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.
asked bybalor123 (3747)
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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):
- bell pepper
- sugar beet
- Jerusalem cherries
- 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:
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
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.
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):
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.
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".
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.
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.
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.