Skip to Content

L-Theanine vs Rhodiola (For Sleep & Anxiety)

I may receive a commission for purchases made through product links on this page, but I always stand by my opinions and endorsements!

Trying to pick between 2 supplements?

There’s a ton to think about, including pros, cons, price and more.

So I’ve gone and summarized all of that info you so you don’t have to!

No need to thank me!

Our Supplement Comparison Series continues with L-Theanine vs Rhodiola.

Let’s get started.

What is L-Theanine?

L-Theanine is an amino acid known for its calming properties.

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

L-Theanine is among my favorite brain boosting supplements as it’s safe, effective, and healthy.

What is Rhodiola?

Rhodiola (Rhodiola Rosea) is a popular herb that’s been used for its health boosting properties for many years.

In fact, it’s believed that the Vikings used Rhodiola to enhance mental and physical endurance.

Rhodiola grows in lots of countries including France, Sweden and Iceland, and is still widely consumed today for its health benefits.


Benefits of L-Theanine

L-Theanine may help tame caffeine jitters

Nothing comes close to that first sip of coffee in the morning.

You know…

The one that puts a smile on your face even if it’s a Monday.

But sometimes, the following caffeine rush can be unbearable.

It can make me feel anxious, jittery and irritable.

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

L-Theanine may help improve mental performance

Lots of people take L-Theanine as a nootropic thanks to its brain boosting properties.

(Nootropics are otherwise known as smart drugs.)

It works by amplifying your alpha brain waves which enhances creativity. (Source)

L-Theanine may help you sleep better

In my humble eyes, sleep is the most undervalued aspect of a healthy lifestyle.

So over the last year or so, I’ve experimented with a few different supplements to improve my sleep, including:

  • Tulsi
  • L-Theanine
  • Phosphatidyl Serine
  • California Poppy Extract

My sleep was at its best when taking either Tulsi alongside Phosphatidyl Serine or L-Theanine on its own.

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

And just to be clear, I measure my sleep quality on how deep my sleep is and how long it takes for me to fall asleep.

L-Theanine improved both these metrics.

Benefits of Rhodiola

Rhodiola may help reduce fatigue

Thanks to its adaptogenic properties, Rhodiola may be effective at fighting fatigue.

In one study, 60 fatigue sufferers took either a placebo or 576mg of Rhodiola per day for 4 weeks.

By the end of the study, the Rhodiola group had significant improvements in fatigue levels compared to the placebo group.

In another study, 100 fatigue sufferers took either a placebo of 400mg of Rhodiola per day for 8 weeks.

After the 8 weeks, the Rhodiola group experienced significant improvements in fatigue, mood, concentration, and quality of life.

Rhodiola may improve mental function

Like L-Theanine, Rhodiola is widely used as a nootropic.

A study of students looked at the effects of Rhodiola on mental performance.

The students reported better sleep, more motivation and less mental fatigue after taking Rhodiola for 20 days.

In another study, 56 night-shift workers took either a placebo or 170mg of Rhodiola per day for 2 weeks.

According to the results, the Rhodiola takers had improved performance and less mental fatigue than the placebo takers.

Rhodiola may help relieve stress

As it’s an adaptogen, Rhodiola helps your body deal with stress.

A study looked at the effects of Rhodiola on stress-related burnout.

Interestingly, the subjects who took Rhodiola reported improved stress and depression.

In another study, stress sufferers took 400mg of Rhodiola per day for 4 weeks.

After just 3 days of Rhodiola use, the subjects reported improved stress-related symptoms like fatigue, anxiety and exhaustion.

Rhodiola may help boost exercise performance

According to research, Rhodiola may help improve exercise performance.

In one study, subjects took either a placebo or Rhodiola before a 6-mile time trial cycle race.

The results showed that the Rhodiola group finished significantly faster than the placebo group.

In another study, subjects took either a placebo or 200mg of Rhodiola 2 hours before a cycle test.

On average, those in the Rhodiola group could cycle for 24 seconds longer than the placebo group.


L-Theanine Cost

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

Standard prices for these are:

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

Rhodiola Cost

Rhodiola is mainly sold in capsules.

For a mid-range supplement, a typical price is around $18 for 60 capsules.

Side Effects

L-Theanine Side Effects

L-Theanine supplements are typically safe in healthy adults with a low risk of side effects.

But those who get their L-Theanine from tea may notice the following effects if drinking lots of it:

  • Nausea
  • Irritability
  • Stomach upset

Rhodiola Side Effects

Like L-Theanine, Rhodiola is usually safe to supplement with although the following effects have been reported in some cases:

  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Drowsiness

The following people SHOULD NOT take Rhodiola:

  • Nursing women
  • Pregnant women
  • People taking MAOIs


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

Click to see on Amazon


A long-lasting, pure L-Theanine powder.

Ideal if you like the freedom to choose how much L-Theanine you want to take.

What I like about it

It’s nice to see that this is just pure L-Theanine powder.

I.e. there are no nasty additives you need worry about.

Just 100% L-Theanine goodness.

And the fact that it’s in powdered form means you can play with the dosage to suit your needs.

(Some of you will be more suited to a higher dose and others will respond better to a lower dose.)

Since each tub provides 2500 servings, you only need to buy this once to enjoy high quality L-Theanine for years to come.

Potential Drawbacks

While powders have their advantages, they certainly have their drawbacks too.

For example, with a powder you have to actually taste the supplement.

Now I’m not saying L-Theanine tastes bad, but it’s just something you have to consider if you’re fussy with tastes.

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

My Rhodiola Recommendation: Gaia Herbs Rhodiola

Click to see on Amazon


High quality? Yep.

Highly rated? Mhmm.

Highly absorbable? You betcha.

Gaia Herbs Rhodiola ticks all the boxes.

What I like about it

A great feature is that Gaia Herbs use liquid phyto-caps for their Rhodiola.

In other words, they convert their Rhodiola into a liquid extract before putting it in capsules.

This makes it much more absorbable for your body.

Also, I’m a big big fan of Gaia Herbs.

They’re one of the few supplement brands that provide full traceability of all their products.

So when you buy one of their supplements, you can find out exactly how pure it is, where it originated and how it was grown.

Pretty awesome, huh?

They also examine each of their supplements for microbes, pesticides and heavy metals which ensures you get a clean supplement that’s free from any nasties.  

Potential Drawbacks

A supplement of this quality doesn’t come cheap.

So if you’re on a super tight budget, you may want to look elsewhere.

Check price and read more reviews of Gaia Herbs Rhodiola on Amazon.

L-Theanine vs Rhodiola: The Verdict

My goal for this L-Theanine vs Rhodiola comparison guide was to help you choose which of the 2 suits you best.

So hopefully, you have a clear idea of which one you’re going to side with.

If not?

Then here’s a high-level guide to help you pick:

You might prefer L-Theanine if:

  • You want to feel more creative
  • You want to improve your sleep
  • You love coffee but despise caffeine jitters

You might prefer Rhodiola if:

  • You suffer from fatigue
  • You want to feel less stressed
  • You want to boost your endurance

Hope this helped!

You might also find these articles interesting…