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It seems that the way for modern diets to gain popularity is to vilify an entire food group such as nightshade vegetables. Another common diet cuts out the nightshade vegetables, which have been linked to autoimmune diseases. Well, at the end of the day, the truth is almost as mysterious as the diets themselves. In order to fully understand the positive and negative effects that nightshades can have on us, we will look at their individual compositions.

Ultimately, you must make your own decision on whether to include nightshade vegetables in your diet. Containing more than 2, different species of plants, the Solanaceas plant family is home to the nightshade vegetables. The family goes well beyond vegetables and includes, poisonous herbs, such as belladonna, and innocuous flowers, such as morning glories. Even some trees are included in the nightshade family. It should be obvious from this short list alone that the nightshade vegetable family offers a wide variety. While at first glance these vegetables may not seem related, all nightshade vegetables share a few basic similarities.

The first similarity is the presence of calcitriol and alkaloids. Calcitriol is hormone derived from a specific type of vitamin D3 that is common in nightshade vegetables. The overproduction of calcitriol is connected to vascular calcification. Calcinosis is the irregular deposits of calcium salts on certain tissues in the body. However, overdoses of Vitamin D is not normal. Alkaloids, on the other hand, are mostly identified via a ring and a single nitrogen atom that comes from amino acids, however, this compound is flexible.

Alkaloids are famous for being the riskiest, yet strongest structures in herbal medicine.

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A few of the more notable alkaloids in the nightshade family include:. But while tropane alkaloids are common in plants of the nightshade family, they are not always in nightshade vegetables. It just so happens that nicotine, which as we all know is found in tobacco, is a nightshade. An active ingredient in hot peppers, capsaicin is most famously known for its anti-inflammatory agents. I mean, just eat a habanero or ghost pepper if you want to experience a taste of the irritation alkaloids can ignite. It is a lot more than just taste that causes your lips to burn when eating hot salsa.

Substance P is a neuropeptide and it is integral in communicating pain messages to the brain. After the initial pain that results from contact with capsaicin, there is a numbness-like sensation.

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This is why your third and fourth bites of pepper are not as hot as the first. Known as a glycoalkaloid, the last alkaloid to discuss is solanine, a steroid alkaloid that has merged with a sugar. And while this chemical is not toxic in the small doses found in nightshade vegetables, the body is able to store solanidine, which is released when the body is under stress.

While solanine is mostly found in potatoes, its counterpart, tomatine, is found in tomatoes. Both of these steroid alkaloids are made in a similar way to chlorophyll, meaning the green portions of the plants contain higher concentrations. Nightshade steroids, such as solanine, will irritate the gastrointestinal system and, by acting as acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, interrupt neurotransmitters. Nightshades cover a far-reaching spectrum from deadly plants to yummy vegetables.

And for those that do contain harmful elements, they are typically too weak to have any real impact. However, nightshade allergies , while difficult to pinpoint, do exist and they must be taken seriously. Most allergies are pretty simple to spot — I am thinking about nut allergies and dairy allergies, specifically.

But since nightshades are not noticeably related to each other, allergies can be difficult to diagnose. When allergy symptoms are present, consider including nightshades in your elimination diet and allergy tests to be fully certain. Symptoms of nightshade allergies are similar to gluten sensitivities. Symptoms commonly associated with nightshade vegetable allergies include irritable bowel syndrome and other gut health issues, heartburn, joint pain and nerve sensitivity.

In , researchers looking at gut permeability wanted to see how nightshades influence irritable bowel syndrome IBS. The study used potatoes, which, as you might remember, contain glycoalkaloids. It was discovered that existing cases of IBS were aggravated in mice when nightshades were introduced. It is not surprising that heartburn and acid reflux are common reactions associated with nightshade vegetables, especially considering capsaicin.

