Fibromyalgia and the nightshade connection

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Managing pain for FM can be complicated. Narrowing down what causes your flare ups is the initial step to gain relief so you can go on leading a normal life. There are some foods you should avoid that can help prevent symptoms from occurring. Start tracking your flare ups with a food journal. This will help you in determining which additives or/and foods to avoid.

We all know that eating healthy foods and vegetables is always important, whether we have FM or not.  Eating fresh vegetables and fruits is imperative to have a better health. But what if some of the things we are eating is in fact increasing our pain and we did not realize it?  Nightshades (white potatoes, tomatoes, aubergine /eggplant, peppers and more) have been widely related with increasing pain.


The nightshade family of vegetables and fruits or Solonaceae are quite complex and contain just about two thousand species including bell peppers, tomatoes, white potatoes, chilies, eggplant and paprika. They are believed to have been named nightshade vegetables is for the reason that they grow in the shade of night rather than during the day. The main debilitator in the nightshade family of vegetable and fruit is known as Solanine. Research shows that seventy-four to ninety percent of people who had inflammatory conditions like fibromyalgia or arthritis suffered from increased pain and inflammation after eating nightshade vegetables or fruits.

Importance of solanine

Solanine is a toxin that is found in the nightshade family and can cause severe problems in large amounts. Most people are able to eat nightshades like potatoes, as they do not contain enormous amounts of solanine. On the other hand, some people are more sensitive to this glycoalkaloid, so they react to smaller amounts. Plants make solanine to defend themselves from predators like humans. Therefore, it is not surprising that the poison exists. If you have seen green potatoes, then you know that you should not eat them. Solanine is responsible for the green color, and it works as a warning that the potato is not safe to eat.

It is possible to suffer from solanine poisoning, and some medical professionals consider that people with FM are more sensitive to it. Solanine poisoning can cause diarrhea, headaches, dizziness, hallucinations, nausea, and fever. Death is possible if large amounts of solanine are ingested.

Edible Nightshades:

  • Tomatillos
  • Tobacco
  • Tomatoes
  • Eggplant/Aubergine
  • Goji Berries
  • White Potatoes
  • Peppers (bell peppers, paprika, chili peppers, tamales, cayenne, pimentos, etc)

Nightshade vegetables and fibromyalgia

Doctors and patients report that solanine can increase inflammation in the human body. The poison can also increase fatigue and chronic pain. Patients have observed an increase in joint pain, spasms, tenderness, aches, muscle pain, and stiffness after having nightshade vegetables. In some cases, patients felt worse, right after eating a tomato or potato. In other cases, it took some hours or an entire day for the symptoms to appear. A study printed in the Journal of Neurological and Orthopedic Medical Surgery found that patients with arthritis who usually suffer from extreme inflammation also reacted to nightshade vegetables.

Some medical specialists recommend that FM patients remove nightshades from their diet. It has helped patients lessen their fatigue and pain symptoms. There appears to be a connection between the chronic pain, inflammation, and nightshade vegetables. In one study, more than fifty percent of the patients with FM responded to nightshades negatively.

Researchers recommend that digestive health issues like leaky gut can also play a role. They believe that patients who have leaky gut and FM are more likely to be sensitive to nightshades because the toxins are able to move. In addition, it is possible that FM patients may have more food allergies and sensitivities.

The Vitamin D connection

One theory has to do with the Vitamin D. There appears to be lots of evidence in animals that have shown that nightshade vegetables cause all types of bone and joint problems, generally because of the way the animals’ bodies process the form of Vitamin D in the nightshades. Vitamin D is vital for proper bone development, but really potent form of Vitamin D3 in nightshade vegetables in fact prevents proper calcium metabolism, affecting the body to deposit calcium in the soft tissue (where you do not want it) rather than in the bones (where you actually do).

Making it Easier

It makes sense for people with FM just like everyone else try to eat a diet rich in vegetables (apart from nightshades), whole grains, fruits, and lean protein. A well-balanced diet can give you more energy to stay physically active and can possibly improve your overall health.

If you are struggling with exhaustion and pain, however, it is hard to cook nutritious meals. Make is easier on yourself by looking for healthy foods that do not involve much preparation.

Make sure you eat breakfast, which should include some whole grains and protein.

Buy vegetables that are cut up and pre-washed. If you have a health food store nearby, go to the deli section and buy small portions of pre-prepared foods to vary your diet.

Picking the right foods may help you keep your energy level more stable and prevent flare ups and fatigue. It is not the easiest thing to do in our chaotic world but with a little preparation and planning, it can be done.


Understanding our patterns and our bodies and knowing that we in fact DO have a chance to gain more control on ourselves, whether by diet, reducing stress and handling things in a different way, exercise and more is imperative to regain our health.

Nightshades are definitely not the cause of FM, but they can be an instigator in raised pain levels and irritation, even IBS. Eventually, everybody is different and the only way you are going to discover is by tracking what you are eating and your increased flare ups and pain and then eliminating these foods to see if they are a trigger food. For

For support and Discussion join the group “Living with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Illness”

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