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L-Theanine vs Kava – Which One Should You Take?

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L-Theanine and Kava are awesome supplements and I’m a big fan of both.

But since they’re quite similar, it can be hard for some people to pick between them.

Well if that’s you, then you’ve come to the right place.

This is precisely why I started this Supplement Comparison Series!

In this series, I take 2 supplements and put them against each other on their benefits, drawbacks, price, and more.

All so you can make a more informed decision.

In this piece, we have L-Theanine vs Kava.


Let’s go!

What is L-Theanine?

L-Theanine is an amino acid that’s known for its relaxing effects.

Tea leaves are rich in L-Theanine, so for most people, tea is the most common source of L-Theanine.

L-Theanine is one of my favorite supplements as it’s cheap, effective, and good for you.

What is Kava?

Kava (Piper Methysticum) is a plant native to Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia.

In these regions, people have been consuming Kava at social ceremonies for thousands of years.

Kava is a member of the Nightshade family of plants, which includes popular vegetables like potatoes and egg plants.


Benefits of L-Theanine

L-Theanine may help improve sleep

Over the last couple of years, I’ve tried various supplements to improve my sleep quality, such as:

  • Holy Basil
  • L-Theanine
  • Phosphatidylserine
  • California Poppy Extract

My sleep was best when taking either L-Theanine on its own, or Holy Basil and Phosphatidylserine together.

(California Poppy Extract didn’t do much for me.)

I measure my sleep quality on how deep my sleep is and how long it takes me to fall asleep.

L-Theanine improved both these variables for me.

L-Theanine may help reduce caffeine jitters

You can’t beat that first gulp of coffee in the morning.

The one which puts a grin on your face even if it’s a Monday.

But sometimes, the caffeine rush that follows can be unbearable.

I don’t know about you, but it can make me feel anxious, irritable, and jittery.

But since taking L-Theanine in the morning alongside my coffee, these effects are barely noticeable.

L-Theanine may help boost cognitive function

Research suggests that L-Theanine may help enhance mental function.

It seems to work by amplifying your slow brain waves, which boosts creativity. (Source)

Benefits of Kava

Kava may help improve sleep

Like L-Theanine, Kava may help improve sleep quality.

In one study, 24 insomnia patients took 120mg of daily Kava for 6 weeks.

The results showed that the Kava significantly improved their insomnia by lowering their stress.

In another study, 61 people took either 200mg of Kava extract or a placebo every day for 4 weeks.

According to the results, the Kava group had significantly better sleep than the placebo group.

Interestingly, they also reported less anxiety.

Kava may help reduce anxiety

Here’s a shocking fact for you.

Over 40 million US adults suffer from anxiety and related conditions.

Well, the good news is that research supports the use of Kava to help reduce anxiety.

In one study, 101 subjects with anxiety took either Kava or a placebo for 25 weeks.

The results showed that the Kava takers had significantly improved anxiety after 8 weeks.

Also, a summary of 11 studies concluded that Kava significantly reduced anxiety symptoms when compared to a placebo.

Kava may help boost cognitive function

Like L-Theanine, Kava may help enhance mental function.

For example, a study showed that a single 300mg dose of Kava improved visual attention and short term memory.

In another study, 12 people took either Kava or oxazepam before a word recognition task.

According to the results, the Kava takers performed significantly better at the task than the oxazepam takers.


L-Theanine Cost

L-Theanine is normally sold in capsules or as a powder.

Here are some standard prices for these:

  • Powder: $10 for 100g
  • Capsules: $20 for 100

Kava Cost

Kava is usually sold in capsules or as a powder.

Typical prices for these are:

  • Powder: $32 for 8 Oz
  • Capsules: $20 for 100

Side Effects

L-Theanine Side Effects

L-Theanine is generally safe to supplement with and side effects are usually rare.

But those who drink tea to get their L-Theanine may experience the following effects if drinking in copious amounts:

  • Nausea
  • Irritability
  • Stomach upset

Kava Side Effects

Like L-Theanine, Kava is usually safe to supplement with.

But in some instances, the following effects have been reported:

  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches

Also, Kava may adversely affect your motor skills and reaction time, so driving and operating heavy machinery is not recommended after taking Kava.

Kava may interact with some medications and drugs which can cause serious liver damage, so please speak to your doctor before taking Kava.


My L-Theanine Recommendation: Nootropic Depot L-Theanine Powder

Click to see on Amazon


A super long-lasting L-Theanine supplement in powdered form.

Perfect for those who like the freedom to choose how much L-Theanine they want to take.

What I like about it

I love supplements that are pure and powdered.


Well, these are the “cleanest” supplements and you’re free to experiment with the dosage to meet your own needs.

Nootropics Depot L-Theanine Powder ticks both these boxes.

And with each tub containing a huge 2500 servings, you only need to buy this once to reap the benefits of L-Theanine for years to come.

Potential Drawbacks

An obvious drawback of powdered supplements is that you have to actually taste the supplement.

If you’re super fussy with tasting things, then you may want to opt for capsules instead.

Check price and read more reviews of Nootropics Depot L-Theanine on Amazon.

My Kava Recommendation: Kava Kalm Micronized Kava Powder

Click to see on Amazon


A trusted Kava supplement in powdered form.

Kava Kalm Micronized Kava Powder is the real deal.

What I like about it

I love the fact that this supplement is powdered for all the reasons listed in my L-Theanine recommendation.

Also, a quick glance at the reviews shows that many people feel super relaxed after using this supplement which shows that it’s useful and effective.

Potential Drawbacks

Kava powder apparently has a strange earthy taste.

Check price and read more reviews of Kava Kalm Micronized Kava Powder on Amazon.

L-Theanine vs Kava: The Verdict

Thanks for sticking to the end of this L-Theanine vs Kava face off with me.

I hope it’s been a pleasant read and you’ve learned some new things.

By now, you should know exactly which one you’re going to side with.

But for those on the fence, here’s what I’d go for:

You might prefer L-Theanine if:

  • You’re a coffee lover but a caffeine rush hater

You might prefer Kava if:

  • You suffer from anxiety

Hope this helped!