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Nightshades, Inflammation, and Chronic Pain


Are you familiar or have you heard of the term nightshades? Did you know that consuming foods from this plant group might be contributing to your ongoing pain and inflammation? That’s right….. eating a steady diet which includes these popular foods could be part of the underlying reason or root cause to explain why you continue to have chronic symptoms.

Nightshade plants belong to the Solanaceae family which includes over 2,000 species. They also, more importantly, include some of the most popular foods today. The food list includes tomatoes, white potatoes, all types of peppers, especially, the bell peppers, and eggplant. Obviously, from this list, tomatoes can be the most challenging to eliminate.

The nightshade plants contain cholinesterase inhibiting glycoalkaloids and steroid alkaloids which are the enzymes that, when ingested in moderate amounts, lead to increased inflammation and pain. However, for some heavy consumers of nightshades the process of inflammation and pain reduction may take up to 2- 3 months before improvement is seen, depending on multiple outside factors.

After reviewing the symptoms associated with nightshade consumption, it is easy to appreciate and understand why one of the major problems or conditions attributed to nightshades is arthritis. Arthritis is the most common disability in the U.S. Currently, arthritis affects approximately 50 million people. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis affecting more than 20 million people. More than 2 million people are affected by rheumatoid arthritis, the most debilitating, disabling, and painful form of arthritis. Arthritis has no boundaries to gender, race, age, as it affects young and old alike. In fact, it may be surprising to you that an estimated 300,000 children ages 18 years old and younger have some form of arthritis. So, the question becomes, how many of these individuals diagnosed with arthritis are due in large part to regular daily consumption of nightshade plants? Many who suffer from some form of arthritis or arthritis-related disease like lupus, rheumatism, or fibromyalgia have found that consuming nightshades has a direct impact on the level of their pain or discomfort.

Several natural medicines have proven to be very effective at alleviating or reducing symptoms associated with nightshade induced pain and inflammation. My favorite list includes turmeric, pharmaceutical-grade CBD oil, hyaluronic acid, omega 3 fish oils, glucosamine- chondroitin combinations, ginger, and formulas that combine Boswellia, CMO, and MSM. All of these in supplement form have shown through the years that they can indeed increase blood flow and circulation while reducing inflammation and pain regardless of medical diagnosis.

Turmeric – Turmeric is one of the most thoroughly researched plants in existence today. Its medicinal properties and components ( primarily curcumin) have been the subject of more than 12,000 peer-reviewed and published studies. These studies indicate up to 250 distinct beneficial physiological effects showing turmeric rivals many prescription anti-inflammatory medications without the known side effects.

Hyaluronic acid – This is the viscous fluid found naturally in the body, and classified as a type of carbohydrate and occurs in high concentrations in the skin, eyes, and joints where it provides lubrication and sustains tissue hydration. Most hyaluronic acid supplements use synthesized forms of the compound. Since hyaluronic acid levels decrease as you age, hyaluronic acid can help manage age-related health conditions including joint pain and inflammation from all types of arthritis. For example, hyaluronic acid is commonly used for osteoarthritis, chronic pain syndromes, and fibromyalgia, by lubricating the joint space, allowing for better flexibility and mobility.

Omega 3 fish oils – Fish oils are one of the most commonly consumed dietary supplements. They are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which are very important for your health. Some of the known benefits of taking pharmaceutical-grade molecularly distilled fish oils include the following: heart health – improves cholesterol and triglyceride levels, reduces blood pressure. Brain health – improves normal brain function and may help reduce mental disorders. Inflammation – omega 3 fish oils can increase circulation, improve oxygenation, and reduce inflammatory cytokines for joint pain relief.

Glucosamine and chondroitin – Glucosamine sulfate has been around for many years as one of the first nutritional supplements to be recommended for joint health. It was initially used for dogs with degenerative joint disease by veterinarians. Glucosamine is a much smaller molecule than its partner chondroitin and subsequently gets into the joint space much more readily to help build connective tissue and cartilage. Combined together, both glucosamine and chondroitin do a great job of providing a cushion effect to joints.

Ginger – Ginger contains a substance called gingerol which demonstrates multiple powerful medicinal properties. Ginger has shown the ability to reduce muscle pain and soreness while providing an anti-inflammatory effect for use in those with osteoarthritis or other mild to moderate pain syndromes.

Boswellia, CMO, and MSM – Gum – resin extracts of Boswellia have been used traditionally in folk medicine for centuries to treat multiple inflammatory diseases including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Boswellia is found combined with other natural anti-inflammatory ingredients in many herbal medicine formulas. CMO is a naturally occurring fatty acid complex that has been used for many years to support joint health while preventing and alleviating symptoms of arthritis. MSM also known as methylsulfonylmethane is a popular dietary supplement used to treat a wide array of symptoms and conditions. MSM is widely used in treating a number of conditions including all forms of arthritis and other chronic pain syndromes.

Probiotics – Considering 70% of the inflammation that is produced in the body can originate in the digestive system, I like adding pharmaceutical-grade probiotics into the mix with other natural anti-inflammatories. We need to maintain a balance of good bacteria at 85% good to 15% bad bacteria ideally. This will help to reduce inflammation that is contributing to any type of pain syndrome.

Inflammation is the enemy when you are experiencing any kind of discomfort or pain. It remains crucial that you re-evaluate your diet and quickly check for any nightshades you might be consuming in your regular diet. These can be part of the pain-producing equation. It is always a great idea to start these targeted nutritional supplements either alone or as an adjunct to your current medical treatment. You can always discuss with a holistic MD or functional medicine doctor, or a natural health consultant, experienced in using these supplements. By doing so, you will be able to determine which products might be best for your particular situation.

For further questions, call 239-481-7322 or go to www.cypresspharmacy.com for more information.

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About Dr. Stan Headley

Stan Headley graduated with a Doctor of Medicine in 1991 from Spartan Health Sciences University. Dr. Stan continues to update his knowledge by attending continuing education conferences as a member of the American Naturopathic Medical Association, the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, and the Age Management Medicine Group. As a Natural Health Consultant, his entire focus is on getting to the underlying root cause of your symptoms and helping you to determine why you are not well or at risk of chronic disease. He does not diagnose or treat but educates patients on how to make the necessary lifestyle and behavioral changes that will lead to the long-term goal of preventing illness and promoting optimal health.

One thought on “Nightshades, Inflammation, and Chronic Pain

  1. Pingback: Arthritis Tips - Wellness Solutions Blog

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