2

votes

Solanine and non-nightshades... this has to be a myth

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 19, 2011 at 9:42 PM

I search on PubMed for solanine and blueberry(ies), strawberries, okra, and artichokes and no results come up. I then search for potato or tomato and there's loads of links. Can someone here provide a credible link to research which confirms that these do indeed contain Solanine and that it is harmful in these foods as well? Why do Paleo authors not mention them when discussing nightshades? Is there any evidence that we are adapted to eating some quantity of it? I imagine Paleo man ate quite a lot of berries. I know I've seen on TV that at least Bears do.

F3c5ee96c8ac91f72706aac2734debc1

on March 18, 2014
at 02:06 AM

Yes, I would. Where is her reference concerning non-nightshade plants that contain solanine? There is none. She just threw up that list completely unreferenced. Very, very ironic that that blog post is on a website called "science based medicine." I'm disappointed in their quality control to say the least.

6864d23c49952605b2a97d6256af804d

(726)

on April 19, 2013
at 07:41 PM

Paleomom recently dug up the 1991 paper referenced in the 1998 review, and concluded that it's a myth. However, I do worry that apples or anything else treated with shellac (from the lac beetle which consumes goji berries) can perhaps contain solanine. http://www.thepaleomom.com/2012/08/tpm-tidbit-are-there-other-non.html

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on February 10, 2013
at 12:40 PM

As to : "not necessarily in the part we eat": how dumb is that? I don't eat apple trees, I eat apples!!!

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 20, 2011
at 03:07 PM

I can't find any other references to apples or beets, so I agree with you that we should be skeptical on that basis. However I don't have access to the referenced 1991 article in Food Technology Magazine so I can't have an opinion on whether the ultimate citation is old or obscure. Regarding tomatoes, here's a good review article from 2002: http://ddr.nal.usda.gov/bitstream/10113/11181/1/IND23309827.pdf I don't know whether it's true that solanine never occurs in tomatoes (that's a hard claim to prove) but certainly tomatine, not solanine, is the main glycoalkaloid in tomatoes.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 20, 2011
at 03:05 PM

I can't find any other references to apples or beets, so I agree with you that we should be skeptical on that basis. However I don't have access to the referenced 1991 article in Food Technology Magazine so I can't have an opinion on whether the ultimate citation is old or obscure. Regarding tomatoes, here's a good review article from 2002: http://ddr.nal.usda.gov/bitstream/10113/11181/1/IND23309827.pdf Certainly tomatine, not solanine, is the main glycoalkaloid in tomatoes.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 20, 2011
at 02:52 PM

I can't find any other references to apples or beets, so I agree with you that we should be skeptical on that basis. However I don't have access to the referenced 1991 article in Food Technology Magazine so I can't have an opinion on whether the ultimate citation is old or obscure. Regarding tomatoes, here's a good review article from 2002: ddr.nal.usda.gov/bitstream/10113/11181/1/…I don't know if it's true that solanine never occurs in tomatoes but certainly tomatine, not solanine, is the main glycoalkaloid in tomatoes.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 20, 2011
at 02:47 PM

I can't find any other references to apples or beets, so I agree with you that we should be skeptical on that basis. However I don't have access to the referenced 1991 article in Food Technology Magazine so I can't have an opinion on whether the ultimate citation is old or obscure. Regarding tomatoes, here's a good review article from 2002: http://ddr.nal.usda.gov/bitstream/10113/11181/1/IND23309827.pdf I don't know if it's true that nobody has ever found solanine in tomatoes but certainly tomatine, not solanine, is the main glycoalkaloid in tomatoes.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 20, 2011
at 02:38 PM

I can't find any other references to apples or beets, so I agree with you that we should be skeptical on that basis. However I don't have access to the referenced 1991 article in Food Technology Magazine so I can't have an opinion on whether the ultimate citation is old or obscure. Regarding tomatoes, here's a good review article from 2002: http://ddr.nal.usda.gov/bitstream/10113/11181/1/IND23309827.pdf I don't know if it's true that nobody has ever found solanine in tomatoes but obviously tomatine, not solanine, is the main glycoalkaloid in tomatoes.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 20, 2011
at 02:23 PM

