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 the high carbohydrate content of the meal induces an insulin surge, resulting in a low uptake of tryptophan in cells, which then causes an increase in melatonin production."
Don't forget to check out Laura's Mental Health Mondays, too!
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!