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Dear M.A.:

I brought up the "fact" that there is some sort of chemical or substance that is found in turkey which, when consumed, makes one sleepy. My cohorts either think I'm making this up or they just stare at me with one eyebrow raised. Please settle this once and for all, hopefully in my favor.


Yours truly, MATALHIPCOL, says UWINTHEYLOSE. The TURKSNOOZECHEM of which you speak is the amino acid tryptophan, also found in BEEFCHEESEMILKBEANS(SOY). We normally ingest about a gram or so a day in our diet, not enough to have much soporific effect. I suspect you'd have to eat a ton o' birds to induce any major rack time. Tryptophan in pill form was removed from the food-supplement shelves for being too much of a good thing, blamed for inducing a blood disorder called eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome. But perhaps the abundance of tryptophan in turkey explains the birds' reputation for being dumb as a rock, though I've never heard they are particularly hard to wake up in the morning.

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