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L-Theanine For ADHD: A Natural Approach To Improved Focus
Nov 01, 23
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Author: Sony Sherpa

L-Theanine For ADHD: A Natural Approach To Improved Focus

  • by Sony Sherpa

    Medically reviewed by

    Sony Sherpa

    Dr. Sony Sherpa is a board-certified Clinical Doctor and dedicated advocate for holistic medicine, specializing in functional mushrooms. Her blend of medical expertise and passion for alternative wellness lends authenticity to her role as a contributor for Natures Rise.

  • |
  • 7 min read
L-Theanine For ADHD: A Natural Approach To Improved Focus

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD is a neurodevelopment disorder characterized by issues related to focusing with symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsiveness. Worldwide, 139.8 million individuals (2.6% of adults) have ADHD that has persisted since childhood. While there is no known treatment for ADHD, there are ways to manage the symptoms.

Although medications for ADHD may be useful in reducing symptoms, they are not without adverse effects. Therefore, some people seek out additional natural treatments for ADHD, such as dietary changes, physical activity, and supplementation.

Several dietary supplements are known to be beneficial for those with ADHD. L-theanine is one of those supplements, and many people with the condition have used it to ease their symptoms.

The amino acid L-theanine is naturally found in beverages like green and black tea. L-theanine has been shown to have a soothing effect and can assist in lowering stress and anxiety. According to some studies, L-theanine may also be beneficial in the treatment of ADHD.

Read on to learn more about L theanine ADHD benefits and the scientific data that backs up the claims about ADHD and L theanine.

Understanding L-Theanine

Understanding L-Theanine

L-theanine is a member of the group of substances known as amino acids. These amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Green tea naturally contains L-theanine.

L-theanine is mainly used for its relaxation-promoting properties, which may include:

  • Stress reduction
  • Decreased anxiety
  • Improved quality of sleep

According to some studies, L-theanine may also enhance focus and attention. Since it may be able to alleviate some of the defining symptoms of the condition, this has aroused interest in the ADHD community.

When L theanine(1) is taken, the brain produces more serotonin, dopamine, and GABA. The neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin (often referred to as "the happy hormones"), and GABA play a part in controlling bodily functions such as sleep, attentiveness, emotion, and mood.

What Does The Research Say About L Theanine And ADHD?

What Does The Research Say About L Theanine And ADHD?

Studies on the effects of L-theanine are pretty encouraging, although they are limited. There is little evidence to support the idea that L-theanine can substitute medication when administered alone, and numerous research featured participants who were already receiving treatment for ADHD. Instead, it might complement ADHD therapy.

L-theanine may help with some ADHD symptoms, particularly with focus and concentration, according to some studies. For instance, a small placebo-controlled trial conducted in 2020 examined the impact of L-theanine on ADHD patients' capacity to think.

Five boys(2) with ADHD between the ages of 8 and 15 were the subject of the study. Before performing a task, the boys received either 2.0 mg/kg of caffeine, 2.5 mg/kg of L-theanine, their combination, or a placebo. Compared to boys who took a placebo, boys who took L-theanine with caffeine demonstrated considerably better attention and focus.

The participants' brain scans revealed alterations in areas associated with distraction, and the combination of caffeine with L-theanine increased performance on several cognitive tests.

In a systematic review study that was published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology(3), it has been found that L-theanine may assist those with ADHD to sleep more effectively and reduce sleep disturbance.

You can take L-theanine alone or combine it with caffeine. L-theanine and caffeine enhanced focus and attentiveness in adult participants in a study published in the Nutritional Neuroscience journal(4). One cup of black tea, 200 mg of L-theanine, 160 mg of caffeine, their combination or a placebo were given to the 20 male participants. People who had consumed caffeine, L-theanine, or both exhibited much better attention and focus than those who had consumed the placebo.

In another research from 2019(5) involving 30 healthy adults, the benefits of 200 mg of L-theanine vs a placebo over 30 days were examined. Compared to the placebo group, the L-theanine group showed improved verbal fluency and executive functioning, indicating that it may improve cognitive performance.

There is no proof that L-theanine can replace ADHD medication, though. Instead, it might enhance or supplement therapy. It might be an alternative for patients whose ADHD treatment is ineffective or unsafe.

How To Incorporate L Theanine For ADHD In Adults

How To Incorporate L Theanine For ADHD In Adults

L-theanine is an over-the-counter dietary supplement available in several forms, including liquids, chewable tablets, powders, and capsules. L-theanine in liquid form may be suggested as a method to help manage stressful circumstances. For instance, you might use liquid L-theanine as a quick-acting relaxing medication before a large presentation or flight.

A tablet that absorbs slowly may be a better option to treat hyperactivity and anxiety. L-theanine is also available in powdered form, which you may mix with a beverage and consume throughout the day to get a steady dose.

There is no established L theanine dosage for ADHD because the amino acid has not undergone extensive testing. Your age, weight, and health status are just a few variables that affect how much L-theanine you should consume.  L-theanine may also interact with other medicines, including blood pressure and antidepressant drugs.

It is best to discuss whether taking supplements containing L-theanine is appropriate for you with your doctor. Depending on the precise effect you want to accomplish, you might use different delivery methods. A medical professional can offer you a customized plan that best suits your needs.

FAQs About L-Theanine ADHD

Is L-Theanine Similar To Adderall?

Adderall changes the brain's overstimulated condition into a normal state of stimulation by increasing serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine levels. L-theanine is a natural way to achieve similar effects on the brain.

Does L-Theanine Increase Dopamine?

Historical reports of L theanine as a calming substance have sparked scientific investigations into the pharmacology of the amino acid as a therapy for ADHD. According to animal neurochemistry studies, L-theanine increases serotonin, dopamine, and GABA levels in the brain.

Who Should Not Take Theanine?

Most people typically regard L-theanine to be safe. However, some people may best avoid L-theanine. These people include those who are expecting or nursing, children, and those who already have health issues.

Key Takeaways

L-theanine for ADHD may be a natural and complementary treatment option. The amino acid found in green tea relaxes the mind and can help enhance focus and attention. It is also comparatively safe, with minimal adverse effects. However, it's essential to consult with your doctor before taking L-theanine if you're thinking about using it for ADHD.

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  1. The neuropharmacology of L-theanine(N-ethyl-L-glutamine): a possible neuroprotective and cognitive enhancing agent, (1) 
  2. Effects of L-theanine–caffeine combination on sustained attention and inhibitory control among children with ADHD: a proof-of-concept neuroimaging RCT, (2) 
  3. To sleep or not to sleep: a systematic review of the literature of pharmacological treatments of insomnia in children and adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, (3) 
  4. Acute effects of theanine, caffeine and theanine-caffeine combination on attention, (4)
  5. Effects of L-Theanine Administration on Stress-Related Symptoms and Cognitive Functions in Healthy Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial, (5)

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