Why are you asked not to consume potatoes, eggplants, and tomatoes if you are suffering from inflamatory conditions?
Health research on nightshade vegetables has focused on a special group of substances found in all these vegetations called alkanoids. In chemical terms, alkaloids are easily identified, because they all have at least one ring-like structure that contains “nitrogen.
There are four basic types of alkanoids. in nightshade vegetables:
1) Steroid alkanoids.
2) Tropane alkanoids.
3) Pyrrolizidine alkanoids.
4) Indole alkanoids.
The steriod alkanoids found mainly in potatoes are Solanine and Chaconine.
1) The first area of concern is the ability of the steroid alkanoids to block activity of an enzyme in nerve cells called cholinesterase. Many of the alkanoids present in nightshade vegetables possess this kind of activity, called “cholinesterase inhibition.” If the activity of cholinesterase is strongly blocked, the nervous system control of the muscle movement become disrupted, so muscle twitching, trembling, paralyzed breathing, and convulsions possibly will result. The steroid alkanoids found in potatoes have been clearly shown to block cholinesterase activity, but this block does not usually appear strong enough to produce nerve-muscle disruptions like twitching or trembling.
2) The second type of problem related to the potato alkanoids involves damage to the joints caused by inflammation and loss of minerals. Researchers have speculated that nightshade alkaloids can contribute to excessive loss of calcium from the bone and excessive depositing of calcium in soft tissue. Elimination of nightshade foods from the meal plan of all individuals with osteoarthritis, gout, rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory conditions is necessary. By the surprise of many researchers, nightshade foods do contain very small amounts of drug-like alkanoids that have fascinated medical and drug researchers.
The most famous of the one-ring type alkanoids is the “monocyclic alkanoid,” found in highest concentrations in tobacco nicotine. This alkanoid is found not only in non-food nightshade vegetables, it is also found in non-food nightshades such as tobacco, also in the nightshades including eggplant and tomato .
While alkanoids like nicotine are definitely found in nightshade foods, the amount is dramatically less.
Eggplant has the highest amount of nicotine content after tobacco, yet the amount of nicotine is far lower than the amount found in tobacco.
Although the amount of “nicotine ” is very small , it still seems possible to us that some individuals might be particularly sensitive to the alkaloids found in nightshade foods , even very small amounts might compromise function in the bodies of these individuals.