Gobble Gobble!

Pass the turkey – with extra tryptophan, please!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

We love our friendly gut bacteria – they help break down our Thanksgiving dinner! However, people with Celiac disease have less of this bacteria, leading to extra digestion troubles. What’s a gluten-free stomach to do?

Enter Bruno Lamas at McMaster University in Canada and an international team of researchers.

They fed mice with Celiac disease a diet high in tryptophan for three weeks. Tryptophan is an essential protein building block we usually get from foods, like turkey! Another group of mice ate a low-tryptophan diet. To compare the two, researchers studied the mice’s poop! 

Results? The high-tryptophan group had more helpful chemical attachments. These trigger the digestion pathway, helping your body break down food. Even rich food like mashed potatoes, creamed corn, and baked apples! 

Those with Celiac are more likely to have digestion issues. But the researchers think that a high-tryptophan diet might help! 

Hm, for some. . . Maybe EVERY day should be Turkey Day! 

Reference: Lamas, B., Verdu, E. F. et al. Aryl hydrocarbon receptor ligand production by the gut microbiota is decreased in celiac disease leading to intestinal inflammation. Science Translational Medicine, 12, 566 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1126/scitranslmed.aba0624