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L-theanine and Caffeine vs Adderall

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The 80s and 90s kids will tell you, Adderall has been a thing that is talked about almost in every home and classroom. 

The popular drug that was prescribed for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) patients has gained special popularity as one of the first examples of biohacking and elevating one's mental performance with OTCs (over the counter)

L-theanine And Caffeine vs Adderall

Authorities, doctors, and even the creators of Adderall have warned the public of the dangers of Adderall misuses. Nevertheless, many might still depend on the drug for improving cognitive performance.  Recent research proposes an astounding combination of L-Theanine and Caffeine that can be effective in replacing Adderall without enduring the harmful side effects of it.

Adderall Purpose And Uses

Adderall is a registered commercial name for a combination drug. It is formed by blending dextroamphetamine and amphetamine, two neutral sulfate salts. The tablet with immediate release action is labeled as Adderall, while the extended-release versions of the tablet are labeled as Adderall XR or Mydayis. 

In 1994, Richwood Pharmaceuticals acquired the company behind the modified Obetrol drug, marketing it under the name “Adderall.” [1] However, the drug has been initially formulated to help in weight loss; its modifications proposed it as a treatment for ADHD. 

Chemical Properties Of Adderall

Adderall is a single-entity central nervous system stimulant. The tablets come in dosages ranging between 5-30 mg consisting of the indicating chemical compounds [2]:

It is unknown how the mode of therapeutic action of Adderall in ADHD works; it is only thought to block the reabsorption of neurotransmitters and increase the release of it into the outside space between the neurons and their surroundings. 

Validated Use Of Adderall Family

  • Adderall for treating ADHA in Children up from 3 years old and adults. 
  • Adderall for treating the narcolepsy sleep disorder 
  • Adderall XR for treating ADHA in Children up from 6 years old and adults
  • Mydayis for treating ADHA in Children from 13 years old and adults [3] 

Misuse Of Adderall 

However, the FDA declares that stimulant drugs have a high potential for abuse; sales of stimulants in the United States have grown from below $2 billion in 2002 to over $8 billion in 2012. Moreover, the use increased in 2.5 folds between 2006 and 2016 [4]. The exponential increase in usage can be explained by an off-label use reported to be at least 40% of the total use of stimulant drugs [5]. 

Adderall and other similar drugs tested for treating unhealthy individuals were instead marketed and used excessively as a cognitive booster by healthy youngsters and adults. 

l-theanine and caffeine vs adderall

The off-label use of Adderall is regarded very risky because doctors have to periodically reevaluate prescribed Adderall for extended periods as there was no systemic evaluation in controlled trials for the safety of long-term use of Adderall. 

The medication guide issued by the FDA warns from the following misuse of Adderall:

  • Drug dependence is one of the risks of extended use of Adderall. 
  • The drug should be used as part of a total treatment program for ADHD, including counseling and other therapies.  
  • Drug abuse may cause serious cardiovascular adverse events and sudden death. 
  • The drug's common side effects include headache, stomach ache, trouble sleeping, nervousness, dizziness, and decreased appetite. [2]

While Adderall itself is no evil drug, people got dependent on it and even addicted because they saw it working for them. Yet, the unsupervised misuse of it can lead to undesired results in the long term. 

Is there still a safe alternative from the nootropics world that can yield the same result of Adderall without the high risk of adverse effects? 


L-Theanine And Caffeine

L-Theanine is a unique amino acid found in tea. It increases activity in the brain's alpha frequency band, resulting in a relaxation effect on the mind, free of drowsiness.  

Research shows that L-Theanine, when consumed in dosages of about 50 mg, increases the general state of alertness and arousal [6].  

On the other hand, Caffeine is one of the most widely consumed psychoactive substances worldwide. Caffeine works through non-selective resistance of neuronal receptors responsible for some vascular effects, including narrowing blood vessels and reducing cerebral blood flow. 

Caffeine is also a central nervous system stimulant. It can increase dopamine, acetylcholine, and serotonin levels, thus suppressing fatigue perception and increasing energy and concentration levels [7]. 

In another article, we have discussed a comparison between caffeine and ginseng benefits, but what can the combination of L Theanine and Caffeine bring? 


The Effect Of L-Theanine + Caffeine

 L-Theanine and Caffeine are already found together in foods. While Caffeine has usually been a reason to explain the cognitive enhancement of tea, research shows that Theanine and Caffeine co-occurrence may exhibit synergistic effects for enhancing mental performance, compared to cases where either compound is used individually or a placebo. 

Studies show that favorable alterations are recognized in brain alertness and attentional switching accuracy in the first two hours after ingesting a combination of L-Theanine and Caffeine. 

hot coffee, what about l-theanine and caffeine vs adderall?

Usage of Caffeine might be negatively viewed due to some unfavorable side effects, yet the L-Theanine can eliminate the vasoconstrictive effect and the negative behavioral effects of Caffeine. This promotes both substances as a wholesome effective supplement for cognitive performance enhancement [8]. 

Combining Theanine with a low dose of Caffeine in supplements can improve energy levels and movement accuracy during athletic performances [7].

Both L-theanine and Caffeine can significantly inhibit an increase in blood-pressure especially in individuals whose blood pressure raise with the performance of a mental task. Results from studies show that both substances, especially L-Theanine can reduce the anxiety levels among high-stress-response adults, as compare to placebo [9]. 

L-Theanine Plus Caffeine Replacing Adderall  

The combination of L-Theanine and Caffeine promises natural alternative cognitive performance enhancement in healthy individuals, which was sought in the misuse of Adderall drugs. 

As the mental performance enhancement are confirmed by research, other studies evaluated the impact of the combination of L-Theanine and Caffeine in the treatment of ADHD patients, and have shown the potential of replacing the use of Adderall in therapy as well. 

The studies suggested the Theanine-Caffeine combination as a potential for treating ADHD impairment. The combination can improve sustained attention and cognitive levels in Children with ADHD by limiting mind distraction during attention attempts [10]. 

Although each substance alone may increase impulsivity in Children with ADHD, the combination of Theanine and Caffeine seems to decrease the impulsivity levels, suggesting them as an alternative to similar drugs like Adderall. 


L-theanine And Caffeine Vs Adderall: The Bottom Line 

Adderall was never meant to be used as a brain or mood booster. The misuse of the drug between healthy adults and children seem to be a result of uneducated and unsupervised marketing practice. Many have fallen victims to addiction or side effects of abusing stimulant drugs in exaggerated dosage and without proper medical supervision. 

L-Theanine and Caffeine, both as a substance found in natural foods, can be seen as a safe and natural mean to gain a safe cognitive performance effects with minimized side effects. 

Supplements combining L-Theanine and Caffeine can improve mental alertness, enhance mood, raise energy level during exercises, and even be used in treating ADHD-associated impairment. Nevertheless, they always have to be bought from trusted sources, and safer when suggested or endorsed by your doctor. 


References:

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/15/health/the-selling-of-attention-deficit-disorder.html
[2]https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2007/011522s040lbl.pdf
[3] https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a601234.html
[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6261411/
[5] https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1087054715605915
[6] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18296328/
[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6880365/
[8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4480845/
[9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3518171/
[10] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6574559/

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