Regarding glycoalkaloids in tomatoes, here a good review article from 2002: http://ddr.nal.usda.gov/bitstream/10113/11181/1/IND23309827.pdf The "dual glycoalkaloid hypothesis" (pp. 5759-5760) is interesting.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on December 20, 2011
at 01:27 PM

I think it is also incorrect to state that tomatoes contain Solanine. Tomatoes contain Tomatine, a structurally related but different molecule.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on December 20, 2011
at 01:02 PM

I have seen that article before. However if you follow the references back for apples and sugar beet containing solanine the reference refers back to yet another reference that leads to a an unattainable old book. As there is no mention anywhere else about apples containing solanine this makes me suspicious of the fact.

De267f213b375efca5da07890e5efc25

(3747)

on December 20, 2011
at 06:00 AM

Awesome - thanks!!

Medium avatar

(39831)

on December 20, 2011
at 02:00 AM

Short of eating bitter, green potatoes with the peel, I can't imagine someone realistically having a problem. Probably experience greater problems from the lower potassium levels encountered as a result of their avoidance. Switching to sweet potatoes would likely just switch from one set of defensive compounds to another.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on December 19, 2011
at 10:19 PM

The solanine content has been bred way down over time and the total amount of glycoalkaloids consumed by a hunter-gatherer is likely much higher. I wouldn't worry about them. You'd be losing out on so much nutrition by avoiding them that it would be a net loss.

8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on December 19, 2011
at 09:43 PM

I am baffled by this question

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7 Answers

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5
82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 20, 2011
at 03:46 AM

According to a review article published in 1998 by the National Toxicology Program of the US government's Department of Health and Human Services (reference below), solanine has been found in the following plants (not necessarily in the part we normally eat):

  • potato
  • apple
  • bell pepper
  • eggplant
  • sugar beet
  • tomatoes
  • Jerusalem cherries
  • bittersweet
  • black nightshade
  • ground cherries
  • Jimson weed

In addition, susumber berries (Solanum torvum) can contain solanine.

I can't find any scholarly book or paper that says solanine has been found in blueberries, strawberries, okra, or artichokes.

I imagine Paleo man ate quite a lot of berries.

Some berries are poisonous and some aren't. Some are nightshades, and some do contain solanine. In fact, solanine was first extracted from the berries of the European black nightshade (Solanum nigrum).

People have died from eating solanine in berries in modern times, and no doubt the same thing happened in paleo times as well.

Here's a case study of a girl who died in 1948 from solanine poisoning after eating nightshade berries. They were growing together with blackberries and she probably ate both kinds together:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2091497/?page=1

Reference:

Tice, R. a-Caconine [20562-03-2] and a-Solanine [20562-02-1]: Review of Toxicological Literature. National Institute of Health Sciences. 1998. http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/go/15334

De267f213b375efca5da07890e5efc25

(3747)

on December 20, 2011
at 06:00 AM

Awesome - thanks!!

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on December 20, 2011
at 01:27 PM

I think it is also incorrect to state that tomatoes contain Solanine. Tomatoes contain Tomatine, a structurally related but different molecule.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 20, 2011
at 02:38 PM

I can't find any other references to apples or beets, so I agree with you that we should be skeptical on that basis. However I don't have access to the referenced 1991 article in Food Technology Magazine so I can't have an opinion on whether the ultimate citation is old or obscure. Regarding tomatoes, here's a good review article from 2002: http://ddr.nal.usda.gov/bitstream/10113/11181/1/IND23309827.pdf I don't know if it's true that nobody has ever found solanine in tomatoes but obviously tomatine, not solanine, is the main glycoalkaloid in tomatoes.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 20, 2011
at 02:52 PM

