Depression, Energy, & L-Theanine – An Experiment in Motivation

Foreword: In my previous post on depression (Depression at 30) I was determined that I should be taking some sort of action to lighten my invisible shackles. And after a bit of light research I’ve been dosing myself with L-Theanine to determine what effect this would have on my motivation, energy levels, and overall mood. I’ve used a quasi-scientific method in order to track my qualitative (unquantifiable) results.

Problem: What effect will 1-225mg dose of L-Theanine (L-Thea) taken with ~150mg of caffeine (in the form of 2 cups of brewed coffee) do to my motivation and energy levels (tracked against professional, health & social aspects for the purposes of this experiment)?

Hypothesis: the L-Thea & coffee dosing will positively impact energy and goal completion in the 3 tracked aspects (professional, health & social) will noticeably increase.

Procedure:

  1. Take Synthroid 125mg within 1 hour of wake up
  2. Brew coffee with standard approach approximating 150mg of caffeine
    1. boil ~350ml of water
    2. take off heat for 60seconds
    3. put 2 tbsp of McD’s coffee grounds in french press & add boiled water
    4. add ~3tbsp of PC brand Cream First – Vanilla Bean ice cream to thermos
    5. after 120seconds of steeping stop brewing and add coffee to thermos
  3. Take L-Thea with coffee
  4. Finish coffee within 30minutes of L-Thea dose
  5. Observe effects over 7day experiment window
  6. Break from Caffeine & L-Thea for the next 7days
  7. Continue to observe and record results

Observations:
*a full account of daily observations will be made at a later date

Day 1:

  • dizziness from 5-45minutes post dose (p.d.)
  • coffee completed within 15min
  • auto-pilot feeling while driving
  • coffee poop @ 2hours
  • work
    • roommate ad
    • kijiji ads
    • clean out Room #2
    • run
  • tried watching anime while working
    • ignored anime, but was able to pick up major plot points
    • better task switching ability
  • require mental breaks after 1.75-2hours of work
  • energy drops after 4.5-5hours

Day 2:

  • dizziness 10-25minutes p.d.
  • coffee completed within 15min
  • coffee poop @ 2hours
  • work
    • wordpress post
    • F650GS ad replies
    • Room #2 clean out
  • 2nd coffee dose @ 4 hours -protein shake
  • distraction and motivation drops after hours

Day 3:

  • no apparent dizziness within first 30min
  • amend coffee intake to over the course of 1hour
  • work
    • Australia licensing
    • MC/car options on Gumtree
    • Shaw callback
    • DIY squat rack
    • take Phil’s bike to the shop
    • Room #3 planning
    • run

Day 4:

  • work
    • Australia info
    • DRZ400 reviews
  • PC gaming experiment
    • better K/D ratio
    • lower interest in gaming

Day 5:

  • work
    • healthcare work
    • Room #3 move in
    • Mon & Dad’s washer/dryer
    • house purchases
    • EI submit

Day 6:

  • science centre w/ the fam

Day 7:

  • rest day

Day 8 (no caffeine or L-Thea start):

  • work
    • Skype interview
    • Room #3 clean
    • replace Room #3 locks
    • heavy bag
    • EFT’s
    • guitar

Day 9:

  • exhaustion & movies
  • didn’t get out of bed
  • easily stressed -spent 1+hour worrying if I should callback Shaw

Day  10:

  • exhaustion & movies
  • didn’t get out of bed

Day 11:

  • work
    • Shaw callback
    • Mom’s car check
  • exhaustion & movies
  • minimal work completion

Day 12:

  • work
    • heavy bag
    • yoga
    • guitar

Day 13:

  • work
    • Tea Trader pick up

Day 14:

  • rest day

Conclusion:

The L-Theanine & caffeine combination does positively affect my energy and motivation levels. Over the 7 day observable period dosing with caffeine & L-Thea led to a significant number of objectives were met with both mental and physical energy to spare. I had an inextricable rash appear on my body, but that is most likely due to either a coffee allergy or my multivitamins.

The 7 day period involving no caffeine & L-Thea led to a significant reduction in energy & motivation. I was so messed up that I really wasn’t able to do very much. My rash has dissipated over the course of the week, but I need to conduct an experiment to determine if it is from the coffee or vitamins.

The experiment is a resounding success. Starting on Monday I will start a regular course taking my Synthroid as soon as I wake up, waiting 30 minutes to take the L-Thea with black tea instead of coffee. I will take additional doses of caffeine (Pu Erh Tea/green tea) regularly throughout the day.

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