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Problems from these Popular Foods Exposed to the Light of Day

The nightshades are members of an enormous family of plants called Solanaceae, represent a huge family of plants. The ones that concern us in the Western diet mainly include tomatoes, potatoes (not sweet potatoes or yams), eggplant and peppers—this means all peppers including chili peppers, habenero, cayenne pepper and paprika (not peppercorns, see sidebar). Paprika is a sneaky one, showing up in lots of flavoring mixes and often under “spices” on ingredient labels. Other nightshades include goji berries (the new darling of the antioxidant crowd), ashwagandha (an adaptogenic herb from Ayurvedic medicine), Cape gooseberries (not normal gooseberries), ground cherries and garden huckleberries (not blueberries).

I’m a licensed naturopathic physician in private practice, and I will admit right off the bat that I am biased against nightshades. I used to eat a ton of foods in the nightshade family, but now I avoid them as much as possible. I am one of those who is very sensitive to these foods. In my medical practice, I treat pain often. My goal in pain treatment is pain relief. In my opinion, pain management—that is, long-term painkillers, without a goal of true pain relief—is for suckers. For me and many of my patients, nightshade avoidance is the answer to long-term relief from pain.

Why should you care about this? It’s likely that you enjoy eating these foods and can’t imagine that they are bad for you in any way. Well, if you suffer from inflammation, joint pain and cracking, avoiding nightshades will lessen your pain, whether or not the nightshades are the true source of the pain. Are you sensitive to weather changes? This can be an indication of nightshade sensitivity. Muscle pain and tightness, morning stiffness, poor healing, arthritis, insomnia and gall bladder problems—these can all be caused by nightshades. Nightshades can also cause heart burn or GERD—a lot of people already know they react this way when they eat peppers or tomatoes.

Like soy, most nightshades are relative newcomers to European/Western diets. The tomato came to North America in the very early eighteenth century. It was termed the “love apple” and grown first as an ornamental. That means people grew it because it is pretty, yet they did not eat it. Why did they not eat it? They thought the tomato was poisonous. The leaves of the nightshade family are indeed overtly poisonous (livestock farmers know this well) and people avoided the fruit as well.

During a famine in 1782, Scottish highlanders complained of dropsy (an old term for edema or swelling, often associated with congestive heart failure) when they ate abundantly of potatoes.1 Russian prisoners of World War II returned with advanced cases of dropsy, which was blamed on heavy potato consumption.2 An old saying in New Hampshire in 1719 was that the white potato shortened men’s lives.

Eggplant was also first grown as an ornamental, a decorative plant. It was not eaten until relatively recent years in North America. According to Dr. Norman Childers, author of The Arthritis Diet, peoples of the Mediterranean area previously believed that the eggplant would cause insanity if it was eaten daily for a month, in fact, it had the nickname of “mad apple.”3 How many foods that you eat have a reputation like that?

It’s extremely easy to overdose on nightshades in Western culture, especially if you are a foodie. Let’s say you have salsa on your eggs at breakfast, potato salad at lunch, and eggplant with peppers along with other spicy dishes at dinner. This is a large amount of nightshades, eaten three times per day, in multiple combinations. It’s very hard to avoid the nightshades, believe me, it’s a lot of work! This can be easily demonstrated by reading the menu at any restaurant— nightshades have become ubiquitous. Nightshade sensitivity, in terms of the vigilance needed to keep them out of the diet, is almost as bad as gluten sensitivity!

For those of you who think you have tried “everything” for your arthritis pain, tried this and tried that but haven’t tried avoiding nightshades— in my opinion, it’s something you do need to try. I can tell you as a naturopathic doctor that I have tried many different remedies for my middle back pain. Nightshade avoidance got rid of 90 percent of it. If you’re one of those people whose pain treatments (be it chiropractic, acupuncture, laser, energy medicine, whatever!) provides only a day or two of relief, you’re quite possibly nightshade sensitive.

A physical therapist once told me that if a patient isn’t responding to treatment, one of the first things to consider is nightshade sensitivity— there is simply nothing else that anyone can do to help somebody in pain when nightshade sensitivity is the cause—because once they eat some nightshades again, their pain will return as it was before. Sad but true, as I have witnessed many times in my practice.


The nightshades are considered a “calcinogenic” plant; that is, they cause calcinosis, which is a toxic calcification of soft tissues when eaten by animals. This happens because they contain calcitriol (1,25-dihydroxy vitamin D), the most active form of vitamin D. Please note that calcitriol is not vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). This is an extremely important distinction, as you will see.

In humans, calcitriol is normally the end product of vitamin D metabolism, so let me start at the beginning. Cholecalciferol, or vitamin D3, is produced in the skin by the action of sunlight or can be consumed in food or supplements. In the liver, vitamin D3 is transformed into calcidiol (25-hydroxycholecalciferol, the compound that we test in the blood as a measure of vitamin D status); then the kidneys transform calcidiol into calcitriol (1,25-dihydroxy vitamin D).

Calcitriol is an extremely potent hormone, thousands of times more potent than vitamin D3. It has been said that calcitriol is the most powerful hormone in the human body. Production of calcitriol is very tightly regulated by the kidney. Why is it so tightly regulated?

Calcitriol signals the intestines to absorb calcium from our diet. While we absolutely need calcitriol to maintain proper bone density, too much calcitriol, from any source, leads to hypercalcemia, also known as high blood calcium. The body does not like this situation and wants to get the calcium levels back down to normal as quickly as possible, as an imbalance of minerals in the blood particularly affects the heart. The quickest solution for the body is to deposit the extra calcium into the soft tissues. Each hypercalcemic episode likely lasts for only a short while, however, each episode leaves a small deposit behind. Over time, these deposits lead to the condition known as calcinosis.

Overconsumption of calcitriol from nightshade foods can circumvent the kidney’s control and over time lead to calcium deposits in the soft tissues such as the tendons, ligaments, cartilage, cardiovascular tissues, kidneys and skin. Osteoarthritis is basically calcium deposits in the soft tissues of joints. Chronic hypercalcemia can lead to generalized vascular (blood vessel) calcification, which is coronary artery disease. Nephrocalcinosis is calcification of the kidneys.

We are not supposed to bypass the body’s control mechanisms for calcitriol. Nightshades do this to our detriment. Many of us do not notice because it happens so slowly and gradually.

What causes arthritis? The conventional view is that arthritis is the result of the joint “wearing out.” If this were the case, then arthritis would always be accompanied by inflammation. Think of parts in a car. If they “wear out” due to friction, there is heat, which could be likened to inflammation in our bodies. However, osteoarthritis typically has no inflammation, so it really should be called osteoarthrosis.

What if calcinosis could explain most, if not all these osteoarthritic changes? Instead of your joints wearing out, what if nightshades and their calcitriol content were causing the joints (cartilage, tendons, ligaments) to slowly calcify? Bone spurs are calcium deposits in tendons or ligaments. Many people are told that they have “no cartilage left” in their joints, but what if the truth was that the cartilage had slowly calcified? It would be nearly impossible to tell the difference between the two situations unless one knew exactly what to look for.

Scleroderma is a widespread connective tissue disease that involves changes or hardening in the skin, blood vessels, muscles and internal organs. The cause is said to be unknown. Could it be caused by nightshades, leading to calcinosis?

