sourced from tea leaves and fungi and processed without the inclusion of any haram (forbidden) ingredients, it is deemed halal.

However, in the context of dietary supplements, L-Theanine (like L-Glycine) is sometimes synthesised in a lab. The manufacturing process may or may not involve ingredients derived from haram sources. As a conscious consumer, it is vital to consult the manufacturer or supplier, ensuring they provide halal-certified L-Theanine supplements. Thankfully, with the increase in demand for halal supplements, some reputable companies, like Crescent Days, now offer halal-certified L-Theanine products. Always look for proper certification by recognised Halal certification bodies, like The World Halal Trust Group to ascertain the Halal status of any supplement.

What to remember when taking L-Theanine

While L-Theanine is generally safe for consumption, it's advisable to follow the recommended dosage guidelines. People with pre-existing medical conditions or those on medication should consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should do the same and any supplements should be kept out of reach of children.

Remember, supplements are not a substitute for a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle. They are intended to complement and support your overall health and should not be taken on an empty stomach.

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