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November 25, 2014
Turkey & Tryptophan

Thanksgiving Day conjures images of loved ones, gratefulness, and, of course, turkey. According to statistics from the USDA National Agriculture Statistics Service, 51million turkeys are consumed on Thanksgiving Day with a total US spending of over $2 million on Thanksgiving dinner. For many (some polls suggest more than 50% of partakers) the indulgent fare is often followed by the traditional nap – often blamed on the tryptophan containing main-course. But is the turkey really to blame? Probably not. While it’s true turkey is a food-source rich in tryptophan, several other foods including tofu, soy protein, egg whites and halibut contain higher amounts of tryptophan and are not associated with the post-meal nap. If it’s not the turkey, what is the culprit of the post-meal fatigue? Most likely, the same culprit that causes the post-lunch lull experienced by so many – carbohydrates. The average Thanksgiving meal is 3,000 calories and high in carbohydrates including food such as mashed potatoes, stuffing, pie and bread. These carbohydrates increase the tryptophan availability in the brain - one of the ways by which the carb-rich Thanksgiving meal causes drowsiness.

Tryptophan is an amino-acid precursor to serotonin, imbalances in which may manifest as sleep disturbance beyond the need for a post-meal nap. Besides sleep disturbances, imbalances in serotonin may result in mood disturbances such as anxiety or depression, IBS-like symptoms and over-all lassitude.

While consumption of tryptophan-rich foods may play a role in maintaining adequate serotonin levels, targeted amino acid support is best done on an empty stomach. Thus, the foods we eat may not be as therapeutically beneficial for targeting specific neurotransmitter imbalance as supplementation with precursor amino acids and required co-factors.

Supporting serotonin:

After the turkey hangover has subsided, make sure to secure your spot at Labrix Advanced Workshop, where neurotransmitter balancing will be addressed at length with real-world clinical cases and applications. Register today!

  • Berger M, et al. The expanded biology of serotonin. Annu Rev Med. 2009; 60: 355-66.
  • Maas JW, et al. Pretreatment neurotransmitter metabolite levels and response to tricyclic antidepressant drugs. Am J Psychiatry. 1984; 141: 1159-71.
  • Whitaker R. Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness. New York, NY: Broadway Paperbacks; 2010.
  • USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, U.S. Census Bureau,; July 13th, 2014
  • National Sleep Foundation. Food and Sleep. http://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/food-and-sleep. Accessibility verified 11/11/2014
  • http://nutritiondata.self.com/foods-000079000000000000000-1.html?. Accessibility verified 11/11/2014

Labrix Advanced Workshop

Click here for a special invitation to Labrix Advanced Workshop from Labrix co-founder and CEO Dr. Erin Lommen.

Click here to register today!

Labrix Celebrates its 10th Anniversary!

Labrix co-founders Dr. Erin Lommen and Dr. Jay Mead sit down for a short interview and discuss the company's first ten years, as well as its bright future with diagnostic testing.

Advanced Workshop
Las Vegas, NV
Jan 24-25, 2015

Registration is just $199 for Labrix Advanced Workshop (LAW). Register for LAW today.

Core Training
Atlanta, GA
March 14, 2015

Registration is $150 and upon completing this one day training, you will receive a $100 credit on your testing account. Register for Atlanta Core Training today.

Las Vegas, NV
Dec. 11-13, 2014

Labrix' co-founder Dr. Lommen will be speaking on the topic of "Metabolic Syndrome and Menopause" at A4M.

New York, NY
Feb. 19-21, 2015

Labrix' co-founder Dr. Lommen will be hosting a breakfast session at IHS, speaking on the topic of "Gaining Success in Weight Loss: Clinical Protocols for Advanced Practitioners."

Email Labrix for more information and to secure your FREE spot at the breakfast session! (Must be registered to attend IHS 2015 to attend breakfast session)