Some physicians are giving calcitriol or its analogs for simple vitamin D deficiency. This is overkill and not good for the system. In bypassing the body’s control systems we are creating the same situation I described above. If your doctor insists on using calcitriol, ergocalciferol (vitamin D2, an unnatural form of vitamin D made by irradiating a fungus with ultraviolet light), or any other expensive analogue of vitamin D other than vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), you may want to find another doctor who is more educated in vitamin D supplementation.Please note that there are medical conditions where administering calcitriol is necessary, but simple vitamin D deficiency is not one of them.

According to Medline, common side-effects of calcitriol injections include weakness, headache, somnolence, nausea, vomiting, dry mouth, constipation, muscle pain, bone pain and metallic taste.4 Note the muscle and bone pain—do these sound like nightshade problems I’ve mentioned already? The liver and gall bladder can be affected, resulting in pale or fatty stools, an indication you are not digesting your fats well. Yellowing of skin or eyes (jaundice) is another symptom, indicative of liver issues. Hallucinations can happen, and a rare side effect is overt psychosis. Remember what was said to happen when one eats eggplant every day for a month?


Vitamin D Pathway


Solanine is a glycoalkaloid, that is, a non-protein compound containing nitrogen. It is a potent poison found in species of the nightshade family, especially potatoes and eggplant. It can occur naturally in any part of the plant, including the leaves, fruit, and tubers.

Solanine poisoning is primarily displayed by gastrointestinal and neurological disorders. Symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps, burning of the throat, cardiac dysrhythmia, headache and dizziness. Hallucinations, loss of sensation, paralysis, fever, jaundice, dilated pupils and hypothermia have been reported in more severe cases.5

Potatoes naturally produce solanine and chaconine, a related glycoalkaloid, as a defense mechanism against insects, disease and predators (humans included). Potato leaves, stems and shoots are naturally high in these glycoalkaloids. When potato tubers are exposed to light, they turn green and increase glycoalkaloid production. This is a natural defense to help prevent the uncovered tuber from being eaten.

In potato tubers, 30–80 percent of the solanine develops in and close to the skin. If the potato looks green under the skin, throw it away; likewise if it has begun to sprout, just discard it.

How toxic are these compounds? The World Health Organization sets an upper limit of 20 mg per 100 grams of solanine per fresh weight of potato. Above that limit, they cannot be sold in stores, as they are considered too toxic for human consumption.6

Solanine and related glycoalkaloids are poisonous because they are acetylcholinesterase inhibitors—they inhibit the breakdown of acetylcholine, resulting in increased level and duration of action of this neurotransmitter. What does this mean? They cause prolonged muscle contractions. This is why people who are sensitive to nightshades or eat a lot of them often feel stiff when they wake up in the morning or sit for extended periods.

Studies with animals indicate that solanine causes cell membrane disruption in the digestive tract—exacerbated irritable bowel disorder in mice,7 gastrointestinal tissue destroyed in Syrian hamsters.8 It affects the gene expression of the human intestinal cell linings and also inhibits proteolytic enzyme activity.9 Solanines also destroy human liver cells in vitro.10

I have found fourteen research reviews linking potato blight in Ireland with birth defects in the following years.11 Potato blight involves a particular fungus growing on potatoes, causing them to kick in their defense mechanisms and make high levels of solanine. In my opinion, it would be wise for pregnant women to avoid the nightshades.


All nightshades contain nicotine, which is why they can be addictive. Is nicotine a problem when we eat it? A large body of research shows that nicotine consumption inhibits proper healing. In one study, nicotine delayed tendon-tobone healing in a rat shoulder—the equivalent of our rotator cuff.12 A follow-up study by the same authors showed that delayed healing in tendon-to-bone injuries resulted in inferior permanent healing of the area.13


Capsaicin is an alkaloid found in hot peppers. We hear a lot about capsaicin supposedly having anti-inflammatory properties, but it actually is an irritant for mammals, including humans, and produces a sensation of burning in any tissue it comes in contact with.

Spicy peppers are the only plants that contain capsaicin, to my knowledge. The active ingredient in pepper spray is capsaicin. It can shut down the lungs—this is why some people have died from pepper spray. Asthmatics would do well to avoid capsaicin in general. They actually use capsaicin in animal studies to stimulate something very much like an asthma attack.

Substance P is released from the terminals of specific sensory nerves. It is found in the brain and spinal cord and is associated with inflammatory processes and pain—it acts as a neurotransmitter to carry pain signals to the nervous system. Capsaicin makes your nerves release almost all the substance P they have, and researchers have therefore suggested that drugs containing capsaicin can help reduce pain. For example, there is an over-the-counter cream containing capsaicin that is promoted to help deplete substance P from local nerve endings and relieve pain.

However, inducing massive releases of substance P on a regular basis is like taking speed until your adrenals run out of adrenaline; it leads to a chronic local or systemic depletion of substance P. Substance P is necessary for proper healing. The brain gets a signal from substance P telling it that something is hurt and needs to be fixed. So when you have diabetics using capsaicin cream for their neuropathy, they feel better—the pain signal is gone—but they are inhibiting the healing process.

A recent study looked at the use of capsaicin in insulin-dependent diabetic rats.14 The standard explanation for type 1 diabetes is malfunction and death of the insulin-producing islet cells in the pancreas. Another theory holds that malfunction of the pain nerves surrounding cells in the pancreas can cause type 1 diabetes. Researchers have found that the islet cells in diabetics are surrounded by large numbers of pain nerves that signal to the brain that pancreatic tissue is damaged. When the researchers injected Substance P into the rats, the islet cells began producing insulin normally almost immediately. They also produced insulin for about a month when they were injected with capsaicin.

Capsaicin depletes substance P. Although this study was reported as showing a beneficial role for capsaicin, the proper conclusion is that capsaicin is likely horrible for diabetics and their blood sugar control. I have witnessed firsthand the negative impact of consuming peppers on blood sugar control in some of my diabetic patients (the ones who keep diet and blood glucose logs).

Capsaicin receptors have been found in arthritic joints. When they inject capsaicin into mouse knee joints, it reduces blood flow.15 That’s a bad thing. Blood is what heals us. When neonatal rats were given capsaicin, their immune markers were depressed for ninety days.

In humans, increased consumption of peppers is associated with an increase risk of nasopharyngeal carcinoma and stomach cancer. Researchers found seventeen times (!) the risk of stomach cancer in people who self-rated themselves as high consumers of peppers.16 In people who had tissue biopsies of colon polyps, dysplasia and adenocarcinoma, researchers couldn’t find any substance P in those biopsies. Where would it have gone? What they found was the presence of capsaicin receptors instead.17


How do you find out whether nightshades are causing your medical problems? For many, no relief comes until the diet is totally clear of all these nightshades for at least six weeks. Many people notice an improvement in their pain; sometimes it goes away completely.

If the person has strictly avoided the nightshades for six weeks, yet still doesn’t believe their pain has decreased, I suggest that they do a “nightshade party day”: salsa and eggs for breakfast, tomato and eggplant for lunch, potatoes for dinner—just have it all, and have a lot. Eat as much as you can in one day and then watch for symptoms over the next two days. Often there is a delayed onset reaction—there is for me.

But the real question is, why are some people more sensitive than others? Nutrient deficiencies certainly come into play. For example, if you don’t have enough magnesium, you will be more prone to calcinosis. Deficiency in vitamin D may exacerbate the problem. The speed at which one’s liver and kidneys detoxify these compounds plays a huge role, and this is dependent both on genetics and nutrition.

