We can’t all get our own labs with grad assistants and grants in order to conduct research, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways to obtain data. Some might say that only studies with randomized trials with test and control groups matter, but I believe that subreddits can provide supplemental information. We should look at the data with a grain of salt, but a lot of people do describe sincerely their experiences with nootropics on reddit. Users also often link studies and scientific articles in the forums.
Not all nootropics are covered by randomized studies and rarely do psychiatrists collect data on experiences with nootropics. For these reasons people mostly discuss their experiences with nootopics and supplements online, in forums such as subreddits and Facebook groups. For example, there have not been many studies on lithium orotate, but probably thousands of people are taking it at the moment. There are very few published papers on this supplement, so how could one find out about possible benefits and side effects? Personally I had a good experience with very small doses of lithium orotate helping to reduce intrusive thoughts and reviving memories from the past. Where does information about my experience exist? Only in the Nootropics and depressionregimens subreddits. No psychiatrist or doctor was ever interested in my experience with microdosing lithium, but that doesn’t mean that this information could not be useful to someone else.
There are multiple Facebook groups specifically dedicated to topics such as treatment resistant depression, PMDD, borderline personality disorder, etc. There are a lot of discussions of supplements in those groups, but unfortunately I don’t know how to obtain data from Facebook. The good thing about reddit is that Reddit offers a free API that allows you to download data from subreddits, so you can get the titles of posts, text, and comments, up to about 1000 posts per subreddit per day. Thank you, Reddit! This is really great!
For this exercise, I decided to use natural language processing to summarize text from the Nootropics subreddit, filtering for posts about green tea. I used the subreddit to filter for posts which contained keywords from the following list: green tea, theanine, ltheanine, matcha, l-theanine, and l theanine. Matcha is a type of green tea powder, therefore still green tea, and l-theanine is a water soluble amino acid found in green tea. In total there were 730 posts in my dataset, with the post created dates ranging from September 2011 to January 2022.
Examples of post titles:
- L Theanine cured my ( social) anxiety. I’m blown away. I’m usually socially awkward but I MASTERED a job interview.
- Comprehensive List of GABAA Receptor Anxiolytics That Potentially Produce no Tolerance or Dependence.
- Green tea supplement ruins man’s liver
- Neurochemical and behavioral effects of green tea (Camellia sinensis): A model study Increased serotonin and dopamine metabolism
- Why do 1-2 cups of green tea seem to anecdotally calm so many people down in this subreddit, even though there are only trace amounts of theanine in a cup?
Once the data was collected, the title and body were combined for each post and text processing was performed. Processing included removing accented characters, expanding common contractions, removing newlines, tabs, and special characters. Python’s spellchecker library was used in order to correct spelling errors.
The first summary method used was word frequencies and sentence scoring. All posts were combined together into one document, and the frequency of each word was calculated. In total there were 10,677 unique words/terms, but not each term was meaningful, and some appeared only several times. For this reason, only the top 5% most frequent words were selected in order to be used for sentence scoring. I also assigned higher scores to words green, tea, theanine, ltheanine, and matcha, in order to capture more posts that are more likely to focus on green tea.
The combined text was separated into individual sentences, and sentences were then scored by adding up the scores of each word in the sentences. As mentioned above, the top 5% most frequent words had scores assigned above 0, with the score being equal to the frequency. The remaining words were assigned a score of 0. Some of the most frequent words included anxiety, effects, ltheanine, day, good, sleep, caffeine, depression, tea, help, work, brain, and life.
Here are the resulting top ten sentences. Some resulting sentences were quite long, so I am pasting the sentence parts most relevant to green tea.
L-Theanine: Glutamate inhibitor * Increases glycine by 17.2% for one week * Increases -1-waves within 30-45m orally * At certain dosages, can increase GABA by 19.8% * Antagonizes AMPA and Kainate * [ * Partial co-agonist for NMDA, though significantly less potent than endogenous ligands * Blocks glutamate transporters(and therefore reuptake of glutamate and glutamine) * Not sedative in regular doses but promotes relaxation * Only those who have high baseline anxiety benefit from relaxation * Nontoxic and noncarcinogenic in very high doses (4g/kg).
L-Theanine + Taurine * Anti-excitatory and sedative * Highly bioavailable and consistent * L-Theanine + Taurine + Agmatine * Anti-excitatory and sedative * Highly bioavailable and consistent * Potentiates GABAergic and can suppress NMDA better than theanine * Anti-tolerance building * L-Theanine + Rosmarinic Acid * Both are anti-glutaminergic * Potent GABAA agonist comparable to benzos * Low total formula dose * 400mg L-Theanine + 150mg RA (1875mg Rosemary extract) * Taurine + Ashwagandha * GABAA potentiation of Taurine * NMDA suppression * L-Theanine + Taurine + Ashwagandha * GABAA potentiation of Taurine * Total glutamate suppression * Taurine + Magnolia * GABAA potentiated at benzo site plus influx of GABA in body * Apigenin + Magnolia * GABAA 1 agonist plus PAM * Both very potent * Chinese Skullcap + Magnolia * GABAA 2 + 3 agonist plus PAM * Chinese Skullcap + Apigenin + Magnolia * GABAA 1 + 2 + 3 agonist plus PAM EDIT: Added GABA-T and GAD explanations EDIT 2: Found new and more accurate evidence claiming that L-Theanine is actually an NMDA partial co-agonist, not an antagonist. This backs up sources that claim to see Ca2+ activity increase and become suppressed with NMDA antagonists. It also backs up sources finding L-Theanine to be an NMDA antagonist.
