If you have any kind of joint pain or arthritis you’ve probably heard me talk about nightshades. If you haven’t heard of them, listen up!
Nightshades are classified as having the scientific order Polemoniales and family Solanaceae. I know, that doesn’t mean much to most people. What that does mean is that there are over 2800 plant species that belong in this group. Does this mean they are all bad for consumption? No. Just some of them, and only for those who are reactive to them. The word nightshade comes from the fact that most of these like to grow, or flower, in shady areas, or times of day with low light.
Which nightshades are commonly known and consumed?
- Most sweet and hot peppers
- Cayenne pepper
- Tobasco sauce
- Garden huckleberries
- Morning glory
- Tamarios & Pepinos (Mexican produce)
- Pimentos (including pimento cheese and pimento stuffed olives)
Whew, what a list! That isn’t all, but these are the common ones consumed. You may have noticed belladonna and tobacco, so these aren’t just foods, they can also be found elsewhere. If you have a strong negative aversion to cigarette smoke, or having your pupils dilated, you may now have a new suspect.
What happens when those who are reactive consume these nightshades? These plants contain a high number of alkaloids. Alkaloids are known to clash with the functions of nerves and muscles, digestive functions, and joint functions. Although this is true for some, this is not true for all. This is evidenced by the large number of conflicting studies performed that cannot prove the correlation, and the number of domestic and wild animals that ingest these routinely with no harmful side effects. This is probably in part due to genes, or other scientific measures we are still figuring out. Does this mean we cannot help some? Of course not! Studies as far back as the 1980’s have shown significant improvement for 1-2% of participants. This is not a high enough number to support the findings in full, but the consistency in the findings means we can help those 1-2% who will truly benefit from these simple diet eliminations.
In my own practice, if a patient has joint pain, I ALWAYS consider nightshades as a piece of the puzzle. I use the Mediator Release Test to identify other food triggers and we initiate a journey without food triggers and nightshades. Upon improvement, we then test each suspected trigger food and if consumption = joint pain, we continue to keep it out of the diet.
If you like healthy tidbits like this, be sure to sign up for the newsletter (or upper right hand corner), follow me on Facebook, or consider a 45 minute Getting Started session to see if we’re a good medical fit to learn about YOUR specific food triggers.
To YOUR Health, Tracy