A key nutrient is vitamin K2—Dr. Price’s famous Activator X. I love this study on vitamin K2: The Effect of Vitamin K2 on Experimental Calcinosis. 18 They gave rats calcinosis by giving them way too much vitamin D2. D2 tends to cause calcinosis anyway. What did they find? A high dose of vitamin K2 suppressed experimental calcification of soft tissues induced by vitamin D2. So if you want to avoid problems with nightshades, be sure to eat goose liver, cheese, fatty grass-fed meats and pasture-fed butter—and take your butter oil.

If you suffer from osteoarthritis and you feel like you have some catching up to do in terms of resolving calcifications, you may want to take a vitamin K supplement. I use Allergy Research Full-Spectrum Vitamin K softgels, which combine vitamin K1 (phytonadione) and vitamin K2 (as both menaquinone-4 and menaquinone-7, known as MK-4 and MK-7, respectively).


Recently after a power-lifting meet, I felt like cheating on my diet. I called it an “experiment.” My old favorite food was pizza—the nastiest combination of all the nastiest foods there are, at least for me. We had it with peppers, sausage containing paprika, tomato sauce, gluten and dairy, all of which I’m sensitive to. I felt that this was my chance to test my vitamin K hypothesis. I took two Allergy Research Full-Spectrum Vitamin K softgels with the meal, along with digestive enzymes and some buffered vitamin C. Normally the enzymes and the buffered vitamin C don’t help me much. However, this time, when I had loaded up on vitamin K2, I had no day-after morning stiffness and none of my middle back pain returned. I’ve only done the experiment once at this point, but that’s what I found.

Even if you are one of those lucky people who don’t seem to have trouble with nightshades, in my opinion it’s a good idea not to overdo. Avoid having nightshades with every meal; we are far too reliant as a culture on potatoes, tomatoes and peppers. Vary your diet so you are not so dependent on these foods. Sweet potatoes, yams and parsnips are good substitutes for potatoes. You can steam cauliflower and mash it with butter and cream. As a substitute for chili pepper, use wasabi, horseradish, mustard powder, ginger, or freshly ground peppercorns. There’s no good substitute for tomatoes, so learn to use them sparingly.

Cooking does reduce the solanine levels in potatoes somewhat,19 and may even help reduce other toxins. So if you are eating nightshade foods, be sure to cook them, and cook them in butter or poultry fat—this is a synergistic combination because these fats provide vitamin K2. And you’ll end up eating less of the nightshade foods because when you cook in good fats, you are more quickly satisfied and end up eating less.

For those who are sensitive to nightshades, the best strategy is to avoid them completely for a long time, until you can completely heal. That means no potatoes, pizza, tomato sauce or Mexican food—but to live pain-free makes it worth the sacrifice.




Many of the alkaloids in the nightshade plants are extremely toxic; yet they have many uses in medicine if administered in extremely small dosages. They can serve as an antidote to poisoning caused by pesticides and chemical warfare agents such as sarin and VX. They are also used to halt—but not cure—many types of allergic reactions. Scopolamine, a commonly used ophthamological agent, dilates the pupils and thus facilitates examination of the interior of the eye. Nightshade compounds are also used as antiemetics in people prone to motion sickness or receiving chemotherapy.

Some of the most interesting uses of nightshades occur in homeopathy. Belladonna was one of the first homeopathic remedies, developed in 1799 by Samuel Hahnemann for scarlet fever, after he observed that symptoms of deadly nightshade poisoning closely matched those of scarlet fever. Belladonna now serves as a major homeopathy remedy for acute illnesses of sudden, violent onset. Other homeopathic remedies derived from the nightshade family include Stramonium, Hyoscamus, Tabacum, Dulcamara and Capsicum. Note that all of the “food nightshades” are used as homeopathic remedies as well. For those of you familiar with homeopathic theory and the “similimum,” it may start to make sense to you that eating significant amounts these foods could cause symptoms of disease in a healthy person.


Peppercorns are not the same as peppers; they are not members of the nightshade family. Peppercorns do not contain poisonous alkaloids. Fresh ground pepper is the best; pre-ground pepper is not good for you. It doesn’t taste very good and you’ll notice you have to use a lot more of it. Once the peppercorns are cracked open, the protective and flavorful essential oils begin to evaporate. This allows a type of aspergillus mold to grow, which then produces aflatoxin. You may be familiar with aflatoxin already, as it is very toxic to the liver and is the same toxin that occurs with peanuts. If you don’t eat peanuts for this reason, you would not want to use pre-ground pepper either. Freshly ground pepper helps with digestion—pre-ground pepper does not.


Tomatoes contain lycopene, which is one of the first things people mention when I suggest avoiding nightshades. Lycopene is a carotenoid found in almost any red, orange or pink fruit or vegetable; it’s simply highest in tomatoes. As with all of the fat-soluble carotenoids, to maximize absorption you’ll need to eat it with fat. We hear a lot about lycopene supposedly preventing cancer. However, in a study on prostate cancer in rats, when rats were given lycopene by itself, there was no observed decrease in cancer mortality when compared to the controls.20 However, when given tomato powder, there was a significant decrease in mortality rates from the induced prostate cancer. So there’s something in the whole tomato that protects against cancer and it’s not lycopene by itself.

The new theory in this reductionist way of thinking is that the anti-cancer substance in tomatoes is another glycoalkaloid called tomatine. While tomatine has been shown to inhibit and destroy cancer cells, it has also been shown to do the same to normal cells!21 This is the likely reason why many people get heartburn after eating tomatoes, not only because they are acidic (they are), but because the cells that line the stomach and esophagus are being destroyed. Can you really blame the stomach for sending you a signal that it isn’t very happy?

By the way, epithelial cells are what line the urethra as it passes through the prostate. Eating tomatoes in the hopes of reducing prostate cancer is similar to friendly fire—it destroys the cancerous cells and normal cells at the same time. Does destroying your normal and healthy cells sound like a good idea? Not to me. Actually, it sounds very similar to chemotherapy and radiation—trying to kill cancer cells while hoping that the normal cells survive the process. While there is a time and place for that type of approach, I don’t think I’d want to be eating such a potentially cell-destructive substance every day in my food.

Scientists are currently studying tomatine to use as an adjuvant in vaccines, in order to make the vaccine more effective by stimulating a massive immune reaction. The immune reaction happens because the body is reacting to the cell destruction that occurs when tomatine comes in contact with human cells.

Tomatoes also contain tomato lectin (another well-known lectin is gluten) which has been shown to agglutinate human, mouse and sheep erythrocytes—it can cause red blood cells to clump together. Combined together with tomatine, these compounds can cause leaky gut syndrome and potentially be a major issue in autoimmune diseases of all sorts.

For those of you have gone off gluten and you’re wondering why you still have digestive problems, it may be because of tomatoes. Potatoes can be another culprit, as many gluten-free products are filled with potato starch.



1. Famine, Mortality, and Epidemic Disease in the Process of Modernization, by John D. Post © 1976 Economic History Society,

2. Childers NF. Arthritis-Childer’s Diet to Stop It. Nightshades, Aging, and Ill Health, 4th ed. Florida: Horticultural Publications, 1993; 19-21.

