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So, this is the year you wanna get healthy.
There’s just one (big) problem – you have over 200 different supplements to pick from.
So how do you choose?
Well, in my Supplement Comparison Series, I take 2 supplements and face them off on their price, benefits, side effects, and much more.
The aim isn’t to pick a “winner”, but to help you decide which one is right for you.
Up next we have L-Theanine vs Valerian Root.
What is L-Theanine?
L-Theanine is an amino acid found in tea leaves that’s known for its “calming” properties.
So for many people, tea is the most common source of L-Theanine.
(Well, to be more specific, real green tea is the most common source. Nope, not that cheap stuff that Lipton make.)
L-Theanine is among my favorite brain enhancing amino acids, as it’s effective, safe and healthy.
What is Valerian Root?
Valerian Root (Valeriana Officinalis) is an ancient herb native to Europe and Asia that’s known for its sedative, calming effects.
The word Valerian comes from the Latin verb Valere, which means “to be strong”.
Valerian Root has been used for over 2,000 years in traditional medicine, and is still popular today for many different health issues, such as insomnia.
Benefits of L-Theanine
L-Theanine may improve cognitive function
Lots of people use L-Theanine as a nootropic.
In other words, they use it for its “brain boosting” properties.
Research shows it boosts cognitive function by amplifying your Alpha brain waves, which increases creativity.
L-Theanine reduces caffeine jitters
I don’t know about you, but I have a real love-hate relationship with coffee.
Nothing quite beats that first sip of a warm, aromatic coffee in the morning.
But quite often, the intense caffeine rush that follows make me feel like crap.
For example, jitters, anxiety, and throbbing headaches are a just a few of the effects I may notice after a strong cup of Joe.
But ever since taking L-Theanine alongside my coffee, these effects are hardly noticeable!
L-Theanine may improve sleep quality
In my humble eyes, good quality sleep is the most underrated aspect of living a vitalized life.
So over the last 12 months, I’ve been experimenting with a handful of supplements to improve my sleep.
- Holy Basil
- California Poppy extract
(California Poppy extract did nothing for me.)
When using L-Theanine at night, my sleep was a lot deeper than usual and I fell asleep much faster.
This could’ve been due to L-Theanine’s ability to calm you down and help you feel relaxed.
Benefits of Valerian Root
Valerian Root may improve menopause symptoms
Thanks to declining estrogen levels, a woman going through menopause may experience the following unwanted symptoms:
- Hot flashes
- Mood swings
- Sleep problems
- Vaginal dryness
If you’re facing some of these symptoms, then Valerian Root may be able to help as it’s shown some promise in a few studies.
In one study, menopausal women who took 1060mg of Valerian Root every day for 4 weeks had significantly better sleep.
In another study, menopausal women who took 765mg of Valerian Root every day for 8 weeks reported less frequent and severe hot flashes.
(Related reading: 3 Best Fish Oil Supplements For Menopause)
Valerian Root may improve sleep
Many people use Valerian Root to help treat sleep issues and disorders.
Valerian Root’s ability to improve sleep has been supported by research too.
For example, one study looked at how Valerian Root affected sleep quality.
The results showed that 89% of the Valerian Root takers reported improved sleep, and 44% reported perfect sleep.
In another study of 16 insomnia patients, some took Valerian Root and some took a placebo.
Those who took Valerian Root achieved deep sleep 8 minutes quicker than the placebo subjects.
Valerian Root may help you relax
Nowadays, many of us are affected by stress.
And trying to relax while under stress can be a difficult challenge.
So, many people resort to supplements, like Valerian Root, to help them relax.
Valerian Root’s ability to promote relaxation has been shown in both human and animal studies.
In one study, people taking 600mg of Valerian Root alongside Lemon Balm during a stressful task experienced less anxiety.
(But interestingly, those who took a 1800mg dose experience more anxiety. This suggests that more doesn’t mean better.)
In another study, rats who consumed Valerian Root before a maze experiment showed less anxious behaviour than rats given alcohol.
L-Theanine is generally sold as a powder or in capsules.
Here are some expected prices for these:
- Powder: $10 for 100g
- Capsules: $20 for 100
Valerian Root Cost
Valerian Root is sold in a variety of forms, including capsules, powder and as a liquid extract.
Some standard prices for these are:
- Powder: $28 for 1 lb
- Capsules: $7 for 100
- Liquid extract: $19 for 2 Oz
L-Theanine Side Effects
The great thing about L-Theanine is that it has very few side effects.
However, if you drink too much tea, you may experience the following:
- Upset Stomach
(These side effects are believed to be from the caffeine in tea, rather than the L-Theanine content.)
Valerian Root Side Effects
While most people tolerate Valerian Root with few issues, the following side effects have been reported in some cases:
- Vivid dreams
- Upset stomach
- Heart palpitations
Also, Valerian Root should be used with caution if you’re taking the following drugs, as it could interact with them:
- St. John’s wort
- Sedatives (i.e. other sleep aids)
And due to a lack of safety information, pregnant women and young children shouldn’t use Valerian Root until further research has been done.
My L-Theanine Recommendation: Nootropics Depot L-Theanine Powder
An excellent L-Theanine supplement that comes as a powder.
Perfect for those who like the freedom to choose how much L-Theanine they want to ingest.
What I like about it
A great feature is that each tub provides a generous 2500 servings, meaning it’ll last you literally years.
Also, I love that this supplement is 100% L-Theanine powder.
In other words, there are no cheap and dodgy fillers/additives/preservatives you need to be wary of.
Just pure L-Theanine goodness.
And since it’s a powder, you can experiment with the dosage to suit your needs.
(Some people may respond better to a higher dose, while others will respond better to a lower one.)
While being a powder definitely has its upsides, there are certainly downsides of a powdered supplement.
For example, some people may not like the taste.
If that’s you, then you can avoid this problem by mixing it with your favorite juice.
No big deal, right?
My Valerian Root Recommendation: NOW Valerian Root
A good quality Valerian Root supplement from a world class brand.
NOW Valerian Root gets the gold star.
What I like about it
With over a thousand excellent reviews, it’s quite obvious that this an outstanding supplement that lots of other people have used and loved.
Also, NOW are at the top of their game when it comes to making awesome supplements.
They’re GMP certified, which means that each and every aspect of their manufacturing process has been examined for quality assurance.
This is one of many reasons why NOW are arguably the most trusted supplement brand on the market.
For its quality, the price is very generous too, making this an epic budget option.
Some people claim that the capsules have a weird smell.
But this is apparently common with any Valerian Root supplement.
L-Theanine vs Valerian Root: The Verdict
I hope you’ve found some value in this L-Theanine vs Valerian Root breakdown.
These are both really good supplements that offer so many benefits.
And if this article has served its purpose, you should know which one you’re going to use!
If not, then I’d decide based on the below:
You might prefer L-Theanine if:
- You want to boost your creativity
- You love coffee but hate the following caffeine crash
You might prefer Valerian Root if:
- You want to feel more relaxed
- You’re experiencing menopause symptoms
See you in the next one.