Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Biology of Thanksgiving

Planning on a post-Turkey tryptophan hangover tomorrow? Does the tryptophan myth even ring true? Well, while turkey does contain high levels of tryptophan, the amount is comparable to that contained in most other meats (chicken, beef and even fish). The Thanksgiving sedation may have more to do with what is consumed along with the turkey, in particular carbohydrates, rather than the turkey itself.

So what is going on…A high carbohydrate meal triggers release of insulin. Insulin then stimulates the uptake of large neutral branched-chain amino acids (LNAA) but not tryptophan into muscle, thereby increasing the ratio of tryptophan to LNAA. This increased ratio reduces competition with other amino acids for the large neutral amino acid transporter protein for uptake of tryptophan across the blood-brain barrier into the central nervous system. Once inside the CNS, tryptophan is converted into serotonin in the raphe nuclei. The resultant serotonin is further metabolized into melatonin by the pineal gland. Therefore it is actually the heavy duty carbs that increases the production of the sleep-inducing serotonin and melatonin in the brain.

With that said, thanks to my friends at Wikipedia, a place chock full o’ great stuff. Now poised to reflect for a moment, how truly thankful I am for the richness of my professional and personal life. It is an honor to be immersed in the world that I walk in and the incredible people I am able to interface with. And did I mention how appreciative I am of you, yeah you, sitting at your computer and allocating a portion of your valuable time to read what I post here at CLSDF, now to me that is something super special and not to ever be taken for granted. On that note I am going to take a breather, take some time to connect with friends and family and hang up CLSDF till next week, till then...Happy Thanksgiving!

Gobble Gobble…

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