Saturday, September 29, 2012

Nightshades - Inflammatory Foods

Nightshades are new to me. I read a lot about special diets and foods that should be avoided for health issues, but I admit I had googled what a nightshade was and thought there is no way I could fathom cutting out these from my diet. I hadn't stopped to read why they are a problem, they are inflammatory, somewhat toxic and can actually leach calcium from your bones. Since autism is associated with inflammation, it got me thinking. I'm not saying we definitely have a problem, but its worth investigating further, perhaps allergy testing, or we may try the six week elimination of them altogether. We have been GFCFSF (gluten, casein, soy free) for months now, and recently added SCD (specific carbohydrate diet, grain and sugar free) to our list of letters, its hard to find much of anything that's actually okay to eat anymore.

      One thing I always have noticed is when my daughter is given ibuprofen, an anti inflammatory, she shows improvement in behavior and language. We are working with a DAN! doctor to figure out ways to reduce inflammation naturally, through supplementation and foods. As with autism treatment, its a roller coaster of recovery, ups, downs, twists and turns and some days it makes me question if we're ever going to get off this crazy ride.  I am searching for the piece of the puzzle which fits, and its possible nightshades could. Autism is associated with many allergies and so are nightshades. Cutting out nightshades has been said to greatly improve Arthritis, MS and IBS among other ailments. A proper explanation of what nightshades are, and why they pose such a problem can be found at: This Website and This Website.

I should specify what a nightshade is, most people consider potatoes, peppers and tomatoes to be nightshades, but the list doesn't stop there. (Naturally if they are gluten or carbohydrate containing then they are already excluded in our diet), here are some others I have discovered may be a problem:

Main Offenders:
Potatoes (sweet potatoes are okay)
Sweet and Hot Peppers

Alphabetized List:
Ascorbyl Palmitate (it’s potatoes)
Baking Powder?  (according to this website it says “All baking powder [...] seems to contain potato, though it is not listed on the label.” I don’t know, though… there are some with corn starch instead of potato or the generic “starch” on the label)
Banana Peppers
Chili Peppers
Goji Berries
Hot Peppers (hmm, a generic catch-all, I think)
Jalapeno Peppers
Modified Food Starch (watch out for starch if it doesn’t say where it’s derived from)
Palmitate Vitamin A (I found this in margarine and milk, it’s potatoes)
Paprika (seems to be in all sorts of things: mayo, hotdogs, mustard, sausage)
Pickles (I’ve found that most pickles contain peppers :-( )
Potatoes (sweet potatoes are okay)
Shellac Wax (comes from Lac beetle that feeds on Wolfberry plants, found on shiny fruit and veggies, commonly not listed in ingredients)
Starch (if it doesn’t say where it’s derived from, check with the manufacturer)
Sweet Peppers (black pepper is okay)
Thai Peppers
Wax Peppers
Yeast (according to this website “Most yeast contains potato, both baking yeast and beer yeast. Red Star yeast does not contain potato.”)

Herbs / Plants:
Banewort (another name for nightshade)
Belladonna / Atropa Belladonna (used in Homeopathy, found in Viagra)
Bittersweet (Atropine Belladonna)
Devil’s Cherries (another name for nightshade)
Devil’s Herb (another name for nightshade)
Divale (another name for nightshade)
Dwale (another name for nightshade)
Dwayberry (another name for nightshade)
Great Morel (another name for nightshade)
Jimson Weed
Nightshade / Deadly Nightshade
Petunias (yes, the flower)

Unsure of these:
Kava Kava – I saw this in a nightshades list somewhere else, but I’m thinking it’s just in the pepper family and not actually a nightshade.
Artichokes (I read that they contain solanine, but lost my source)
Blueberries (I read that they contain solanine, but lost my source)
Cherries, ground (this is “ground cherries” as in cherries that grow close to the ground – not chopped cherries.  It was mentioned in a forum somewhere)
Huckleberries (I read that they contain solanine, but lost my source)
Okra (I read that they contain solanine, but lost my source)
Vitamin A Palmitate (I read on a website somewhere that it’s potatoes, but recently have been told it could just be from Palm.  I’ve found in margerine, milk, ham, heavy cream, whipped cream, cheese)

Questionable(check with manufacturer to see where derived from)
Dextrose (can be potatoes, check your salt and baking powder ingredients!)
Lactic acid (generally made from fermented corn or potatoes)
Magnesium Stearate
Maltodextrin / Mdltrin  (can be derived from potato or corn)

Chemicals / Drugs / Medicines:
Aspirin – can contain nightshades?
Hyoscine (another name for scopolamine)
Scopolamine (common in motion sickness meds)
Viagra (contains belladonna)

Also toxic:
Brazilian Pepper
Cauliflower (contains nicotine)

There is some debate as to others which could be added or subtracted from the list, I am no expert, so if I have forgotten any I apologize. I would suggest researching if any of these foods seem like they could be irritating yours or your child's system. It may just be another piece of the puzzle. 


  1. Have you seen any improvement after removing nightshades? My four year old is GFCFSF and I'm considering SCD. I would have no idea what to feed my child if I removed nightshades, but I think I'm seeing an issue with bell peppers....

    1. Actually quite a few of these were not legal on the SCD anyways, and we started that back in the summer. There are not many on the list that she has anymore. Its so hard to tell what's helping exactly. We changed diet, give supplements, probiotics and she's started school. Whatever it is we're doing, its working! I saw amazing results with GFCFSF but she plateaued, she had a yeast and bacterial overgrowth in her gut that only the SC Diet would address. Since she's rid of the yeast and bacteria, we have seen way more improvements. Its all working together I guess. I would suggest SCD for sure. I might suggest allergy testing for the nightshades.

    2. I have 2 children with autism. And I did the GAPS diet/SCD for 2 years, and I saw wonderful results at the beginning but after several months nothing more really improved, but I kept going with the diet hoping to see more results. But having other children with allergies, nuts, eggs, tomatoes and spices it was getting hard to continue to SCD. I researched Paleo, which is similar to SCD, I came across Paleo Autoimmune Protocol , and this is what I am doing now for my family and seeing much more progress with the autism and allergies. I just found out, and did not realize that SCD is pathogen specific, so the diet is good for this, but I don't think for long term. I also want to mention a home based on-line program for autism, it is Doing the paleo autoimmune protocol and Mendability has been a great combination for my children with autism and allergies. I hope this is helpful.

    3. Thanks for sharing what works for you! I do the Paleo diet myself, and my daughter has been SCD for 2.5 yrs. with great results. Every child has different health issues to tackle, for her it was yeast and C.Difficile, and a severe intolerance to gluten and dairy. It's worked wonders for her. I do know about Mendability, and know someone using it with her kids, she does like it. Whatever works is wonderful, so thank you for the link. I am having great success with The Son-Rise Program. Our kids are all so unique :)