5-HTP Vs L-theanine
Disclaimer: This content has been produced purely for informational and educational purposes only and is never intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical guidelines including diagnosis, advice, and treatment.
With today’s ultra-modern tech-savvy lifestyle, the incidents of anxiety and depression are increasing day by day due to stress, fear, and huge pressure on mood and emotion. Both 5-HTP and L-theanine are popular nootropics that can help ease stress and enhance mood in a natural way. People often compare the benefits of 5-HTP vs L-theanine to determine which one will work better. They both have pros and cons and it depends on the specific situations and aim of use. Keep reading to learn more.
In this article, we’ll compare 5-HTP vs L-theanine on the basis of their mechanism of action and potential benefits so that you can have an overall idea of which one to pick between them. But before we get into the difference between 5-HTP and L-theanine, it’s important to learn actually what they are. So, let’s get started.
Table of contents
- What is 5-HTP?
- What is L-theanine?
- 5-HTP vs L-theanine: mechanism of action
- 5-HTP vs L-theanine: potential benefits
- 5-HTP vs L-theanine: precautions and side effects
- Final words
What is 5-HTP?
5-HTP or otherwise known as 5-hydroxytryptophan is an amino acid that the human body naturally produces from tryptophan in the process of making serotonin. It acts as a precursor to the brain chemicals serotonin and melatonin.
5-HTP is produced in the body as a metabolite that gets converted into serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that has a vital role in regulating various bodily functions such as mood, appetite, behavior, and attention.
Taking 5-HTP supplements can help increase serotonin levels, resulting in improved mood and brain function. It’s not found in foods. 5-HTP supplements are made from the seeds of an African plant, scientifically known as Griffonia simplicifolia.
What is L-theanine?
L-theanine or otherwise known as theanine is a water-soluble amino acid naturally found in tea leaves, both green and black. It’s not naturally produced in the body and hence, must be taken through foods or supplements. Certain types of mushrooms also contain small amounts of theanine, as well, such as Bay Boletes.
L-theanine has been found to be effective in promoting feelings of relaxation, assisting healthy sleep cycles, and increasing mental clarity. It helps to feel calm yet alert at the same time. It is often combined with caffeine to amplify the benefits of caffeine while lowering the risks of side effects associated with caffeine.
5-HTP vs L-theanine: mechanism of action
5-HTP serves as an immediate precursor to the chemical messenger or neurotransmitter serotonin which further converts into melatonin. Therefore, intake of 5-HTP can help increase the concentration of serotonin and melatonin available in the brain and nervous system. Serotonin regulates a range of bodily functions including pain perception, appetite, mood, attention, and behavior while melatonin regulates the sleep-wake cycles.
On the other hand, L-theanine has been found to have similar effects as psychoactive substances. It has access to the CNS (central nervous system) and can favorably affect a person’s mental states and abilities including his or her perception of the outer world, such as the mood he or she is in and how fast he or she thinks.
L-theanine is thought to elevate the levels of GABA, a brain chemical responsible to inhibit and slow down the excitatory nerve activities in the brain and nervous system, resulting in a relaxed mind and body.
5-HTP vs L-theanine: potential benefits
Potential benefits of 5-HTP
Since serotonin has a vital role in various bodily functions including anxiety, appetite, pain perception, and sleep, 5-HTP offers a range of benefits similar to the antidepressants such as SSRI and SNRI that are believed to enhance the concentrations of serotonin available in the brain and nervous system.
5-HTP can benefit human health in many ways, such as:
- It can help boost mood
- It can facilitate natural weight loss by reducing appetite
- It helps relieve stress and anxiety
- It helps improve sleep quality
- It helps ease fibromyalgia
- It alleviates headaches, especially migraines
Potential benefits of L-theanine
L-theanine offers both, helping to feel calm as well as wakefulness. Similar to psychoactive substances such as caffeine, it works in a minute. Let’s take a look at some of the common benefits of L-theanine:
- It helps reduce mental chatter
- It helps relieve stress
- It promotes alpha-wave activity in the brain
- It promotes the production of GABA in the brain
- It supports immune function
- It may help manage blood pressure
- It may help with preventing certain types of cancer
5-HTP vs L-theanine: precautions and side effects
Although 5-HTP is likely safe for most people when taken as recommended, some people may experience stomach upset, nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, and heartburn. But these aren’t common.
L-theanine, on the other hand, is truly safe and there are no reported direct side effects so far. But it doesn’t mean that side effects don’t exist at all. However, it’s always best to seek a prescribed guideline from a licensed naturopathic doctor or nutritionist prior to using any supplements.
In the comparison of 5-HTP vs L-theanine, both have potential benefits, especially related to mental health and mood. So, which one is better? It all depends on what a person is looking for and what’s his or her specific health status.
5-HTP could be a great option for people who:
- Are concerned about their serotonin levels
- Want to boost their moods and overall mental well-being
- Want to control their appetite and lose weight naturally
- Want to manage pain in fibromyalgia
And, L-theanine could be a great option for people who:
- Want to prevent and manage symptoms of anxiety and stress
- Want to control their chronic overthinking
- Have difficulty falling asleep at night
But, it’s always important to keep in mind that these are only a few of the many health benefits of 5-HTP and L-theanine and it’s not written in stone that either one will definitely work in certain situations. The efficacy and choice of supplements also depend on how the body responds. Therefore, it’s essential to work with a qualified natural medicine practitioner to choose any supplements for any reason.
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