I love drinking coffee in the morning—it gives me a boost of energy to get important things done. But as someone who is extremely interested in nutrition and pharmacology, I felt like I was at the point of diminishing returns with coffee. I noticed it was helping me stay alert, but not necessarily with concentration & focus. On top of that, despite the boost in alertness, I always found myself getting easily distracted, and the worse of it all was the jitters/anxiety it would cause me.
That's one thing I want to clarify: coffee doesn't give you energy—coffee is an adenosine antagonist. Think of adenosine like a sleep meter—the more adenosine binds to its receptors, the higher the sleep meter goes, and the more you feel sleepy. Coffee blocks the adenosine from binding to its receptors, giving you the illusion of alertness.
So I began experimenting and pairing my cup of drip with supplements to help me with three key aspects:
After a lot of reading, the three supplements that essentially 3-5x my productivity when paired with my cup of coffee in the morning are L-Theanine, Phosphatidylserine, and Magnesium L-Threonate.
L-Theanine is an amino acid primarily found in black & green teas and some mushrooms. Research shows that L-Theanine helps ease anxiety & stress and potentially reduce insomnia. Interestingly enough, matcha naturally contains this compound, which is why people typically don't feel the jitteriness when they consume a cup of matcha instead of coffee. In addition, L-Theanine is not sedative, nor does it cause drowsiness, so you can take it early in the morning without feeling lethargic. Plus, there are cognitive benefits of pairing L-Theanine with caffeine.
So I pair my coffee with the standard 200mg of L-Theanine to keep the anxiety at bay when I am trying to get into the flow state.
Phosphatidylserine (it's a mouthful to say, so we'll just refer to it as PS) is a phospholipid and a key component of our cell membranes. Our cell membranes are made up of phospholipid bilayer, which plays a crucial role in cellular signaling. Phosphatidylserine increases the release of the neuromodulator, Acetylcholine, which regulates learning and memory. Unfortunately, as we age, we lose this compound in our cells, leading to cognitive decline. Therefore, supplementing with PS increases membrane fluidity and neural transmission in the short-term, and long-term supplementation has been linked to slowing cognitive decline and preventing dementia!
But I noticed the biggest difference in its ability to reduce my ADHD. It enabled me to concentrate on a task for an extended period of time without getting distracted. You can take up to 400mg, but I usually stay between 100 and 200mg daily and always feel the effects! Coffee = increased alertness. PS = reduced ADHD & increased attention.
Magnesium is one of the most essential minerals our bodies need, as it is a cofactor for over 600 enzymes. Magnesium, in general, is responsible for critical functions, such as energy production, metabolism, and DNA & protein synthesis. You can take many forms of magnesium, but the one that has proven to have cognitive benefits is the L-Threonate form. It's the only form of magnesium that passes the Blood-Brain barrier (BBB), which means it can increase the concentration of magnesium in your nerve cells.
The use of L-Threonate has been associated with an increase in memory and learning. L-Threonate is also neuroprotective and may help with neurological disorders like depression and age-related memory loss. I usually take the standard 144mg/day with my coffee and feel calm & focused. It has also enhanced my working memory as I am now more effective at managing multiple tasks simultaneously.
Note: L-Threonate generally contains less elemental magnesium, so perhaps not the best if you experience magnesium deficiency. Some high bioavailable forms of magnesium are glycinate and malate.
The combination of these 3 supplements in combination with some form of caffeine (matcha or drip coffee) has become my daily protocol for energy and productivity. Most mornings, I get an iced or drip coffee and add L-Theanine, Phosphatidylserine, and Magnesium L-Threonate. I've been following this protocol for over a month, and this is the most attentive, focused, and calm I have ever felt while consuming caffeine. It has truly enhanced my morning routine and sets me up to kick ass for the rest of the day! 💪