How L-Theanine And Caffeine Work Together – A Proven Nootropic Stack
Caffeine and L-Theanine have been widely accepted as an effective nootropic stack for those just
getting into the world of “smart drugs.” Most Americans are familiar with the effects of caffeine
through the consumption of energy drinks and coffee. However, L-Theanine is a relatively foreign
molecule to the North American diet, as it is found in green tea. When taken together, these two
compounds give the body a cognitive super boost.
Caffeine is a notorious stimulant that is rather unforgiving when it comes to punishing users with
the jitters and an uptight, easily distracted mind. Other side effects include high blood pressure,
dehydration, troubles sleeping, and increased anxiety. For the positives caffeine has, there are just
as many, if not more, negatives.
Supplementing a cup of coffee with a dose of L-Theanine can help eliminate the negatives of
caffeine alone. Here are four ways these two supplements work together to give the body a
comfortable cognitive boost.
If this article is too long for some, there is a summary section shortly before the closing paragraphs
that gives a short summary of article without any of the lengthy explanations.
Alpha Wave Brain Function
While on caffeine, most subjects state that they are hyperactive or full of energy, but lacking in the ability to focus on one topic for an extended period of time. Like most stimulants, caffeine provides uncontrolled energy output which causes one to be tense, stressed, and/or alert. These traits typically increase beta wave functionality in the brain.
The world of brain waves is fairly complex, but can be simplified for the sake of this article into two main functions. Beta wave brain function is responsible for for alert, energetic, and distracted type thinking. People that are hyperactive and have several attention shifts are more than likely operating in the high end of the beta wave frequency of thinking.
The alpha wave pattern is chiefly responsible for focused, relaxed thinking. Alpha wave states are found in individuals that are focusing on in depth tasks such as reading or in deep concentration.
L-Theanine facilitates alpha wave brain function through mechanisms that still aren’t fully understood. The bonus is that L-Theanine overrides caffeine’s stimulatory effects that
promote beta wave function. Ultimately, taking both these supplements together will give
one the energy to complete a task from caffeine, all while providing a zen state to stay
focused from L-Theanine .
Positive Effects on the Blood L-Theanine
Caffeine has a wide range of effects throughout the body by competing with the substrate
adenosine in the adenosine receptor. Adenosine receptors are responsible for a multitude
of functions, some regulating blood pressure. Once adenosine cannot react with the
receptors, blood pressure regulation is no longer managed through this chemical pathway.
Caffeine blocks these pathways causing the person that is consuming caffeine to have a
temporary spike in blood pressure from the inhibition of the receptor.
In general, this high blood pressure is consistent throughout the body, but other research
has stated that the brain is effected in a different manner. Blood pressure and blood flow
actually decreases in the brain. A drop in blood pressure in the brain can lead to a feeling of
lightheadedness and other negative side effects due to a lack of oxygen and nutrients going
to the brain. However, caffeine also has a mechanism that increases the amount of oxygen to the brain that is not yet known. This prevents that lightheaded and faint feeling that would occur with a simple drop in cerebral blood pressure.
L-Theanine helps counter act the body’s high blood pressure by aiding in the natural
production of nitric oxide. This molecule is known to relax smooth muscle tissue and help
dilate blood vessels. This is especially important in the brain where caffeine still constricts
the blood vessels.
For most cases, dilated blood vessels lower blood pressure and can provide more nutrients
to cells throughout the body; especially the brain. Even though the blood flow in the brain
may decrease, the amount of nutrients given to the brain is still increasing through this
Stress Management and Fat loss
Caffeine and L-Theanine also promote healthy weight loss and stress reduction. The popular
consensus is that caffeine consumption increases metabolic activity through a process
called thermogensis, which is energy production to goes to heat. Although caffeine doesn’t
contribute a large amount of power towards thermogensis, it’s still a small effort by which
the body can lose a few extra pounds.
Taking caffeine alone typically causes stress and nearly doubles the amount of cortisol
production in the body. Cortisol is a stress hormone that leads to a variety of negative side
effects. L-Theanine helps alleviate this issue by general stress reduction (from alpha wave
brain function) and reducing the amount of coricosterone (a stress hormone in the body).
Stress leads to a multitude of nasty side effects such as a gain in body fat and impaired
cognitive function. L-Theanine inhibits this stress mechanism and allows the body to avoid
gaining excess weight from stressful situations.
A loss of body fat typically helps with several factors such as reducing inflamation,
reducing cholestoral, increasing blood circulation, and many others. All these factors help
“ungunk” the body. Without blockages in blood flow and other consequences of extra body
fat, the body is able to function at its peak. On top of that, the balance in stress that l-
theanine and caffeine have together can help one be relaxed and focused in stressful
situations that would normally cause confusion and disorientation.
Reduction in Distractions
Ancedotally, L-Theanine with caffeine helps surpress the jitters and shakes that caffeine by
itself would yield. Though there isn’t any clear, conclusive evidence of how this occurs,
some believe it’s due to the competeitive inhibition that L-Theanine has within the brain.
The AMPA, Kainate, and NMDA receptors are common neural receptors in brain cells that
help send messages from cell to cell. If these receptors become over stimulated by
glutamate (a common substrate responsibile for activating neural receptors in the brain) cell
death can occur. L-Theanine prevents this overstimulation by being a very weak competitive
inhibitor to glutamate in these neurotransmitters.
L-Theanine has an affinity with the above receptors that inhibits the cell from functioning.
This may sound bad, but that is what helps one stay focused. When the brain is overexcited
from caffeine, distractions occur easily because signals are being fired more often at
In a sense, there is mental “noise” within the brain caused by the random firing of neurons.
The excited state of the brain will at times follow these random firings. By giving a small
barrier to overcome in the brain, all the side signals that allow for distractions in the user
are reduced and focusing on a topic is easier.
Summary of the L-Theanine and Caffeine Stack Effects:
1) Caffeine makes one energetic and distracted, but L-Theanine overrides this hyperactivity
with a state of focused concentration.
2) These two chemicals work together to control blood pressure in a positive way and
provide the body with good blood circulation that is able to give cells the nutrients and
materials they need to thrive.
3) Caffeine and L-Theanine have mechanisms that help individuals burn fat. L-Theanine is
able to help counteract caffeine’s stress inducing mechanisms as well.
4) L-Theanine acts a mild competitive inhibitor to some neurotrassmitters in the brain. This
helps supress the mental “noise” that can lead to distractions.
This nootropic stack helps one be more alert and focused using a multitude of chemical
pathways in the body. Many statements have been made by users regarding how well caffeine and
L-Theanine work together for them. Through anecdotal evidence, people in the nootropics
community have ranted and raved about how this stack has changed their lives for the better. Not
only are there testimonials for how effective this stack is, now there’s scientific evidence as well.