Nightshade Vegetable Sensitivity

Nightshades contain food toxins which impact gut function leading to sickness.

Some people react badly to Nightshade Vegetables - meaning they are sensitive to the FOOD TOXINS they contain.

This is not surprising because nightshade vegetables are only recently introduced to the Western diet from South America - only around four hundred years ago in the seventeenth century.

The human body does not adapt quickly to be able to digest new foods. It takes thousands of years to develop (evolve) the biological equipment ... digestive processes ... to deal with them.

So in the meantime we suffer beneath the food toxin load in nightshades including: alkaloids, saponins and phytates.


Testing for food intolerance



Which ones are Nightshade Vegetables?

The most commonly eaten nightshade vegetables are:

  • Capsicum family (bell peppers, chili peppers, jalapeno, cayenne pepper etc.)
  • Eggplant (Aubergine)
  • Goji berry
  • Ground cherry
  • Potatoes
  • Tamarillos
  • Tomatoes and concentrated tomato products
  • Tomatillos

These contain substances which don't affect most people: saponins, alkaloids and lectins. But in certain others there can be quite bad reactions.


What are the symptoms of Nightshade Sensitivity?

There can be many symptoms of Nightshade Sensitivity. They overlap with the symptoms of other food intolerances like Gluten intolerance and Dairy intolerance - especially when these latter sensitivities have already caused Leaky Gut.

  • Gastrointestinal symptoms:
    • Nausea and indigestion
    • Bloated stomach
    • Diarrhea
    • Gurgling stomach, flatulence
    • Irritable Bowel Syndrome - regular bouts of diarrhea then constipation
  • Malabsorption symptoms- lack of nutrients:Arthritic Stiff or painful joints or back ache
    • Low iron levels - or Anaemia
    • Low calcium and other mineral levels
    • Loss of bone density - brittle bones
    • Osteoporosis
  • Headaches
  • Mood swings, the 'blues' and depression


How do Nightshade Vegetables cause Leaky Gut?

How Do Nightshade Vegetables Cause Leaky Gut?

DigestSystemCropNightshades contain alkaloids, saponins, phytates and other food toxins which can be poisonous in large amounts. But the effects cause the gut to behave differently. This leads to a condition called Leaky Gut - and from there to inflammatory disease.

Toxins in these foods were evolved to protect the plant from being decimated by insects. Their action is to dissolve the cell membranes of predatory insects so they die.   

  • Unfortunately this same effect - damage to cell membranes - can also be suffered by mammals (like us!) frequently in the small intestine. The result is a gut lining that develops holes and allows the passage of foreign - often toxic - substances into our bloodstream - making us ill . . . Leaky Gut.

In addition some of this group of vegetables (e.g. potatoes) also contain lectins which cause additional gut damage in large amounts in some people. Remember - the effects of nightshade vegetables depend on the quantity eaten. Overindulgence - as with any 'modern food' may lead to problems.



Why do we get Nightshade Sensitivity?

Nightshade Vegetable Sensitivity - like all food intolerance - is genetic.  You got it from your parents, grandparents and other ancestors - it’s in your genes!

If your cultural heritage is South American your chance of being Nightshade sensitive is low - because Nightshades are native to this continent. However they were only recently added to the Western diet (around 400 years ago - very recently in anthropological terms). That's why many of us do not have the biological equipment to fully digest these plants.

Note: Nightshade Sensitivity is genetic - so if you have children - you may have already passed on those genes to your sons and daughters. So make sure you alert your children possibility. Being well informed allows them to make good choices for their health.

Comments: If you have Nightshade Sensitivity - you will improve dramatically by identifying which vegetable is the problem. You will not be sensitive to all Nightshades.


What is my next step?

Begin with our free ebook. Food toxins can cause serious long-term health problems. And Gluten is just one toxin that could be causing your symptoms. There are more than twenty FOOD TOXINS – and they act together in different combinations to damage cells and provoke the immune system. Learn more Free ebook



iEaton et al.: Stone Agers in the fast lane: chronic degenerative diseases in evolutionary perspective. Am J Med. 1988 Apr;84(4):739-49 

iiCordain L, Cereal Grains: Humanity's Double Edged Sword. World Review of Nutrition & Dietetics, 1999;84:19-73 

All foodintol® information is based on research from peer-reviewed medical journals