Hot Peppers Can Fight the Sleepy Effects of Holiday Dinners

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There's no doubt Americans love their holiday turkeys, but those tasty birds also have a reputation for putting people to sleep. And although it turns out that eating turkey isn't even close to a cure for insomnia, a nice gobbler with a little alcohol, and lots of side dish carbs can put you to sleep faster than a dose of chloroform. Luckily the power of hot peppers can ensure your dinner guests stay awake for the "after dinner" activities.

I use it everyday morning when I get up. I sit there with my coffee, and my sinus buster. Snort and drink.....snort and drink...a couple shots and I'm good to go. Plus my breathing has never been better

Celebrate with family and friends, and much of that seasonal hoopla is built around the traditional holiday meal. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day are the three biggest days for turkey, and Americans love their turkey even with its’ reputation to produce the dreaded "Turkey Hangover". Whether it's roasted or fried, turkey is widely believed to be nature’s sleeping pill, but is this reputation fair?

It's true enough that turkey contains respectable amounts of an essential amino acid known as “Tryptophan”. Ingested naturally through foods, Tryptophan helps the body produce the B-Vitamin, "Niacin" which in turn helps the body produce “Serotonin,” a brain chemical that acts as a calming agent and plays an important role in sleep. While high levels of serotonin can have powerful sleep promoting properties, most nutritionists and doctors will tell you that turkey has no effect on sleep whatsoever.

In fact, studies show that to trigger a notable release of serotonin, the tryptophan must be taken in large amounts on an empty stomach with no protein present. For years the public had been misled about the sedative powers of turkey mainly by the media which has this falsehood into an urban legend of sorts. Even today the idea of turkey and sleepiness continues to be a side note in the Thanksgiving stories of local reporters all over the country.

Thanks partially to the media attention, tryptophan became enormously popular as a dietary supplement during the 1980s. Known as "L-Tryptophan," it was widely used as a natural way to treat insomnia, depression, PMS.

Then in 1990, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned L-tryptophan supplements after an outbreak of "Eosinophilia-myalgia," a syndrome that causes chronic muscle pain and even death. In fact, more than 5,000 users got sick, and more two dozen died all due to poor manufacturing techniques.

An official investigation into the connection with L-tryptophan traced the problem to a contaminated batch of the supplement made by a single Japanese company which had changed its fermentation process to incorporate genetically engineered bacteria. This resulted in a bacterial contamination of several lots.

Although the investigation proved the outbreak had nothing to do with tryptophan as an essential supplement, the FDA refused to relax its ban, reasoning that it's still not clear whether manufacturers can make a product that is guaranteed non-toxic. However, L-tryptophan supplements are still available by prescription in Canada, and can also be found on various websites. Tryptophan also continues to be safely added to commercial baby formulas and other foods under FDA approval since the ban only covers tryptophan in high potency supplement form.

Turkey tryptophan is safe and essential to human life, but it also comes in many other high protein foods such as dairy products, beef, peanuts, barley, brown rice, fish, soybeans, and all other poultry. Yet none of these foods (including turkey) are likely to trigger the body to produce more serotonin since tryptophan works best on an empty stomach. While tryptophan in supplement form may be strong, it’s meant to take at night, well after dinner. On the other hand, the tryptophan in a Thanksgiving turkey has to compete with all the other amino acids that the body is trying to use simultaneously through all the recently ingested food. Therefore, only part of the tryptophan ever really makes it to the brain to help produce serotonin.

So then what is it that makes you so sleepy after big turkey dinners? It's simply the meal as a whole. When we eat a traditional holiday dinner, we tend to pig out on lots and lots of carbohydrates. The carbs wake us up at first, but by the time you're done with your last bite of pumpkin pie, not even grandma's strong percolated coffee can perk you up.

For many people, this roller coaster ride to "Sleepville" puts a real damper on the day’s much anticipated after dinner events. Traditions such as watching the big game, or your favorite holiday parade can be cut short and even ruined, by the sleepy effects of that enormous holiday meal -- so what's a person to do?

There are a few things that can be done on both sides of the table to ensure a perky celebration long after the traditional sit down meal. On the cook's side of things, he or she can add hot peppers to the meal -- either as a side dish, or somehow incorporated into the menu. This could be a special cayenne pepper sweet sauce gently drizzled over your favorite veggies, or you could add an extra kick to your turkey by rubbing in a little cayenne pepper seasoning.

Why do hot peppers give you a boost? The active ingredient in hot peppers is "Capsaicin," a powerful natural endorphin booster that can rev up the metabolism and perk up your energy level. In higher doses, capsaicin can even wake you up when you've had too much holiday cheer while listening to Uncle Ted's tired old stories. More importantly, it’s been shown to increase blood flow thus preventing and breaking up dangerous blood clots in the arteries. For this reason heart patients are told to include hot peppers in their daily diets

There are many varieties of hot peppers that can provide capsaicin. Some are mild such as paprika, and some are wild such those tasty little Habaneras. Of course you don't have to spark a “three alarm” fire to sneak some capsaicin into your holiday meal. Something as simple as one small diced up hot pepper mixed in your favorite casserole can add enough capsaicin to kick your dinner up a notch without blowing the top off granny's new wig.

There’s also another novel way to perk yourself up with capsaicin, and it's all in the nose. Believe it or not, there's an all natural hot pepper nasal spray made to combat chronic sinus and headaches with the power of capsaicin. Sinus Buster nasal spray is touted to be the greatest sinus and headache remedy ever, but it's also know as perhaps the best natural "pick me up" around.

Sinus Buster's reputation as an instant energy booster has garnered many recreational users who swear this unique nasal spray is stronger than a morning cup of java. Recreational users who label themselves as "Pepperheads," say one squirt of Buster is about as good as it gets for readjusting your attitude.

"I use it everyday morning when I get up. I sit there with my coffee, and my sinus buster. Snort and drink.....snort and drink...a couple shots and I'm good to go. Plus my breathing has never been better," says Steve Fellows of Delmar, New York.

After finding the Sinus Buster on the internet, Fellows just had to give it a try, and once he did -- he says he was hooked.

Management at SiCap Industries, the company that manufactures Sinus Buster, is very positive when it comes to the potential of their innovative hot pepper nasal spray.

"We designed this spray to combat chronic headaches, allergies, and sinus conditions. We didn't intend for buster to be an energy booster, but it has definitely caught on in that way. For us that's a great thing. We sell alot of this to runners and weight lifters. People that want to get a fast rush. It really does pump you up and it's all natural. Ya can't beat that," says Wayne Perry, president of SiCap Industries.

The way capsaicin works on the body's bloodstream and brainwaves is very complex, but in a nutshell -- the capsaicin causes a chemical reaction that triggers the body to release natural endorphins which provide a burst of energy and a feeling of well being. By ingesting the capsaicin intranasally, Sinus Buster users get an instant dose of capsaicin -- all be it in very minute quantities.

In addition, the natural formula featuring Aloe Vera Gel, Eucalyptus Oil, and organic Rosemary Extract clears the sinuses and leaves the nasal passages with a clean fresh feeling. The bite takes a little getting used to, but most people get to love it real fast. In small doses, the Sinus Buster can help to block allergy triggers and prevent sinus infections, but for the holiday season, it may just be the perfect way to beat those so-called "Turkey Hangovers."

For more information about Sinus Buster capsaicin pepper nasal spray, visit the official company website at ( Media kits and samples are available for qualified media and medical personnel upon request.

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