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So you’re looking at taking supplements to improve your health.
If you’re here, I’m guessing you’re most interested in supplements that are:
- Relatively inexpensive
Am I right?
If that sounds like you, I’ve got good news. There are a ton of great supplements that will fit the bill.
Two fantastic options that you may be aware of are L-Theanine and Ashwagandha. I’m here to help you figure out which one is right for you.
In my ever-growing Supplement Comparison Series, I take two supplements and break them down based on price, benefits, side effects and more. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you’ll have a better idea of which one to take.
In this piece, we’ll take a look at L-Theanine vs Ashwagandha.
Here’s whether you should take L-Theanine or Ashwagandha:
If you want to improve your focus and sleep, you should go for L-Theanine. Whereas if you want to increase testosterone, put on more muscle or reduce anxiety, you should go for Ashwagandha.
What is L-Theanine?
L-Theanine is a non-essential amino acid that’s naturally found in tea leaves.
So for many people, tea is the most common source of L-Theanine.
Thanks to its calming properties, many people take L-Theanine to help ease stress and unwind.
It’s one of my favorite brain-boosting supplements, as it’s safe, effective and fairly cheap.
What is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera) is an ancient herb from India that’s been used for 1000s of years.
And even today, many people use Ashwagandha for feelings of calmness, strength and good health.
Ashwagandha belongs to a family of plants known as Nightshades, which includes popular vegetables like tomatoes, potatoes and egg plants.
In the ancient Sanskrit language, Ashwagandha’s name refers to the phrase “the smell of a horse”.
(Some people think that the Ashwagandha root smells like horse sweat, whilst giving you the strength of a stallion.)
Now let’s dive in to the nitty gritty on these two supplements.
Benefits of L-Theanine
L-Theanine helps improve sleep quality
When it comes to health and wellbeing, many people seem to neglect the quality and quantity of their sleep.
I personally think this is down to a lack of understanding of the importance of sleep.
To improve my sleep, I’ve been experimenting with a few different supplements, namely:
- Holy Basil
- California Poppy Extract
(California Poppy Extract didn’t really do much to be honest.)
So how did I know that my sleep was best when taking L-Theanine?
Well, I measure my sleep quality on how fast I can fall asleep, and how deep my sleep is.
L-Theanine improved both of these metrics for me.
L-Theanine enhances cognitive function
Many people use L-Theanine for its “brain boosting” properties.
In other words, they use it as a nootropic.
It helps boost cognitive function by amplifying your short brain waves, which can increase creativity.
L-Theanine reduces caffeine jitters
Nothing beats that first sip of a warm, aromatic coffee in the morning.
You know… The one that puts a smile on your face instantly.
But every now and then, the caffeine rush that follows can ruin my day.
Whether it’s anxiety, jitters or headaches, my body will let me know for certain when I’ve had too much caffeine.
But if I take L-Theanine in the morning with my coffee, these effects are hardly noticeable!
Benefits of Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha improves anxiety
Did you know that over 40 million American adults suffer from anxiety disorders?
This makes anxiety the most common mental illness in the states.
If you are unfortunate enough to suffer from Anxiety, then you might wanna give Ashwagandha a try, as research has shown it’s effective at tackling anxiety.
For example, a 6-week study investigated anxiety levels in people taking either Ashwagandha or a placebo.
At the end of the 6 weeks, 88% of people who took the Ashwagandha had less anxiety.
Another study over 2 months had some subjects take a placebo or 600mg of daily Ashwagandha.
The results showed that the Ashwagandha takers had a significant reduction in scores on the “stress test” compared to those who took a placebo.
(Related reading: Do Cold Showers Help Anxiety?)
Ashwagandha lowers blood sugar levels
Research has shown Ashwagandha to be effective at lowering blood sugar levels.
A study investigated the blood sugar levels of 12 people after taking Ashwagandha for a period of time.
After taking Ashwagandha for 30 days, their blood sugar levels decreased by amounts similar to that of blood sugar reducing medication!
