Tryptophan is one of the 10 essential amino acids that the body uses to synthesize the proteins it needs. It’s well-known for its role in the production of nervous system messengers, especially those related to relaxation, restfulness, and sleep.

I am now aware why I love turkey so much—I sometimes even crave it. I always feel more relaxed after I eat turkey, and this may explain why….There are many researchers who study the way tryptophan manufactures serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is found—guess where?—in the intestinal tract. Just about 90% of the body’s serotonin is actually found in the gut, so my gut tells me to eat it, and I am not even a biochemist!

Since it is almost Thanksgiving, I thought I would write a post about this, and it may help those with UC also.

Tryptophan has the ability to raise serotonin levels, too! Wow, who knew this? I love the fact that I can eat turkey, nuts, seeds, bananas, soybeans and soy products, tuna, shellfish …. organic, locally-raised red meat as well, AND feel better due to the addition of this amino acid. I have tuna fish once a week, and I crave it also—I only buy tuna caught sustainably, such as by pole or line methods, without the use of what is called “bycatch,” which sounds like what it is—a horrible method of using nets called purse seines (Watch this horrible video to see the damage!) . Tuna is a delicacy, and should ONLY be purchased from a fully accredited and Greenpeace-certified company.

Tryptophan also boosts the production of B3, and since I had a partial bowel resection in 2006, I need to keep track of my B vitamins (especially since my terminal ileum is completely gone, I have lost the capacity to fully absorb vitamin B12).

Everything I eat is sourced, and mostly bought from local farms. It is not that hard to do. For instance, our turkey is a Vermont-raised, free running turkey 🙂 Potatoes are from here, butternut squash, apples, pumpkins—all from Vermont; cranberries are organic and from Cape Cod.

So, cool. A bit or dietary research unravels mysteries of cravings from this writer with Crohn’s disease!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Note: My new cookbook just came out! Check it out here–maybe buy a copy! 

Dede Cummings has Crohn’s disease and she is working with Adam (http://www.ihaveuc.com) on this awesome new site to give people with Crohn’s disease, and other types of IBD (inflammatory bowel disease), a place to go and connect (yes, and to even vent!), and share stories. on November 23, 2011 at 8:35 am
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