L-theanine, a naturally occurring amino acid found primarily in green tea leaves, has been making waves in the health and wellness community for its potential benefits for children with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and anxiety. This blog post explores the mechanisms of action, studies, recommended dosages, and other pertinent information about l-theanine.
How Does L-Theanine Work?
L-theanine, scientifically known as gamma-glutamylethylamide, is an amino acid that promotes relaxation and improves attention without causing drowsiness. It works by influencing the brain’s neurochemistry, particularly the levels of certain neurotransmitters.
Boosts Levels of GABA
L-theanine increases the levels of Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA), an inhibitory neurotransmitter that promotes relaxation and reduces anxiety by tempering neuronal excitability.
Increases Dopamine and Serotonin
L-theanine also enhances the production of dopamine and serotonin, neurotransmitters linked to reward processing, mood regulation, and overall well-being.
Modulates Glutamate Activity
L-theanine regulates glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter. High levels of glutamate can be neurotoxic, leading to cell damage or death. L-theanine helps control glutamate activity, thereby protecting brain cells.
Increases Alpha Brain Waves
L-theanine stimulates the production of alpha brain waves, associated with a state of wakeful relaxation, improved creativity, and reduced stress.
How Does L-Theanine Help Kids with ADHD and Anxiety?
Children with ADHD often struggle with impulsivity, inattention, and hyperactivity, while those with anxiety may experience excessive worry and fear. The unique neurochemical effects of l-theanine can address these symptoms.
Enhances Focus and Attention: By increasing dopamine levels, which play a crucial role in focus and attention, l-theanine can help alleviate some of the attention-related symptoms of ADHD.
Promotes Relaxation and Reduces Anxiety
The enhancement of GABA, serotonin, and alpha brain waves, combined with the regulation of glutamate activity, can help reduce anxiety levels.
Improves Emotional Regulation
By modulating serotonin and dopamine levels, l-theanine can help improve mood and emotional regulation, often a challenge for children with ADHD and anxiety.
Notably, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study by Lyon et al., 2011, found that l-theanine was safe and effective in improving aspects of sleep quality, behavior, cognitive performance, and mood in boys diagnosed with ADHD.
How Does L-Theanine Help Kids with Sleep Quality?
Sleep problems are common in children with ADHD and anxiety. Interestingly, l-theanine can improve sleep quality without causing sedation or dependence, common issues with sleep medications.
L-theanine promotes relaxation and reduces stress, which can make it easier for children to fall asleep. It also increases alpha brain waves, associated with a relaxed state of mind, conducive to restful sleep.
Furthermore, a study by Lyon et al., 2011, found that l-theanine significantly improved sleep efficiency and reduced nighttime activity in boys with ADHD. This indicates that l-theanine could be beneficial for children with ADHD who have sleep problems.
What Are the Other Benefits of L-Theanine for Kids?
Beyond its benefits for ADHD, anxiety, and sleep, l-theanine may have other benefits for children:
L-theanine has been found to enhance cognitive performance, including attention, memory, and learning.
Stress and Mood Regulation
L-theanine can help manage stress and mood, thanks to its effect on serotonin and dopamine.
L-theanine’s ability to regulate glutamate activity may provide neuroprotective benefits, preventing potential damage to brain cells.
Immune System Boost
Some research suggests that l-theanine may enhance the immune system’s response to infection by boosting the disease-fighting capacity of gamma delta T cells.
What Are the Risks of L-Theanine for Kids?
While l-theanine is generally safe for children, it’s always essential to consider potential risks:
Possible Side Effects
L-theanine is generally well-tolerated, but some individuals may experience mild side effects such as headache, dizziness, and upset stomach.
Potential Drug Interactions
L-theanine could potentially interact with certain medications, including stimulant drugs and blood pressure medications. Always consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement regimen.
Recommended Dosages of L-Theanine for Kids
While there is no universally accepted dosage for l-theanine in children, some studies have used doses ranging from 100 to 400 mg per day1. The specific dosage may depend on factors like the child’s age, weight, and overall health status. Always consult with a healthcare provider to determine the appropriate dosage.
It’s also important to note that high-quality, pure l-theanine supplements should be used. Some supplements may contain other ingredients or fillers, which could potentially cause side effects or interact with medications. Our favorite brand is Nootropics Depot.
Is L-Theanine Safe and Non-Toxic?
L-theanine has a good safety profile and is considered non-toxic. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies l-theanine as “Generally Recognized As Safe” (GRAS)2.
Still, it’s important to always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement, especially for children.
Where can you buy L-Theanine for kids?