3. Ibid.



6. World Health Organization, Toxicological Evaluation of Certain Food Additives and naturally Occuring Toxicants, Thirty-ninth Meeting of the Joint FAO/ WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) WHO Food Additives Series, No 30;

7. Patel B and others. Potato glycoalkaloids adversely affect intestinal permeability and aggravate inflammatory bowel disease. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2002 Sep;8(5):340-6. PubMed ID: 124796498.

8. Baker D and others. Lesions of potato sprout and extracted potato sprout alkaloid toxicity in Syrian hamsters. J Toxicol Clin Toxicol. 1987;25(3):199-208. PubMed ID: 3612898.

9. Ruseler-van Embden JG and others. Potato tuber proteins efficiently inhibit human faecal proteolytic activity: implications for treatment of peri-anal dermatitis. Eur J Clin Invest. 2004 Apr;34(4):303-11. PubMed ID: 15086363.

10. Friedman M and others. Anticarcinogenic effects of glycoalkaloids from potatoes against human cervical, liver, lymphoma, and stomach cancer cells. J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Jul 27;53(15):6162-9. PubMed ID: 16029012.

11. Masterson JG and others. Anencephaly and potato blight in the Republic of Ireland. Br J Prev Soc Med. 1974 May;28(2):81-4. PubMed ID: 4604097.

12. Galatz LM and others. Nicotine delays tendon-to-bone healing in a rat shoulder model. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2006 Sep;88(9):2027-34. PubMed ID: 16951120.

13. Galatz LM and others. Delayed repair of tendon to bone injuries leads to decreased biomechanical properties and bone loss. J Orthop Res. 2005 Nov;23(6):1441-7. PubMed ID: 16055296.

14. Razavi R and others. TRPV1+ sensory neurons control beta cell stress and islet inflammation in autoimmune diabetes. Cell. 2006 Dec 15;127(6):1123-35.PMID: 17174891.

15. Keeble J and others. Involvement of transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 in the vascular and hyperalgesic components of joint inflammation. Arthritis Rheum. 2005 Oct;52(10):3248-56. PubMed ID: 16200599.

16. López-Carrillo L and others. Chili pepper consumption and gastric cancer in Mexico: a case-control study. Am J Epidemiol. 1994 Feb 1;139(3):263-71. PubMed ID: 8116601.

17. Dömötör A and others. Immunohistochemical distribution of vanilloid receptor, calcitonin-gene related peptide and substance P in gastrointestinal mucosa of patients with different gastrointestinal disorders. Inflammopharmacology. 2005;13(1-3):161-77. PubMed ID: 16259736.

18. Seyama Y and others. Effect of vitamin K2 on experimental calcinosis induced by vitamin D2 in rat soft tissue. Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 1996;66(1):36-8. PubMed ID: 8698544.

19. Tajner-Czopek A and others. Changes in glycoalkaloids content of potatoes destined for consumption (2008) Food Chemistry, 106 (2), pp. 706-711.

20. Boileau TW and others. Prostate carcinogenesis in N-methyl-N-nitrosourea (NMU)- testosterone-treated rats fed tomato powder, lycopene, or energy-restricted diets. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2003 Nov 5;95(21):1578-86.PubMed ID: 14600090.

21. Friedman M and others. Tomatine-containing green tomato extracts inhibit growth of human breast, colon, liver, and stomach cancer cells. J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Jul 8;57(13):5727-33. PubMed ID: 19514731.


This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Spring 2010.

Garrett L. Smith NMD, CSCS, CBP, BS, is a native and near-lifetime resident of Tucson, Arizona. An alumnus of the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, he currently operates a general naturopathic medical practice (Naturopathic Medicine of Southern Arizona) and a Low Intensity Laser Therapy practice (Laser Therapeutics). An ardent believer in First Do No Harm, the three major areas Dr. Smith focuses on are nutrition, exercise and energic medicine modalities, including Low Intensity Laser Therapy (LILT) and BodyTalk. Dr. Smith is a strong believer in looking to traditional cultures, evolutionary biology, and the “Blue Zones” to guide his approaches to nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle. In his spare time, Dr. Smith enjoys strength training, reading, cooking, road cycling, and spending time with family and friends. He can be contacted at

79 Responses to Nightshades

  1. Edward McGill says:

    Good information. Glad to learn that peppercorns freshly ground are OK to eat. Can I get a consultation with the N.D who wrote the article?

  2. Tami says:

    This was the best article I’ve found to confirm nightshades were affecting my Sjogrens and Fibro symptoms – pain, muscle aches, muscle cramping. May I please ask if you have found apples and/or blueberries attributing to these symptoms as well? Many articles out there name apples and blueberries as having the chemical found within nightshades. I have been completely on the fence about these…… I would so appreciate your insight.

    • Judi Cunningham says:

      Huckleberries are in the nightshade family, but not blueberries. I test allergic to all nightshade, but apples don’t give me any problems.

  3. Patrice says:

    Can I eat SWEET POTATOES & Yucca Root?

    • Denis DeMonte says:

      I don’t know about yucca.. I think that’s the one you boil off all the toxins and then bake it, it should be fine with proper preparation. As for sweet potatoes, go wild on them! 🙂

    • Mundo says:

      Hi Patrice,

      The Yucca has many properties for the health, it helps reduce triglycerides and very rich in vitamin K.
      It is one of the most consumed foods in South America.


  4. john martin says:

    Do nightshades cause ACNE?
    I have recently learned I must cut out gluten (including all grains, which have similiar proteins to gluten, even the seed quinoa) and have deduced that eating grains all these years has given me leaky gut, which I am in the process of fixing. After about 2-3 weeks of no grains my ACNE clears up tremendously. I do not have any joint issues or any other side effects, not even stomach pain from eating TONS of sundried tomatoes, eggplant and paprika at all, but since reading in this well written article that tomatoes are to be avoided by people with leaky gut, I am at least cutting them out of my diet over the next couple months as I address this issue.

    Back to my original question though… once I get all my health in order, if I start eating nightshades again (in moderate amounts)… if they cause me no symptoms and do not make my ACNE flare up, is it relatively safe to assume that my bodies handles them well?

    Note: I take fermented cod liver oil + high vitamin butter fat every day and wonder if this is why I don’t notice any of the listed side effects when eating nightshades.


    • Steve says:

      Tomatoes cause acne. Even cystic acne for me. Whenever i eat tomatoes i get big cyst under the skin. Jalepenos also cause me trouble but mainly with my intestines. I can feel them being roasted and burned up. Inflamed feeling. Burning Sensation. I noticed my healing abilities do decrease when eating potatoes. I stopped eating tomatoes for awhile and all the cysts went away. I noticed chili powder, paprika, cayenne peppers, and all the peppers in taco seasonings affect me except cumin and turmeric. I noticed all these foods are related to each other nightshade. Contain Glycoalkaloids and Tomatine. Now i am avoiding all nightshades. Almost instantly i notice a difference over night. Use to get redness a lot. Acne around the nose and mouth happened with peppers and chilis and tomatillos. Milk affects me also. I noticed skim milk to a less degree but now i avoid milk. I can handle cheese some reason though but not yogurt or milk. Causes cystic acne the milk for me. I had a allergy test done years ago and it showed i was highly allergic to tomatoes. Acne i think is the result of eating foods we are allergic to or are intolerant of. I can tolerate cheese because of the lack of the lactose i think. Everyone should avoid nightshade. I might get acne but someone else might be getting some other problem deeper inside the body. Theres a reason why people said these nightshade plants were toxic and poison before the 1800s. It wasnt because of lead plates or any of those myths.

