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Solanine Toxcity syndrome


SOLANINE TOXICITY SYNDROME (STS). Alpha-solanine is a glycol-alkaloid found in the nightshade family of plants. The ones that might practically affect us (much of this family we do not eat) are in tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, peppers, paprika, tobacco, gogi berries, and ashwagandha. The amount of solanine present in the above vary tremendously depending on growing conditions, time harvested, storage conditions, cooking techniques, etc. Much of the academic work can be creditied to Dr. Norman Childers who has been researching nightshades for about 50 years, especially in farm animals.

Historically most solanine containing foods were not considered edibles before the 1800’s (except in some parts of South America). Even foods like kim-chee did not have peppers in them 100 years ago but just utilized a salt brine.  Solanine containing foods were mainly used for witchcraft a few hundred years ago, not regular ingestion. Now it is rare people go a day or even a meal without some form of tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, etc. Solanines are not water soluble, are not destroyed by cooking and are not broken down inside the body but must be excreted as alpha-solanine.

Different people have different degrees of sensitivity to them, and different efficiencies in being able to excrete them. How or in what way they will affect you will be a matter of genetics, as well as lifestyle and nutritional status.  If you test positive for this problem, the probability is very high that at least 50% of your blood relatives may have it too, to varying degrees.

The average daily intake of alpha-solanine is approximately 13mg and the average daily excretion is 5% the first day and 1-2% daily thereafter with a half-life of about 1-2 months. Considering that is for one day’s dose, it is estimated that the average body burden is at least 50mg. It can be much higher in people like myself who have a history of pouring salsa on about everything they eat. Alpha-solanine is stored in most organs (with a special affinity for the thyroid gland) as well as most soft tissue including skeletal muscle.

Alpha-solanine is classified as a neuro-toxin. Interestingly most “foods” that contain alpha-solanine also contain at least 5 other neurotoxins including atropine and nicotine. Acute solanine poisoning can happen from ingesting green or sprouted potatoes or green tomatoes with symptoms including cramps, diarrhea, dizziness and sleepiness.

We are more concerned with “chronic poisoning”, what we are calling STS. Solanine acts as an acetyl cholinesterase inhibitor (similar to Malathion, Parathion and other “nerve gases”) allowing acetylcholine to build up in the synapses.

On a practical level it can do the following in sensitive patients; 1) act as an endocrine disruptor especially to the thyroid, 2) cause chronic joint pain, arthritis (all forms), joint inflammation- this is due to solanines ability to remove calcium from the bones and deposit it in any weak or genetically predisposed area of the body, 3) for the same reason it can be a major contributor to osteoporosis (since it removes calcium from the bones) and arteriosclerosis (it can deposit the calcium in the blood vessels), 4) “leaky gut” as well as IBS,

5) appendicitis, 6) birth defects including spina bifida, 7) depression (correcting it in one patient stopped their strong suicidal tendencies), 8) migraines, 9) can greatly interfere with calcium and vitamin D absorption, despite supplementation.

I had the opportunity to test some professional ballplayers who needed “Tommy John” surgery and they all showed STS and I personally think it made them more injury prone. I have seen it be positive on almost all arthritics too.

From this brief description above you can see the potential of how problematic this can be.

Most of the patients that “suffer” from STS do not routinely weaken on manual muscle testing of tomato, potato, peppers, etc. They may weaken on them sporadically but not each one and not every time, so it is very easy to miss the problem. I knew I suffered from occasional headaches from nightshades but had no idea they were causing so many other problems in me also.

In the next issue we will talk about a simple diagnostic technique I developed and the therapies that help.  Our new 2009 DVD (see last page of this newsletter) goes into this technique in more detail as well as all the other parts of our protocols to treat “difficult patients). You may also want to read more about them in books by Norman Childers or Michael Fowler.

At this point I am screening all patients for STS- partly because I am still researching the problem and trying to understand it better and partly because recognizing it can really help your patients health both short term and long term. STS and TSS (theobromine sensitivity syndrome) can be major causative factors in a significant number of your patients.


