L-theanine is one of my favorite natural ingredients for living a more focused lifestyle with ADHD.
I usually get my l-theanine by drinking yerba mate, which is the greatest tea on this planet (in my humble opinion).
But, this article lists all of the different sources of l-theanine that you can use (there are quite a few).
Plus, in this article, I also break down:
- What l-theanine is
- Why l-theanine is usually beneficial for people with ADHD (the health benefits of l-theanine)
- How to make the most of l-theanine (by combining l-theanine with caffeine)
- My favorite sources of l-theanine
- Can you use l-theanine in combination with ADHD medication?
Ready, set, go…
What is l-theanine?
L-theanine is a “calming” amino acid that’s found in tea leaves.
So, tea is the most common source of l-theanine for the vast majority of people who consume l-theanine.
To be even more specific, green tea is the most common source of l-theanine.
If you’ve ever sipped an authentic green tea (not the low-quality stuff that Lipton makes) then you likely know how great l-theanine makes you feel…
L-theanine is one of my very favorite brain-boosting ingredients, because l-theanine is relatively safe, healthy, and effective.
Why l-theanine is usually beneficial for people with ADHD (the health benefits of l-theanine)
Many people with ADHD love to use l-theanine, because l-theanine provides many of the benefits that people with ADHD are looking for, such as:
- Improved focus
- Better mood
- Less stress
- Heightened creativity
- Improved sleep quality
But, one of the most relevant benefits of using l-theanine is that it can improve your attention span and reaction time, if you’re prone to anxiety.
The relevant study that I’m referencing is fascinating, because some of the study’s participants had a “high propensity for anxiety,” and experienced the following benefits after consuming l-theanine:
- Lower heart rate
- Significantly enhanced activity of alpha waves (brain waves)
- Improved “visual attentional performance”
- Better reaction times
This same study shows that the participants who had a “minimal propensity for anxiety” did not experience such benefits.
In other words, if you’re an anxious person, there’s a decent chance that you can benefit from using l-theanine.
Research shows that anxiety is often comorbid with ADHD, with comorobidity rates approaching 25% in most samples.
So, whether you have ADHD, anxiety, or both conditions – you may want to keep l-theanine around as a tool that helps you think, focus, and perform better.
How to make the most of l-theanine (by combining l-theanine with caffeine)
Most people “unlock” the full benefits of l-theanine by combining l-theanine with caffeine.
If you drink yerba mate, for example, then you’ll get a nice dose of naturally-occurring l-theanine and caffeine in a single beverage.
Imagine feeling mentally stimulated, calm, and creative all at the same time.
That’s what the combination of l-theanine and caffeine feels like.
It’s worth noting that the effects of l-theanine and caffeine only last for a few hours. So, you might have to drink multiple cups of yerba mate throughout the day, if you want to keep this sensation going all day long.
Alternatively, some people choose to drink a cup of coffee, and consume some l-theanine powder shortly afterwards (or swallow an l-theanine capsule).
In fact, let’s talk more about my favorite sources of l-theanine…
My favorite sources of l-theanine
Here’s a short list of my favorite sources of l-theanine.
I’ve ranked the following sources of l-theanine in terms of quality, convenience, and safety.
L-theanine source #1. Jarrow Formulas Theanine
Jarrow Formulas Theanine (Amazon) is the highest-quality source of theanine that is also convenient, safe, and delicious to use.
These veggie capsules are made with “Suntheanine” which is a special patented variety of l-theanine.
I like these capsules because they’re extremely easy to use on-the-go. You can keep them with you in your bag, and swallow some l-theanine whenever you need a little boost of creativity or focus.
L-theanine source #2. Guyaki Yerba Mate Tea Bags
Guyaki Yerba Mate Tea Bags (Amazon) are a truly convenient source of l-theanine, because yerba mate provides you with caffeine and l-theanine.
The only problem with drinking yerba mate is that it takes 5-10 minutes to steep your tea bag. And, you’ll need hot water to prepare this form of l-theanine.
But, if you’re willing to spend a few minutes preparing some tea, you’ll really enjoy this source of l-theanine.
When I have the time, I actually make yerba mate latte’s. They taste delicious. Try some yerba mate for yourself. You won’t be sorry.
Pro tip: If you’ve never heard of yerba mate before, it’s a beverage that’s extremely popular in South America. Yerba mate is gradually becoming more popular in the United States. But, it’s still kind of an “unknown” beverage. These tea bags are individually wrapped, so they’re really easy to use.