      • Lauren says:

        Check your milk for odd ingredients. I have a bunch of food sensitivities and I believe IBS. I’ve been using elimination diets to get better. My biggest offender is the nightshade family, causing all kinds of fibro issues and a lot of extended pain. I drank a small glass of Whole Foods Market 2% milk two days ago! realized my mistake and vomited. It’s ingredients are milk, Vitamin A palmitate (possibly from potatoes) and vitamin D. This is my second time severely reacting to a skim milk product since I’ve been paying attention. My symptoms are almost the same as when I eat potato starch. I eat cheese, full fat, plain yogurt, and plain whipping cream with absolutely no problems…

        • Ciel says:

          Hi Lauren, thanks so much for sharing your experience. I appreciate your insight because I had been taking a vit. A palmitate supplement and it never occurred to me it could be made from potatoes. I cannot not have nightshades at all. I had recently been experiencing very bad joint pain in my right shoulder which would seem to correspond to my starting to take that supplement. Thank you for helping me connect the dots.

      • Tony says:

        Absolutely agree, potatoes trigger my Hidradenitis Suppurativa. I believe tomatoes do to a lesser extent and have been a big capsicum eater in the past. I am also a big dairy eater and very interested in the interaction with calcitriol.

    • David says:

      I had fairly bad acne as a teen lasting till i stopped eating nightshades in my mid 30s. I don’t know that nightshades are main cause of all teen acne but for me it was significant.

    • Tom says:

      Nightshades absolutely make my skin become red and inflamed, followed the next day by acne. It took me almost 40 years to figure out that I need to avoid the entire nightshade family. But I can pig out on iced doughnuts without limit every day. I might get fat, but my skin isn’t affected.

  5. Martin Babb says:

    Very interesting article. You might not be aware, but the writer’s section on Calcitriol has precipitated some heated disagreement with folks concerned with vit D metabolism at The Marshall Protocol site. I have sarcoidosis and got to this page after becoming convinced tomatoes made my pain worse. i would be VERY interested to know if there is supporting science behind the Calcitriol statements. Please, anyone who has supporting science please email me: Martin Babb Thank you for this article.

  6. Preston Glover says:

    Thanks for this article .. Now that i stopped tomatoes completely …i am pain free once again after 2 long years… I was told by one of the homepathic doctors in India to stop eating potatoes and eggplant but he never made a mention of the tomatoes.. Now that I am on total no-tomato diet.. i feel i am born again….

    • Margaret says:

      Hello, I have just started to eliminate the nightshade family as I am in terrible pain with oesteoarthritis. I was wondering how long before you noticed a decrease in your pain? Many thanks.

      • Kim says:

        For me, the pain starts to get better after about 2 months provided I don’t touch anything else with a nightshade. I suggest no seasoning except maybe salt to be on the safe side, don’t eat out and don’t eat anything out of a box or that is not a food with other ingredients in it. Eat some fruits like bananas and grapes, rice, grass fed beef or chicken and vegetables like broccoli, spinach, carrots and cauliflower to be on the safe side. Don’t use sauces or boxed mixtures or even baked goods. Many have potatoe starch or spices which usually contain night shades. Read labels but for now don’t eat foods with labels, just solid foods like fruits & veggies but not nightshade veggies.

        • Kim says:

          I meant to say don’t eat foods with other ingredients in it unless you made it from scratch. Also learn to cook and keep food on you at all times so you don’t get to hungry and end up buying and eating something with bad ingredients in it. Remember this, night shades come with lots of code names that you won’t be aware of. If an ingredient says spices, don’t touch it. That’s usually paprika.. Potatoe starch is in a lot of things also and many meats contain paprika. Hope this helps someone. If you have questions, just ask. One more thing, many medicines contain night shades as well as cigarette, so avoid smokers. One last thing is that mank doctors haven’t heard of night shades so your going to have to help yourself.

  7. Jen Mc says:

    Great article. I realized I was allergic to nightshades about 1.5 years ago and that is was causing some severe cystic acne. After eliminating it from my diet, many long-term skin rashes that I thought were hereditary psoriasis vanished as well. My digestion, which I didn’t even realize was suffering, greatly improved too.

    I also have an intolerance to milk, like Steve, but can handle fat-free/low-fat yogurt just fine and can handle the lowest fat milk products better than others. Cheese doesn’t seem to be a huge issue. Is there some connection between nightshade intolerance and milk intolerance?

    Also, is there a comprehensive list somewhere of foods to avoid? I got myself in trouble drinking a tea my grandma gave me one (felt like I had the flu, I think it was just a big dose of alkaloids) and also almost took an herbal supplement and realized the bottle mentioned alkaloids right before I put it in my mouth! I would like to avoid that!

  8. Natalie says:

    Natto, a Japanese dish of fermented soybeans, is one of the best sources of vitamin K2. Fermenting soybeans also seems to diminish the negative effects of soybeans that makes people avoid soy foods.

  9. Kate says:

    Great article. Thank you so much for the common sense explanation. I just started avoiding nightshade foods due to severe pain in my knees….things are better just after one week. Can’t wait for week 2!!

  10. Randall Glas says:

    It seems to me that it might be possible to remove solanine from the potatoes.


    It looks like acetic acid could be used to extract the solanine from potatoes.

    Groundbreaking: How to Easily Remove Nightshade Toxins From Potato Starch:

    I think you would have to boil the potatoes. Drain the liquid. Put the potatoes in a glass or ceramic container. Put water and vinegar in the container with the potatoes.

    Let it set for a few hours. Then drain the liquid from the potatoes.

    What do you think?

    • Seth says:

      I would rather just avoid potaotes/ switch entirely to sweet-potatoes for any and all ‘potato’ needs… It doesn’t seem worth all the time and effort, especially when they’re sold side-by-side with sweet-potatoes, which I believe have a higher vitamin content than potatoes, as well as tons of potassium, as well none of the above-listed set-backs of potatoes to begin with…

    • James says:

      So . . basically, fermentation. Leave out the vinegar, use a salt brine and let it make its own vinegar, right?

    • Linda. says:

      By the time you’ve put the potato through all that it will be almost void of any nutrition, once a vegetable is cut it starts to oxidise & lose it’s vitamin content, & then more when boiled, so by the time it’s sat in water & vinegar for a few hours, the vitamins & minerals will be negligible, & the potato probably won’t taste very nice either, like Seth say’s, save the time & effort & switch to sweet potatoes,they are much more nutritious.

  11. Kathleen says:

    Thank you for this informative article. I went to a doctor for my Chronic Fatigue Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Debilitating fatigue and Bronchitis 6 times per year for over 10 years). He told me to go on the GAPS diet and thought I would be cured in 6 months. I stayed on the diet for 4 years and the recurring fatigue and bronchitis persisted (of course the doctor did not believe that I followed the diet closely). I incorporated eggplant into my diet on GAPS, not having eaten much eggplant previously. I also ate more tomatoes and peppers than previously (potatoes are not allowed). I’m thinking that the nightshades are the reason I wasn’t helped by the GAPS diet. I did eventually notice that eggplant kept me awake at night and I started wondering about other nightshade plants, especially tomatoes. I noticed an improvement in my fatigue problems after removing eggplant and tomatoes from my diet.