L-Theanine for kids is available in many stores and online websites. Nootropics Depot is a well-known and respected vendor in the supplement industry, and their l-theanine product is widely recognized for its quality and purity. Here are a few reasons why Nootropics Depot’s L-Theanine could be considered a safe choice for kids:
Purity and Quality: Nootropics Depot is known for its stringent quality control measures. They employ rigorous testing protocols, including third-party lab testing, to ensure the purity and quality of their products. This means that their l-theanine is free from harmful additives, contaminants, or undisclosed ingredients.
Transparency: Nootropics Depot is transparent about its sourcing and manufacturing processes. They provide detailed product information, including certificates of analysis, which show the results of their testing for each batch of products.
Reputation: Nootropics Depot has a solid reputation in the industry and among consumers for providing high-quality, reliable products. They are trusted by many users, including those in the nootropics community, who often require the highest standards of product integrity.
Dosage Flexibility: Nootropics Depot’s l-theanine is available in different dosages, allowing for flexible and precise dosing tailored to individual needs, which is especially important for children.
Remember, while these factors suggest that Nootropics Depot’s l-theanine is a safe choice, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement regimen for a child. The provider can consider the child’s overall health, potential drug interactions, and specific needs to determine if l-theanine is an appropriate and safe choice.
Other ways to treat ADHD and anxiety in your kids
Managing ADHD and anxiety in children is multifaceted, involving more than medication or supplements. A holistic approach that incorporates lifestyle changes can greatly enhance your child’s well-being. Here, we outline key lifestyle modifications that can help mitigate ADHD and anxiety symptoms.
Clean Diet Low in Processed Foods
A balanced diet with whole foods provides essential nutrients for brain health. Limit sugary and processed foods, which can exacerbate ADHD and anxiety symptoms.
Regular physical activity improves mood, reduces anxiety, and enhances focus. Encourage your child to participate in a sport or active hobby they enjoy.
Sunlight provides Vitamin D, essential for brain function. Regular outdoor play can help improve mood and focus.
Limit Screen Time
Excessive screen time can contribute to anxiety and attention issues. Set consistent limits and encourage offline activities.
Prioritize Social Time
Social interaction with peers and family can boost mood and provide a supportive environment, which is beneficial for managing ADHD and anxiety.
Focus on Good Sleep
Sleep is crucial for brain health. Establish a consistent sleep routine and ensure your child gets adequate rest to help manage symptoms.
L-Theanine for Adults with ADHD and Anxiety
L-theanine is not only beneficial for children; it also holds promise for adults struggling with ADHD and anxiety. Its ability to boost GABA, dopamine, and serotonin levels, modulate glutamate activity, and increase alpha brain waves can enhance focus, promote relaxation, and improve mood regulation – all crucial for managing ADHD and anxiety symptoms.
Several studies have found l-theanine to be effective in reducing anxiety in adults1. Similarly, its potential to improve focus and attention can be beneficial for adults with ADHD.
L-theanine shows promise as a safe, natural supplement for helping children with ADHD and anxiety, improving sleep quality, and providing other health benefits. However, more research is needed to fully understand its effects and potential uses. Always consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement regimen, especially for children.
L-theanine for Kids Frequently Asked Questions
When Should Kids Take L-Theanine?
The optimal time to take l-theanine can depend on the intended benefit. For promoting relaxation and reducing anxiety, it can be taken during the day. For improving sleep quality, it can be taken in the evening. However, it’s always best to follow the advice of a healthcare provider.
Who Should Not Take L-Theanine?
While l-theanine is generally safe, some individuals should exercise caution or avoid it:
People on Certain Medications
As mentioned earlier, l-theanine could potentially interact with certain medications. Always consult a healthcare provider before starting l-theanine.
People with Low Blood Pressure
L-theanine can lower blood pressure. It might cause blood pressure to drop too low in individuals with already low blood pressure.
Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women
There isn’t enough reliable information about the safety of using l-theanine during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Therefore, it’s best to avoid use in these cases.
- Lyon, M. R., Kapoor, M. P., & Juneja, L. R. (2011). The effects of L-theanine (Suntheanine®) on objective sleep quality in boys with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Alternative medicine review, 16(4), 348-354.
- Bukowski, J. F., & Percival, S. S. (2008). L-theanine intervention enhances human γδT lymphocyte function. Nutrition reviews, 66(2), 96-102.
- U.S. Food & Drug Administration. (2018). Agency Response Letter GRAS Notice No. GRN 000130. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/food/generally-recognized-safe-gras/gras-notice-inventory.
- Ritsner, M. S., Miodownik, C., Ratner, Y., Shleifer, T., Mar, M., Pintov, L., & Lerner, V. (2011). L-theanine relieves positive, activation, and anxiety symptoms in patients with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder: an 8-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, 2-center study. The Journal of clinical psychiatry, 72(1), 34-42.