Guest post by Catherine Moore
Have you heard that l-theanine for kids may be helpful for ADD, ADHD, and to support focus and calm?
There is research to support the claim. L-theanine does seem to have a calming effect on the brain and might be suitable for some children.
According to Dr. Alison Smith, l-theanine is one of several supplements that can help with mental focus and memory.
Specifically, L-theanine is an amino acid linked to improved concentration, cognitive performance, memory retention and retrieval, and emotional well-being. In this post, we’ll explain how it works, with a focus on whether this supplement may be suitable for kids.
How Does L-theanine Work?
Naturally occurring in green, black, and oolong tea leaves, L-theanine is an amino acid that was discovered in Japan over 40 years ago.
Once L-theanine is absorbed into your bloodstream, electroencephalograph studies show that l-theanine affects the brain quickly and directly.1 In about half an hour, it stimulates your brain’s alpha waves and gamma-amino-butyric acid GABA which both foster a relaxed but focused state of mind.2
L-theanine boosts calming neurotransmitters in the brain, helping to promote relaxation. At the same time, l-theanine lowers levels of brain chemicals associated with stress and anxiety.
How Does L-theanine for Kids Help with ADD or ADHD?
L-theanine isn’t just for kids with attention and hyperactivity issues, but it can be a safe and effective supplement for kids who are diagnosed with or have the symptoms of attention deficit disorders.
ADD and ADHD affects people of all ages and is characterized by:
- lack of focus
- difficulty sustaining focus
- inability to listen
- avoiding tasks
- losing objects
- being forgetful
ADHD includes the above and more:
- impulsivity and more
Since l-theanine can help us stay calm and focused, it makes sense that it would be used in helping those with ADD or ADHD.
We also know that ADHD can overlap with other mental health conditions like anxiety. 3 L-theanine for kids appears to have a moderating effect on anxiety in the nervous system, and as such, could be helpful for those who experience not only issues with attention but also anxiety.
It is important to note that these characteristics affect someone with ADD/ADHD over their lifetime, and those struggling with such challenges must be diagnosed correctly.
ADHD and ADD are properly diagnosed over a period of time through many developmental stages. Teachers, physicians, and parents often work in conjunction with each other to achieve a solid diagnosis.
They very often discover that the characteristics and behaviours associated with ADHD and ADD are present in more than just one setting, such as at school, at home, and in social settings.
In most cases, the earlier a diagnosis is made, the better. With a proper diagnosis and treatment, children with ADD or ADHD suffer less because they can improve academic performance, gain higher self-esteem and better social skills as a result. Not surprisingly, these positive impacts are seen not only throughout the school years but also into the undergraduate/college years and beyond.4
Following a diagnosis of ADD or ADHD, your healthcare practitioner may prescribe methylphenidate and dextroamphetamine. These medications are safe and effective.5 Unfortunately, side effects can include anxiety, insomnia, and weight loss.6
L-Theanine for Kids: a Naturally Calming Supplement
L-theanine may be a suitable supplement for kids. At this time, there are no known side effects of l-theanine for kids and it is unlikely that side effects will be discovered. L-theanine is a simple amino acid, as mentioned, derived from tea (but without caffeine).
Of course, if you are considering l-theanine for kids, please speak to your healthcare practitioner and following dosing guidelines.
Be sure to use l-theanine, which is the absorbable form, rather than d-theanine, which your body can’t absorb. L-theanine supplements can be found at most natural health stores.
Natural Calm does offer a supplement that contains l-theanine, however, it is specifically formulated for sleep. Calm Sleep is made with Suntheanine®, a patented premium form of l-theanine, as well as magnesium, melatonin, and GABA (another calming amino acid).
Calm Sleep may be suitable for anyone who experiences the symptoms of ADD, ADHD, or for anyone who simply needs support getting to sleep and staying asleep.
We hope this information on l-theanine for kids has been useful. If you have medical questions, again, we do recommend you speak with a healthcare provider. If you have any questions about Natural Calm products, please contact us.
- Nobre AC, Rao A, Owen GN. L-theanine, a natural constituent in tea, and its effect on mental state. Asia Pacific journal of clinical nutrition. 2008;17 Suppl 1:167. [PubMed]
- Smith, Alison, Ph.D. Dietary Supplements in Relation to Mental Focus and Memory p.1
- www.nejm.org by BEN R. MAYES MD on August 22, 2005. p166
- https://www.russellbarkley.org/factsheets/ADHD_MakingTheInvisibleVisible.pdf p.16
- www.nejm.org by BEN R. MAYES MD on August 22, 2005. p166.
FAQs on L-theanine for ADHD
Is L-theanine good for ADHD?
L-theanine has been studied in clinical trials, and the effects have been positive where attention was improved.
The amino acid can help you relax without making you sleepy, which means it is suitable for daytime use or at night.
Is L-theanine safe for long-term use?
Oral l-theanine supplements appear to be highly safe. This supplement has no known side effects, although it can interact with prescription medications.
What does L-theanine do to the brain?
L-theanine may affect the brain by changing levels of chemicals in the brain or the way certain channels in the brain conduct electrical signals. Specifically, L-theanine boosts the activity of serotonin and GABA, chemicals that are associated with relaxation.
Can L-theanine make attention, hyperactivity, or anxiety worse?
No, l-theanine cannot exacerbate issues with attention, hyperactivity, or anxiety. The amino acid is considered to be relaxing and anti-anxiety. According to the scientific literature it reduces anxiety in both healthy people and those with social phobia or generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). But you need to note that this does not mean that everyone will experience the benefits of l-theanine.