Nightshade vegetables and plants have long been researched as a possible link to chronic inflammation that can lead to a variety of illnesses. Some of these chronic conditions include arthritis, fibromyalgia, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
The nightshade vegetables include, eggplant, tomato, white potato, sweet peppers, and hot peppers. Also included are goji berries and tobacco. Actually, there are over 2000 varieties of nightshade plants.
Health Issues Caused By Nightshade Vegetables
Nightshades contain four types of alkaloid drugs, including solanine (steroid alkaloids) in potato and eggplant, tomatine in tomato, nicotine in tobacco, and capsaicin in peppers.
Plants produce alkaloids primarily designed to help protect them from insects and other diseases.
The alkaloids in potatoes are called glycoalkaloids, and they produce several different kinds. The most well known of these is solanine.
It is believed to be responsible for food poisoning. And is known to contribute to IBS and can negatively affect intestinal permeability and aggravate inflammatory bowel disease.
Glycoalkaloids have shown to accumulate in tissues of the body and tend to concentrate most significantly in the liver.
High concentrations have also been found in other major organs such as the kidney, heart, lungs, and in the brain.
Contents of glycoalkaloids as high as 100 mg have been measured in the skin of potatoes along with lethal amounts in the sprouts. The high levels alkaloids has led to several cases of potato poisoning.
The consumption of just 28 mg of glycoalkaloids can cause neurological impairment in the form of hyperesthesia, dyspnea, itchy neck, and drowsiness. These symptoms can be accompanied by gastrointestinal effects such as diarrhea and vomiting.
It has been reported that individuals have had nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach cramps and headache after consuming white potatoes. More serious cases have experienced neurological problems, including hallucinations and paralysis.
The journal Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology reports that the clearance of glycoalkaloids from the human body usually takes more than 24 hours, which implicates that the toxins may accumulate in case of daily consumption.
Further Studies Of Nightshade Vegetables
In 1980, Dr. Norman F. Childers, Ph.D. founded The Arthritis Nightshades Research Foundation to study the nightshade arthritis connection. Their determination was, "If nightshades can be eaten or used sparingly, arthritis can be slowed in developing."
Dr. Childers explains that when solanine and glycoalkaloids accumulate in the body either alone or with other cholinesterase inhibitors such as caffeine or food impurities containing systemic cholinesterase inhibiting pesticides, the result may be a paralytic-like muscle spasm, aches, pains, tenderness, inflammation, and stiff body movements.
He also states that he discovered back in the 1950's that his diverticulitis was caused by frequent drinking of a cold glass of a popular canned vegetable and tomatoes with paprika drink.
Calcitriol an extremely potent hormone, is very tightly regulated by the kidneys. It is also found in nightshade vegetables. Calcitriol signals the intestines to absorb calcium from our diet.
Calcitriol is needed by the body to maintain proper bone density, but too much from any source, such as the nightshade vegetables, leads to hypercalcemia, also known as high blood calcium.
Over consumption of calcitriol from nightshade foods can circumvent the kidney’s control and over time lead to calcium deposits in soft tissues such as the tendons, ligaments, cartilage, cardiovascular tissues, kidneys and skin. Osteoarthritis is basically calcium deposits in the soft tissues of joints.
Some Say No Clear Evidence Of Nightshades Causing Harm
The University of Washington says, "No foods have been definitively shown to cause or exacerbate arthritis in most individuals. A variety of diets and hand me down information exists about certain foods and arthritis, in particular the nightshade plants, but none of it has been proven."
According to Ronenn Roubenoff, MD, a nutritionist at the Tufts University School of Medicine, "Potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplant, for example, frequently are blamed for causing arthritic flares. Studies have shown this occurs in only 1-2% of patients."
Some experts say there is no solid evidence showing an impact on the nervous system or joints, and others say they do.
One thing is clear though, that when certain segments of the population discontinue eating nightshade vegetables, a variety of mental, emotional and physical conditions are alleviated.
Some medical researchers recommend that individuals with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or other joint problems eliminate nightshade foods from their diet.
Therefore, it is up to you to eliminate nightshade vegetables from your diet. If you have concerns, modifying certain foods in your diet is a good idea. It could help to identify health issues connected to foods of all types, including nightshade vegetables.
Foods that can help with joint pain and inflammation are omega-3 fatty acids which are found in salmon, tuna, walnuts and olive oil. Other foods beneficial for pain and inflammation are dark green leafy vegetables. And including fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C and E which are rich in antioxidants.