L-theanine source #3. Thorne Research Theanine
Thorne Research Theanine (Amazon) is one of the highest-quality l-theanine supplements available.
The Thorne Research company provides some of the best, pharmaceutical-grade supplements that you will find. (You can read more about Thorne’s quality control process, if you’re interested in knowing more).
So, if you’d like to have the purest form of theanine, then you should consider going with these capsules. Many professional athletes use Thorne’s supplements.
To be perfectly clear, I realize that Thorne’s supplements are usually more expensive than other brands.
But, I’ve always felt like I got my money’s worth after using Thorne’s nutritional products.
L-theanine source #4. BulkSupplements Pure L-Theanine Powder
BulkSupplements Pure L-Theanine Powder (Amazon) is a great source of l-theanine that comes in powder form.
This type of l-theanine is useful if you’re interested in mixing some l-theanine with juice, and gulping it down like a shot.
Some people actually pour l-theanine powder directly into their morning cup of coffee.
Other people prefer to drink l-theanine before bedtime, because l-theanine can be useful for getting into a calm, relaxed state.
Overall, pure l-theanine powder is a great option for anyone who enjoys having the freedom to choose how much l-theanine they want to take.
With this powder, you can take a small 100 mg dose for a tiny bit of relaxation. Or, you might choose to take a 250 mg dose of l-theanine if you’re dealing with more severe anxiety issues.
L-theanine source #5. INATO Organic Loose Leaf Yerba Mate
INATO Organic Loose Leaf Yerba Mate (Amazon) is my new favorite yerba mate product. As I mentioned earlier in this article, yerba mate is a very powerful source of l-theanine.
If you’re interested in trying yerba mate, I strongly suggest brewing loose leaf yerba mate.
I didn’t know what I was missing out on until I finally stopped being lazy…and started brewing loose leaf yerba mate. INATO was the first loose leaf yerba mate that I tried.
And, it’s safe to say that loose leaf yerba mate is at least twice as potent as pre-packaged yerba mate tea bags (like the Guyaki Yerba Mate Tea Bags that I’ve recommended earlier in this article).
Yes, tea bags are still great for convenience sake. You can even make your own tea bags using this loose leaf yerba mate if you like.
But, it’s absolutely worth taking the time to brew loose leaf yerba mate the traditional way, because this is most likely how you will feel the strongest effects of l-theanine.
I think it’s also worth mentioning that INATO Organic Yerba Mate comes from the Brazilian rainforest. Plus, INATO Yerba Mate arrives in a nice vacuum-sealed package. So, this yerba mate smells and tastes extremely fresh.
Overall, this is the best source of yerba mate (and l-theanine) that you can try. It will take you 5 to 10 minutes to prepare this yerba mate.
But, the small preparation time is well worth the feeling of “mental refreshment” that you get from drinking fresh yerba mate.
Can you use l-theanine in combination with ADHD medication?
First of all, it’s worth mentioning that you should always consult with a doctor before using ADHD medication in combination with any nutritional supplements.
So, this is not medical advice. I am not a doctor.
But, in my personal experience, and the experience of thousands of other people, l-theanine is one of the “complementary ingredients” that may be safe to use in combination with ADHD medication.
If you’ve ever drank a cup of tea after taking ADHD medication, then you may have already combined l-theanine with ADHD medication.
In the United States, the FDA considers l-theanine to be Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS). A little bit of l-theanine is honestly no big deal.
The main thing to be careful of is caffeine content. Consuming too much caffeine does not mix well with ADHD medication at all.
But, if you use just a little bit of l-theanine in combination with your Vyvanse or Adderall, this may actually help you take the “edge” off your ADHD medication.
L-theanine will always be one of my favorite cognitive-boosting ingredients, because of the immediate, noticeable results that I experience every single time that I consume l-theanine.
I love the enhanced creativity, concentration, and energy that I get from l-theanine.
The only downside of l-theanine is that its effects don’t last very long. I experience the benefits of l-theanine for maybe 2 to 3 hours at most.
But, because yerba mate is so delicious, I don’t mind drinking a few cups of yerba mate throughout the day to keep my energy going all day long.
If you’re new to l-theanine, I highly-recommend taking a little bit of l-theanine with a little bit of caffeine, and seeing how your brain responds to the combination.
If you’re lucky, you just might experience one of the most creative and insightful days of your life.