Monday, November 22, 2010

Medical Mondays: Turkey, Tryptophan and Tom's Revenge


Hi guys!

In honor of Thanksgiving, I wanted to address this whole "Post-Turkey Drowsiness" thing that has been blamed on tryptophan, an amino acid.

Here is our fictional scenario.

Tom is a quiet nine year-old boy who dreads Thanksgiving. No, it isn't because his Aunt Prudence's turkey is so dry it could be used to start the fire.

It's because of his cousin, Brutus. Brutus is a twelve year-old suffering from Know-It-All-itis. And poor Tom spends a whole day, once a year, subject to an all day tirade of "let's see how much Tom doesn't know."

But this year is different. Because Tom has you, his Fairy-Geek Mother.

Brutus is chucking marshmallows at Tom's head right now, just after dinner.

Brutus: "Hey pigeon-brain, know why people get so sleepy after Thanksgiving?"

Tom, plucking marshmallows out of his hair, doesn't answer, because why bother? Brutus will tell him anyway.

Brutus, with a lordly air: "Tryptophan. That's why. It's in the turkey. Bet you didn't know that, eh?"

And here is where you, the Fairy-Geek Mother, swoops in to flick Tom on the noggin with this bit of brilliancy.

Tom, his face transformed by knowledge:

"Actually, tryptophan levels are no higher in turkey than any other meat. The post-meal drowsiness is due to an indirect mechanism whereby elevated levels of melatonin, a sleep-inducing chemical, are produced due to the high carbohydrate content of the meal."

Brutus: "Uhhh."


Don't forget to check out Laura's Mental Health Mondays, too!
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

57 comments:

salarsenッ said...

You know, I did actually know this one. I'd done some research when my kids were really little. Wondered it a 'Thanksgiving Day like meal' would help them sleep through the night. Seriously, I really researched that. I was desperate.

Nick said...

As a child, we always blamed our post-meal drowsiness on my mom's secret ingredient: Lunesta

Anonymous said...
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Steve Finnell said...
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lbdiamond said...

LOL! The know-it-all gets knowed-out! :D

Happy Turkey Day!

Liza said...

A good reason to go for the all veggie T-day? Nope!

Terri Tiffany said...

I finally found that out a few years ago-- but it is a good excuse for a nap!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Get 'em, Tom!

Old Kitty said...

Good for Tom!! Knowledge is definitely empowering!! Raspberries to Brutus! :-) Take care
x

Matthew Rush said...

Interesting! Good to know that meals high in carbs can act as a sedative. I'll be sure to pig out before my next nap!

C. N. Nevets said...

Lydia, thanks for helping dispel this weird bit of nonsense that seems entrenched in popular wisdom.

Carol Kilgore said...

You never cease to amaze me with your knowledge. All this time I thought it was the turkey. Thanks!

BECKY said...

Hi Lydia! Thanks so much for this humorous tale!

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Munk Davis said...

Thanks for setting me straight... Munk (a.k.a. Brutus).

E.J. Wesley said...

Gigantic meal = snooze. Who needs science! :)

BTW, that has to be the wordiest/longest SPAM I've ever seen!

Happy Turkey Day, Lydia! Hope you and yours are pager free! My wife is on call, but she'll be home in time for dinner (so she says ...).

EJW

Lenny Lee* said...

hi miss lydia! hooray for tom! im gonna be the most smart person just from reading you blog! :)
i hope you have a really nice thanksgiving.
...hugs from lenny

Bossy Betty said...

So it's the carbs!!!! Can I still take a nap while others clean up?

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

I know carbs make me sleepy! I have to plan them in my day. Great at night, not before a writing session, though. I'm so glad you cleared up Tom and Brutus and all of us about the turkey. Poor bird, taking all the blame.
Happy Thanksgiving, Lydia. One thing I'm grateful for is your blog, which delights and informs.

Slamdunk said...

Thanks Dr. After the Seinfeld episode promoting the powers of Tryptophan, I just can't get their images out of my head.

Charli Mac said...

I so can't wait for my turkey induced coma! Love the Fairy Geek Mother. My daughter would call me that. LOL.

LTM said...

LOL@ Lydia! That's where you hear the music "wah wah waahhh..." :D

I'd also add that all the pre-holiday excitement/stress probably induces a let-down as well, yes?

Thanks, doc~ :o) <3

Kelly said...

Wow! I can't wait to impress everyone at Thanksgiving!
Have a great one, Lydia!

Colene Murphy said...

Awe! Well that makes sense! I love those sleepy afternoons... I guess I just didn't want to believe it was because I pigged out. Blame it on the tryp.!

Paul S said...

