Bottom Line Up Front: I heard about L-Theanine a few months ago for the first time. I read up on it and decided to give it a try since it is safe and very inexpensive. I was so impressed with the results I decided to recommend it.
As this is a straight shot (quick read) I will be brief: L-Theanine is an amino acid commonly found in green tea that promotes relaxation. I first heard about it as part of a pre-workout stack, L-Theanine coupled with caffeine.
The coupling seeks to retain & enhance the benefits of caffeine (heightened alertness, increased blood flow, energy) and eliminate the jitters and hyperactivity that come from higher doses of caffeine.
A common ratio for this is 1-to-1, L-Theanine to caffeine. For nootropic effects (mental/cognitive enhancement), you can vary the ratios (2-to-1 or 1-to-2). I have been taking 400mg with my weekend coffee before I exercise in the morning. I estimate my two large cups are on/around 400mg of caffeine. I am not using caffeine supplements or I would know precisely.
I was amazed at how much better I felt putting the L-Theanine with the caffeine. I normally drink 10 oz (300g) of coffee on weekdays, essentially one large cup. On weekends, I tend to drink double that, sometimes more. Since I don’t over-consume coffee and caffeine, I really notice when I have more than one cup. I get a jittery feeling, notice I talk quicker, etc. When I started pairing L-Theanine with the coffee, I immediately noticed I didn’t get those same feelings although I had consumed a lot of coffee.
I have been bouncing back and forth with taking it on weekdays (200mg with my one cup of coffee) for a nootropic effect and taking it on weekends for performance (400-600mg with two cups of coffee). This is something you can take every day and customize based on your goal.
I have been using Nature’s Trove 200mg capsules. It costs $9.45 for 120 capsules at Amazon, so each cap costs around 8 cents! On a bang-for-your-buck basis, this is as good as supplements get.
You can couple it with coffee as I do or take a caffeine pill. In terms of costs and healthfulness, this stack FAR surpasses those BS pre-workout stacks filled with insane ingredients at a more insane price.
You can pick up some caffeine pills here. You will notice they sell some that come already with the L-Theanine. More convenient probably but likely cheaper to just buy some basic 200mg caffeine tabs and stack it yourself (or just drink it with the coffee you should be drinking already!).
Give it a shot for a daily calming/nootropic effect and/or as a pre-workout. I would love to hear your results.
References and Further Reading
- Caffeine and L-Theanine: The Best Combo for Energy
- Caffeine with L-Theanine: What Does the Science Say? Top 5 Studies
- L-Theanine and Caffeine Nootropic Stack for Brain Boosting Effects
Post thought/questions to comments.