I can't find any other references to apples or beets, so I agree with you that we should be skeptical on that basis. However I don't have access to the referenced 1991 article in Food Technology Magazine so I can't have an opinion on whether the ultimate citation is old or obscure. Regarding tomatoes, here's a good review article from 2002: ddr.nal.usda.gov/bitstream/10113/11181/1/…I don't know if it's true that solanine never occurs in tomatoes but certainly tomatine, not solanine, is the main glycoalkaloid in tomatoes.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 20, 2011
at 02:47 PM

I can't find any other references to apples or beets, so I agree with you that we should be skeptical on that basis. However I don't have access to the referenced 1991 article in Food Technology Magazine so I can't have an opinion on whether the ultimate citation is old or obscure. Regarding tomatoes, here's a good review article from 2002: http://ddr.nal.usda.gov/bitstream/10113/11181/1/IND23309827.pdf I don't know if it's true that nobody has ever found solanine in tomatoes but certainly tomatine, not solanine, is the main glycoalkaloid in tomatoes.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on December 20, 2011
at 01:02 PM

I have seen that article before. However if you follow the references back for apples and sugar beet containing solanine the reference refers back to yet another reference that leads to a an unattainable old book. As there is no mention anywhere else about apples containing solanine this makes me suspicious of the fact.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 20, 2011
at 02:23 PM

Regarding glycoalkaloids in tomatoes, here a good review article from 2002: http://ddr.nal.usda.gov/bitstream/10113/11181/1/IND23309827.pdf The "dual glycoalkaloid hypothesis" (pp. 5759-5760) is interesting.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 20, 2011
at 03:07 PM

I can't find any other references to apples or beets, so I agree with you that we should be skeptical on that basis. However I don't have access to the referenced 1991 article in Food Technology Magazine so I can't have an opinion on whether the ultimate citation is old or obscure. Regarding tomatoes, here's a good review article from 2002: http://ddr.nal.usda.gov/bitstream/10113/11181/1/IND23309827.pdf I don't know whether it's true that solanine never occurs in tomatoes (that's a hard claim to prove) but certainly tomatine, not solanine, is the main glycoalkaloid in tomatoes.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 20, 2011
at 03:05 PM

I can't find any other references to apples or beets, so I agree with you that we should be skeptical on that basis. However I don't have access to the referenced 1991 article in Food Technology Magazine so I can't have an opinion on whether the ultimate citation is old or obscure. Regarding tomatoes, here's a good review article from 2002: http://ddr.nal.usda.gov/bitstream/10113/11181/1/IND23309827.pdf Certainly tomatine, not solanine, is the main glycoalkaloid in tomatoes.

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on February 10, 2013
at 12:40 PM

As to : "not necessarily in the part we eat": how dumb is that? I don't eat apple trees, I eat apples!!!

6864d23c49952605b2a97d6256af804d

(726)

on April 19, 2013
at 07:41 PM

Paleomom recently dug up the 1991 paper referenced in the 1998 review, and concluded that it's a myth. However, I do worry that apples or anything else treated with shellac (from the lac beetle which consumes goji berries) can perhaps contain solanine. http://www.thepaleomom.com/2012/08/tpm-tidbit-are-there-other-non.html

3
0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on December 20, 2011
at 01:00 AM

I also have no idea where these "facts" come from. I have also looked in the past and found nothing.

I suspect someone in the past, somewhere on the internet, stated that blueberries strawberries, okra, and artichokes contain solanine. Then people repeat this without bothering to check its validity until it becomes widely stated and people assume it must be true.

I am prepared to be convinced if anyone can find any evidence of this.

It is not impossible as particular plant compounds are often widely found in the plant kingdom. However if solanine has ever been found in blueberries it is probably in such minute amounts that no one ever bothered to make a note of it again.

I also don't think that solanine in potatoes is a problem.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on December 20, 2011
at 02:00 AM

Short of eating bitter, green potatoes with the peel, I can't imagine someone realistically having a problem. Probably experience greater problems from the lower potassium levels encountered as a result of their avoidance. Switching to sweet potatoes would likely just switch from one set of defensive compounds to another.

