Caffeine with L-Theanine. Does the L-theanine negate performance gain of caffeine?


I have a question to which I cannot find the answer. I use caffeine to boost my cycling workouts. I was recently tuned on to caffeine containing L theanine. L theanine reduces the “jitters” one gets from caffeine. I ordered some caffeine with L theanine and I’m uncertain I’m getting the same energy effect. I almost feel like I’m not getting the same boost? There’s lots of data that shows taking caffeine with L theanine boosts cognitive effect and sharpness…but I only care about PERFORMANCE. I don’t have any empirical data. And cannot find any data online. Does anyone know if Caffeine with L-theanine loses it’s performance effect?

Thank you


Silver, good question. I’m going to throw it over to @cullenac or @Coach_Flo to answer this one.


yes i saw this ad thought to myself i must think about this one (aka research) as like you say i am also versed on caffeine and theanine re cognitive function but i would have understood theanine to be more of a rest restore calm ingredient. one for the PM time and not before a race. unless race nerves are close to you needing a xanax.
e.g. The combined effects of L-theanine and caffeine on cognitive performance and mood.

Owen GN1, Parnell H, De Bruin EA, Rycroft JA.

### Author information

### Abstract

The aim of this study was to compare 50 mg caffeine, with and without 100 mg L-theanine, on cognition and mood in healthy volunteers. The effects of these treatments on word recognition, rapid visual information processing, critical flicker fusion threshold, attention switching and mood were compared to placebo in 27 participants. Performance was measured at baseline and again 60 min and 90 min after each treatment (separated by a 7-day washout). Caffeine improved subjective alertness at 60 min and accuracy on the attention-switching task at 90 min. The L-theanine and caffeine combination improved both speed and accuracy of performance of the attention-switching task at 60 min, and reduced susceptibility to distracting information in the memory task at both 60 min and 90 min. These results replicate previous evidence which suggests that L-theanine and caffeine in combination are beneficial for improving performance on cognitively demanding tasks.

also this
Nutr Res.]( 2018 Jan;49:67-78. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2017.11.002. Epub 2017 Nov 16.

# l-Theanine and caffeine improve target-specific attention to visual stimuli by decreasing mind wandering: a human functional magnetic resonance imaging study.

Oral intake of l-theanine and caffeine supplements is known to be associated with faster stimulus discrimination, possibly via improving attention to stimuli. We hypothesized that l-theanine and caffeine may be bringing about this beneficial effect by increasing attention-related neural resource allocation to target stimuli and decreasing deviation of neural resources to distractors. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to test this hypothesis. Solutions of 200mg of l-theanine, 160mg of caffeine, their combination, or the vehicle (distilled water; placebo) were administered in a randomized 4-way crossover design to 9 healthy adult men. Sixty minutes after administration, a 20-minute fMRI scan was performed while the subjects performed a visual color stimulus discrimination task. l-Theanine and l-theanine-caffeine combination resulted in faster responses to targets compared with placebo (∆=27.8milliseconds, P=.018 and ∆=26.7milliseconds, P=.037, respectively). l-Theanine was associated with decreased fMRI responses to distractor stimuli in brain regions that regulate visual attention, suggesting that l-theanine may be decreasing neural resource allocation to process distractors, thus allowing to attend to targets more efficiently. l-Theanine-caffeine combination was associated with decreased fMRI responses to target stimuli as compared with distractors in several brain regions that typically show increased activation during mind wandering. Factorial analysis suggested that l-theanine and caffeine seem to have a synergistic action in decreasing mind wandering. Therefore, our hypothesis is that l-theanine and caffeine may be decreasing deviation of attention to distractors (including mind wandering); thus, enhancing attention to target stimuli was confirmed.

I have used theanine for clients to assist winding down, sleep, etc.

weirdly i have never recommended caffeine and theanine together probably because most people rarely need more caffeine!! their nervous systems are already jacked. I can see a use of this combo for example in military scenario and one where you need to be awake and sharp for long periods and accurate etc. exams and rough weeks in the office may benefit also; yet remember that caffeine does stimulate the nervous system so i wouldnt recommend this long term.

i got no search re theanine and endurance/ cycling performance.

then i tried to get more into the nitty gritty: the words calm and content would worry me a little re racing and aggression!! it would seem to me theanine is calming the hyper response that caffeine can create. i guess this will benefit some in a racing environment (e.g. me i never touch caffine my nervous system is already hyper-aroused) and for others perhaps it is less beneficial; e.g. Ian type personality that tolerates caffeine well and manages hyper arousal and racing anxiety without any issue.

Nutr Rev. 2014 Aug;72(8):507-22. doi: 10.1111/nure.12120. Epub 2014 Jun 19.

# Acute effects of tea constituents L-theanine, caffeine, and epigallocatechin gallate on cognitive function and mood: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

A systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted on 11 randomized placebo-controlled human studies of acute effects of tea constituents L-theanine and epigallocatechin gallate, administered alone or in combination with caffeine, on cognitive function and mood. The outcome measures of mood were alertness, calmness, and contentedness, derived from the Bond-Lader scales, and state anxiety, from the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. Cognitive measures assessed were attentional switch, intersensory attention, and rapid visual information processing. Standardized mean differences between placebo and treatment groups are presented for each study and outcome measure. Meta-analysis using a random-effects model was conducted when data were available for three or more studies. Evidence of moderate effect sizes in favor of combined caffeine and L-theanine in the first 2 hours postdose were found for outcome measures Bond-Lader alertness, attentional switching accuracy, and, to a lesser extent, some unisensory and multisensory attentional outcomes. Moderator analysis of caffeine and L-theanine doses revealed trends toward greater change in effect size for caffeine dose than for L-theanine dose, particularly during the first hour postdose.

on to a bit more searching and i found a recent paper showing a positive impact on immune respose post exercise in athletes exposed to strenuous exercise.

and then this:
Zh Nevrol Psikhiatr Im S S Korsakova. 2018;118(11):118-124. doi: 10.17116/jnevro2018118111118.

# [Neurobiological effects of theanine and its possible use in neurology and psychiatry].

Theanine is an analog of glutamate and the major aminoacid in green tea. It has received growing attention in recent years because of its beneficial effects on the central nervous system. Theanine was shown to increase levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor and to stimulate neurogenesis. Anti-stress and calming effects of theanine are the most apparent and well-studied. A number of studies showed neuroprotective effects of theanine after an ischemic cerebral injury or the exposure to toxic chemicals. It also improved cognitive function including attention, memory and learning. Recent studies demonstrated a promising role of theanine in augmentation therapy for major depressive disorder and schizophrenia. Theoretical grounds for using theanine in treatment of bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder and some neurodegenerative disorders are discussed.

without going deeper i would say that caffeine and theanine for athletes should be dosed separately. it doesnt fully make sense to me to use the upper and the downer so to speak together. use caffeine **with respect for racing and if needed certain training sessions and consider using theanine as recovery IF this is something that would be considered beneficial for you as a priority on the list (e.g. some aspects of not being able to calm and recover after training, feeling hyped up and scatty, poor sleep and hyper active mind) of all the things that you could be doing.

good question… what do you feel?


long and short… it will only help performance from what i can see if you are so scatty on caffeine that you persistently take wrong turns.


LOL. Got you. So straight caffeine. Thank you so much for the input. I actually sent a similar question to a professor of sports nutrition at a University (he also wrote an article on caffeine) and never got a reply. Thank you.