L-theanine and Caffeine: The Best Combo for Focus
Admit it, you're not much use behind the keyboard (or practically any work) until you've had your morning cup of coffee.
That's because caffeine gets your brain running and gives you focus when you need it the most.
But did you know that caffeine, when combined with an amino acid called L-theanine, will give you better concentration and greater mental clarity?
In order to understand their synergistic effects, let's first examine each of their individual attributes, starting with the more common of the two: caffeine.
What is Caffeine?
Caffeine is a natural stimulant found primarily on coffee, tea, and cacao plants.
It mainly works in the brain where it blocks the effects of adenosine, a neurotransmitter that usually builds up throughout the day and makes you increasingly tired and sleepy.
Since caffeine has the same size and shape as adenosine, it can mimic it and prevent adenosine from interacting with neurons and slow down their activity, helping you increase energy levels and stay awake.
But be warned. When consumed in high doses, caffeine can also increase your heart rate, metabolism rate, blood pressure, stress levels, and anxiety levels.
In case you prefer to enjoy your caffeine in tea instead of coffee, you're also taking in L-theanine, caffeine's best buddy.
What is L-theanine?
L-theanine is a relaxant mainly found in teas leaves and some mushrooms.
It is known to promote relaxation and calmness by imitating the actions of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that blocks excitatory activities in the brain. This results in lower blood pressure, heart rate, and stress hormone levels for an overall reduction in stress and anxiety.
L-theanine also boosts serotonin and dopamine in the brain to further promote a sense of calm and reduce anxiety levels.
Studies have also shown that L-theanine can increase the production of alpha waves in the brain, which is associated with relaxed but alert mental states. This means you feel calm while experiencing faster reaction times, increased focus, and reduced brain fog.
What happens then if you mix L-theanine with caffeine?
Benefits of L-theanine and Caffeine Combo
So far, it appears that L-theanine and caffeine act differently - one is a relaxant, the other a stimulant. But when these two meet, they don't cancel each other out - instead, they work in harmony, making them the perfect combination to get the focus you desire (especially during looming deadlines).
Here are the top three benefits you get when taking caffeine and L-theanine together.
- Improves Task Accuracy
In a 2008 study, participants experienced a significant improvement in task accuracy and reaction times. In 2010, the same effects were also discovered in another study, especially for demanding work that requires switching tasks.
- Improves Focus and Attention
Of course, performing the task correctly is only half the battle. You will need to hone in your work and not get distracted in order to succeed. Don't worry. The caffeine and L-theanine combination supports an overall increase in attention and alertness. You'll enjoy increased productivity and focus with improved mental performance and cognitive function.
- Relieves Stress
Maybe caffeine annoys you with its typical negative effects like anxiety and jitters. Well, like any good partner, L-theanine tones down caffeine's worst attributes. Since caffeine mimics the stimulatory activity of adenosine, L-theanine can reduce the physiological responses as it blocks the excitatory responses in the brain. The end result is a brain-boosting charm without raising your blood pressure or inducing anxiety.
Several Reddit users have reported that L-theanine and caffeine consumption is a game-changer brain hack. One user said that after taking a combination of the two, he felt a surge of focus and mental clarity that he has not experienced in a very long time. The things he used to dread became enjoyable and are completed in a breeze. He also claimed to have eliminated anxiety, helping him solve problems with confidence. Another user said that it positively impacted his anxiety for the long term, allowing him to focus more and perform better in his work.
Now that you understand the benefits of L-theanine and caffeine, here are some ways you can incorporate them into your diet.
How to Take L-theanine
According to US Food and Drug Administration, L-theanine is “Generally Recognized As Safe” so you can take it as the product label suggests.
L-theanine is not recommended to take with blood pressure medications because it can further lower your blood pressure. Other than this, there are no known negative effects or symptoms associated with L-theanine.
If you are looking to add L-theanine to your daily routine, we have some recommendations. Despite its increasing presence in various beverages such as kombucha, green tea, and coffee, there's a safer way to consume more L-theanine.
You can take caffeine with Zen Remedy, our L-theanine supplement that helps you decompress and enhance concentration. You can also find L-theanine as one of our main ingredients in Revival, an intra-sport supplement that fuels your body while also increasing your focus.
Whether you're looking to increase your cognitive performance or just relax your nerves, taking caffeine and L-theanine together works like a charm. Caffeine's stimulation and L-theanine's calming support means you can achieve an optimal state that allows you to accomplish more, achieve your goals, or simply enjoy your activities better.