    I have been off of the GAPS diet for about 3 years and have struggled to incorporate any grains back into my diet. I tried some gluten free products and found most of them caused problems for me also. After reading this article, I noticed that most of them contain potato starch. I felt much better when I started avoiding potato starch, but still wanted to test fresh potatoes. It took about 5 days to recover from eating a large serving of mashed russet potatoes. I became diligent about avoiding all nightshades about 2 weeks ago and continue to improve. There have even been some mornings where I woke up feeling good and actually wanted to get out of bed! Perhaps this will be the answer to a 20 plus year problem with fatigue.

  12. Paul Navrot says:

    When Dr. Price studied the extensive records of bones and teeth at Pecos, New Mexico, he was looking at a millenial record of cultures of people who apparently did not leave much evidence of preparing meals with either potatoes, tomatoes, or the State’s “Official Vegetable,” chile – all of which are native to the Americas. Now, a pico de gallo (onions, chile, diced tomato), egg, and potato burrito is almost ubiquitos with regional cusine.

    Dunmire and Tierney, in Wild Plants of the Pueblo Province, describes a tomato-like fruit, ‘groundcherry,’ as being collected from uncultivated spaces in the region, but not necessarily found in their garden plots. They also describe obscure references to eating wild potatoes, regionally, but they do not mention that they were actively cultivated. In his book, The Great Chile Book, Mark Miller describes chile as being a relatively modern food, introduced as late as the Sixteenth Century to New Mexico.

    Price hypothesized that diminishing soil quality led to the steady decline of dental and skelletal health of the locals at Pecos. These urbanized farmers could have consumed buffalo meat, but they did not consume buffalo butter. A general trend of desertification, over a millenium, could have resulted in diminishing sources of vitamin K2 from the meat and eggs of domestic turkey and wild game. If the inhabitants of Pecos were stresses from a lack of calcium, and associated fat-soluble vitamins, it is no wonder why potatoes, tomatoes, and chile were not found in their plots of corn, beans, and squash.

    Garrett Smith’s article casts new light on the age-old stories that ethnobotanists have been sharing about American Southwest agriculture and cusine. His article also refines the basic components of traditional diets in regard to these popular New World foods.

  13. Laura says:

    Interesting read! I just wanted to add that, while there is no substitute for tomatoes, there are some good recipes out there for “no-tomato” tomato sauce for folk with nightshade allergies and sensitivities. Here is one such recipe that I make and use as a pasta sauce and general purpose tomato sauce substitute. It’s wonderful, easy to make, and even looks like the real thing!

  14. alan says:

    I have read that nightshade vegetables and fruits do not produce solanine and there is no scientific evidence in peer-reviewed journals supporting the view that nightshade vegetables and plants cause osteoarthritis or can alleviate its pain. The theory proposed by this article that OA is caused by deposition of calcium in the joints is not based on any known scientific evidence. Therefore, I see little value in the author’s advice. In fact, since nighshade foods are very nutritious, giving them up, because of a false theory would be harmful to health.

    • valerye says:

      You might find the information in Dr Norman Childers books useful. After finding his cattle responded badly to the nightshade family and he had pains after eating tomatos he researched the link. Many ‘co-operators’ deleted nightshades from their diet and became free of pain. Well worth checking out. Not everyone is sensitive to nightshades (Dr Childers reckons about 10%) but for those who are this is very valuable information. Also Dr Sherry Rogers, who, as a GP, had all the best treatment that could be offered and it was only when she deleted nightshades from her diet she became well again.

    • David says:

      I had an allergist who theorized that not everyone is as vulnerable to nightshades. Dr Childers felt that most people would feel the effects by age 60. I had the effects starting by age 20. For me it was bad headaches to start with and progressed to arthritis. In my early 30s I met a group promoting Dr Childers research and went cold turkey on nightshades and felt like a new man after only 2 days! That was in 2001 and I haven’t looked back. I did have the fortune of speaking to Dr Childers a few times on the phone and for a 100 year old man he sounded very youthful.

      • Kim says:

        Hi David, I spoke with Dr. Childers a few times via email and he sent me lots of information on the topic too. He was a very passionate man and I owe him my life. If it weren’t for him I would be dead. Are you familiar with any other doctors that know about night shades? Are there any treatments or do I need to wait till the effects leave my system on their own?

    • Tom says:

      I don’t know about solanine, but trust me when I say that just because there is no evidence of something in peer-reviewed journals does not mean that it does not exist. Sorry for the triple negative! But my point is that nutrition research on humans is expensive, very time consuming and very difficult to maintain good controls. As such, academic research may be a good starting point, but the existing body of research is far from complete. Nothing, and I mean nothing, beats performing a thorough exclusion diet to test for the involvement of food in chronic illness.

    • CJ says:

      That’s like telling someone who is allergic to peanuts they should still eat peanuts because they contain nutrients. You cannot disregard evidence of personal experience. I am in tears from the pain whenever I eat nightshades, within 2 hours or less. This was discovered by taking them out of my diet for a time and then re-introducing them. (Sounds like a scientific study to me.) There are plenty of other places to get your nutrition if you just do the research. And inflammation doesn’t just affect joints. It can also affect arteries and veins, and organs.

      • Kim says:

        Hi CJ, you are not the only one in tears. I am too for several months. On a scale of one to ten, my pain level is One Hundred.

        • E. says:

          Kim, just wondering if you can do what the author did, on occasion, take K-2, digestive aid and buffered Vit C with the meal. I don’t mean everyday, like stated, but just occasionally, like the author. My husband has terrible reaction to potatoes, but if we are generally eating well, he can have some tomato product and seem to be okay? Anyway, just a ray of hope.(: Evelyn

          • Kim says:

            Hi Evelyn, Thanks for the suggestion. I’ve been taking Tylenol and don’t think that it’s really helped much. That’s amazing that your husband can feel well at times after eating some tomato. If a nightshade lands on my tongue I’m in trouble. Thanks for your suggestion. I’ll try it.

  15. marie-anne says:

    Excellent article!

  16. Cassandra says:

    I want to thank you for sharing this information.
    For the past two summers my muscles would get really sore and stiff. I’ve been active all my life and couldn’t identify what was the culprit. After praying about the matter for a while (and after having tried different things) it occurred to me that the ONE thing that changes quite a bit in summertime is my consumption of tomatoes and peppers as we grow a large organic heirloom garden. So I googled “tomatoes and muscle /joint pain” & found your article. I’m immediately ceasing my nightshade intake and I pray it will help. As much as I enjoy our tomatoes, peppers, etc….my health is more important than my tastebuds:) thank you again!

  17. valerye says:

    After twice being told by doctors ‘you have arthritis and will be on painkillers for the rest of your life’ I looked for the reason. I have known for years that potato’s bring on pain and this year I had a lot of tomatos and peppers – so much so that I reached crisis point and have been back and forth to the hospital. Cause of all this? Extreme sensitivity to Nightshades. I suspect I have been sensitive for much of my life but they have built up in my body to the point where even a little paprika or potato starch sets off a reaction. I have been reading the research of Dr Norman Childers and it explains everything. His books are out of print and difficult to get but worth trying and if you search his website is still available but inactive. Dr Sherry Rogers also tells of this in her books. This really should be better known as the over 60 pages of testimonials in Dr Childers books show it is a problem for so many people. I have been trying to avoid nightshades for a month now and feeling much better but everything needs to be checked (potato starch is in medications/supplements and capsican in many painkilling ointments and creams) yesterday I bought honey almonds as a treat and found they had paprika in them so every label must be read. Some Yeast and baking powders have potato starch. In the UK I have found Doves Farm free from potato starch. It is not an easy diet to follow but for anyone who is nightshade sensitive it is essential.

