The Truth about Tryptophan

Live Turkey

After stuffing yourself silly of mashed potatoes, gravy, cornbread, wine, beer, and of course, turkey, it’s no wonder why your belly’s bloated and you’re ready for a good nap. The blame of needing a nap is never referenced to two or three plate full’s of grandma’s home cooking, but is instead blamed on the turkey’s tryptophan. But how much truth is there in all of this?

Tryptophan is actually a chemical that’s important to our health. Our body uses tryptophan to make serotonin, which is a chemical that helps to regulate sleep. Although turkeys do contain tryptophan, so does a lot of other meats- even cheddar cheese. And while different meats and cheeses contain the chemical, you don’t hear a connection to feeling sleepy after eating chicken or a grilled cheese sandwich, do you?

In essence, eating big meals with anything containing the chemical can make you sleepy. Adding the carb-heavy potatoes, veggies, bread and pie to the tryptophan…yeah, you would be pretty sleepy. And like many people, we starve ourselves to make sure we have enough room for the yummy dinner- tryptophan’s effect on serotonin is heightened when ingested on an empty stomach.

So, in all, turkey’s sleeping effects does have some truth to it, but over time, it has become largely over exaggerated. If you don’t want to be in a turkey and carb-induced coma after dinner tonight, don’t stuff yourself silly.

Happy gobble-gobble day!!

3 Replies to “The Truth about Tryptophan”

  1. I remember this old case once in the 1980’s in the United States of a woman who murdered her husband with an overdose of L-Tryptophans over a series of months even years. The husband was old, so any symptoms of eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome (EMS) or serotonin syndrome were regarded as a sign of old age. Eventually an Autopsy and biological search were done and large trace amounts of Tryptophans were found. As the well-known writer Michael Newton, author of “An Encyclopedia of Female Murderers” once said: “Women are creative creatures.”

  2. Yes, quite creative. They are inducing secretive ways of going about these kinds of murders since most of them lack the physical strength to kill someone with hits, or objects of the sort. This case is frighteningly similar to that of the novel “Crooked House” by Agatha Christie. Coincidence?

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