Nightshades Curb Your Enthusiasm

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By John Roth
[Disclaimer: The following is not a medical article]


I am a male over 60 and have [or had] a serious health problem that I tried to ignore for the last three years. I tried every holistic treatment, supplement, vitamin and herb under the sun. During that period my gastrointestinal tract quit working three times. I had a lot of trouble breathing and although I had the urge nothing would come out of my body. You get the picture.

Since I consider the hospital a dangerous place I refused to go to the Emergency Room. Not only do I avoid the Hospital like the plague I don’t go to doctors. When I was a kid, before modern medicine and “specialists,” our doctor, Abe Greenberg, carried a black bag and took an oath, Primum non nocere, “First, do no harm”). Doctor Greenberg in 1950, 10 years before iatrogenic disease became a reality [Appendix A], had this to say about the sick:

  • 95% of the people who are sick will get better by themselves.
  • 2.5% will get better with very little help.
  • The rest you can’t help anyway so leave them alone.

For Dr. Greenberg to be “politically and medically correct” he would have said:

  • 95% of the people who are sick, and who never went to a doctor and were never exposed to an epidemic or pandemic [Appendix B], will get better by themselves.
  • 2.5% will get better with very little help.
  • The rest you can’t help anyway so leave them alone.

I have been around doctors and hospitals my entire life. 50% of my male cousins are doctors. My father wanted to be a doctor. My mother wanted me to be a doctor and my sister almost married two doctors. I grew up working in the hospital owned by my father and his brother who was … you guessed it, a doctor. I watched the doctors kill my grandfather and brother in the name of health care progress, and finally I started a company with one of my doctor cousins that is a leading physician group practice company focused on the delivery of hospitalist medicine (Inpatient care) and related facility-based services, including acute, sub-acute and long-term care settings.

After I survived the first gastrointestinal shut down, I was forced to see a doctor, actually a number of doctors. Because modern medicine is about specialists when the first one could not find out what was wrong he referred me to another, and another and another. I had just about every non-invasive blood, urine, breath and stool test modern medicine has to offer. They were all negative so the conclusion is that I must have the “cancer.”

“Let us find out if you have stomach, prostrate, or kidney cancer … or all three.”

My response:

You are not allowed to test me for cancer because even if I have cancer, and I doubt it, I don’t want to know about it. The knowledge of having cancer can be worse than the cancer disease itself. Besides everyone has cancer cells, either your body can fight them or it can’t. And your body can’t do any fighting if it’s trying to recover from surgery, chemo, radiation ‘therapy’ … or the notorious toxicity of your cancer “fighting” drugs.

If you are a cancer survivor, then I claim you survived the cancer and the treatment.

Excerpt from Nightshades or Nightmare, which received a Gold Star at the Marketoracle (one of the top Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting websites) is about the connection of Nightshades and Nocturia (the need to urinate frequently).

Trouble Urinating?

Do any of these symptoms sound familiar?

  • A need to urinate frequently, especially at night (or waking up at night to urinate, sometimes referred to as nocturia; often with only a small amount of urine)
  • Difficulty starting urination, holding back urine or the sensation of not being able to urinate easily or completely (or feeling that you have to urinate but only a few drops of urine come out)
  • Weak or interrupted flow of urine
  • You feel like you have to urinate often, but not much urine comes out when you do.
  • Your belly feels tender or heavy.
  • Your urine is cloudy or smells bad.
  • You have pain on one side of your back under your ribs (This is where your kidneys are).

Until three years ago I had absolutely no issues with my kidneys or bladder. During the last three years I have experienced every one of the symptoms above. It didn’t matter if I drank or didn’t drink before I went to sleep: a good night was when I only got up three or four times.

During that time the color, density and smell of my urine changed on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. I remember needing to pee so bad I had to pay a restaurant to let me use their men’s room.

I repeat all of the tests were negative: the doctors had no idea what was wrong and wanted me to submit to a Colonoscopy, MRI and/or a CT Scan.

I refused and kept cleansing, fasting and looking for an herb, supplement, vitamin, leaf or powder. Sporadically I eliminated dairy, gluten and carbonated beverages from my diet and sent away to Australia for a $60 jar of Manuka Honey.

