The content on this website is for informational purposes only and is not meant to replace professional or medical advice. See our full disclaimer.
Welcome to a comprehensive exploration of L-theanine for ADHD. L-theanine is a calming amino acid that has stirred up quite the buzz in ADHD communities.
If you're new to this term, L-theanine is a naturally occurring amino acid. It's commonly found in green tea leaves and some mushrooms.
The magic happens when you sip on that warm, soothing green tea, and the L-theanine gives you a sense of calm, focus, and attention.
For those grappling with ADHD symptoms, L-theanine could be a game-changer. It's got the unique ability to pass through the blood-brain barrier, the body's "checkpoint" that decides what gets into the brain and what doesn't.
That means it may even help you start those tasks you've been avoiding or calm your anxiety.
Please note: While L-theanine shows promising potential in the context of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, it isn't a cure, and results may vary. Always consult a healthcare provider or mental health professional for personalized advice.
How Does L-Theanine Improve ADHD Symptoms?
Considering the positive effects of L-theanine on attention, anxiety, and sleep, its use for ADHD treatment has sparked interest. L-theanine is often described as inducing a state of "calm alertness."
Here's a closer look at some of the feelings and potential benefits of L-theanine:
L-theanine is a calming agent for your overactive brain.
It increases certain neurotransmitters (the brain's chemical messengers), including GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), serotonin, and dopamine. These neurotransmitters are essential in regulating mood, sleep, alertness, and stress.
Improvement in Focus, Attention, and Executive Functions
While it's calming, L-theanine doesn't act as a sedative. Instead, it can help improve focus, alertness, and attention, making it easier to concentrate on tasks.1L-theanine, a natural constituent in tea, and its effect on mental state - PubMed (nih.gov)
A systematic review found that L-theanine might significantly improve heart rate, brain waves, impulse control, and reaction times, especially in people with anxiety.2Effects of l-theanine on attention and reaction time response - ScienceDirect This is particularly beneficial for individuals with ADHD, who often struggle with sustained attention and cognitive functions.
Reduced Anxiety and Stress:
L-theanine also seems to lower brain chemicals linked to stress and anxiety. For instance, it can reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol.3Effects of L-Theanine Administration on Stress-Related Symptoms and Cognitive Functions in Healthy Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial
Study results show that L-Theanine can help alleviate stress and anxiety and promote a sense of calm.4Anti-Stress, Behavioural and Magnetoencephalography Effects of an l-Theanine-Based Nutrient Drink
Some people report that L-theanine enhances their mood. This could be due to its stress-reducing effects and its potential ability to adjust serotonin and dopamine production (which play key roles in mood regulation).5The neuropharmacology of L-theanine(N-ethyl-L-glutamine)
L-theanine doesn't make you sleepy, but it might improve the quality of your sleep. By promoting relaxation and reducing stress, it may help you fall asleep faster and enjoy a more restful night.
A clinical trial involving male children between 8-12 years dealing with ADHD revealed something intriguing: 2 daily doses of 200 mg of L-theanine resulted in better sleep quality.6The effects of L-theanine (Suntheanine®) on objective sleep quality in boys with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
L-Theanine and Caffeine
Some research suggests that when combined with caffeine, L-theanine may boost brain function even more than when used alone.7The combination of L-theanine and caffeine improves cognitive performance and increases subjective alertness - PubMed (nih.gov)
This might manifest as improved reaction times, enhanced problem-solving ability, and improved mental endurance.8The neuropharmacology of L-theanine(N-ethyl-L-glutamine): a possible neuroprotective and cognitive enhancing agent - PubMed (nih.gov)
I have found that an L-theanine and caffeine combination (like in a cup of matcha green tea) creates that feeling of alert calmness. It's an energy boost without the jittery feelings that come with too much caffeine.
The effects are temporary, lasting only a few hours.
However, consider your caffeine intake and tolerance before supplementing with this combo. Check with your doctor about the health benefits and safety of L-theanine with caffeine in your lifestyle.
Matcha Green Tea
Matcha, a type of powdered green tea, is especially rich in L-theanine because of how it is grown.
The tea plants are covered before harvest, reducing their exposure to sunlight. This triggers an increase in chlorophyll levels, which makes the leaves a darker shade of green and causes the production of higher amounts of L-theanine.9Matcha Explained: What is Matcha Tea & Benefits
When you consume matcha, you're ingesting the entire tea leaf, which means you're getting a more concentrated dose of all its nutrients, including L-theanine.
This, combined with the tea's natural caffeine content, often leads to a pleasant and focused state of mind.
Which Matcha is Best?
The quality of matcha can vary widely, and higher-quality matcha will generally have more L-theanine.
When choosing matcha, consider opting for ceremonial grade matcha, which is of the highest quality, as opposed to culinary grade matcha, which is often used for cooking and baking.
If you enjoy the relaxing process of making green tea, the matcha green tea set above gives you everything you need. This is one of the ways I increase dopamine naturally. Making tea is one of my happy places.
I use a frother wand to slightly froth my oat milk for a green tea latte.
We like to get our L-theanine primarily from green tea, but it's also available in supplement form. These can range from capsules and powders to chewable gummies, like those discussed below.
Since the quality of L-theanine varies, do your research and select a reliable, trustworthy brand. And, as always, please check with your doctor before trying anything new.
NOW Supplements L-Theanine
One of our preferred supplement brands is NOW Supplements, and they offer a vegan/vegetarian L-theanine supplement.
This supplement has added Inositol, which helps with mood regulation.
NOW is a trusted brand in the health industry, as it's known for its commitment to quality.
Thorne Research Theanine
Thorne Research is known for its high-quality products. These capsules are made without unnecessary fillers, and the company's commitment to quality control ensures that what's on the label is what you get in the bottle.
BulkSupplements Pure L-Theanine Powder
For those who prefer more flexibility in dosage or don't like swallowing pills, BulkSupplements Pure L-Theanine Powder is a great choice. You can mix the powder into your favorite beverage and control how much you consume.
Frequently Asked Questions
This is a common question, and the answer is: It depends. Some people with ADHD find that using L-theanine helps balance the effects of stimulant medications, but it's always best to get professional medical advice for your specific situation.
It's not guaranteed to work the same way for everyone, and caffeine can have adverse effects when taking a stimulant.
Personally, I take a stimulant and enjoy one matcha green tea latte every day, and it instantly calms me.
As with any supplement, the effects of L-theanine can vary from person to person, and while it's generally considered safe, it's always a good idea to check with your doctor before starting any new supplement regimen.
Though the names are similar, L-theanine and Magnesium L-Threonate are two different supplements.
L-theanine, as we've discussed, is an amino acid often found in green tea, while Magnesium L-Threonate is a form of the mineral magnesium.
However, both are linked to improved brain health and their ability to cross the blood-brain barrier. Both are often used to improve symptoms of ADHD.
More supplements that may help with ADHD
Whether you're managing the challenges of ADHD or just coping with the everyday pressures of life, L-theanine could provide that much-needed support.
With its ability to calm us, sharpen our focus, and provide comfort, L-theanine shows how nature's gifts and brain science can work together.