We don't celebrate Thanksgiving here in the U.K. so I'll have to save this one for Christmas.
I hope you have a nice one Lydia.

Talli Roland said...

I always wondered if that was true or not! Now I know my drowsiness was just down to pigging out! :)

Heather said...

Ah hah! The mystery is solved! I knew it wasn't the turkey's fault.

ciaraknight said...

LoL. LOVE the fairy-geek mother. Wish I had one of those. :) Great post!

Carol Riggs said...

So enjoyed the Thanksgiving Tale--the Fairy-Geek Mother, the dry turkey, etc. Fun stuff! Thanks for the smile.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

The Fairy Geek Mother! Awesome. :)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Jai Joshi said...

Hilarious! I'm vegetarian but I'll keep this little tidbit filed away for when I chatting with my turkey eating buddies after thanksgiving!

Jai

Krispy said...

I did not know this. Good to know, but what I'd really like to know is why am I so sleepy right now? :P

Loved the fictional scenario. :)

Maria McKenzie said...

Thanks for clearing that up!

Amy DeTrempe said...

I didn't know this one. Here I thought Tryptophan just didn't affect me for some reason when it turns out I just wasn't eating enough carbs :).

Walt M said...

One of these kids sounds like me back when I was a kid. I'm just trying to figure out which one.

Holly Ruggiero said...

I remember hearing with wasn’t the tryptophan but that fact we stuff ourselves, but I like hearing all the techie stuff.

The Words Crafter said...

Awww, I always wanted to be a Fairy Geek Mother =P So, Wednesday, when our center has it's annual giant Thanksgiving lunch, I need to shove tons of potatoes, rolls, bread, turkey and stuffing down their little throats, huh?

JUST KIDDING!!!!! *wink*

Really, I didn't know this. Now, I really can be geeky(er!)

wheresmypencil said...

Oh, wow, I actually didn't know that. Now when my other fam members start talking about it I can correct them...or not. Lol.

Lynn said...

haha!! Great story illustration!

Rachael Harrie said...

Tee hee, love Tom! Very interesting to know, too. We don't celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia, but we sure do have a lot of Christmas eats!!! :)

Rach

Nicole Zoltack said...

How interesting. I learned something new today! (I love it when that happens.) :)

Rachna Chhabria said...

Post meal drowsiness is something I suffer from. Wishing you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving, Lydia.

Amanda Borenstadt said...

LOL
Cool!
And I thought it was the boring conversation at the dinner table. ;p

notesfromnadir said...

Thanks for dispelling the myth about too much tryptophan being in turkey. In my humble opinion, I think so many people have a weekday off that they use it to catch up on their sleep!

Happy Thanksgiving! :)

The Red Angel said...

Haha, this is so great! I haven't heard of this before about tryptophan in turkey, actually. Nice little story. Happy early Thanksgiving, Lydia. :)

~TRA

http://xtheredangelx.blogspot.com

Corey Schwartz said...

Ha, know-it-all-itis! Maybe you should be writing MG?

Susan Fields said...

That's good to know - I always thought it was the trytophan. Happy Thanksgiving, Lydia!

Stephen Tremp said...

And all this time I thought my drowsiness was due to that bottle of Merlot I drank. Thanks for the clarification.

Shellie said...

You know, that makes sense. Do vegatarians not also get sleepy? Sure they do. No more blaming it on the turkey.

Julie Musil said...

We've been lied to! I thought it was just a turkey thing. Shows how much I knew. Now I can pass this information along to my dozing family on Thanksgiving!

Enjoy your holiday.

L'Aussie said...

I feel like that after most meals but I'm a carb freak! Thanks Lydia.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Phoenix said...

I think at this point it's also pretty much a placebo effect, too. People get sleepy because they expect to get sleepy.

When I grow up, can I be a Fairy Geek Mother too? Pretttttty please??? ;)

Have a lovely (carb-filled, drowsy-inducing) Thanksgiving, Lydia!

Phoenix said...

PS another theory: spending all day with your immediate family is exhausting.

Am I right or am I right?!

Clara said...

Glorious! Go Tom! I wanna a card that says Fairy Geek mother! Pleeease? =)
Happy Thanksgiving!

Vicki Rocho said...

I'm laughing because I used to know someone who would have a turkey sandwich for lunch before a big meeting in the afternoon because he THOUGHT the turkey would calm his nerves.

Of course, he also swore he could tell the difference between regular and decaf coffee but never noticed when we made the switch.

Jonene Ficklin said...

Wow, there's a myth-buster for you! And is Brutus based on an actual person you knew? Thanks for your awesome info!

notesfromnadir said...

I've always thought it was due to eating too much turkey AND stuffing, cranberry sauce, cornbread, salad, pumpkin pie...

 
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