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So this is the year you’re going to boost your health with supplements.
Congrats – that’s a wise decision that will benefit you for years to come!
But there’s just one problem…
You’ve got no idea which one to use.
Fear not – I’m here to help you decide.
In my Supplement Comparison Series, I put 2 supplements against each other and compare their benefits, side effects, cost, and much, much more.
In this piece, we’ll dive deep into 5-HTP vs Rhodiola.
Here’s whether you should take 5-HTP or Rhodiola:
If you want to reduce depression, reduce migraines or improve your sleep, you should go with 5-HTP. Whereas if you want to reduce fatigue, improve your focus or improve your physical endurance, you should go with Rhodiola.
What is 5-HTP?
5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) is a compound derived from tryptophan, which is an amino acid that’s found in foods like turkey, salmon, and eggs.
5-HTP is used to make serotonin – an important neurotransmitter that facilitates communication between neurons.
We can’t obtain 5-HTP from our diets since it isn’t found in any food. So, many people supplement with 5-HTP to remove the need to create it from tryptophan, with the goal of increasing serotonin levels.
What is Rhodiola?
Rhodiola (Rhodiola Rosea) is a popular herb that’s been used to improve health for many years.
In fact, it’s believed that the Vikings used Rhodiola to boost their mental and physical performance.
Rhodiola is grown in many countries, such as Sweden, France, and Iceland, and is still consumed by many today for its health benefits.
Benefits of 5-HTP
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, however some researchers think it might be caused by a serotonin imbalance. (Source)
Well if that’s the case, then 5-HTP may be a useful supplement for treating depression.
In one study, 60 people with depression took either 5-HTP or a popular depression drug, Fluoxetine, every day for 8 weeks.
By the end of the study, 73% of the 5-HTP group showed improved symptoms of depression.
5-HTP may help improve your sleep
Many people supplement with 5-HTP to sleep better at night.
In one study, 18 people with sleeping difficulties took either 5-HTP with GABA (Gabadone), or a placebo.
According to the results, the Gabadone group fell asleep quicker, had a longer sleep, and had a better quality sleep than the placebo group.
5-HTP may help reduce migraines
According to research, 5-HTP may be an effective supplement for reducing migraines.
For example, a study of 124 migraine sufferers compared the effects of 5-HTP and a popular migraine drug on migraines.
Interestingly, 71% of those who took 5-HTP had a decrease in headache frequency.
In another study, 48 students took either 5-HTP or a placebo.
The results showed that 5-HTP reduced the frequency of headaches by 70%, while the placebo reduced the frequency by 11%.
5-HTP may help with weight loss
One of the challenges of losing weight is feeling hungry all the time.
But according to research, 5-HTP may help reduce these hunger pains, making weight loss much easier.
In one study, 20 diabetic subjects took either 5-HTP or a placebo each day for 2 weeks.
The results showed that on average, those who took 5-HTP consumed 435 less calories per day than those who took the placebo.
Benefits of Rhodiola
Rhodiola may help reduce fatigue
Thanks to its adaptogenic properties, Rhodiola may be useful at combating fatigue.
In one study, 100 fatigue sufferers took either 400mg of Rhodiola or a placebo every day for 8 weeks.
The results showed that the Rhodiola group experienced significant improvements in fatigue, mood, concentration, and quality of life.
In another study, 60 fatigue sufferers took either 576mg of Rhodiola or a placebo every day for 4 weeks.
After the 4 weeks, the Rhodiola group had significant improvements in fatigue levels compared with the placebo group.
Rhodiola may enhance exercise performance
According to research, Rhodiola may help improve exercise performance.
In one study, the subjects took either Rhodiola or a placebo before a 6-mile cycle race.
The results showed that the Rhodiola group finished significantly faster than the placebo group.
In another study, the subjects took either 200mg of Rhodiola or a placebo 2 hours before a cycle test.