Nothing was working and then Monday night (2/6/2012) my gastrointestinal tract shut down again. 24-hours later I was ambulatory but boy was I weak. When I get really sick my only option is to quit eating. I drank Vitamin energy water from Tuesday morning until Sunday (2/12/2012) when I got in touch with a Health Coach who knew about Nightshade plants and Atropine.

Urination and Atropine

The parasympathetic nervous system triggers urination by two methods. It stimulates the muscle in the urinary bladder wall to contract, which causes urine to be pushed out of the bladder. In addition, the parasympathetic system affects the sphincter muscle that surrounds the passageway which transports urine out of the bladder. When the sphincter muscle contracts, the passageway is closed and the bladder is able to fill with urine. The parasympathetic nervous system causes the sphincter muscle to relax, allowing urination to occur. Since atropine inhibits the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system it reduces urination. Atropine also inhibits spasms of the urinary bladder.

Never heard about Nightshades? Well neither had I and what is even more interesting is that: not one of the doctors I consulted or anything I found while researching my symptoms on the Web ever suggested a diet without Nightshade Plants:

Tomatoes, white [and red] potatoes, red, yellow, cherry and green bell peppers, the “hot” peppers such as chili and Paprika, Cayenne pepper (capsicum), Pimento, Chili peppers, Hot peppers (long & red, red cluster) as well as eggplant belong to the Nightshade Family, a botanical genus called Solanaceae species. This species also includes tobacco, poisonous belladonna, and the toxic plants henbane, mandrake, and jimson weeds. [1]

According to nutritional researcher, author and Professor Emeritus at the University of Florida, Norman F. Childers in his The Nightshades and Health, the origin of the word “nightshade” is not clear. He explains that old English writings described these plants as Nightshades because of their “evil and loving” nature of the night.

Modern Medicine does not recognize the toxicity of Nightshade plants. [2]

I am not saying that eating the common Nightshade vegetables will send you to the emergency room: What I am saying is that the Nightshades were the cause of my urinary dysfunction and are related to my other problems. Last night was the third night in a row that I didn’t have to get up to pee. One of the nights I actually had to pee but for the first time in years I was able to ignore the urge and go back to sleep. [3]

Pruritus Ani (Itching around the anal area)

If you go to sleep with an itching ass you will wake up with a stinking finger

“The Bat Mitzvah” is a Curb Your Enthusiasm episode where Larry David has a tickle in his anus. Larry sees a Gastroenterologist about his ass and picks up an attractive woman in the waiting room claiming to be there for a “check up.” When we see both of them squirming in their seats at the movie we know they both have Pruritus ani (anal itching). In the bat mitzvah sequence Larry cringes and acts like he wanted to give a speech, only to declare in front of everyone that he didn’t put a gerbil up his butt but in the interest of full disclosure, “I do have a tickle in my ass.” The episode ends with him in bed with one of the most beautiful black women on the screen, Vivica A. Fox, playing Loretta Black. We are never told if the tickle in his ass went away.

Pruritus ani is so common that it is known as the “Space-age” disease. [The proctologist (a doctor specializing in diseases of the rectum and anus) on the Signs and Symptoms Etiology and Treatment of Pruritus ani]

Occasionally, pinworms, lice, fungus, and hemorrhoids may be responsible. Rarely, food allergies, and allergies to drugs such as antibiotics may be the cause. Pruritus ani is also associated with certain systemic disorders such as jaundice, diabetes, lymphoma, and uremia. Pruritus ani is a self-perpetuating disease: scratching causes further irritation, which becomes a new source of itching. The cause of pruritus ani may be difficult to determine, thus making pruritus ani a potentially difficult conditions to treat.

…..

Last but not least, the patient needs to be examined for food allergies and sensitivities. Blood eosiniphile and RAST (radioallergosorbent test) testing may be useful to help identify a wide variety of food allergies, and their levels of sensitivity. Lactose intolerance (the inability to digest significant amounts of lactose, the predominant sugar of milk and cheese) can be a common cause of pruritus ani. Antihistamines may help neutralize the effect of some allergens. Foods not well tolerated should be avoided.

