November 20, 2018
L-theanine is an amino acid found in green tea leaves which has relaxing effects in humans and animals. This study was to determine whether an L-theanine based oral supplement (Anxitane®,
Virbac, France) could attenuate manifestations of stress in cats under field conditions. Thirty-three privately owned cats presenting signs associated with stress or fear (inappropriate urination/defecation, fear-induced aggressiveness, hypervigilance/tenseness or physical/functional manifestations of stress) for at least 1 month, were included in the study. They were given L-theanine (Anxitane®, 25 mg twice a day) for 30 days and 20 stress-related parameters were scored at Days 0, 15 and 30.
All the stress-related signs were significantly improved compared to D0, according to the owners, especially inappropriate elimination. Tablet palatability was judged good or very good in 94% of cases with spontaneous intake by cats when given by hand or in food. Tolerance was satisfactory as well, and no side effects were reported, so that most owners (27/33; 82%) were
satisfied with the product. However, this study was open-label and did not contain a control group. Conclusions should therefore be taken with caution as owners/vets could have expected
some sort of improvement during this type of trial. Still, the extent of the decrease in undesirable stress-related signs observed during the study in most cats is promising and suggests that L-theanine could calm and relax cats.
Conclusions: Despite the lack of a placebo group, it can be concluded that L-theanine (Anxitane®) helped to improve the undesirable manifestations of stress in cats in as soon as 15 days, though better results could be seen after 30 days of administration. These encouraging results show that L-theanine can help manage stress-related behaviour, but additional trials with a placebo group should be run to confirm this effect. (MK)