Interestingly, the Rhodiola group could cycle for 24 seconds on average than the placebo group.
Rhodiola may help boost mental function
Many people use Rhodiola for its brain-boosting properties.
In one study, 56 night-shift workers took either 170mg of Rhodiola or a placebo every day for 2 weeks.
According to the results, the Rhodiola group has less mental fatigue and improved performance than the placebo group.
Another study looked at the effects of Rhodiola on mental performance of students.
After taking Rhodiola for 20 days, the students reported less mental fatigue, more motivation, and better sleep.
Rhodiola may help relieve stress
As it works as an adaptogen, Rhodiola helps your body deal with stress.
For example, a study looked at Rhodiola’s effects on stress-related burnout.
According to the results, those who took Rhodiola reported improved stress and depression.
In another study, subjects with stress took 400mg of Rhodiola every day for 4 weeks.
Interestingly, they reported improved stress-related symptoms like anxiety, fatigue, and exhaustion after taking Rhodiola for just 3 days.
5-HTP is usually sold in capsules. For a medium-priced supplement, you can expect to pay around $20 for 120 capsules.
Rhodiola is normally sold in capsules.
For your typical supplement, you can expect to pay around $18 for 60 capsules.
5-HTP Side Effects
Most people who supplement with 5-HTP experience very few side effects. But in some instances, the following effects have been reported:
- Stomach cramps
Also, taking 5-HTP alongside other medications can boost your serotonin levels to a dangerous amount.
So, please consult a doctor before using 5-HTP supplements.
Rhodiola Side Effects
Like 5-HTP, Rhodiola is generally safe to supplement with but some folks might experience the following side effects:
The following people SHOULD NOT take Rhodiola:
- Nursing women
- Pregnant women
- People taking MAOIs
My 5-HTP Recommendation: Toniiq 5-HTP
Toniiq 5-HTP fits the bill of an ideal supplement.
It’s relatively inexpensive, high strength, and highly absorbable.
What I like about it
The impressive extraction process ensures that the 5-HTP used in these capsules is 99% pure.
(To give you some perspective, most brands use 60% purity or less…)
The purer it is, the more your body can absorb it, making it more effective.
Also, the fact that Toniiq are GMP certified is pleasing.
Well it means their whole manufacturing process is carefully observed for quality purposes. So, when you buy a supplement from Toniiq, you know you’re getting a top product.
It would be good if Toniiq included fewer other ingredients in their capsules.
My Rhodiola Recommendation: Gaia Herbs Rhodiola
High quality? Yep.
Highly rated? Mhmm.
Highly absorbable? You betcha.
Gaia Herbs Rhodiola is the bee’s knees.
What I like about it
What catches the eye of this supplement is the fact Gaia Herbs use liquid phyto-caps.
This means they convert the Rhodiola into a liquid extract before capsuling it, making it more bioavailable for your body.
Also, I’m lover of Gaia Herbs as a supplement company.
They’re one of the few supplement brands that provide full traceability across their full product line.
So when you buy one of their supplements, you can find out exactly how pure it is, how it was grown, and where it originated.
Pretty cool, huh?
They also check each of their supplements for any nasties, like microbes, pesticides, and heavy metals.
As you may expect, a supplement of this calibre doesn’t come cheap.
So if you’re on a tight budget, you may want to look elsewhere.
5-HTP vs Rhodiola: The Verdict
I hope this 5-HTP vs Rhodiola face off has been a fun read, and that you’ve learned some useful knowledge.
My goal for this comparison guide was to help you choose which one suits you best.
So hopefully, you’re now in a good position to make that decision.
Then here’s a high-level summary to help you pick:
You might prefer 5-HTP if:
- You want to lose weight
- You experience migraines
- You suffer from depression
- You want to improve your sleep
You might prefer Rhodiola if:
- You suffer from stress
- You suffer from fatigue
- You want to boost your mental performance
- You want to boost your exercise performance
Hope this helped!