The Tryptophan Myth

tryptophan to serotonin Happy Thanksgiving! I thought I’d post and give everyone some ammunition for the inevitable arguments with distant relatives over the cause of post-turkey sleepiness:

  • Myth: Eating turkey makes you sleepy – discusses the sleep-inducing property of purified tryptophan, but points out that Turkey isn’t particularly rich in this amino acid.
  • Is there something in turkey that makes you sleepy? – discusses the pathway from tryptophan to niacin and then to serotonin, and points out the obvious cause of post-Thanksgiving drowsiness: heavy carbohydrate consumption and alcohol.
  • The Big Sleep – points out that milk, beans, and beef are richer in tryptophan than is Turkey, but also mentions the FDA’s ban on L-tryptophan supplements due to an outbreak of eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome in 1989.
  • Thanksgiving, Turkey, and Tryptophan – the ACS weighs in with the actual metabolic pathway between tryptophan and serotonin

Have a great feast but don’t blame the turkey for your sleepiness.

[tags]turkey, tryptophan, urban legends[/tags]

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2 Responses to The Tryptophan Myth

  1. Pingback: In Theory » Freedom from food persecution

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