Night Shade Allergies

My mother is in the hospital with nightshade allergies, life threatening ones. She wanted to know what kind of reactions nightshades give people. And her doctor wouldn’t take my personal experiences, so I sent her some off the net.

What are my personal experiences? Trouble walking. Joint and muscle pain. Muscle weakness. Back aches. Back spasms. Severe head aches. Sore extremities. Pain. Lots of pain. Stomach upset. Rash. Skin splitting open when exposed to allergen. (Such as when cutting a tomato.)

If I avoid nightshades, I am much better off. But it is very hard to do.

Nightshade-family vegetables:
Eggplant, peppers (bell peppers, cayenne, chili peppers, paprika), potatoes, and tomatoes.
Not actually an allergic reaction. Solanine, a slightly toxic substance found in nightshades, doesn’t harm most people. It isn’t detoxified properly by some people; this is a genetic difference. Those folks get joint pain that may be diagnosed as arthritis, and muscular pain from nightshades. They may need to stay off of these foods for a few weeks or months to clear the solanine from their system.
Tobacco is in the nightshade family too, so it causes pain in the same way.

from Body Technician

Constipation or diarrhea, depression, tiredness, weight gain, headaches, joint pain, PMS — these and other low-grade, chronic reactions may be the result of one or more common food allergies or sensitivities. Allergies can affect almost any part of the body and you can develop an allergy to virtually any food. The most common food allergies are triggered by wheat, the nightshade family (cayenne, eggplant, tobacco, peppers, paprika, tomatoes and potatoes), peanuts, coffee, oranges, sugar, chocolate, eggs, soy, corn and milk (and milk products such as cheese).

from Fred a Care

My personal journey with pain began two decades ago, when my lower back started bothering me. At times, I could barely walk, and I vividly remember two occasions when muscle spasms “threw my back out” and I was unable to get out of bed to go the bathroom. (Anyone who has ever had muscle spasms shudders at the memory.) Coincidentally, the day after my last attack, I received the results of an allergy panel from my doctor, showing I am extremely allergic to garlic, and sensitive to almonds and chicken. I had been chugging down prodigious amounts of garlic prior to the attack, thinking that garlic was the quintessential health food. I immediately eliminated those foods from my diet, and my back was fine. Amazing!

Nutritionally trained physicians have tested several diet therapies, with varying degrees of success. Many people find relief by eliminating foods in the nightshade family, including eggplants, bell peppers, potatoes and tomatoes. The Dr. Dong diet eliminates all additives, preservatives, fruits, red meats, herbs, alcohol and dairy products.

Food allergies or sensitivities can trigger painful flare-ups in 20 – 60% of people with arthritis, according to a study published in Arthritis Today. (Dunkin, 1999).

from Inflammation News

Allergies to certain foods appear linked to rheumatoid arthritis, particularly those in the nightshade family of plants: tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, peppers and tobacco. Experiment by removing these foods, one at a time, from your diet. If your arthritis worsens and then improves after five or six days, you may indeed be allergic. See a doctor for a more complete allergy screening.

from Web Terrace

There are reports that belladonna [a nightshade] may cause decreased perspiration, vomiting, decreased flow of breast milk, headache, excitement, agitation, dizziness, lightheadedness, drowsiness, unsteadiness, abdominal distention, reduced saliva, muscle tremor, rigidity, leg cramps, blurred vision, sensitivity to sunlight, slurred or meaningless speech, increased action of reflexes, high blood pressure, increased heart rate, abnormal heart rhythm, skin rash, dry skin, hives, rapid breathing, hallucinations, psychotic behavior, respiratory arrest, convulsions and coma.


