Friday, April 5, 2013

Carotatoxin (falcarinol)

Maybe . . . just maybe carotatoxin is why carrots gave Kaiden seizures.  I'm still not exactly sure yet - but carotatoxin is a fatty alcohol found in carrots, celery, parsley, and panax ginseng. In high amounts (or in those sensitive to it??) it can cause neurotoxical problems, including muscle tremors.

Celery and parsley do not affect Kaiden, but we tried giving him panax ginseng in a VERY tiny amount a couple weeks ago to see if it would help his circulation, and therefore help the lymphedema in his fingers.  Within 36 hours, Kaiden stopped sleeping at night . . . way too much stimulation for him!  I gave it a full week to see if it would help his fingers . . . it didn't, so took him off of it.  Within 36 hours - now, I don't know if this was because I took him off of it, or if it was a buildup of having taken it for a week - but he got very, very twitchy, seemed uncomfortable, was rather cranky, and was banging his head rhythmically, every 3 seconds.  When I saw that the head banging was rhythmic, I was immediately concerned that it could be benign myoclonic seizure activity again - only he didn't seem to be upset by the activity like he was before. Thankfully it only lasted 1 day. 

This renewed my research into why carrots and sweet potatoes gave him seizures.  I understand why nightshades did, but not why carrots and sweet potatoes did.  I'd been thinking it was the high amount of beta carotene, as that's all I could really find in common for the two, and I knew that carrots did affect some epileptic individuals. 

Interestingly enough, ancient Chinese wisdom says not to eat carrots after consuming ginseng, for the carrots will undo the good of the ginseng.  I wonder if maybe it would be too high of a dosage of carotatoxin with the two together.

Now, carotatoxin is not necessarily a bad thing!  It's purported to be anti-cancer and it would take eating a lot of carrots to affect most humans negatively. 

One interesting thing of note - carrot juice doesn't seem to affect Kaiden, just actual pieces of carrot.  Cooking carrots (which is the only way he ever got carrot pieces, was cooked) apparently concentrates the amount of carotatoxin by up to 25%.  Some great info on carrots can be found here:

I still haven't found anything on sweet potatoes, but I'll keep looking!

Speaking of the lymphedema . . . it's almost gone; his fingers are almost back to normal.  Being as it's happened twice now at the same time of year, at exactly the same time of year his circulation gets bad . . . I also noticed that even though we keep our house at a constant temperature and kept him indoors, cold fronts moving in seemed to make it worse!  Maybe part of it has to do with not just the weather but the natural forces affecting the weather.  Food for thought.