  18. Crackpot says:

    Tomatoes were considered poisonous because many plates were made from pewter. Since tomatoes are acidic, eating them on pewter plates would cause the lead to leech into the tomatoe causing lead poisoning. Though food allergies are certainty real there is to many pop culture food “truths” out there for my taste.

    • Tomat-No says:

      This article is very valid, darling. Nightshades definitely make my body ache like crazy. No doubt about it. Why some people and not all is the question.

  19. randi says:

    I’ve suffered from osteoarthritis for a long time especially in my hands, but I am anti-most drugs. My 93 year young mom has severe arthritis in knees and hands. I do most of the healthy things, exercise, mostly organic foods, etc. Even though my alternative doctor told me about nightshades years ago, I have never completely eliminated nightshade. I KNOW eggplant really bothers my hands, so Alan’s comment above “doesn’t alleviate pain” is not true for me nor for many others. We must listen to our bodies. So I am thankful for such an in-depth article and am going to go on this elimination diet for 6 weeks and see how I feel. Keep up the great research!

  20. Lou says:

    This is the best in depth, well researched information on nightshade sensitivity I have ever come across. I feel that I have nothing to lose except my pain by eliminating all nightshade foods. Thanks to Dr. Garrett Smith for his research and great article.

  21. Fascinating! Just yesterday I was looking at a hike with knee pain. I had eaten fresh tomatoes and eggplant the night before and no doubt raw peppers for lunch and was wondering why I hurt so badly. For good measure I slathered magnesium chloride straight onto my knees and began to walk. Pain totally gone! I know I have been short of magnesium, but his experience has me looking for more sources.

    I will try the K2 trick as well. To me eggplant is more lucious than chocolate! There will be fewer night shades for me now, but I will indulge with care.


    • Daniel Rogers says:

      I have found Elektra Magnesium to be good for me. Make sure you get a food grade source of magnesium. Sometimes they get it from the dead sea and other sources which are downstream of agriculture or mining runoff. Also Ocean sources cant be trusted either.

  22. Chris Greene says:

    Potatoes, Peppers and eggplants these vegetable are more prone to pesticides and chemicals.

  23. Moms says:

    Tomatoes are also very high in histamine…so if you have a problem metabolizing histamine and a nightshade sensitivity. ..double whammy!

  24. SK Glen says:

    I really liked this article but would like some clarification regarding the Healthy 4 Life publication on this website. I am getting ready to start a diet of bone broth for a couple of weeks (along with cut up organic vegetables, organic meats and healthy fats added in). Then after, I am looking to introduce more healthy foods a little at a time. So, I downloaded the Healthy 4 Life PDF eating guide published by Weston A. Price Foundation and started reading. Well, there are many recipes in it that have nightshades. I know I am sensitive to at least one nightshade as I had eaten Baba Ganoush a long time ago (several times). Every time I ate it, my mouth totally itched and had become inflamed. My question is does the Foundation intend to remove nightshades from the Healthy 4 Life publication? If so, I would love to get a copy of an updated version.

    I continually get conflicting information about what is considered healthy and what is not. The latest is potato starch. I am sure many have seen the information on resistant starches and how healthy they are and one of the big ones is potato starch (many companies are now selling it). I read a popular doctor’s newsletter in which Weston A. Price Foundation is often quoted, and the doctor writes all sort of good things about nightshades. Any clarification would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

  25. Judi Cunningham says:

    Nightshades apparently don’t bother some people at all. Or possibly they just aren’t aware of the source of their problem. My arthritic knees become pain-free and my psoriasis disappears when I eat right. An excellent book that helped me was The Psoriasis Cure, by Lisa Levan. I think I got it from Amazon.Nightshades gave me hives even when I was a baby.

  26. crosswind says:

    I appreciate this article. Thank you. I definitely noticed issues with nightshades. I even tried red & new gold white potatoes and still reacted & my eyes & ankles swelled up & so fatigued next day. I was surprised that Sweet potatoes were mentioned as safe for joint issues — Sweet Potatoes are considered “Very high” in Oxalates”, which also accumulate in tissues & cause joint pain, inflammation, mood issues and even genitourinary pain. Sweet potatoes are also high in estrogen, I’m told. Fyi.

  27. James says:

    A question: Tomatoes are very prevalently used in Italian cuisine. So far as I’ve heard, that connection hasn’t been made there. Do you think it’s because of a moderate use? or perhaps it’s in conjunction with more whole foods and healthy fats? This is not a rhetorical question and I’d love some honest knowledgeable feedback.

    • crosswind says:

      Interesting question why Nightshade sensitivity is seen MORE in USA than Italy—maybe Leaky gut issues from more pesticides, GMOs, etc..MY ND said she sees more people with Gut issues and autoimmune have this Nightshade sensitivity, but sometimes can come and go depending on the patient. Maybe cooked vs raw tomatoes? Does cooking change how they affect us?

  28. Kate says:

    I am wondering if anyone has looked at how this ties into the Marshall Protocol theories about the different forms of Vitamin D, the Vitamin D receptors, and autoimmune disease. Marshall Protocol points out that when D3 tests low, often calcitriol is off the charts high (in people who are ill with many chronic diseases and autoimmune disease. This suggests that low D3 is not the cause of the illness, but simply one of the effects. Marshall Protocol includes avoidance of Vitamin D supplements and D fortified foods, and even sunlight.

    It does seem like it might be correlated. Would appreciate anyone’s thoughts on this who is familiar with the protocol or the research behind it.

  29. Margaret says:

    After reading this article I pray I have found a solution. I have tried a yeast and sugarfree diet, no grains or dairy. I have been juicing everyday now for 3 months and still no reduction in oesteoarthritis pain. This may be the handset, I hope so as I dread the thought of hip replacement. Wish me luck!!!

    • Surfdolfin says:

      You need to have patience with seeing results after removing Nightshades from the diet. The 3 Month rule applied almost to the exact week for me. It is my lower back and arthritis on 2 vertebrae that rub together (degenerated disc). I still feel some lesser pain in my spine, but no intense muscle reaction causing intense spasms. No more using ibuprofen, or heavier pain & muscle relaxers. Basically, the calcification on the bone areas takes about 90 days for it to subside. Most inflammation is removed. Maybe more time for some and less for others? Other comments on their timeframes would be interesting … ???

  30. Tony Hunt says:

    Hi Garrett,

    Super informative article and I am totally anti nightshade due to a skin condition called Hidradenitis Suppurativa (unknown cause of disease). There are studies linking dairy consumption to HS. For me the trigger is potato’s… But I’m a massive dairy consumer. In your article you state calcitriol is in nightshades. That gets me very curious about potential calcinosis in hair follicles due to the combination of calcium intake and calcitriol.

    Could you comment if you believe calcitriol is in nightshades that we eat? To the best of my Google/research it only appears to be in a poisoness nightshade Solanum malacoxylon… Not in yhr common edible potato’s, capsicum or tomato’s.