1. Test your patient on the solanine vial (AK Test Kits). It may be positive over GV-20, GV-27 or over an area of chronic subluxations or chronic pain. Often it must be tested over the area of chronic pain or inflammation first before it shows over GV-20 or 27. It will either A) weaken a strong muscle or B) cause a strong or weak muscle to become hypertonic (in other words the strong muscle now won’t weaken when you approximate the spindle cells)

2. Check the acetylcholine vial over the same area as it most often correlates (if the solanine vial does A or B above, the acetylcholine vial will most likely do A or B also, though not always the same one, e.g solanine may do A and acetylcholine may do B). You don’t need the acetylcholine vial to confirm- the solanine will do by itself.

3. Also, if a patient is on calcium or vitamin D supplementation, see if they no longer strengthen on them if you test solanine simultaneously. This is most often the case and the supplements will typically yield little or no results on that patient, unless the solanines are removed from their diet.

4. Often patients’ positive on any of the above steps will not weaken on individual solanine foods (though they need to avoid them).

5. If step 1 is positive, see if it is negated by Thera Supreme (Mid American Marketing 1-800-922-1744). This will negate it in about 80% of cases. In the vast majority of cases, no other supplements will negate it and neither will any reflexes, acupuncture points, adjustments or desensitization procedures.

6. Have the patient stay off nightshades (potato, tomato, eggplant, pepper, paprika, tobacco, ashwagandha, gogi) until the solanine vial no longer tests positive. This could take weeks or months or could be permanent. They should read labels carefully and have 100% avoidance for optimal results (if a label says “spices” and doesn’t say what kind assume it has paprika or red pepper). Once the vial no longer tests positive (on subsequent visits), if the patient wants to you can have them add some nightshades back into their diet for 3 straight days and then retest. If the vial tests negative- they can eat the foods in moderation but keep re-checking each visit. If positive- it is probably permanent.

7. Thera Supreme appears to help rid the body of solanine. We give 3 scoops a day for the first 2 bottles and then cut to 1 scoop daily. In patients that will not comply with the diet- Thera Supreme should be taken indefinitely and results will not be optimal but will be much better than if it is not taken. The best I can theorize is that the Thera helps the body get rid of stored solanines faster. I have seen symptom improvement faster in those patients taking it. It does not fix the problem but allows symptoms to resolve faster. On patients that can’t be compliant to the diet it lessens (though does not eliminate ) the effects of solanine.

New Product

1. New Improved Thera Supreme (Mid American 1-800-922-1744). Thera has been changed to have only 8 ingredients instead of 10. The broccoli and carrot juice have been eliminated and the ratios of the others slightly changed. We found by doing this the anti-viral properties of Thera have been enhanced as have the solanine removing properties. When ordering you will automatically get a new test vial of it. With a higher % of berries, it will have a fruitier taste too. It will serve all the needs of those who were previously on it also meet the needs of solanine intolerant patients.

Interesting letter

Dr. Michael:

As always, thanks for your newsletters.

I moved from Gainesville, FL, the home of Dr. Childers, two years ago to LA. During my 26 years in Gainesville, I had the privilege of treating Dr. Childers and I'll tell you a quick story.

I had been having difficulty with my hands . . . waking up with stiffness and occasionally severe pain, exquisite tenderness and unable to close my fist no more than half way because of the degree of swelling. One morning Dr. Childers was laying supine on my treatment table and I happened to mention this pain to him, not knowing what he did at the Dept. of Agriculture.

I can still see him, clear as day. He looked at me with those bright blue eyes and said:

"Jim, did you have eggplant parmesan last night?"

I almost fell over and felt a bit spooked because in fact I did!

He told me all about the nightshades and that day he literally saved my practice of Chiropractic.

He may have passed on by now as he was in his seventies in the 1980s but he was sharp as a tack mentally and still had a full head of snow white hair. The last time I spoke with him was standing in line together at a Publix supermarket in the early 2000s. In the 1980s he had in his possession over 10,000 written testimonials from people telling him how they benefited from avoiding nightshade foods!

My patients also benefited from my experience that morning and so did several of my family members.

He recommended a 6 month trial of avoiding nightshade foods to determine if you have a problem with them but I found that most patients would notice a reduction in the severity and frequency of symptoms easily within 1 - 2 months, sometimes sooner.

It's amazing though, that some people were not willing to give up potatoes or tomatoes . . . those were the two foods that people would balk at letting go of.

Dr. Childers was a fine man and certainly one I will never forget.

All the best Michael and I look forward to Part Two on Nightshades!

Jim Barrass DC