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Both 5-HTP and Melatonin have a lot to offer and I’m a big fan of both of them. But as they’re so similar in many ways, it may be difficult for some people to pick between them.
If that’s you, you’ve come to the right place.
I started this Supplement Comparison Series for that exact reason. In each article, I take 2 types of supplement and put them head-to-head on benefits, price, side effects, my recommendations, and more, to help you figure out which one to use.
In this post, we’ll dive deep into 5-HTP vs Melatonin.
Let’s get started.
What is 5-HTP?
5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) is a compound made from the amino acid tryptophan, which is found in foods like eggs, turkey, and salmon.
Our bodies make serotonin from 5-HTP, which is a neurotransmitter that facilitates communication between nerve cells.
Since 5-HTP isn’t found in any food, we can’t obtain it from our diet. So, many people take 5-HTP supplements to remove the need to create it from tryptophan, with the aim of boosting serotonin levels.
What is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a powerful hormone that’s secreted from the pineal gland at night.
Its main job is to help manage your sleep cycle by regulating your body’s internal clock.
So for this reason, many people supplement with Melatonin to improve their sleep.
(More on that shortly…)
Benefits of 5-HTP
5-HTP may help reduce migraines
According to research, 5-HTP may help reduce migraines.
For example, a study of 48 students compared the effects of 5-HTP and a placebo on migraines.
The results showed that 5-HTP reduced the frequency of headaches by 70%, while the placebo reduced the frequency by 11%.
In another study, 124 people took either 5-HTP or a methysergide – a common migraine medication.
Interestingly, 71% of the people who took 5-HTP had a decrease in headache frequency.
5-HTP may help improve sleep quality
Many people supplement with 5-HTP to improve their sleep.
In one study, 18 subjects with sleep disorders took either 5-HTP plus GABA (Gabadone), or a placebo.
According to the results, those who took Gabadone fell asleep quicker, had a better quality sleep, and had a longer sleep than the placebo takers.
5-HTP may help with depression
Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses around.
It’s difficult to treat since the cause is largely unknown, but some scientists believe it may be caused by a serotonin imbalance. (Source)
If that’s proven to be true, then 5-HTP may be a useful supplement for depression sufferers.
In one study, 60 depression patients took either 5-HTP or fluoxetine each day for 8 weeks.
(Fluoxetine is a commonly prescribed depression medication by the way.)
By the end of the study, 73% of those who took 5-HTP showed improved symptoms of depression.
5-HTP may help with weight loss
One of the challenges of dieting for weight loss is increased hunger.
Interestingly, 5-HTP may help reduce these hunger pangs, making weight loss a lot easier. (Source)
In one study, 20 diabetic patients took either 5-HTP or a placebo each day for 2 weeks.
According to the results, the 5-HTP group consumed 435 less calories on average per day than the placebo group.
Benefits of Melatonin
Melatonin may boost HGH levels
As its name suggests, Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is a hormone that’s vital for normal growth.
Since HGH helps boost muscle growth, it’s widely used by elite bodybuilders. (Source)
If you want to increase your HGH levels, then Melatonin may be a solid option.
Well according to this study, as little as 0.5mg of Melatonin can stimulate HGH release.
Melatonin may help improve your sleep
Many people refer to Melatonin as the sleep hormone, thanks to its ability to improve sleep.
As you may expect, there’s been tons of research done on Melatonin and sleep and the results have been impressive to say the least.
For example, a summary of 19 studies found that Melatonin reduces the time taken to fall asleep, improves sleep quality, and increases the amount of sleep.
Also, research suggests that Melatonin may help reduce insomnia in cancer patients.
Melatonin may help treat GERD
GERD is a nasty condition caused by stomach acid flowing up the esophagus.
When this occurs, a GERD patient may notice the following symptoms:
- Chest pain
- Bad breath
But thanks to its ability to reduce stomach acid secretion, Melatonin may help combat GERD.
In one study, GERD sufferers took either a Melatonin-containing supplement or a commonly prescribed GERD drug.
Interestingly, every single person in the Melatonin group had a reduction in symptoms.
Whereas only 67.5% of those who took the GERD drug had a reduction in symptoms.
5-HTP is normally sold in capsules. For a mid-range supplement, you can expect to pay around 20 bucks for 120 capsules.
Melatonin is usually sold in tablets. For a mid-range supplement, you can expect to pay around 14 bucks for 120 capsules.
5-HTP Side Effects
While most people can tolerate 5-HTP supplements with minimal fuss, the following side effects have been reported in some instances:
- Stomach cramps
Also, taking 5-HTP with other medications can boost your serotonin levels to a dangerous amount.
So, please discuss with your doctor before supplementing with 5-HTP.
Melatonin Side Effects
Like 5-HTP, Melatonin is usually safe to supplement with, but some folks may notice the following side effects:
My 5-HTP Recommendation: Toniiq 5-HTP
High strength, highly absorbable, and fair priced.
You’ll do well to find a better 5-HTP supplement than Toniiq 5-HTP.
What I like about it
Thanks to the advanced extraction process, the 5-HTP featured in these capsules is 99% pure.
(To give you some perspective, most 5-HTP capsules are 60% or less…)
This high purity makes it more absorbable and bioavailable, so your body can use it better.
Also, it’s great that Toniiq are GMP certified.
This just means their entire manufacturing process is observed for quality purposes. So, you know you’re getting only the finest quality supplements when buying from them.
It would be good if Toniiq included fewer other ingredients in these capsules.
Other than that, there’s little to complain about here.
My Melatonin Recommendation: Solgar Melatonin
A super-strength Melatonin supplement from a world renown brand.
Solgar Melatonin is the real deal.
What I like about it
I’m a huge fan of Solgar as a supplement company.
They’re famous for making premium quality supplements and are trusted around the globe.
It’s pleasing to see so many epic reviews too, which shows that many people have used this supplement with awesome results.
And since each bottle contains 120 servings, this Melatonin supplement will last you many months.
I’d like to see Solgar include fewer other ingredients in these tablets.
5-HTP vs Melatonin: The Verdict
Thanks for sticking to the end of this 5-HTP vs Melatonin breakdown with me!
Both these supplements are effective for many people and either would make a solid choice.
And if I’ve done my job correctly, you should have a crystal-clear idea of which one you’re going to side with.
But if you’re still on the fence, then here’s a high-level guide to help you choose:
You might prefer 5-HTP if:
- You experience migraines
- You suffer from depression
- You want to lose more weight
You might prefer Melatonin if:
- You want the cheaper option
- You want to reduce GERD symptoms
- You want to increase your HGH levels
Hope this helped!