Are you having arthritis or joint pain? Nowadays a lot of people suffer from osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or other joint problems like gout. The author of The Nightshades and Health, N. F. Childers Ph. D. and a Naturopathic Physician, Dr. Garrett Smith claims that the plants in the drug family, Solanaceae (nightshades) are an important causative factor in arthritis in sensitive people. This family includes potato (Solanum tuberosum L.), tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum L.), eggplant (Solanum melongena L.), tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L.), and peppers (Capsicum sp.) of all kinds except the black pepper (family, Piperaceae).
A typical American diet includes a lot of potatoes, tomatoes and peppers. Also spices such as chilli powder, paprika, chipotle, and cayenne all belong to the nightshade family and are consumed in fair amounts in the American diet. So, what is wrong with the nightshades? Some research says that a particular group of substances in these foods, called alkaloids, can impact nerve-muscle function and digestive function in animals and humans, and may also be able to compromise joint function.
The below is research finding that Childers and Margoles M.D. state in Journal of Neurological and Orthopedic Medical Surgery (1993) 12:227-231 tells you more detail about the “causes”
“The Solanaceae cause at least two known health problems. They contain cholinesterase inhibiting glycoalkaloids and steroids [6,34,35,36] including, among others, the drugs solanine in potato and eggplant, tomatine in tomato, nicotine in tobacco, and capsaicin in garden peppers. When these inhibitors accumulate in the body, 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 . These symptoms may dissipate in a few hours or days if ingestion is stopped; people vary in sensitivity. The second problem is the ability of the Solanaceae (those species analyzed) to develop naturally the very active metabolite of vitamin D3 (1a25 dihydroxycholecalciferol) that results in calcinosis of soft tissues, ligaments, and tendons, mineralization in walls of major arteries and veins, and osteopetrosis and related pathology [10,14,16,17,18,19,20,28,37] in livestock (Fig. 3). In time, there is progressive lameness and extended uselessness, with eventual death of livestock. Copper deficiency in the liver and other tissues associated with arthritic-like symptoms has also been diagnosed with the livestock disease .
There could be other factors such as a saponic-like glycoalkaloid , possibly capsaicin , causing irritation of the walls of the digestive tract after extended usage by sensitive people, resulting in an ulcer, diverticula, and polyps . The nightshades can cause red blood cell destruction in vitro , and the steroid alkanine is readily absorbed by the intestine; this could be responsible for associated nervous symptoms [6,8].”
So, do you need to get rid of those nightshade foods in your diet? If you do have joint related health issues, I highly recommend that you stop consuming them for at least a month. Childers research shows in his survey that those who stuck to an elimination diet, 94% had complete or substantial relief from symptoms. I believe that dairy products contribute to inflammatory disease (autoimmune) as well, so eliminating both would work even better.