Nightshades May Worsen My Joint Pain
You are feeling creaky and those joints in your low back were really stiff this morning. It was hard to get out of bed. Your friend tells you that it"s probably the Nightshades you ate. "Tomatoes are the worst", she says. "Nightshades always worsen my joint pain". Nightshades, you say? Yes, there are some vegetables by that name. A quick Google search shows you that the Nightshade plant family are the genus Solanaceae, which contain white potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes and bell peppers, cayenne peppers, and Paprika. Do you eat any of these?
Why Nightshades? I love Potatoes and Peppers!
Plants contain many bioactive compounds. The Solanaceae family potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes and peppers, contain an alkaloid chemical called solanine, which may affect the joint membranes. Accordingly, these plants may create or facilitate an inflammatory response in some individuals. In other words, after an Italian spaghetti Dinner with eggplant, or even after Mexican Salsa, patients are reporting that their joints ache worse. Are the nightshades, which are not necessarily causing the problem, making it temporarily worse?
What does the Research about Nightshades Say?
There appears to be a big division in opinions about Nightshades. The crazy thing is that many patients with joint pain seem to do better when they pay attention to the amount of Nightshades they consume. The research is technically negative saying that inflammatory markers do not increase from Nightshade consumption. But maybe there is something more to this? It"s unknown but maybe it involves a food sensitivity, intolerance, or an autoimmune process that is too complex to pin down. But just to illustrate, here"s a conservative World-of-Approval Arthritis article saying "there is no reason you should not eat them". In Contrast, here"s a nice liberal Naturopathic article suggesting you cut back Nightshades . Go figure. I guess you have to see if it works for you.
A Quick Nightshades Case Study
Patient "P" is about 60 years old. He is in fairly good shape, but has been having hip pains. Unfortunately, P"s hip pains are spoiling his golf. He was in Portland visiting his Son-in-Law who happened to be a patient and sent him over to Blue Heron Chiropractic. P said he could not play golf, which was his favorite thing. I did a hip exam and had P go for an X-ray of both hips, which showed some degenerative arthritic changes. Not a lot, but just enough for this to make sense. P said his PCP had mentioned hip replacement to him, and this was the last thing he wanted. To be helpful, I told "P" what I had heard about these Nightshades possibly making joint pain worse. P told me the following: "Dr. D, I think you might as well kill me now if I have to give up my foods. I love that stuff. Can"t ever do that. Golf and Food, that"s my life". Anyway, we had a good couple of treatments, helped him a little bit, and off he went back to the East Coast. A few years later, in the door walks you guessed it "P". He"s wearing his golf outfit and it was clear he had been out on the Greens. We greeted and he said "I just wanted you to know I did it. I gave up those Nightshade foods or at least I cut back a lot. But since then I have played all the golf I have wanted to just got off the greens at Heron Lakes as a matter of fact. I have no pain. Thank you so much!"