    This would give a real line of investigation if you have information that calcitriol is in potato’s (solanum tuberosum)…

  31. Claudia says:

    Not remotly helpful but then I was looking for clarification on nighshades from the Cure Tooth Decay book by Ramiel Nagel.
    He says potatoes are fine but to avoid all other nightshades if you are having problems repairing your teeth. But then he also says to drink tomato juice !
    So I assume there must be some way of treating nightshades to make them safe to eat ?
    Is the substance in the seeds ?

    I can give up grains alot eaiser than nightshades sadly and I have read ALOT of wedsites teaching how to repair teeth and yet not one has mentioned nightshades. And the websites based on traditional food preperation use nightshades and in a normal mannor !

    Can anyone help clarify this please ?

  32. Kara says:

    Stopped eating tomatoes after itching and leg neuropathy, after a flu.Ended with not eating tomatoes. Friend told me about ashwagandha being in same category (nightshade) so I quit those supplements. Now I have aches which mostly were gone with the ashwagandha. Other benefits of ashwagandha are now gone too. What is going on? Wish I could do the ashwagandha.

  33. colleen says:

    I also had to stop taking aswagandha it is part of the tomato family. Also Maha oil has aswagandha in it I just read. Oh joy you real have to research everything not just that it is natural sometimes doesnt meant everything I am still confused about what is being said about Vit D what type is Ok and what is not what dosage please explain

  34. Jane Bouttell says:

    All my chronic symptoms fell into place. For some years, I had been suffering from ‘cyclical vomiting’ and regular bouts of depression. I was once prescribed Amitirptyline for the depression and responded well. I then found taking it when needed also cured the cyclical vomiting. (This has been attested by others with the same complaint.) THEN I discovered Amitriptyline is made from Deadly Nightshade. Homeopathic or what? I now avoid all nightshades aand have phenomenal levels of energy. Thank you!

  35. Tony Nolan says:

    Priceless information. I have severe reactions after eating most the of the ‘nightshades’ foods, mainly digestive issues. I avoid them as much as possible, and believe this has helped to delay the onset of arthritis and similar pains. I am very grateful for the generous and careful explanation in Dr Price’s article

  36. Rickey says:

    I was considering knee replacement because I could barely walk and deeply in pain. I got sick and couldn’t eat for two days and discovered that after not eating my pain went away and I was walking like I was twenty years ago. So I knew it was something I was eating causing my pain. After research I found out about nightshades. I immediately gave them up and have not looked back. I was eating 3 tomatoes every day. Plus tomato sauces, eggplant, paprika and dill pickles. Most all dill pickles are made with peppers. Pain free for six months now. You must be diligent. Read food labels carefully. Contact manufacturers and find out what their “natural flavorings” consist of. Being pain free is worth the effort.

  37. David says:

    I am curious about Ashwagandha. I had tried it once and I got headaches before I knew it was related to nightshades. I wonder if anyone has tried it with K2 to see if it seems ok. I more recently started supplementing K2 and have noticed I don’t get headaches often after I eat a bit of nightshades, whereas prior to that I had been more sensitive to tiny amounts.

  38. Upya says:

    This is a good thread to keep goin of testimonials, it will really help if after we tried it, we come back to write our experience bks i found these sight in search of having a frozen shoulder which one lady mentipn about this DNS foods, letkeep in touch to help others to ease the pain.

  39. Mary Parmentier says:

    My story is similar to the others. Severe pain in my hips and low back that occurred after a chiropractic adjustment gone wrong…or so I thought. Now I think it was tied to stress and leaky gut and the chiropractic treatment only exacerbated the problem. After nine years of every kind of typical medical treatment and unconventional treatments including surgeries, prolotherapy, acupuncture, Vax-D etc and thousands of dollars and dozens of physicians I was at my wits end! I knew I got worse with pizza, I gave up breads and dairy. Still no real relief. After reading about nightshade vegetables in Chris Kresser’s book Paleo Cure I could see the light. It just made sense! I used to make this “veggie” smoothie of grape tomatoes, green peppers and spinach in a desperate move to force nutrition into my body… I was worse. Didn’t make sense then, does now. after removing all tomatoes, potatoes and peppers in THREE days I was significantly improved in TEN days completely cured. I now stand up straight and I am no longer being pulled over and contorted by the pain and inflammation and muscle spasms. They caused me to have severe insomnia so with the combination of constant pain and no sleep I was a basket case! Every once in awhile I will indulge in pizza, spaghetti or soups with tomatoes and can tolerate some peppers in small amounts. The back pain is just a little stiffness now but the insomnia returns in full force. I drink a cup of full strength coffee and go right to sleep. I still have some healing to do but it took 9 years to get where I was so it will take sometime to get back to full health, but I am enjoying the journey. Remove this offending “healthy” veggies your body will thank you!

  40. Hannah says:

    As a Gulf War vet of Desert Shield/Storm in 1991, my husband has suffered from food chemical sensitivity, nightshade sensitivity, IBS, and other immune system problems these 25 yeats since. All of these put him in what I call an “awake coma”. He is not able to think or communicate at all when exposed, and getting over it takes whole days of his life away. We have learned avoidance and careful supplementation along with cooking from scratch is the only way to keep him healthy enough to even be able to live normally. I do wish there were remedies, so healing wouldn’t take so long. Thank you so much to this doctor for a most thorough, educational article.

  41. Arthur Bailey, III says:

    In my particular case, I suffered from intermittent back, ankle and other joint pain for many years. Cutting commonly-known nightshades reduced, but did not stop, the episodes. Even tiny amount (one bite of bell pepper) cause me to have pain, nausea and other symptoms for 3-4 days. But, then I started researching the medical literature and noting what I had eaten before flare ups. Many foods contain solanine. For example, I have an organic laboratory report that found the apples that were tested contained about one-half the amount of solanine as white potatoes. I believe that all edible flowers contain solanine. This means that sunflower oil, safflower oil and canola oil all contain solanine. That means that many breads and other bakery products contain solanine. I have a long list of foods that provoke the symptoms caused by nightshades (bacon that has paprika, sour cream containing palmitate, broccoli, artichoke, etc., etc., . My health is much better, but it is almost impossible to avoid solanine in U.S. foods and diets)

    The effects of eating foods that contain solanine cause me to have the following symptoms: joint pain, muscle spasm, extreme nausea with vomiting, high blood pressure, cognitive issues and others (decreased bone density and kidney stones. Taking vitamin D-3 (5000 iu/day) has not stopped my solanine sensitivity. going to try vitamin K2. Thanks for article

  42. Pearl Goldberg says:

    Something else that nobody has mentioned…….I have arthritis and my finger joints have started to become deformed. My doc told me years ago that all my fingers will “go” , but I have definitely delayed it by cutting out nightshades. They were among my favorite foods and I noticed that every time I ate potatoes or aubergine, my finger joints hurt and changed, like extra bone formed around the joints. My grandmother had totally deformed finger joints, my younger sister’s fingers are worse than mine, she says she is unable to give up nightshades completely. I am 69. I still work and use the computer mouse all day. To lose the use of my hands is my biggest nightmare, so I am very strict about it. Have no pain. Also gluten free and bread is a big problem because of potato starch……….

  43. M.R. says:

    Could harvesting and/or preparations help? Like if they were cooked with something? tomatoes/chilies with beans? first crop for potatoes, or stored in dark?

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