Ever notice that you get tired after that big Thanksgiving meal you just want to go take a nap. It is said that an amino acid called Tryptophan causes this tiredness. Is this true? And exactly what is Tryptophan?
Tryptophan is an essential amino acid because it the human body cannot make Tryptophan, we have to eat foods that have this amino acid in them. Tryptophan is used to produce Serotonin, which includes many functions such as control of appetite, sleep, memory and learning, temperature regulation, mood, and behavior.
However, even though turkey contains high levels of Tryptophan, the levels are about the same as many other meats that we consume. In order for Tryptophan to really make you sleepy, you need to take Tryptophan on an empty stomach, without any other types of amino acids or proteins. Turkey is full of other proteins and amino acids. And lets be honest, no one is eating just turkey on Thanksgiving. We eat mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pie (lots of pie!) So to say that Tryptophan causes one to become tired is actually not entirely accurate.
I hope you learned something about this Thanksgiving tradition of turkey and Tryptophan. Remember to KEEP CALM AND LEARN ON.