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Happy Thanksgiving: Tryptophan and Turkey

Posted by UFMC Pueblo in Company News | 0 comments

Roast Turkey on a Serving Dish, in a Dining Room

Does Tryptophan really make you sleepy? And is turkey really to blame?

Thanksgiving, is not only the time of year to give thanks, but it’s also a great excuse to get together with friends and family and treat yourself to a great Thanksgiving meal.  Most traditional thanksgiving meals consist of turkey and year after year, we hear of people getting sleepy after their thanksgiving feast because the turkey is laden with L-tryptophan, tryptophan is what makes you tired. So is it true, the turkey is really to blame? Let’s find out.

L-tryptophan is an essential amino acid that the body cannot make on its own, therefore your diet can supply it. Foods rich in tryptophan include poultry, meat, cheese, yogurt, fish, and eggs. And you guessed it, turkey! But that’s not the only reason you get sleepy. Tryptophan is needed for the body to produce serotonin. High levels of Serotonin in the body will make you feel relaxed and happy. Serotonin is used to create melatonin in your body, which helps control your sleep and wake cycles.

So as it turns out, turkey does include tryptophan, but it actually contains no more than any other form of poultry, and actually has slightly less than chicken. So if you are feeling sleepy after eating your Thanksgiving meal, it’s probably a combination of things that are making you sleepy, including all of the carbohydrates your body has taken in during the meal which can also make you feel lethargic. Chew on that.

Happy Thanksgiving! We hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with turkey, love and laughter.