In a study published this month by the American Society for Nutrition, a new treatment for adolescent ADHD has emerged: a combination of L-Theanine and Caffeine.
L-Theanine and caffeine used together has been known to improve cognitive function, and L-Theanine has been used to manage ADHD. The first neuroimaging study of its kind has concluded that the combination can decrease impulsivity in children with ADHD, decrease mind wandering, improve focus, and improve overall cognitive performance.
ADHD (Attention-Deficit-Hyperactivity-Disorder) can affect both children and adults, but the treatment of ADHD in children is usually controlled with pharmaceutical medications that may carry a lot of side effects for the developing brains of children. Depending on the severity of the ADHD, medication is sometimes unavoidable. In the recent years, alternative medicine and supplement supporters have turned to many herbal and naturally-derived solutions, such as combining the herbs valerian and lemon balm, and supplementing with L-Theanine, to offset the risks of pharmaceutical medications.
L-Theanine is an amino acid that naturally occurs in teas. It has a calming effect on the nervous system and is often used for sleep troubles because it can promote alpha-waves in the brain. Alpha waves are the waves that occur before sleep, and they are the type of the brain wave the body produces when in a state of meditation. It is used for anxiety in both adults and children, to help adults and children sleep, and it has been an often-recommended treatment for ADHD for those seeking alternative solutions. L-Theanine is a GRAS supplement (Generally Recognized as Safe by the U.S. FDA).
Caffeine and L-Theanine supplements have been studied together in adults, and as they are naturally found together in teas, they have a synergistic effect on one another. The combination can improve cognitive performance, promote alertness, and support focus and attention. In people without ADHD, the combination can increase impulsivity, but in adolescents with ADHD it has an opposite effect.
L-Theanine is one of my favorite supplements for both myself and my family. It produces a calming effect and it is gentle. L-Theanine for kids is available in a chewable tablet. Always be sure to discuss the addition of supplements with your child’s healthcare practitioners.
The potential for alternative solutions to help families and teachers with children who are struggling with ADHD is often talked about in the online community, or with healthcare practitioners who have alternative training, but I believe it is often missed by many conventional doctors. It’s exciting to see that we have functional MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) studies emerging which will hopefully bring these treatments out for discussion.
- Kahathuduwa, Chanaka et al. “L-theanine and Caffeine Improve Sustained Attention, Impulsivity and Cognition in Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders by Decreasing Mind Wandering (OR29-04-19).” Current Developments in Nutrition vol. 3,Suppl 1 nzz031.OR29-04-19. 13 Jun. 2019, doi:10.1093/cdn/nzz031.OR29-04-19