In general, atropine counters the "rest and digest" activity of glands regulated by the parasympathetic nervous system. This occurs because atropine is a competitive, reversible antagonist of the muscarinic acetylcholine receptors acetylcholine being the main neurotransmitter used by the parasympathetic nervous system. Atropine is a competitive antagonist of the muscarinic acetylcholine receptor types M1 , M2 , M3 , M4 and M5. In cardiac uses, it works as a nonselective muscarinic acetylcholinergic antagonist, increasing firing of the sinoatrial node SA and conduction through the atrioventricular node AV of the heart , opposes the actions of the vagus nerve , blocks acetylcholine receptor sites, and decreases bronchial secretions.

In the eye, atropine induces mydriasis by blocking contraction of the circular pupillary sphincter muscle, which is normally stimulated by acetylcholine release, thereby allowing the radial iris dilator muscle to contract and dilate the pupil. Atropine induces cycloplegia by paralyzing the ciliary muscles , whose action inhibits accommodation to allow accurate refraction in children, helps to relieve pain associated with iridocyclitis , and treats ciliary block malignant glaucoma.

The vagus parasympathetic nerves that innervate the heart release acetylcholine ACh as their primary neurotransmitter. ACh binds to muscarinic receptors M2 that are found principally on cells comprising the sinoatrial SA and atrioventricular AV nodes. Muscarinic receptors are coupled to the Gi-protein ; therefore, vagal activation decreases cAMP. Gi-protein activation also leads to the activation of KACh channels that increase potassium efflux and hyperpolarizes the cells. Increases in vagal activities to the SA node decreases the firing rate of the pacemaker cells by decreasing the slope of the pacemaker potential phase 4 of the action potential ; this decreases heart rate negative chronotropy.

The change in phase 4 slope results from alterations in potassium and calcium currents, as well as the slow-inward sodium current that is thought to be responsible for the pacemaker current If. By hyperpolarizing the cells, vagal activation increases the cell's threshold for firing, which contributes to the reduction in the firing rate. Similar electrophysiological effects also occur at the AV node; however, in this tissue, these changes are manifested as a reduction in impulse conduction velocity through the AV node negative dromotropy.

In the resting state, there is a large degree of vagal tone on the heart, which is responsible for low resting heart rates. There is also some vagal innervation of the atrial muscle, and to a much lesser extent, the ventricular muscle. Vagus activation, therefore, results in modest reductions in atrial contractility inotropy and even smaller decreases in ventricular contractility. Muscarinic receptor antagonists bind to muscarinic receptors thereby preventing ACh from binding to and activating the receptor.

By blocking the actions of ACh, muscarinic receptor antagonists very effectively block the effects of vagal nerve activity on the heart. By doing so, they increase heart rate and conduction velocity. Mandragora mandrake was described by Theophrastus in the fourth century B.

By the first century A. Dioscorides recognized wine of mandrake as an anaesthetic for treatment of pain or sleeplessness, to be given prior to surgery or cautery. Atropine extracts from the Egyptian henbane were used by Cleopatra in the last century B. In the Renaissance , women used the juice of the berries of Atropa belladonna to enlarge the pupils of their eyes, for cosmetic reasons.

This practice resumed briefly in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century in Paris. The mydriatic effects of atropine were studied among others by the German chemist Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge — In , the German pharmacist Heinrich F. Mein [28] succeeded in preparing atropine in pure crystalline form.

Atropine is found in many members of the family Solanaceae. The most commonly found sources are Atropa belladonna the deadly nightshade , Datura innoxia , D. Other sources include members of the genera Brugmansia angel's trumpets and Hyoscyamus. Atropine can be synthesized by the reaction of tropine with tropic acid in the presence of hydrochloric acid.


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The biosynthesis of atropine starting from l -phenylalanine first undergoes a transamination forming phenylpyruvic acid which is then reduced to phenyl-lactic acid. The species name "belladonna" 'beautiful woman' in Italian comes from the original use of deadly nightshade to dilate the pupils of the eyes for cosmetic effect.

Nightshade – Book 16

Both atropine and the genus name for deadly nightshade derive from Atropos , one of the three Fates who, according to Greek mythology, chose how a person was to die. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. IUPAC name. Interactive image. This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. June This article needs more medical references for verification or relies too heavily on primary sources. Please review the contents of the article and add the appropriate references if you can. Unsourced or poorly sourced material may be challenged and removed.

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Nightshade

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