Caffeine and L-theanine make a great nootropic partnership, and like all good partnerships, each member contributes something important to the relationship.
Oftentimes, one partner is strong in one area, but weak in another. Ideally, each partner compensates in some way for his counterpart’s weaknesses, and the synergistic combination results in more than the sum of its parts. This is certainly true with the nootropic stack, caffeine and L-theanine.
Caffeine, the alkaloid found in coffee, cocoa, soft drinks, chocolate, migraine medications, and popular South American drinks like mate and guarana, is the most consumed drug in the world, rivaled only by nicotine and alcohol (ethanol).
Two and a quarter billion cups of coffee are consumed in the world every day. The majority of people in the world, especially in the U.S., consume some form of caffeine in the morning to enhance alertness and to ‘get their motor going’.
Tea is also widely popular, both black and green tea, with two billion people consuming tea each day. Tea also contains some caffeine, with the black variety containing more than green tea. But tea, especially green tea, also contains the amino acid, L-Theanine.
Both caffeine and L-theanine are stimulants, but they work in different ways and produce different effects in users.
How Caffeine and L-Theanine Affect Your Mind & Body
Caffeine tends to cause a nervous, jittery reaction when consumed at high levels. A typical cup of coffee contains about 100 mg of caffeine and most health experts agree that adults can consume up to 400 mg per day with no adverse effects. But amounts over 300 mg or 400 mg per day tend to cause these jittery side effects.
L-theanine, on the other hand, while having stimulant and cognitive boosting qualities, also has a calming effect. When combined with caffeine, it forms an ideal partnership. L-theanine balances the nerve-related side effects of caffeine. All of the negative effects of over-consuming caffeine like restlessness and anxiety are essentially neutralized when used with L-theanine.
The Science Behind Caffeine
Caffeine, acting through several systems of neurotransmitters, is a mild psychostimulant to the central nervous system.
It stimulates the nervous system by blocking the inhibitory neurotransmitter adenosine, which tends to produce drowsiness and fatigue. In response to this, the body increases neurotransmitter production of GABA and serotonin, which is correlated with improved mood and relaxation.
The Science Behind L-Theanine
L-theanine has long been known to promote concentration and relaxation. It also affects the cardiovascular system by reducing blood pressure.
L-theanine elevates the brain’s GABA activity. GABA is the principal inhibitory (calming) neurotransmitter in the brain. It decreases neuron activity and inhibits nerve cells from over-firing. GABA supports the brain against stress-related messages, and blocks these signals from reaching the motor centers of the brain by occupying their receptor sites.
L-theanine can also elevate the levels of key neurotransmitters in the brain. So, it helps blood pressure, enhances mood, relieves stress, and promotes brain alpha waves. L-theanine soothes your mind and calms you down without being too sedating.
A Synergistic Combination
All of the negative side-effects of over-consuming caffeine like restlessness and anxiety are essentially neutralized when combined with L-theanine.
The combination of the two produces a calm alertness with increased focus and concentration. It’s a zen-like energy boost, which results in a nootropic that utilizes the best of both of these two ingredients.
Caffeine and L-theanine are available to buy separately or in pre-combined/stacks. Each supplement sold separately is relatively inexpensive and both are available online and in stores.
Ideally, you want to take double the amount of L-theanine compared to caffeine. For example, a regimen of 200mg L-theanine and 100mg of caffeine is ideal for most users.
You should, of course, experiment with what works best for you. Don’t overlook this powerful combination and take advantage of them in combination to optimize your concentration, focus, and productivity.
Our nootropic supplement, metaDRIVE (part of the metaBRAIN box) has been formulated specifically to utilize the ideal partnership of caffeine and L-theanine with a combination of neurotransmitter precursors, including L-dopa, L-tyrosine, and Rhodiola rosea. It also contains sulbutiamine and green tea extract (EGCG), both of which enhance the process of conversion from this key neurotransmitter for motivation, focus, and pleasure.