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L-Theanine & Caffeine for Kids with ADHD

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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.  Speak with your child's doctor to discuss if this might work for your family.

The first neuroimaging study of its kind has concluded that the combination may decrease impulsivity in children with ADHD, decrease mind wandering, improve focus, and may improve overall cognitive performance. 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.

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.  In adults, the combination may 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 appears it may have an opposite effect.

This research is still in the early stages, but it's worth bringing up with your child's doctor.  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 more of these treatments out for discussion.


  1. 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


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