Gobble! Gobble! Turkey helps with OSA?
“Happy Thanksgiving Dr. Radfar,” my patient tells me as he runs out the door. “Don’t eat too much Turkey! It will make you sleepy and you may fall asleep at the wheel,” I yell out to my patient who I know has sleep apnea but he just refuses to admit it. As we get ready to stuff our faces, we all wonder the effects ofTurkey and the great almighty amino acid, Tryptophan.
Tryptophan makes us sleepy. It is an essential amino acid, and it helps the body produce niacin which in turn gives us the ecstasy hormone called serotonin. No wonder we love thanksgiving. People usually are in a cheery mood! Serotonin also aids in sleep as it has a calming and relaxing effect on the brain. We need to remember that tryptophan alone taken as a supplement can be deadly. This is
why in 1990 the FDA banned tryptophan supplements. When we absorb tryptophan by eating turkey, we do not absorb all of it since it has to vie with all the other amino acids that the body is trying to use. Therefore, you probably won’t die eating turkey so eat away!
In a study done in 1983 by Schmidt HS, 15 subjects (mean age: 48.2 yr; 13 males, 2 females) with sleep apnea (12 obstructive, 3 central) were treated with an average dose of 2500 mg L-tryptophan (L-T) at bedtime. Comparison of pre- and post-drug polysomnograms showed significant improvement in obstructive sleep apnea but not with central sleep apnea. Most dramatic
improvement is seen in subjects with obstructive sleep apnea in non-REM sleep only, but severity of apnea appears to be the most important factor determining improvement. L-T increased REM time and shortened REM latency but had no other significant effects on sleep architecture.Am I recommending my OSA patients to eat turkey every night? No not really, but hey it doesn’t hurt just lets make sure they don’t fall asleep on the way back home after their Thanksgiving dinner!
Happy Holidays everyone!
Dar Radfar DDS practices in Thousand Oaks California. Dr. Radfar is accredited by the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine. Since 2007, he has been treating Sleep Apnea and Snoring patients. He provides professional lectures on the practice of Obstructive Sleep Apnea dentistry, how to screen for the condition, types of appliances to use, and how to get reimbursed for the services provided through medical insurances. For information on these lectures http://conta.cc/1iLSdMG
Dar Radfar DDS