At the demand of today’s busy world, we are consuming more coffee than ever, and it’s starting to add up. In fact, it's the world's most popular energizing nootropic. Many people are reliant on that daily cup, but that doesn’t mean they are exempt from coffee’s unwanted side effects, like increased anxiety, jitters, or poor sleep.
Many people wish to avoid these nasty side effects, but going without coffee is easier said than done–what if there’s another way? A secret nootropic supplement you can take with your coffee to negate its negative effects, and possibly even hone your focus even more?
Enter L-theanine–the magical nootropic supplement found in tea leaves that’s garnished a reputation as coffee’s perfect companion. If this dynamic duo piques your interest, just keep reading. We’ll cover all that you need to know, including why you may want to add L-theanine to your coffee and how much L-theanine to take with coffee each day to reap the most benefit. Let’s jump in:
Table of Contents
L-theanine may reduce caffeine’s unwanted side effects when taken at the same time.
L-theanine and caffeine may also synergize to offer increased focus and energizing effects.
A coffee product that contains L-theanine is an effortless way to reap the benefits of this dynamic duo.
Why L-Theanine with Coffee?
L-theanine is an amino acid that’s found in tea leaves, mushrooms, and some other types of plants. Amino acids are building blocks that are crucial to almost all bodily processes.
Although the human body does not naturally produce or require L-theanine, researchers have found that it interacts with the body similarly to glutamate. Glutamate, one of the body’s primary natural amino acids, is responsible for various nerve and neuronal functions. Specifically, it may help to regulate the production of serotonin, dopamine and GABA.
But why should we pair it with coffee? Well, research has found an interesting, symbiotic link between L-theanine and caffeine.
For instance, L-theanine may be able to reduce the impact that caffeine has on your blood pressure and anxiety levels, possibly by countering the vasoconstricting effects of caffeine. In other words, L-theanine helps to keep blood vessels dilated to prevent caffeine-induced blood pressure spikes.
L-theanine may also have a positive effect on your sleep schedule, despite coffee’s tendency to keep you awake. In fact, L-theanine supplementation may protect low-wave sleep cycles, a crucial portion of your sleep that’s associated with feeling more rested.
Plus, the combination of caffeine and L-theanine offers potentially increased cognitive benefits. According to various studies, the combination has been linked to improved reaction times, improved attention, and increased ability to switch between difficult tasks more easily. Subjects were also found to complete difficult tasks with more accuracy after taking the symbiotic combination.
So, the benefits are there–but how do we take advantage of them? By pairing coffee with adequate daily doses of high-quality L-theanine:
L-Theanine Dosage with Coffee
According to most sources, the ideal caffeine to L-theanine ratio is 1:2. In other words, aim for 100 milligrams of caffeine for every 200 milligrams of L-theanine.
A medium cup of coffee contains roughly 100 milligrams of caffeine, so you could take one 200 milligram dose of L-theanine. Depending on the L-theanine supplement you choose, it may be difficult to alter the L-theanine dosage.
No worries–your measurements don’t have to be exact, but they should be close to this ratio to reap the most benefit.
You should, of course, be wary of the dosage you consume, but it may make you feel more at ease to know that L-theanine has been found to be incredibly safe with almost no adverse effects. In fact, the only side effects associated with L-theanine are mild and linked only to incredibly high doses. These side effects may include headache or nausea.
You’re more likely to experience side effects from too much caffeine. Taking copious amounts of caffeine (more than 400 milligrams per day), even with L-theanine, is unsafe and has been linked to more severe side effects like nausea, diarrhea, panic attacks, and dehydration.
When you start your L-theanine + caffeine dosage regimen, start with smaller doses and work your way up to your regular caffeine doses. Or look for a cognition and energy-boosting formula that already combines the two to take the guesswork out of L-theanine and coffee dosing.
What Kind of L-Theanine Should I Take?
L-theanine is a particularly common wellness supplement, which means there is a multitude of products out there to choose from. Most commonly, you’ll find L-theanine in capsule form, although this offers a rigid dosage that’s difficult to adjust.
You may also be able to find L-theanine in a dissolvable powder form that can be added directly to your coffee. Alternatively, check out a premade nootropic blend that contains both L-theanine and caffeine in the perfect ratio. Lucid instant beverages (Coffee, Chai, or Matcha) are a perfect example of this.
Each cup of Lucid offers the perfect balance of L-theanine, caffeine, and other brain-boosting nootropics and medicinal mushrooms designed to offer synergistic benefits for your body and mind.
Read more about why we chose our ingredients, or check out our three flavor varieties:
What are the Downsides to Combining Caffeine and L-theanine?
Although there are no known harms in combining the two compounds, researchers have found some areas where the two don’t necessarily boost each other's effects. For instance, one study found that the combination did increase the ability to task switch in subjects, but did not necessarily increase alertness.
In some cases, caffeine has been found to negate some of the benefits of L-theanine. For instance, although L-theanine is sometimes associated with an improved mood, one study found that the combination of L-theanine and caffeine has no impact on mood overall.
Still, even in these cases where the two failed to synergize, they didn’t exactly have any harmful effects, so these are hardly drawbacks to this winning combination.
When’s the Best Time to Take L-theanine with Coffee?
Take your L-theanine and coffee at the same time–whenever the need for coffee calls. Whether you take coffee first thing in the morning or in the early afternoon, you can always tack on a dose of L-theanine to improve its effects.
One study suggests that the combination of L-theanine and caffeine can boost cognitive performance for up to six hours, so a mid-morning dose may help power you through your entire day.
Conclusion: How Much L-Theanine Should You Take With Coffee?
If you want to reap all of the synergistic benefits of this unstoppable pair, you’ll want to have about twice as much L-theanine as you do caffeine. If you drink a cup of coffee that contains about 100 milligrams of caffeine, you’ll want to take 200 milligrams of L-theanine with it.
To take the guesswork out of L-theanine coffee dosing, just grab a coffee product with L-theanine already mixed in. Our Lucid Mushroom + Nootropic Coffee contains L-theanine and a handful of other brain-boosting nootropics. Just mix it with water and add your favorite creams, sugars, and foams–anyway you like it, it’s your path to becoming lucid.
Check out our Lucid Super Coffee Starter Kit:
- “A double-blind, placebo-controlled study evaluating the effects of caffeine and L-theanine both alone and in combination on cerebral blood flow, cognition and mood” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4480845/
- “L-theanine partially counteracts caffeine-induced sleep disturbances in rat” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22285321/
- “The effects of l-theanine, caffeine and their combination on cognition and mood” https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0301051107001573?via%3Dihub
- “Acute effects of theanine, caffeine and theanine-caffeine combination on attention” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26869148/
- “Psychological effects of dietary components of tea: caffeine and L-theanine” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18254874/
- “The combination of L-theanine and caffeine improves cognitive performance and increases subjective alertness” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21040626/
- “L-theanine and caffeine improve task switching but not intersensory attention or subjective alertness” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20079786/
- “Time for tea: mood, blood pressure and cognitive performance effects of caffeine and theanine administered alone and together” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17891480/