Theanine is no one of the most widely taken nootropic supplements in the world. A large and rapidly growing number of people take Theanine every day as part of a comprehensive nootropic stack and as a standalone supplement. Many more people consume large amounts daily through tea and other drinks.
Not only is theanine used in comprehensive nootropic stacks, but it is also a central ingredient in high-quality energy supplements, the best caffeine pills caffeine pills, and high-spec stress and anxiety supplements. Many people even use theanine as a standalone supplement to help with anxiety and poor sleep quality. And of course, there’s the fact that billions of people consume L-Theanine every single day through tea; large amounts of L-Theanine at that!
Then we have alcohol. This substance is, like theanine, widely consumed around the world on a daily basis. In fact, you could argue that theanine and alcohol are consumed at roughly equivalent frequency on a global scale, with people drinking alcohol just as much as they drink tea on a per capita basis. This leads is to the logical question of whether or not we can safely take alcohol and theanine together. After all, it is not unlikely that someone would drink black tea and alcohol in quick succession. With the rapid growth in popularity of nootropics, it si now increasingly likely that someone would want to drink alcohol after taking a large dose of L-Theanine.
So is it safe to mix alcohol and L-Theanine?
What kind of side effects can you expect from mixing alcohol and L-Theanine?
Is there a way to take L-Theanine and alcohol safely without side effects?
In this article, we’re going to explore the relationship between theanine and alcohol. If you have any questions about mixing theanine with alcohol, please read the article in full. If you have any questions about taking L-Theanine with alcohol, please post them in the comments section at the end.
Is It Safe to Mix L-Theanine and Alcohol?
L-Theanine is a generally safe nootropic. In fact, we would go as far as to say that it is one of the safest natural nootropics there is, and that is quite the statement in a category that is broadly considered safe and side effect-free.
Countless studies have looked at the effects of theanine supplementation in a number of different contexts. It has not only been found to be effective for improving sleep quality, fighting insomnia, reducing stress and anxiety, and enhancing cognitive function, but it appears to be practically free of any side effects whatsoever when used in reasonable doses.
No clinical trials using moderate doses of theanine have reported serious adverse effects. Nor have any studies identified any signiciant interactions between theanine and other substances. The only substance that theanine really seems to have any kind of interaction with is caffeine; in that case, theanine appears to reduce the side effects of caffeine while heightening its desirable effects.
So what about alcohol?
Alcohol is arguably the substance with the most known interactions. Because alcohol has such a powerful effect on the body – most notably the central nervous system – practically ever drug and supplement interacts with alcohol in some way. So does alcohol intract with theanine?
To date, no studies looking at the use of L-Theanine and alcohol at the same time have found any adverse reactions or side effects whatsoever. In fact, in study after study, researchers have found that taking L-Theanine before drinking alcohol appears to be highly beneficial to health. In one study, for example, researchers found that “pretreating” a patient with theanine reduced liver cell damage following alcohol consumption (source).
So the answer is yes, theanine and alcohol are apparently safe to mix. Studies show that taking theanine before drinking alcohol may actually reduce the harm done by alcohol to the brain and liver.
L-Theanine & Alcohol Withdrawal
Alcohol withdrawal can be a debilitating and traumatising experience. Many people experience both physical and psychological effcts when going through alcohol withdrawal. Few people realise just how common this experience is; to a mild degree, every hangover is partly the result of alcohol withdrawals.
It may be difficult to believe, but L-theanine may be highly effective in treating alcohol withdrawal symptoms and helping people struggling with alcoholism.
When you stop drinking alcohol, your brain experiences a state of hyperexcitability. This is because alcohol downregulates CNS activity by activating GABA receptors. This acts as a kind of brake on the brain. Once you stop drinking, that brake is lifted and there is a flurry of electrical activity in the brain and body. This causes anxiety, jitters, irritability, headaches, and a range of other side effects.
Studies show that chronic alcoholics going through withdrawals get enormous benefit from taking L-Theanine on a daily basis. Patients kicking alcohol report better sleep quality, reduced anxiety, improved mood, and reduced tremors when taking L-Theanine.
Amazingly, theanine also appears to offer protection against brain and liver damage from alcohol consumption. As discussed above, several clinical trials have observed that theanine reduces damage to nerve and brain cells following alcohol exposure. While this doesn’t necessarily help with alcohol withdrawals, it does help pevent some of the worst effects of chronic alcoholism.
Is Theanine Good For Hangovers?
Since theanine is helpful for the management of alcohol withdrawals, it can be considered good for hangovers too. Many symptoms of a hangover are actually symptoms of alcohol withdrawal; taking L-Theanine can help ease these symptoms.
Hangovers are, to a hgreat extent, unavoidable. If you are going to drink a significant amount of alcohol, then you are going to experience at least some symptoms of a hangover.
Common symptoms of a hangover include: headache, sore throat, aversion to light, nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, brain fog, irritability, impaired memory function, jitters, anxiety, depression, and insomnia to name just few.
Many of these symptoms are the result of mild alcohol poisoning, severe dehydration, and stomach irritation (alcohol is severely irritating to the digestive system). Some – especially the psychological symptoms – are the result of alcohol withdrawals. As theanine is acutely efective for the treatment of alcohol withdrawal symptoms, it can also be effective for treating the symptoms of a hangover which result from withdrawals.
But as always, your best bet for avoiding a hangover is to learn to drink in moderation and to accompany alcoholic drinks with lots of water. If you do intend to use theanine to help with hangovers, take around 200mg of L-Theanine before you consume any alcohol.
L-Theanine, Caffeine and Alcohol: Are they safe to take togteher?
If you’ve read our full article on theanine and alcohol, then by now you’ll know that taking these two substances together is not thought to be dangerous. In fact, there appears to be several benefits of taking L-Theanine alongside alcohol, including reducing liver damage, preventing neurodegeneration, and helping reduce the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal and hangovers once you stop drinking.
The same can be said of theanine and caffeine. Taking theanine and caffeine together is a good way to mitigate the side effects of caffeine without reducing its beneficial effects, such as sharper focus and enhanced mental energy. While Theanine does not cancel out caffeine completely, it does reduce the side effects considerably.
Caffeine and alcohol to not interact well with one another. Alcohol is a powerful depressant and caffeine an incredibly powerful stimulant. Taking them in large quantities together can cause havoc in the central nervous system. Taking L-Theanine alongside both of these substances is a good way to reduce the damage they cause and attenuate the worst side effects of both.
Brian Johnson is current Editor of Vagarights.com and a long-time writer for VAGA. A former psychologist, Brian is passionate about improving mental health and finding ways to stave off cognitive decline. He is an expert on nootropics, cognitive enhancement and biohacking more broadly. You can see his work on Google scholar.