The Truth About Tryptophan

November 21, 2016


As Thanksgiving approaches each year, many start to question the true connection between turkey and tiredness. We’ve all heard the claim that this traditional main course will make you sleepy after consumption. Many Americans even find themselves holding back from indulging upon that second serving. So the question is, are they really a few bites of tryptophan away from falling into a sleepy “food coma”? Well, we’re here to put this claim to rest, and possibly even shed a little light on why you shouldn’t skip the turkey during your Thanksgiving holiday (here’s a hint – it has to do with your teeth!).

Tryptophan is an amino acid that is used by the body to make things, including serotonin. Serotonin is an important brain chemical that can relax you and help you sleep better. Serotonin also makes melatonin, which regulates your sleep cycles. There are many foods that contain tryptophan, including: poultry, eggs, meat, cheese, yogurt and fish.

So even though it’s true that turkey contains tryptophan, it’s actually not enough to make you sleepy. Turkey has no more tryptophan than other kinds of poultry –  it actually has less tryptophan than chicken. Think back to the last time you ate a large serving of chicken, did it put you fast to sleep? Probably not.

But it gets even better – turns out, turkey is good for your overall health. Turkey contains a plethora of vitamins and minerals, specifically vitamins B-6 and B-12, niacin, choline, selenium and zinc. Turkey is also packed with protein, calcium and vitamin D, which creates strong muscles, bones and teeth.

So there you have it folks, turkey doesn’t necessarily make you sleepier than usual and is actually good for your well-being – including your oral health. So eat up! And from ours to yours, have a happy, healthy Thanksgiving!