Because the cause of pruritus ani may be difficult to determine, these treatments be tried either empirically or systematically, until satisfactory results are achieved.

Notice the article claims food allergies are rare, but then recommends the patient be examined for … food allergies and finally “Foods not well tolerated should be avoided.”

What is interesting is that Larry David, unlike me, doesn’t have an aversion to Doctors. You would have to assume if his ass is itching he already saw a proctologist and a dermatologist. You would see the Gastroenterologist when the ass experts couldn’t find a cure.

Here is what the Associates in Gastroenterology have to say about Pruritus ani:

What causes Pruritus ani?

Several factors may be at fault. A common cause is excessive cleaning of the anal area. Moisture around the anus, from excessive sweating or from moist, sticky stools, is another possible cause. In some people, a loose and/or irritating stool may be caused by a high intake of liquids.

In addition, drinking certain beverages, including some alcoholic beverages – especially beer – milk, citrus fruit juices and drinks containing caffeine, such as coffee, tea and cola, may be aggravating for some people. Similarly, some foods that may be a problem include chocolate, fruits, tomatoes, nuts and popcorn. Other rare causes of pruritus ani may include pinworms, psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis, hemorrhoids, anal fissures, anal infections and allergies.

Does Pruritus ani result from lack of cleanliness?

Cleanliness is almost never a factor. However, the natural tendency once a person develops this itching is to wash the area vigorously and frequently with soap and a washcloth. This almost always makes the problem worse by damaging the skin and washing away protective natural oils.

Notice the GI doctor doesn’t use the term rare when talking about foods being the problem.

Symptoms of allergies to Nightshades can include swelling, itching, or tingling in the mouth or lips, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Common skin conditions associated with nightshade vegetables are contact dermatitis (itching), eczema (itching) and hives (itching).

During an allergic reaction, the body’s immune system malfunctions, mistaking common foods or nontoxic substances as harmful. After eating or touching nightshade vegetables, your body overreacts to substances in the vegetables and begins developing antibodies to fight off the allergen, according to the Mayo Clinic. The presence of these antibodies causes other chemical reactions that lead to inflammation and irritation in soft tissue (itching). Histamine is one chemical that soft tissues produce to help protect the body from harmful substances. Histamine causes inflammation and irritation (itching) when it is released throughout the body.

According to modern medicine, allergy to nightshade vegetables is uncommon, so why am I talking about ass itching?

Answer: The tickle in my ass went away when I eliminated Nightshades from my diet. [2]

The story of how Nightshades, shellfish, gluten and carbonated drinks almost killed me is coming soon. In the meantime why not try a diet without Nightshades; what do you have to lose? [3]

Click here to read All about nightshades: explore the hidden hazards of your favorite food with macrobiotic nutritionist Lino Stanchich

Click here to read more about people who are sensitive to nightshade plants.

P.S. Yes someone wrote the 4 myths about nightshade vegetables. Feel free to read Rhea Seymour’s dietary disinformation but make sure you check out the comments.

John Roth email: jrothseven@gmail.com

Footnotes

[1] EXCEPTIONS: Sweet Potatoes (high in Vitamin A), and Yams (not high in Vitamin A), and Black and white pepper do not fall into this category. Avocados are also OK (in fact, Avocados are high in essential, preferred amino acids, and healthy fats). I have found spicy tasty “Miso” (soy) products without nightshade.

[2] Disclaimer: According to the Mayo Clinic, allergy to Nightshade vegetables is uncommon. Obviously not everyone is sensitive to the alkaloid compounds in the nightshade family of plants. Why not try a diet without Nightshades and see if your overall health improves.

Nightshades: Tomatoes, white [and red] potatoes, red, yellow, cherry and green bell peppers, the “hot” peppers such as chili and Paprika, Cayenne pepper (capsicum), Pimento, Chili peppers, Hot peppers (long & red, red cluster) as well as eggplant belong to the Nightshade Family, a botanical genus called Solanaceae species. This species also includes tobacco, poisonous belladonna, and the toxic plants henbane, mandrake, and jimson weeds.

[3] I started eating a diet without Nightshades the afternoon of 2/12/2012. 2/14/2012 was the first night I realized my nocturia (the need to urinate frequently) had gone away.