Tryptophan is frequently talked about during Thanksgiving. In particular, tryptophan is blamed for the reason why many people feel tired after eating a Thanksgiving meal. Did you know that turkey isn’t the highest source of tryptophan and that many other foods we eat have higher amounts? Here are six things you never knew about tryptophan. Happy Thanksgiving!

1. Tryptophan Is A Protein
Tryptophan is an essential amino acid needed and used for various processes within the body. These processes include making important hormones. Tryptophan is most commonly known for making people feel tired after eating a meal containing turkey.

2. Your Body Can't Make Tryptophan
Tryptophan is from a class of proteins called essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are proteins that your body needs to form other things. However, it’s essential because your body can’t make it. The only way that you can get tryptophan is through obtaining it through diet.

3. Tryptophan Helps To Make Serotonin
One of the hormones that tryptophan helps to form is serotonin. When you consume tryptophan, it is able to pass from the blood to the brain. The body uses tryptophan to make serotonin. Serotonin helps to maintain stable moods as well as maintain a healthy sleep pattern.

4. Tryptophan Helps Make Melotonin
Tryptophan helps to make a neurotransmitter called serotonin. Serotonin can be used by the body to help make a hormone called melatonin. Melotonin helps to maintain healthy sleep patterns and triggers the body to get into a healthy sleep state by inducing relaxation.

5. There's A Link Between Tryptophan and Schizophrenia
An absence of tryptophan within the diet has been linked to an increase in symptoms for those have been diagnosed with schizophrenia.

6. Turkey Isn't The Best Source Of Tryptophan
Turkey usually gets the most popular nod of being the best source of tryptophan. However, this is likely caused by all the other foods consumed on a Thanksgiving meal. Oats, eggs, milk, and sesame seeds are higher in tryptophan than turkey. Yet, how often do you feel tired after eating eggs? Beef and chicken have about the same amount of tryptophan as turkey does.

Sources:

1. http://yourlivingbody.com/2015/11/16/the-truth-behind-tryptophan-and-thanksgiving/