I may receive a commission for purchases made through product links on this page, but I always stand by my opinions and endorsements!
Trying to pick between two supplements?
There’s so much to think about, including benefits, side effects, cost, and more.
So I’ve gone and summarized all of that info so you don’t have to.
No need to thank me!
Our Supplement Comparison Series continues with 5-HTP vs L-Tyrosine.
What is 5-HTP?
5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) is a compound derived from tryptophan – an amino acid that’s naturally found in foods like eggs, salmon, and turkey.
Our bodies use 5-HTP to produce serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that facilitates communication between neurons.
It’s impossible to get 5-HTP from our diet, as it’s not found in any foods. So, lots of people supplement with 5-HTP to remove the need to create it from tryptophan, with the goal of increasing serotonin levels.
What is L-Tyrosine?
L-Tyrosine is an amino acid that’s naturally produced in the body from phenylalanine – another amino acid.
Many high protein foods are rich in L-Tyrosine, like fish, cheese, turkey, and chicken.
In fact, its name is derived from the word tyros, which means cheese in Greek.
L-Tyrosine helps your body make neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and adrenaline, and many of the health benefits that L-Tyrosine has to offer come from a boost in these.
(More on that shortly.)
Benefits of 5-HTP
5-HTP may help improve symptoms of depression
Nowadays, depression is one of the most prevalent mental illnesses around.
It’s hard to treat since the cause is largely unknown, but some researchers think it may be caused by a serotonin imbalance. (Source)
If that’s the case, then 5-HTP may be a helpful supplement for people with depression.
In one study, 60 people with depression took either 5-HTP of fluoxetine every day for 8 weeks.
(Fluoxetine is a popular depression drug by the way.)
After the 8 weeks, 73% of the 5-HTP takers showed improved symptoms of depression.
5-HTP may help improve sleep
The serotonin produced from 5-HTP can be converted to melatonin.
Melatonin, aka the sleep hormone, rises at night which helps you fall asleep, and lowers in the morning which helps you awaken.
So, 5-HTP may improve sleep by increasing melatonin levels.
In one study, 18 subjects took either 5-HTP with GABA (Gabadone), or a placebo.
The results showed that those who took Gabadone had a longer, better quality sleep than the placebo takers.
They also fell asleep quicker.
5-HTP may help reduce migraines
Research suggests that 5-HTP may be a useful supplement for migraines.
For example, a study of 48 students looked at the effects of 5-HTP on migraines.
According to the results, 5-HTP reduced the frequency of headaches by 70%, while the placebo reduced the frequency by 11%.
In another study, 124 subjects took either 5-HTP or methysergide – a popular migraine drug.
The results showed that 71% of the 5-HTP takers had a decrease in headache frequency.
5-HTP may help with weight loss
Dieting to lose weight can be a challenge due to increased hunger.
Interestingly, 5-HTP may help reduce this hunger, making weight loss more straightforward. (Source)
In one study, 20 diabetic subjects took either 5-HTP or a placebo every day for 2 weeks.
The results showed that the 5-HTP group consumed 435 less calories on average per day than the placebo group.
Benefits of L-Tyrosine
L-Tyrosine may help boost exercise endurance
Research suggests that L-Tyrosine may help increase exercise endurance.
For example, a study of 8 cyclists riding in hot weather found that L-Tyrosine increase their energy, which improved their endurance.
It’s believed that this boost in energy is due to increased dopamine activity, which improves your tolerance to heat when exercising.
L-Tyrosine may help improve your mood
L-Tyrosine boosts dopamine, which regulates pleasure and motivation.
(You know that awesome feeling you get when your football team wins the league? Well, you can thank dopamine for that.)
Dopamine influences serotonin too, and both are thought to play a key role in mood regulation.
In one study, L-Tyrosine improved the mood of depressed women.
When the women switched to a placebo, this improvement disappeared…
But when they switched back to L-Tyrosine, their mood improved again!
This strongly suggests that L-Tyrosine was responsible for their mood improvements.
L-Tyrosine may help improve focus and relieve stress
Stress burns through your brain’s norepinephrine stores.
When these stores run low, your focus and memory suffer.
If you’re feeling stressed all the time, then you might want to try L-Tyrosine as it may help your brain perform under stress, and it may help you focus during mentally draining tasks. (Source)
5-HTP is usually sold in capsules. For a mid-range supplement, you can expect to pay around $20 for 120 caps.
L-Tyrosine is normally sold in capsules. For a mid-range supplement, you can expect to pay around $22 for 100 caps.
5-HTP Side Effects
5-HTP supplements are usually well-tolerated by most healthy adults, but the following side effects have been reported in some instances:
- Stomach cramps
Also, taking 5-HTP alongside other medications can increase your serotonin levels to a dangerous amount.
So, please consult a doctor before supplementing with 5-HTP.
L-Tyrosine Side Effects
L-Tyrosine is labelled Generally Recognised As Safe by the FDA, but it may interact with certain drugs and medications.
So if you’re unsure, then please speak to a doctor before supplementing with L-Tyrosine.
My 5-HTP Recommendation: Toniiq 5-HTP
High strength, highly absorbable, and relatively inexpensive.
Toniiq 5-HTP is the real deal.
What I like about it
Thanks to the impressive extraction process, the 5-HTP used in these capsules is 99% pure.
Just to be clear, most other 5-HTP supplements use 5-HTP with a purity of 60% or less, so 99% is very impressive.
And the purer it is, the more your body can absorb it, making it more effective.
Another impressive feature is the fact Toniiq are GMP certified.
This just means their whole manufacturing process is carefully watched for quality purposes. So, you know you’re getting your money’s worth when buying from them.
The fussy part of me would like to see fewer other ingredients.
My L-Tyrosine Recommendation: NOW L-Tyrosine
A premium quality supplement from a globally trusted brand.
You can’t go wrong with NOW L-Tyrosine.
What I like about it
I love that NOW use pharmaceutical grade L-Tyrosine in their capsules.
This basically means the L-Tyrosine is over 99% pure, and contains no dyes, binders, fillers, or any other junk, showing it’s a top supplement.
Also, NOW are one of the most respected supplement companies on the market.
I’ve used lots of their products in the past, such as their Zinc Picolinate and can only speak positive of them.
It’s good that each bottle contains 120 capsules too, meaning just one purchase will last you many months.
It would be nice if there were more user reviews to see other people’s experiences with this supplement.
(Is it just me who loves flicking through reviews?)
5-HTP vs L-Tyrosine: The Verdict
Thanks for sticking to the end of this 5-HTP vs L-Tyrosine face off with me.
I hope it’s been a pleasurable read and you’ve gained some useful knowledge.
By now, most of you should know which one you’re to use and see great results with.
But for those still on the fence, here’s what I’d recommend:
You might prefer 5-HTP if:
- You get migraines
- You want to sleep better
- You want to feel less hungry
You might prefer L-Tyrosine if:
- You’re feeling stressed
- You want to be able to exercise for longer
Hope this helped!