Thursday, September 30, 2010

more nightshade ramblings

I'm rambling because I need a place to put down my thoughts so I can come back to them later when I try to think back and remember what I've all come across!

Both cayenne and wolfberries, however, are the exception to the nightshade rule: Neither has significant toxicity and despite warnings about other nightshades, both wolfberries and cayenne pepper are universally recommended for health.

Interestingly, cayenne pepper doesn't affect Kaiden - it's in his vitamins.  I thought when we first started to eliminate nightshades I might have to find different vitamins for him.  And solanine is in blueberries - and they are one of Kaiden's favorite fruits - and they don't affect Kaiden either - at least not seizure-wise.  Now, wolfberries (aka goji berries) DID cause an increase in Kaiden's seizure activity . . . at the time I had no idea they were part of the nightshade family - but then again, at that time I didn't realize nightshades were causing his seizures.

Cayenne has mixed results regarding arthritis.  Some swear by it and become pain-free, and others, it only makes their arthritis worse.

I wish I knew exactly what was in each member of the nightshade family . . . they each contain the alkaloids of which there are several different ones, what other foods contain those alkaloids - but what else those foods contain that the alkaloids don't cause problems for certain conditions yet do for others.  Of course, I still have yet to look up to see what the difference between an alkaloid and a glycoalkaloid is, same as with choline and acteylcholine.

I could stay up all night researching . . . but for right now I'd rather play with my special little boy.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Mother Nature can't make it simple . . .

Right, so we now have this connection between nightshade foods and Down Syndrome (at least in my opinion anyway).  However, Mother Nature doesn't make it that simple.

Take blueberries, for instance.  They are touted as a brain food; studies showing that they help improve learning and memory loss, and are sold in supplement form targeting alzheimer's.  What you may not know is that blueberries also contain solanine, one of the glycoalkaloids found in nightshade foods.  Now if solanine is part of what is so detrimental . . . how can blueberries do so much good for the brain?

More research in my future!  I should have a degree in biochemistry by the time I'm done.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Nightshades and Down Syndrome. Dammit, I KNEW IT!!!

This is really pissing me off, seriously.  If I can find this connection . . . why the F can't the western medical community find it???  And do they listen to me when I try to tell them??  Noooooo . . . I don't have a medical degree, let alone a degree past an AA from a community college.  That doesn't mean I'm not smart or thorough, just that I personally found college to be a waste of my time and money.  But that's a different subject . . .

I found the connection today . . . it's out there . . . already known . . . just nobody's put the two together.  I was doing some more reading about the Paleo Diet (which Kaiden is on) to get the specifics of why nightshades aren't part of the Paleo Diet.  For one, they are considered a "New World food", meaning they were not available to our early ancestors, so therefore they were not eaten.  Now this website:, talks about potatoes (a nightshade food) and how the alkaloids do damage:

"Potatoes contain two glycoalkaloid saponins: ?-chaconine and ?-solanine which may adversely affect intestinal permeability and aggravate inflammatory bowel disease11, 12. Even in normal healthy adults, a meal of mashed potatoes results in the rapid appearance of both ?-chaconine and ?-solanine in the bloodstream13. The toxicity of these two glycoalkaloids is dose dependent – meaning that the greater the concentration in the bloodstream, the greater is their toxic effect. At least 12 separate cases of human poisoning from potato consumption, involving nearly 2000 people and 30 fatalities have been recorded10. Potato saponins can be lethally toxic once in the bloodstream in sufficient concentrations because these glycoalkaloids inhibit a key enzyme (acetyl cholinesterase) required for the synthesis of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter required for nerve impulse conduction10."

Got that last part?  Let me copy/paste it again:

"Potato saponins can be lethally toxic once in the bloodstream in sufficient concentrations because these glycoalkaloids inhibit a key enzyme (acetyl cholinesterase) required for the synthesis of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter required for nerve impulse conduction10."

Now let's move over to the subject of Down Syndrome . . .

From, a very informative website regarding Down Syndrome:

"Acetylcholine has many functions in the body, including activation of muscle fiber, release of hormones, and learning/memory. The reason that acetylcholine is of interest to us is that there are fewer acetylcholine receptors in the brain in Down syndrome. It is thought that this contributes to some of the memory and learning problems seen in Down syndrome, because nerves are being stimulated less frequently. Finally, it may explain some of the endocrine (hormone) problems seen in Down syndrome, such as short stature, since release of Growth Hormone is affected by acetylcholine (essentially, the nerves are not talking to the portion of the brain that releases the hormone.) To counter this problem, supplementary choline and inositol is included in the TNI formula. These chemicals are used by the body to make acetylcholine."

not only that . . . but this!
"Duke University Medical Center researchers tried the Alzheimer's drug on individuals with Down Syndrome because they realized both disorders result, in part, from an insufficient supply of a brain neurotransmitter called acetylcholine."

If all this information is known and readily available . . . WHY am I the only person who seems to have made this connection????  OMFG is all I have to say . . . while beating my head against the wall.


Monday, September 20, 2010

been a few days!

Let's see, since the last time I updated, we took another cabin vacation, where Kaiden learned how to push himself forward with his feet! 

His cognitive skills with hearing are moving along nicely too.  Kaiden looks at me when I say his name, and responds to a few phrases.  "Give it to Mom", "Let's go eat", "Come to Mom", and of course the words he already recognizes - eat, drink, Lola.  I used to supplement words with signs, and now the signs are just supplements to words.  He will whip his little head around when he hears a noise, looking for the source.  My favorite though, is that when I say "come to Mom" while he's laying on his belly on the floor playing with toys, he will push himself up, and work his way over towards me, staying pushed up, indicating that he understands I want to pick him up.  I've been working with him in that I will not pick him up unless he pushes himself up first - or, if he's laying on his back or in a sitting position, he has to lift his arms up before I will pick him up.  He's got it down now!

Onto the topic of food . . . with Nick's help, we did 95% of the final garden harvest yesterday.  Everything got picked, cleaned, washed, and appropriately stored.  There's still one producing zucchini plant, two producing crookneck squash plants and a few 2nd crop radishes out there but everything else has been cleared and the space tilled for next summer.  The shallots went crazy this year after Nick transplanted them, so I gave away about half of them yesterday and planted some seed heads within the garden.  The shallot patch currently resides next to the garage, and if the seed heads take off in the garden, I'll move the rest of the patch over.  We had a volunteer raspberry bramble and grapevine show up this year and grow well, let's hope they stick around and start producing next year!

I tried a new recipe yesterday for a rutabaga/parsnip/maple syrup dish, modified from one I found on the internet.  Modified of course to remove the nightshade components.  It was very good, but next time I will change it further to suit my tastes with the addition of ingredients as well as slightly changing how it is cooked to get the desired texture.  A very rustic dish that was delicious served with my special turkey, and spiced pears for dessert.  Thanksgiving, anyone??