L-Theanine vs. L-Tyrosine: Which is Best For Increasing Mental Focus?

Updated May 2, 2024 by | Reviewed by William Gallagher, MNeuroSci
(Estimated reading time: 2 minutes)

If you're looking for a way to increase your mental focus, there are two common amino acids that offer different benefits.

L-Tyrosine is the precursor to dopamine and norepinephrine, which can help improve moods and support cognitive function.

L-Theanine helps promote alpha brain waves, which are associated with relaxation.

So which one should you take? Let's find out!

L-Tyrosine Overview

L-Tyrosine is an amino acid that is used by the body to produce dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine.

These neurotransmitters are responsible for mood regulation as well as cognitive function.

When your levels of these neurotransmitters drop, it can lead to depression and anxiety disorders.

By supplementing with L-tyrosine you can support your mood and cognitive function.

L-Tyrosine works by helping to maintain healthy levels of neurotransmitters.

When your body is under stress, it releases catecholamines such as dopamine and norepinephrine in order to help you deal with the situation.

However, when these chemicals are released too often or not enough they can start to cause damage over time.

This will allow your body to continue functioning as it should without experiencing mood swings or cognitive impairment that is common with low dopamine and norepinephrine levels.

L-Theanine Overview


L-theanine is a natural amino acid that is commonly found in green tea. It has been shown to promote alpha brain waves, which are associated with relaxation.

It does this by crossing the blood-brain barrier where it then binds itself to glutamate receptors in the brain.

This reduces the number of stress hormones in your body while promoting relaxation.

The result is a reduction of anxiety and an increase in mental focus.

People take L-theanine for a variety of reasons including:

  • To support relaxation and reduce anxiety.
  • Reduce stress by promoting alpha brain waves.
  • Maintain healthy neurotransmitter levels within the body, which will help improve moods and cognitive function over time.

L-theanine has also become increasingly popular in the nootropic community where it is typically taken in conjunction (stacked) with caffeine.

This combination provides an increased level of focus and attention without increasing anxiety levels and jitters, which can occur when using caffeine by itself.

For this reason, it's a great idea to start with l-theanine and see what your results are like before moving on to more expensive options such as tyrosine supplements.

So Which is Better For Increasing Mental Focus?

L-theanine is one of the most potent nootropics when it comes to increasing mental focus.

However, L-tyrosine is supposed to be the king of increasing mental focus.

So which one's better?

It depends.

L-theanine may be your best choice for certain situations, like highly-demanding work.

On the other hand, L-tyrosine may be your best choice for other situations, like when you need to focus on creative or memory tasks.

I always recommend starting out with L-theanine.

If you find that it doesn't work well with you, then consider trying L-tyrosine.

This way, you save money because you're not paying for two expensive supplements when one will do.

L-theanine also tends to be much more tolerable than L-tyrosine for most people first starting out.