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Trying to pick between two supplements?
There’s a ton to consider, including pros, cons, price, and more.
So I’ve gone ahead and collected all of that info so you don’t have to.
No need to thank me!
Our Supplement Comparison Series continues with 5-HTP vs Valerian Root.
What is 5-HTP?
5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) is a compound derived from the amino acid tryptophan, which is found in foods like eggs, salmon, and turkey.
Our bodes use 5-HTP to produce serotonin, which is an important neurotransmitter that facilitates communication between neurons.
Since 5-HTP isn’t found in any foods, we can’t get it from our diets. So, some people supplement with 5-HTP to remove the need to create it from tryptophan, with the aim of increasing serotonin levels.
What is Valerian Root?
Valerian Root (Valeriana Officinalis) is a herb native to Europe that’s known for its calming properties.
It’s been used for thousands of years in traditional medicine and is still used widely today for many different ailments, such as insomnia.
Valerian Root’s name comes from the Latin verb Valere, meaning to be strong.
Benefits of 5-HTP
5-HTP may help you lose weight
A big challenge of dieting to lose weight is feeling hungry all the time.
But research suggests that 5-HTP may help reduce this hunger, making weight loss more straightforward.
In one study, 20 diabetes patients took either 5-HTP or a placebo each day for 2 weeks.
According to the results, the 5-HTP takers consumed 435 less calories per day on average than the placebo takers.
5-HTP may help reduce migraines
According to research, 5-HTP may help reduce migraines.
For example in one study, 48 students took either 5-HTP or a placebo.
The results showed that 5-HTP reduced headache frequency by 70%, while the placebo reduced headache frequency by 11%.
In another study, 124 migraine sufferers took either 5-HTP or a popular migraine drug.
The results showed that 71% of the 5-HTP takers had a decrease in headache frequency.
5-HTP may help you sleep better
A lot of people use 5-HTP as a supplement to improve their sleep.
In one study, 18 subjects with sleeping difficulties took either 5-HTP with GABA (Gabadone), or a placebo.
Interestingly, those who took Gabadone fell asleep quicker, had a longer sleep, and had a higher quality sleep than those who took the placebo.
5-HTP may help improve depression
Depression is one of the most common mental disorders around.
It’s hard to treat since the cause is largely unknown, but some scientists think it may be caused by a serotonin imbalance. (Source)
Well if that’s proven to be true, then 5-HTP may be a helpful supplement for those with depression.
In one study, 60 subjects with depression took either 5-HTP or Fluoxetine every day for 8 weeks.
(Fluoxetine is a commonly prescribed depression medication by the way.)
After the 8 weeks, 73% of the 5-HTP group showed improved symptoms of depression.
Benefits of Valerian Root
Valerian Root may help you sleep better
Valerian Root is renown for its ability to improve sleep.
The good news is this ability has been backed by research too.
For example, a study looked at how Valerian Root affects the time taken to fall asleep in people with insomnia.
Compared to the placebo takers, the Valerian Root takers entered deep sleep 8 minutes faster.
Another study looked at how supplementing with Valerian Root affected sleep quality.
According to the results, 89% of those who took Valerian Root reported improved sleep and 44% reported perfect sleep.
Valerian Root may help improve menopause symptoms
When a woman enters menopause, her estrogen levels decline which can lead to a range of unwelcome symptoms, like:
- Hot flashes
- Mood swings
- Sleep problems
- Vaginal dryness
If you’re going through menopause, then perhaps you ought to try Valerian Root as it’s shown some promise in a few studies.
In one study, menopausal women who took 1060mg of Valerian Root each day for 4 weeks had significantly improved sleep.
In another study, menopausal women who took 765mg of Valerian Root each day for 8 weeks experienced less severe and frequent hot flashes.
Valerian Root may help with relaxation
Both human and animal research support the use of Valerian Root to help you relax.
In one study, subjects were given 600mg of Valerian Root with Lemon Balm during a stressful task.
The results showed that this helped reduce their anxiety during the task.
(Although subjects who were given 1800mg of Valerian Root reported more anxiety, suggesting there’s a sweet spot in dosage.)
In another study, rats who were given Valerian Root before a maze experiment showed less anxious behaviour than rats who were given alcohol.
5-HTP is typically sold in capsules. For a mid-range supplement, you can expect to pay around $20 for 120 capsules.
Valerian Root Cost
Valerian Root is sold in various forms, including powder, capsules, and as a liquid extract.
Here are some standard prices for these:
- Powder: $28 for 1 lb
- Capsules: $7 for 100
- Liquid extract: $19 for 2 Oz
5-HTP Side Effects
Most people who take 5-HTP supplements experience very few side effects. But in some cases, the following effects have been reported:
- Stomach cramps
Also, taking 5-HTP alongside other drugs/medications can increase your serotonin levels to a dangerous amount.
So, please talk to your doctor before using 5-HTP supplements.
Valerian Root Side Effects
Like 5-HTP, Valerian Root supplements are usually well tolerated, but some users have reported the following side effects:
- Vivid dreams
- Upset stomach
- Heart palpitations
Also, the following drugs may interact with Valerian Root, so use with caution and consult a doctor if you’re taking any of them:
- St. John’s wort
- Other sleep aids
And until more research is undertaken, young children and pregnant women should avoid taking Valerian Root.
My 5-HTP Recommendation: Toniiq 5-HTP
High strength? Check.
Highly absorbable? Check.
Relatively inexpensive? Check.
Toniiq 5-HTP ticks all the boxes of an awesome supplement.
What I like about it
Thanks to the efficient extraction process, the 5-HTP used in these capsules is 99% pure.
This is super impressive as the industry standard is around 60%.
And the purer it is, the more your body can absorb it, making it more effective.
Also, it’s good to know that Toniiq are GMP certified.
In other words, their entire manufacturing process is carefully watched for quality purposes. So, when you purchase a supplement from Toniiq, you know you’re getting the real deal.
I’d personally like to see fewer other ingredients in these capsules.
My Valerian Root Recommendation: NOW Valerian Root
A top-quality Valerian Root supplement from a trusted brand.
You can’t go wrong with NOW Valerian Root.
What I like about it
For its relatively cheap price, this is a great quality supplement making it a top budget buy.
Also, I’m a big fan of NOW supplements.
Like Toniiq, they’re GMP certified so you know you’re getting only best quality supplements when you buy from them.
I’ve used plenty of their supplements in the past, including their Zinc Picolinate and can only speak highly of them.
And with over 1,000 epic reviews, it’s pretty obvious that this is an exceptional supplement that many people used with awesome results.
Some people have reported that the capsules have an odd smell.
Although it’s hard to figure out why, this is apparently fairly common for any Valerian Root supplement.
5-HTP vs Valerian Root: The Verdict
Well I hope you’ve enjoyed this 5-HTP vs Valerian Root show down.
These are both solid supplements that offer such a wide range of benefits.
If this article has done its job, then you should know exactly which of the two you’re going to buy and have great results with.
But if you’re still unsure, then here’s how I’d make my decision:
You might prefer 5-HTP if:
- You suffer from migraines
- You suffer from depression
- You want to feel less hungry
You might prefer Valerian Root if:
- You want the cheaper option
- You want to feel more relaxed
- You’re going through menopause
Hope this helped!