Saturday, October 10, 2020

Does Turkey Make You Sleepy?

 Around Thanksgiving we always hear the same old story about feeling tired after eating turkey.

So is there any truth to that?

Not really.   Most try to blame tryptophan (more specifically L-Tryptophan). L-tryptophan is an essential amino acid (building blocks of protein).We must get Tryptophan through diet as our body cannot make it itself.  

Turkey is rich in Tryptophan but so is other poultry. It can also be found in meat, cheese, yogurt, fish, and eggs.

Tryptophan is used by the body to make niacin, a B vitamin.  It is important for digestion, skin and nerves, and serotonin. Serotonin is used to make melatonin, a hormone that helps to control your sleep/wake cycles.

Fact: Turkey actually has slightly less tryptophan than chicken.  Therefore, any food rich in Tryptophan should have a similar effect.  It doesn't though.

In order for Tryptophan to cross the blood-brain barrier and to create Serotonin, it needs to be paired with carbohydrates.  More specifically, carbohydrates will pair with Tryptophan already stored in your body from previous meals.  

So don't blame the Turkey!  Blame the carbohydrates you gobble gobble!