HELPED SOMEWHAT, OR NOT TOO SURE Cyamemazine (anxiety), alimemazine (sleep), magnesium L-threonate and glycinate (sleep), white noise (anxiety), SuperBetter app, vitamin D3, reading about Young schemas, ginkgo biloba (energy, focus), melatonin (sleep), chamomile (sleep), verbena (sleep), lavender (sleep), ALCAR, taurine, NAC, cannabis (sleep), gratitude journal, music (anxiety), coleus forskohlii (weight loss), CLA (from safflower, weight loss), metformin (weight loss, triggered an hypoglycemia the first time I tried it), green tea, risperidone (anxiety, cravings, irritability), L-methylfolate. DID NOT SEEM TO HELP Inositol, chromium picolinate, zinc, CoQ10, apple cider vinegar, meratrim (sphaeranthus indicus + garcinia mangostana), hydroxyzine, tiapride, binaural beats.
L-theanine :** Pretty good anxiolytic, and helps a bit with focus, especially when combined with coffee. Not too sedative.
**CBD :** When L-theanine or skullcap is not quiet enough, can add some extra anxiolysis, but nothing spectacular either, and not enough on its own.
Medication and supplement augmentation suggestions. My diagnosis is Major Depression/Generalized Anxiety. Possibly on the light end of the Borderline spectrum. I also have Restless Leg Syndrome hence some of the meds. High Cholesterol and stage 2 hypertension. Current regimen is: Bupropion 100mg Lithium Carbonate 300mg (1 in morning, 2 before bed) Gabapentin 300mg (3 times a day) Pramipexole 1mg (at bedtime) Turmeric/bioperine 2000mg x2 Omega 3 Fish Oil 3,600mg x2 Vitamin D3 5,000IU x2 Vitamin C 500mg Multivitamin L-Theanine 200mg Kratom caps (4-6 size 00 about 3 times a week with at least a day between) Tianeptine 25mg (Monday, Wednesday, Friday only) Phenibut (1 size 00 Tuesday/Thursday only).
l-Theanine, Cannabis, Glutamate/GABA and Anxiety: Could this be a potential cure for Cannabis Induced Paranoia and Anxiety? Just a thought – But could Glutamate be responsible for the anxiety and paranoia commonly felt from cannabis? This is just under informed speculation, but THC has been found to increase striatal glutamate in the brain. ( L-Theanine has been found to “block” glutamate signaling in the brain. See here; >L-theanine relieves anxiety in large part because it bears a close resemblance to the brain-signaling chemical glutamate. L-theanine produces the opposite effect in the brain. >While glutamate is the brains most important excitatory neurotransmitter, L-theanine binds to the same brain cell receptors and blocks them to glutamates effects. This action produces inhibitory effects.1,2 That inhibition to brain overactivity has a calming, relaxing effect in which anxiety fades.3 > I have always noticed that when I take L-Theanine, it helps me get higher from cannabis, all while blocking any paranoia and anxiety that I get from it. Cannabis is the only drug I have found that is potentiated by L-Theanine. With other substances, I have noticed that L-Theanine blocks a lot of the pleasurable effects, while reducing anxiety (Namely when taken with stimulants, but also with Phenibut) Since Cannabis increases glutamate in the brain, and Glutamate is associated with anxiety, and L-Theanine essentially blocks it, could L-Theanine be a good anxiety and paranoia cure for weed? Will somebody with more knowledge on this subject help me out here?
How much trouble am I in when I show this to my PsyD? Venturing outside my personal echo chamber to solicit general opinions on my supplement regime. Cognizant that I am doing it wrong, but I will really feel that I am doing it wrong when I start getting grumpy. Please don’t hate me. L-Theanine 200mg L-Carnosine 1000mg Reishi Extract 2000mg Cats Claw 1000mg Alpha-lipoic acid 500mg Ashwagandha 250mg Synapsa Bacopa Monnieri 640mg N-acetyl l-cysteine 1200mg Palmitoylethnolamide 800mg Maitake mushroom extract 3000mg Chaga 3600mg Polygala Tenuifolia 200mg Lions mane 4200mg Acetyl l-carnitine 500mg Sarcosine 2000mg Wulinshen 1000mg.
