There are a number of dietary supplements which are purported to be helpful for people with ADHD. One of those supplements is L-theanine, which many people with the condition have turned to for help with their symptoms. But is there sufficient scientific research available to back up those claims? Find out in this helpful guide about the connection between L-theanine and ADHD.
What Is L-Theanine?
L-theanine is an amino acid found naturally in black tea and green tea. It's also available as an over-the-counter supplement. L-theanine supplements can be purchased in a variety of formats, including tablets, liquids, powders, and capsules.
Ingesting L-theanine when you drink tea is safe. However, it's important to talk to your healthcare provider before you start taking any new supplement, including L-theanine. The dosage is much higher in supplement form, and it's important to discuss whether L-theanine could have potential interactions with any of the medications you take. For example, antidepressants and blood pressure medications may interact with LL-theanine. Some of the people who are advised against using L-theanine supplements include pregnant and breastfeeding women, children, and people with certain pre-existing medical conditions.
What Are the Benefits of L-Theanine?
L-theanine is primarily used for its relaxation effects, which may include:
- Reduced anxiety
- Stress relief
- Improved sleep quality
Some research also claims that L-theanine may help to improve focus and attention. This has sparked interest in the ADHD community since it could potentially help to relieve some of the hallmark symptoms of the condition.
Should People with ADHD Take L-Theanine?
If you have ADHD, you might be wondering whether L-theanine supplements could help with your own symptom management. The answer isn't clear-cut since there are many factors to consider, which is why you should discuss it with your healthcare provider first. For example, if you do decide to try L-theanine supplements, the correct dosage could vary based on factors like your age and weight along with medications you take and any other medical conditions besides ADHD.
However, the potential benefits of L-theanine are important to consider if you struggle with ADHD as this supplement could decrease some of the symptoms that interfere with your daily life. There are some people who anecdotally report that taking L-theanine supplements seems to alleviate some of their ADHD symptoms. People who have found success with L-theanine have said that the supplement can potentially help in the following ways:
- Making it easier to stay asleep at night
- Calming the mind and improving overall focus and concentration
- Providing relief from stress and anxiety
- Improved attention and memory
It's worth noting that some question whether the benefits from drinking tea with L-theanine actually come from L-theanine itself. This is because black and green tea, both of which contain L-theanine, also contain naturally occurring caffeine. Many of the benefits of caffeine overlap with the purported benefits of L-theanine, such as increased alertness, concentration, brain function, and memory.
What Does the Research Say About L-Theanine and ADHD?
The research on L-theanine supplements and ADHD is incomplete. While some studies have had promising outcomes, the results are ultimately inconclusive. Some of the scientific research involving L-theanine includes the following studies:
- 2019: A study of five boys with ADHD found that taking L-theanine improved concentration and thinking ability. Taking L-theanine with caffeine also helped to decrease impulsivity.
- 2016: When taken together, L-theanine and caffeine helped improve attention and focus in a group of adult participants. However, the participants in this study were not selected from a group of individuals with a documented ADHD diagnosis.
- 2013: L-theanine was found to increase sleep efficiency in ADHD patients in a systematic review of studies on ADHD-related sleep disorders.
There's no guarantee that using L-theanine will work, but because the supplement is generally well-tolerated with few side effects. After discussing adding this supplement with your clinician, iit may be worth trying to see if you experience any benefits.
L-Theanine with ADHD Medications
Most studies on L-theanine which involve people with ADHD include those who are already receiving treatment for their condition. For this reason, it's advised that taking L-theanine supplement for symptom relief be used as a complement to traditional ADHD treatment rather than as a replacement for it.
If you already take medication for ADHD, you may want to consider trying L-theanine with the approval of your clinician. However, it's not recommended to start using L-theanine supplements as a substitute for ADHD medications.
Finding the Right ADHD Treatment
If you're interested in exploring all your options for ADHD treatment, don't hesitate to reach out to the team at Done. Our licensed ADHD clinicians can help you understand the different treatments available, provide helpful recommendations, and prescribe certain ADHD medications.