Stackin Noots: L-Theanine; when a strength becomes a weakness
I decided to test out the infamous L-Theanine + Caffeine stack for 2 weeks, at roughly a 1:1 ratio, to test further viability. Admittedly the tests were all intuition, no metrics.
For a quick introduction to L-Theanine please check this PubMed abstract
For those who embrace TL:DR, Its the amino acid in Tea – boosting Alpha states without drowsiness. Realistically notable in higher doses.
Caffeine tablets will be used in subsequent experiments to determine the most effective ratio but initially a few weeks were needed to test the viability of the Nootropic stack. I don’t have a spectrometer handy so I the exact caffeine content in my coffee is unpredictable – for now I shall measure in cups like a barbarian.
The L-Theanine + Caffeine stack produced considerable results, but more notably, presented an unexamined risk with Nootropic Experimentation. In retrospect, the stack was so effective that it had disguised the negative effects of my biological feedback loop.
What did this meant in practice: It meant that I consumed 3-4 times my normal daily caffeine content, and without a ‘crash’. When it came time to eat, I couldn’t even tell I was low on fuel.
That was bad. Admittedly, it would be important to note here I have impulse control issues and a general distaste for food. I enjoy flavour, but when I consider the utility of acquisition, consumption, digestion and cleaning needed for regular food consumption I often decide “Fuck it, I’ll have another cigarette and coffee”. I do experiment with Soylent to some success but that’s a whole another post.
I found the L-theanine actually wears off faster than the coffee – but if you’re perpetually drinking the stack it continues to hide withdrawal from caffeine.
The amalgamation of this distaste for food consumption, Impulse control issues and the wondrous effects of L-Theanine resulted in a heavy crash. It’s not uncommon for me to wait until the afternoon or night to eat. In this case, I left food consumption for so long that it was to my detriment. I got dizzy, had a sickly feeling and cognitive function took a hard nosedive. I occasionally indulge in a caffeine binge and crash hard – however by the end of the day, the crash not equivalent to the amount of caffeine I consumed – it was considerably less.
It was evident that my biological feedback loop was being effected – without the feedback warning me, the need to eat was more readily overlooked than usual.
As far as the positive effects go – it was quite effective. I found that…
1. I had phenomenal focus without any skittishness or jitters. It wasn’t quite the tunnel focus found in stims but a wide, clear focus
2. Not only was the ability to focus improved but the ability to choose what to focus on was also improved, I could switch easily between focus’ when needed without ‘bleed in’ from what I was previously focusing on.
3. The focus allowed for the Scale and Scope of any project to be considered within a ‘fuller’ context – funnily enough I would usually have considered this to be something to do with glutamate as my memory seemed to be standing to attention (minor creatine supplements were being used), however considering that the Theanine was the only real variable I would conclude I could simply ‘focus’ on my memory. It’s also possible to chalk this up to a placebo effect, not necessarily due to the Theanine but the retention of motivation over an extended period.
When comparing the negative to the positive effects it’s evident (anecdotally) that the L-Theanine + Caffeine stack IS effective HOWEVER the problem with it was a personal one. For me it was a lack of mental discipline and intellectual curiosity coupled the exploitation of the nootropics ability to cover the negative effects of coffee.