Caffeine + L-Theanine. Like the beginners guide says, Id recommend this stack for anyone looking to wet their feet with nootropics. The 1 (Caffeine):2 (L-Theanine) ratio works well for me, but in order for me to really feel the L-Theanine I need to take it on a empty stomach. My favorite dosage is 200mg Caffeine and 400mg of L-Theanine immediately before writing. It helps me to be very relaxed, not filter my thoughts, and achieve a flow state. This stack combined with music from MajesticCasual or TheSoundYouNeed YouTube channels is pretty amazing for writing. BTW, for some people 400mg of L-Theanine is too much and may make you drowsy (though not for me). L-Theanine helps reduce anxiety, but I try to make sure I meditate instead of relying on L-Theanine. I save it for when I am writing.
Please give Dosage Guidance: Kava Kava – 700 MG Capsules (This I just ordered to try, not take daily, I have never tried Kava before) – Maybe 1x a day Sulbutiamine Capsules/Tablets 200 MG – 2 Capsules once a day (400 MG 1x a Day) Uridine Monophosphate Capsules 250mg – (500-750 MG 1x a Day) Agmatine Sulfate 250mg Capsules – Maybe start with 2 Capsules 1x a day? Agmatine Sulfate 1000mg Capsules – Only for going up on higher doses. L-Theanine 200 MG – 1x a Day Mens Daily Multimineral Multivitamin Supplement – 1x a Day Vitamin D3 5,000 IU – 1x a day Vitamin B Complex – 1x a day Magnesium Glycinate 400 MG – 1x a Day Omega 3 Fish Oil 4,080mg – EPA 1200mg + DHA 900mg Capsules – 1x a Day Kratom – 4 grams – 3x a day Ashwaghanda – KSM-66, 300mg, 2x a day. Ashwagandha – Sensoril 125mg Do not know dosage? Youtheory Sleep Powder Advanced, 6 Ounce Bottle – It has full doses of a few calming amino acids and some melatonin. TLDR: I want to quit my antidepressants, and purchased a bunch of Supplements to start taking while weaning off my meds, please give me help/tips on this journey, as well as check out the list and let me know if you recommend other supplements to try, or any tips on how to take these.
L-theanine has done wonders for me sleep, anxiety and productivity. With L-t I have had much better sleep due to increased relaxation and reduces anxiety. This has lead to much better and longer sleep, making me really productive at work. It is also helping a lot with anxiety from coffee, it is all but gone now. I just get the nice energy boost and focus boost with no anxiety effect. I usually take 1 or 2 pills of 225mg depending on how i feel. If I feel chill enough, I will only have 1 at night. If I feel the anxiety and neck tightness coming on from coffee I will take another one then.
Supplementation guide to stimulants. As I have some extensive experience with ADHD medication and stims (ADHD-PI diagnosed myself), over the years through research and trial and error I have built a list of supplements that works for mitigating side effects and minimizing comedown while enhancing their intended effects. I read a post about this a couple years ago and wanted to add my own twist to it in hopes of promoting harm reduction. The supplement + stim dosages here given are intended to be used for studying/productivity purposes, although this will still work if you are taking more than the therapeutic amount. If you have any inputs, advice or additions to the list I am happy to add them. Stimulants used for the purposes of studying SHOULD NOT be taken everyday to avoid dopaminergic downregulation. Three times a week at most is recommended to allow the body to regain homeostasis. Stimulants that these supplements can work for include: * Amphetamines (Adderall, Dexamphetamine, Methamphetamine) * Methylphenidates and Analogues (Focalin, Concerta/Ritalin, ethylphenidate, Isopropylphenidate) * Caffeine (Coffee, Tea, Caffeine Pills) (To a certain degree) * Eugeroics (Modafinil, Adrafinil, Armodafinil) (To a certain degree).
*L-Theanine (200mg/1-3x)\\*** (Reduces euphoria/ Reduces Jitters / Lowers Anxiety / Relaxation) (Anecdotal : Amazing supplement if you are an anxiety sensitive person, smooths out the experience) >[Effects of L-theanine on stress related symptoms and cognitive functions in healthy adults].
I think that given then simple method that was used to select these top sentences, the results can be viewed as pretty successful. No neural networks were applied here, only word frequencies were used to generate sentence scores, but by reading the results we can actually learn a lot about green tea as a nootropic. My first observation would be that people mostly talk about l-theanine and not green tea. This makes sense, since the nootropics subreddit is mostly about discussions on supplements in pill form. Another observation is that people try l-theanine hoping to reduce anxiety and improve sleep. Information was provided stating that l-theanine could be reducing anxiety by inhibiting glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter. One user mentioned that l-theanine helps them with THC induced paranoia and proposed that THC increases glutamate in the brain and l-theanine in turn decreases anxiety by reducing available glutamate. Other users also mention l-theanine helping them with the anxiety and jitteriness after drinking coffee. In terms of side-effects that were mentioned, sedation and drowsiness were some of them.
In conclusion, I was able to extract a pretty good summary of green tea/l-theanine by using a pretty simple word frequency method. Given that now I have this code, I can just change the supplement keywords and create a similar summary for any other supplement. It’s definitely much faster than scrolling through the subreddit, looking for relevant posts.