Updated on September 30th, 2019
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 matcha or sencha, which are two of the greatest green teas on this planet (in my humble opinion).
But, this article lists all of the different sources of l-theanine 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 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, real 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 may be beneficial for people with ADHD (the health benefits of l-theanine)
Many people with ADHD like to use l-theanine, because l-theanine provides many of the (obvious) 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 temporarily boost your attention span and reaction time, if you’re prone to anxiety.
The relevant study I’m referring to here is quite 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 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 matcha tea, for example, 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 the effects of l-theanine and caffeine only last for a few hours. So, you might have to drink multiple cups of matcha tea 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 fun to use.
These tasty gummy supplements are made with “Suntheanine” which is a special patented variety of l-theanine.
I like these gummies because they’re extremely easy to eat on-the-go.
You can keep them with you in your bag, and chew on some l-theanine whenever you need a little boost of creativity or focus.
L-theanine source #2. Matcha tea bags
Stash Tea Bags Matcha And Yerba Mate Blend (Amazon) are a truly convenient source of l-theanine, because matcha tea provides you with caffeine and l-theanine.
The only slight challenge with drinking matcha tea is that it takes a few minutes to steep your tea bag. And, you’ll need hot water to prepare this form of l-theanine. Hopefully this isn’t too much of an issue for you. It’s just a few extra steps.
If you’re willing to spend a few minutes preparing some matcha tea, you’ll really enjoy this source of l-theanine.
When I have the time, I even make matcha green tea lattes Starbucks-style. They taste delicious. Try a plain matcha tea or matcha latte for yourself. You won’t be sorry.
Pro tip: If you prefer pure matcha tea powder, rather than the pre-bagged stuff, you might want to experiment with ceremonial grade Japanese matcha for an authentic matcha treat. I like Leopard Ceremonial Matcha Tea (Amazon) because it’s a high-grade form of matcha tea which comes from the “first harvest” season – when matcha leaves contain maximum L-theanine.
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 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. Sencha tea
Sencha tea is a delicious source of l-theanine from the ancient Kirishima region of Japan.
While sencha tea doesn’t contain as much theanine as matcha, I do think sencha tastes a lot better than matcha, so that’s a nice bonus.
If you’re more interested in great flavor rather than maximum l-theanine intake, sencha should be a great option for you!
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 green tea is so delicious, I don’t mind drinking a few cups of matcha or sencha 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 (like in the form of matcha tea), 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.