One of the questions that has been circulating throughout humanity for centuries: Are they the same, do they act the same way?
It is often believed that theine and caffeine are two different substances. That some higher being gave them the same grammatical ending, but they only have a similar effect. This is not entirely true in either case.
You are about to read the answer you've been searching for years: they are the same molecule, a methylxanthine. The difference is that we find them in different types of plants, and their molecular structure changes slightly, with one being more "free" and the other more "bound."
Both (caffeine and theine) act as stimulants, they simply change names depending on the food they are found in. That's why we may hear about guaranine or mateine when talking about the molecules present in guarana or mate.
Similarly, we will find the same molecule synthesized in products that do not naturally contain it, such as energy drinks, soft drinks, and some medications that aim to counteract the drowsiness of their own effects, although there we will usually still call it caffeine.
What Effect They Produce
Having a different molecular structure, caffeine and theine do not produce the same effect in our body. When what we are taking is caffeine, the molecules are quickly absorbed by the body, giving us energy or stimulation for a couple of hours.
If we have a cup of tea, the body makes more effort, as it has to break the internal bonds of the molecule to absorb the theine. That's why we might notice that it takes longer to take effect and that, usually, it doesn't make us as nervous as coffee does.
Differences Between Theine and L-Theanine
Another common confusion is thinking that theine and L-theanine are the same. And that's not true either. In this case, they are two completely different molecules. While theine, as we've mentioned, is the same as caffeine: a molecule that acts as a stimulant when absorbed by our brain, theanine is an amino acid that has the power to reduce stress and increase relaxation.
That's why matcha tea, which contains both, creates a state of calm-alertness. The combination of the two molecules causes the theine's energy to be released gradually, over about 4-6 hours, generating a sense of concentration and energy in the brain, as well as tranquility and ease in falling asleep.
That's why it is recommended to replace coffee with matcha for all those people who experience nervousness and anxiety, while still applying other techniques that improve their quality of life in this regard. This way, they won't have to give up the concentration and vitality of caffeine in their daily lives, but they also won't experience the agitation that coffee produces, especially in those who have more than one cup a day.
The same chemical compound, a different name depending on the food it is found in. From now on, you will know that when caffeine and theine are being talked about, they are actually referring to the same thing. Whether people are aware of it or not.