0
856f8cfff9f59127eba69241fad38a33

on March 17, 2014
at 12:09 AM

@paleousername So, then, would you say that one of major premises of this article at SBM is wrong (and ironically so, at that):

http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/killer-tomatoes-and-poisonous-potatoes/

F3c5ee96c8ac91f72706aac2734debc1

on March 18, 2014
at 02:06 AM

Yes, I would. Where is her reference concerning non-nightshade plants that contain solanine? There is none. She just threw up that list completely unreferenced. Very, very ironic that that blog post is on a website called "science based medicine." I'm disappointed in their quality control to say the least.

0
F3c5ee96c8ac91f72706aac2734debc1

on March 16, 2014
at 11:55 PM

<br><br>BOTANY 101, people! Solanine is only found in Solanaceous plants, meaning plants that belong to the family Solanaceae, aka the Nightshade family. Blueberries, strawberries, okra and apples are NOT nightshade plants. Wikipedia is a great place to find out botanical information. Look up any plant and there will be a sidebar on the right that tells exactly which taxonomic groups it belongs to. If none of the group names start with "Solan-" something it is not a nightshade. The article will also probably mention if it is a nightshade because it is a well known family with many edible plants.

<br><br>

If it is not a nightshade plant, it does NOT contain any solanine. There is NO credible evidence of solanine being found in a non-nightshade plant. If one claims to have a reaction to, say, blueberries then either 1) they are sensitive to a particular compound in that particular plant (an alkaloid, a protein, oxalates, histamine, etc.), NOT solanine, or 2) the reaction is psychosomatic. Probably psychosomatic if you read some blog article that listed blueberries as containing solanine and then you magically started reacting to blueberries. Don't believe "xyz food lists" on random unsourced blog articles, no matter how factual they present themselves to be.

<br><br>You can be allergic to virtually any fruit or vegetable because your body reacts to a particular protein in that plant and starts the classic histamine reaction (swelling, itching, trouble breathing etc). This is a completely different thing from being sensitive to solanine, which is not a protein but a glycoalkaloid.

<br><br>This lady did the same research I did, and came to the same conclusion. " Are There Other (Non-Nightshade) Food Sources of Solanine?" Answer: NO. http://www.thepaleomom.com/2012/08/tpm-tidbit-are-there-other-non.html

<br><br>tl;dr if you want to avoid nightshades, go ahead, but you do not need to avoid certain non-nightshades unless you have some other good reason to. Find a credible source to get your "list of nightshade plants".

0
96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on March 12, 2014
at 10:32 AM

n=1, I do fine with tomatoes and peeled white potatoes. But, a quarter of a red pepper sliced up in my salad, and I get joint pain for two days, ditto grilled peppers. Chilli, serano, habanero, peppers, no problem. YMMV.

Eggplant doesn't have any symptoms other than sitting in my gut like a brick for many hours.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=solanine for those wanting to search.

0
856f8cfff9f59127eba69241fad38a33

on March 11, 2014
at 09:50 PM

Interesting, I was struggling with a nightshade issue for years (fatigue, dizziness, brain fog, light sensitivity, anxiety, twitchy muscles, etc). I eliminated nightshades as a group and my symptoms cleared. Potatoes, tomatoes, and peppers all cause symptoms. I have not noticed symptoms with other solanine-containing foods, leading me to believe that there is something unique to the nightshades that is the cause of my problems.

0
Medium avatar

on November 25, 2013
at 07:40 PM

As someone who is highly sensitive to Nightshades, I can attest to the fact that when I eat an Artichoke, or an Okra or even Blueberries, I feel like total crap - just like I do after eating something with Potato Flour in it, or Tomato Sauce.

Regarding Travis' message, he is correct that Solanine is probably not going to give anyone who is not sensitive to it a problem, regardless of the source (potato, tomato, berry, etc...). But for someone who is sensitive to it, there is no question when you encounter it as an ingredient.

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