Solanine is a substance found in nightshade plants, including tomatoes, white potatoes, all peppers (except black pepper), and eggplant. In theory, if not destroyed in the intestine, solanine could be toxic. A horticulturist, Dr. Normal Childers, hypothesized that some people with osteoarthritis may not be able to destroy solanine in the gut, leading to solanine absorption resulting in osteoarthritis. Eliminating solanine from the diet has been reported to bring relief to some arthritis sufferers in preliminary research.2 3 An uncontrolled survey of people avoiding nightshade plants revealed that 28% claimed to have a “marked positive response” and another 44% a “positive response.” Researchers have never put this diet to a strict clinical test; however, the treatment continues to be used by some doctors in people who have osteoarthritis. As with the Warmbrand diet, proponents claim exclusion of solanine requires up to six months before potential effects can be seen. Totally eliminating tomatoes and peppers requires complex dietary changes for most people. In addition, even proponents of the diet acknowledge that many arthritis sufferers are not helped by using this approach. Therefore, long-term trial avoidance of solanine-containing foods may only be appropriate for people with severe cases of osteoarthritis who have not responded to other natural treatments.

Most of the studies linking allergies to joint disease have focused on rheumatoid arthritis, although mention of what was called rheumatism (some of which may have been osteoarthritis) in older reports suggests a possible link between food reactions and exacerbations of osteoarthritis symptoms.4 If other therapies are unsuccessful in relieving symptoms, people with osteoarthritis might choose to discuss food allergy identification and elimination with a nutritionally oriented physician.

Titan Support

Other blog posts on this topic:
Night Shade Allergy Dangers
Night Shade Intolerance
Night Shade Food List
Night Shades, Solanine
Internet Comments on Night Shades
I recall why I started avoiding night shades.
Not mine, but referenced in one. Applied kinesiology can help you identify your food allergies.
Night Shades and history, a lighthearted comment.
Night Shades are High Phenol
Eating Allergies = Pain
Restaurant Foods that Aren’t Night Shades
Food Allergies, trying to figure them out and trying to live with them–outside of the hospital.

Please feel free to leave a comment describing your experiences with night shades. Sometimes it is good to know it isn’t just me.

54 thoughts on “Night Shade Allergies

  1. My nightshade problem seems to have gotten worse the older I get. I used to get a headache the day after eating something with tomatoes or potatoes. Pain medicine would not take it away. I have been off them for 6 months and rarely have a headache that medicine will not take care of. The way I discovered the problem was keeping a food diary. I have not found a doctor yet that could help with this type of allergy. One even sent me to get a brain scan, because I had too many headaches. I also read that a medicine used to put you to sleep or calm you for surgery has a nightshade in it. Maybe that is why I have woken up from surgery with such a bad headache, that morphine didn’t even touch it.

  2. Nancy, What I found is that nightshade reactions get worse the more you eat them. (Although going off them for a short time-month or two- and then eating them makes that first one much worse.)

    I guess the solanine builds up in the systems of folks like us. If we can’t process it, which seems to be one argument about the foods, then the more we eat, the worse we get.

    If you can find an applied kinesiologist, they can help you identify which foods you are allergic to. (They are usually chiropractors first. You can’t just get the AK degree without being in the medical field already.)

    Yes, several medicines are related to nightshades. My mother had a 7 page list of those. She found them all out by trial and error. Although some of those meds may have been other allergies.

    For something amazing:
    I have been off nightshades for over a year. (June 2010-now.)

    I have been diagnosed with severe sleep apnea (waking every 40 seconds all night long).

    In May I went to get a new sleep study.

    I NO LONGER have sleep apnea.

    I asked the doctor how often that happened. He said he’d never heard of anyone’s sleep apnea going away, especially not as severe as mine was.

    So, apparently, for me, the sleep apnea was related to the nightshade consumption.

    It’s hard to give up nightshades. I know. I loved those foods. And they are often in foods that you would not expect to have them, due to the processing. But if the pain is bad (which it was for me), it can make a real significant change in your life, improving your quality of life.

  3. It is also very important to always take it with a large glass of water to prevent the tablet from dissolving trough your esophagus which could lead to inflammation. As a matter of fact, women who can bare children are required to perform a pregnancy test before, during and after they?ve take Accutane. If you have a history of mental disorders in your family, it is very important that you tell your doctor before you ask for a prescription.

  4. This nightshade thing is new to me. Thank you for sharing and helping me be better aware of it. Hope you’ve been able to better cope with it!

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