Ashwagandha helps increase muscle size and strength
Although relatively unknown in the bodybuilding community, Ashwagandha is a great supplement for boosting muscle strength and size.
For example, a study was undertaken to see how Ashwagandha would affect strength and size in 57 people.
Some of the participants took 600mg of daily Ashwagandha and some took a placebo.
The results showed that the Ashwagandha takers had bigger increases in size, strength, fat loss and testosterone levels.
(Related reading: Best Supplements For Skinny Guys)
Ashwagandha boosts testosterone
Lot’s of people have testosterone levels that are lower than ideal.
This can be attributed to many things, including:
- Low fat diets
- Poor sleep quality
- High alcohol intake
- High sugar consumption
But low testosterone levels are no laughing matter…
Research has shown that low T levels may contribute to depression in aging men.
So to help boost your testosterone levels, you may want to supplement with Ashwagandha as it’s been shown to increase T levels in many studies (including this one).
L-Theanine is normally sold in capsules or as a powder.
Here are some typical prices for these:
- Powder: $10 for 100g
- Capsules: $20 for 100
Ashwagandha usually comes as a liquid extract or as tablets.
Standard prices for these are:
- Tablets: $18 for 100
- Liquid Extract: $17 for 2oz
L-Theanine Side Effects
Not many at all 🙂
It’s generally safe to supplement with L-Theanine and to drink teas which contain L-Theanine.
If you drink too much tea though, you may notice the following effects from high amounts of caffeine:
- Stomach Upset
Ashwagandha Side Effects
Like L-Theanine, Ashwagandha supplements are usually well-tolerated, but some mild side effects have been reported in clinical studies, including:
- Stomach Upset
The following people should NOT take Ashwagandha:
- Pregnant women
- People with stomach ulcers
- Those with high/low blood pressure
- People who’re allergic to Nightshade plants, i.e. Potatoes, Tomatoes, etc.
- People with autoimmune conditions, i.e. Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, etc.
My L-Theanine Recommendation: Nootropics Depot L-Theanine Powder
An excellent powdered L-Theanine supplement.
Perfect for those who like the freedom to choose how much L-Theanine they want to take.
What I like about it
With each tub providing 2500 servings, this supplement will last you literally years.
I also like the fact it comes in powdered form so you can chop and change the dosage to meet your needs.
(Some people will respond better to a lower dose whilst others will be suited to a higher dose.)
Another great feature I like is that Nootropics Depot L-Theanine only contains 100% L-Theanine powder.
In other words, you’re not wasting your money on cheap fillers and additives which companies use to charge more for their products.
Although being a powder has its benefits, some people may dislike the taste.
If that’s you, then you can easily mask it with some juice or something.
My Ashwagandha Recommendation: NaturaLife Labs Ashwagandha
NaturaLife Labs Ashwagandha is a high-quality, high-strength supplement that is worthy of my gold star.
What I like about it
Thousands of fantastic reviews show that this is a trusted Ashwagandha product that’s extremely helpful to many people.
NaturaLife Labs Ashwagandha is mixed with black pepper too, which helps with absorption making this more effective than other Ashwagandha supplements out there.
And like Nootropics Depot L-Theanine, this supplement contains no nasty preservatives or additives, making it a healthier choice than other brands.
Although a minor complaint, it would be nice if NaturaLife Labs sold their Ashwagandha in bigger bottle sizes, as the bottle will only last a month when taking 3 capsules per day.
(3 capsules is the recommended daily serving size.)
Apart from that, this is close to a perfect supplement.
L-Theanine vs Ashwagandha: The Verdict
Thank you for sticking with me to the end of this L-Theanine vs Ashwagandha breakdown.
You may have already decided which one you’re going to try.
But for those of you who are still on the fence, here’s what I would recommend:
You might prefer L-Theanine if:
- You want better sleep
- You want to be mentally sharper
- You love coffee but hate caffeine jitters
You might prefer Ashwagandha if:
- You want to lower anxiety
- You want to lower your blood sugar levels
- You want to boost your Testosterone levels
- You want to increase muscle size & strength
Hope this helped!