Tryptophan

By: Bryn Sandine

“There was the doughty doughnut, the tender olykoek, and the crisp  and crumbling cruller; sweet cakes and shortcakes.And then there were apple pies and peach pies; besides slices of ham and smoked beef; … not to mention broiled shad and roasted chickens;”

    There you are on Thanksgiving night, lying on the couch, watching your favorite Thanksgiving movie. You’re stuffed with turkey and pumpkin pie. Your eyelids grow heavy. You start nodding off to sleep. Has this ever happened to you or your family? Why are we so tired after Thanksgiving dinner? Some say the culprit is turkey. People say this because turkey contains tryptophan.

Tryptophan is an amino acid that is said to cause drowsiness. Tryptophan causes an increase in serotonin, which creates melatonin. Melatonin controls your sleep cycles.

But alas, this old wives’ tale is false. Tryptophan may cause higher serotonin levels, but when tryptophan enters the body, it must “get in line” with all the other amino acids trying to enter the bloodstream.

However, if you do want to use food for sleeping purposes, after you eat a tryptophan rich food, eat an all-carbohydrate snack because it “fast tracks” the  tryptophan to your bloodstream.

This reminds me of how the only way to God is through Jesus Christ. “ Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. The only way to the Father is through me. ” Just like the only way for the tryptophan to get to the bloodstream first is with an all-carb snack.