Student Research

L-theanine and Caffeine's effect on Cognitive Performance in Terms of Short Term Memory

The effects of L-theanine, caffeine, and the combination of the two were measured amongst college students (n = 22; male = 13 & female = 9). This pilot study’s purpose is to build upon one notable study done by Tamano (2013) which was done on stress-induced mice and their ability to recognize certain objects. The mice given L-theanine were significantly better than the control mice. Their studies showed noticeable alterations to the cerebral cortex and the hippocampus area of the mice and this study explored the effects of both the frontal and temporal cortex (both associated with memory). This pilot study was designed in a double-blind quadruple crossover study with 4 treatments administered every week ranging from 50 mg caffeine, 75 mg l-theanine, a combination of both 50 mg caffeine & 75 mg l-theanine, and a placebo (nothing) as the treatments were mixed in with 200 mL of water. The tests were assessed and measured by two short term memory games called the Digit Span test & the Number ladder test hosted by the Cambridge Brain Science website. Our preliminary results for the first two weeks showed the Caffeine & L-theanine in combination yielded the best results for the Number Ladder test (n = 3; average: 9) and the placebo yielded the best results for the digit span test (n = 6; average = 7).

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