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So, you’ve decided to improve your health with supplements.
Clever decision my friend.
But with so many different supplements, which ones should you take?
Well, that’s exactly why I created my Supplement Comparison Series to help you decide in a scenario like this.
Up next, we have L-Theanine vs 5-HTP.
Let’s get going.
What is L-Theanine?
L-Theanine is a popular amino acid renown for its calming effects.
It’s found abundantly in tea leaves, and for most people, tea is the most common source of L-Theanine.
L-Theanine is one of my favorite supplements as it’s cheap, effective, and healthy.
What is 5-HTP?
5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) is a compound derived from the amino acid tryptophan, which is found in foods like salmon, eggs, and turkey.
Our bodies use 5-HTP to make serotonin – an important neurotransmitter that facilitates communication between nerve cells.
Since 5-HTP isn’t naturally found in food, we can’t get it from our diet. So, lots of people supplement with 5-HTP to remove the need to create it from tryptophan, with the aim of increasing serotonin levels.
Benefits of L-Theanine
L-Theanine may help reduce caffeine jitters
Nothing quite beats that first sip of coffee in the morning.
The one which puts a smile on your face even if it’s a Monday.
But sometimes, the following caffeine rush is horrendous.
I don’t know about you, but it can make me feel jittery, anxious, and irritable.
But since taking L-Theanine alongside my morning coffee, these effects are hardly noticeable!
L-Theanine may help improve sleep quality
Over the last year or so, I’ve tried a few different supplements to help improve my sleep, such as:
- Holy Basil
- California Poppy Extract
My sleep was epic when taking either L-Theanine on its own, or Holy Basil alongside Phosphatidylserine.
(California Poppy Extract did nothing for me.)
I measure my sleep quality on how deep my sleep is, and how long it takes me to fall asleep.
L-Theanine improved both these metrics for me.
L-Theanine may enhance cognitive function
According to research, L-Theanine may help boost cognitive function.
It seems to work by amplifying your alpha brain waves, which enhances creativity.
Benefits of 5-HTP
5-HTP may help improve sleep quality
Lots of people supplement with 5-HTP to improve their sleep.
In one study, 18 people with sleeping difficulties took either 5-HTP with GABA (Gabadone), or a placebo.
The results showed that the Gabadone takers fell asleep quicker, had a longer sleep, and had a better quality sleep than the placebo takers.
5-HTP may help you lose weight
One of the difficulties of weight loss is feeling hungry all the time.
According to research, 5-HTP may help reduce this hunger sensation, making weight loss much easier.
In one study, 20 people with diabetes took either 5-HTP or a placebo every day for 2 weeks.
The results showed that on average, the 5-HTP group consumed 435 less calories per day than the placebo group.
5-HTP may help reduce migraines
Research suggests that 5-HTP may be an effective supplement for migraines.
For example, a study of 124 migraine patients investigated the effects of 5-HTP and methysergide on migraines.
(Methysergide is a commonly prescribed migraine drug by the way.)
Interestingly, 71% of the 5-HTP group had a decrease in headache frequency.
In another study, 48 students took either 5-HTP or a placebo.
According to the results, 5-HTP reduced the frequency of headaches by 70%, while the placebo reduced the frequency by 11%.
5-HTP may help improve depression symptoms
Depression is one of most prevalent mental conditions around.
It’s tricky to treat since the cause is largely unknown, although some researchers think it may be caused by a serotonin imbalance. (Source)
If that’s shown to be true, then 5-HTP may be a helpful supplement for depression patients.
In an 8-week study, 60 depression patients took either 5-HTP or fluoxetine – a popular depression drug – each day.
By the end of the 8 weeks, 73% of the 5-HTP group showed improved symptoms of depression.
L-Theanine is usually sold as a powder or in capsules.
Here are some standard prices for these:
- Powder: $10 for 100g
- Capsules: $20 for 100
5-HTP is typically sold in capsules. For a mid-range supplement, you can expect to pay around $20 for 120 capsules.
L-Theanine Side Effects
Most healthy adults can take L-Theanine supplements with minimal side effects.
But those who drink tea to get their L-Theanine may notice the following effects if drinking in large amounts:
- Stomach upset
5-HTP Side Effects
Like L-Theanine, 5-HTP is generally safe to supplement with, but some people may notice the following side effects:
- Stomach cramps
Also, taking 5-HTP with other medications can increase your serotonin levels to an extremely dangerous amount.
So, please talk to a doctor before supplementing with 5-HTP.
My L-Theanine Recommendation: Nootropic Depot L-Theanine Powder
A long-lasting powdered L-Theanine supplement.
Ideal for those who the enjoy the freedom to choose how much L-Theanine they want to take.
What I like about it
My favorite type of supplements are those that are pure and powdered. Because these are the “cleanest” and you can easily experiment with the dosage.
Nootropics Depot L-Theanine Powder ticks both these boxes.
And with each tub providing a massive 2500 servings, you only need to purchase this once to enjoy good quality L-Theanine for years to come.
Although I have a preference of powder, some folks would rather take capsules, so you don’t have to taste it.
If that’s you, then you might want to look elsewhere.
My 5-HTP Recommendation: Toniiq 5-HTP
Fair priced? Yep.
High strength? Mhmm.
Highly absorbable? You betcha.
Toniiq 5-HTP ticks all the boxes of an excellent supplement.
What I like about it
Thanks to the efficient extraction process, the 5-HTP included in these capsules is 99% pure.
(To give you the full picture, most 5-HTP capsules are 60% or less…)
This high purity makes it more absorbable, so your body can utilize it better.
Also, it’s good to know that Toniiq are GMP certified.
This basically means their entire manufacturing process is carefully analyzed for quality purposes. So, when you buy a supplement from Toniiq, you know you’re getting the real deal.
Personally, I’d like to see fewer other ingredients in these capsules.
L-Theanine vs 5-HTP: The Verdict
Thanks for staying with me to the end of this L-Theanine vs 5-HTP face off.
I hope it’s been a fun read and you’ve gained some new knowledge.
By now, you should know exactly which one you’re going to use and have epic results with.
But if you’re still undecided, then here’s what I’d go with:
You might prefer L-Theanine if:
- You want to improve your mental performance
- You love coffee but hate the following caffeine rush
You might prefer 5-HTP if:
- You want to lose weight
- You suffer from migraines
- You suffer from depression
Hope this helped!