Nightshades, also known as Solanaceae, are a family of plants that include popular vegetables such as tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and potatoes. Despite their widespread use in various cuisines, nightshades have been implicated in chronic inflammation, which is a risk factor for many chronic diseases. One group of compounds found in nightshades, Solasodine glycoalkaloids, have been identified as a potential culprit in promoting inflammation. In this article, we will explore the link between nightshades and chronic inflammation, specifically focusing on Solasodine glycoalkaloids, Solanine, and Solanidine.
Solasodine glycoalkaloids (SGAs) are a group of compounds found in nightshade plants that have been shown to have a variety of biological effects, including anti-inflammatory, antitumor, and antiviral properties. However, SGAs have also been shown to have toxic effects on human health, including causing gastrointestinal irritation and inducing inflammation.
In a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, researchers found that SGAs induced the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines in human immune cells in vitro (1). Cytokines are signaling molecules that play a key role in the immune response, and their overproduction can lead to chronic inflammation. The researchers also found that the pro-inflammatory effects of SGAs were mediated through the activation of the NF-κB signaling pathway, which is known to play a critical role in regulating inflammation.
In another study, published in the Journal of Food Science and Technology, researchers investigated the effect of SGAs on the intestinal barrier function (2). The intestinal barrier is a critical component of the immune system, as it helps to prevent the entry of harmful substances into the bloodstream. The researchers found that SGAs caused damage to the intestinal barrier and increased the permeability of the gut, which can lead to the entry of inflammatory substances into the bloodstream and promote chronic inflammation.
SGAs are not the only glycoalkaloids found in nightshade plants. In fact, other glycoalkaloids found in nightshades, such as solanine and solanidine, have also been shown to have toxic effects on human health.
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