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I mentioned this once before but just thought I'd make a post to bring awareness to this subject. 

Basically I went on a paleo diet about a year ago and long story short it certainly helped my overall health but didn't solve my HPPD as I had hoped (I was desperate, obviously). Part of the paleo diet is to cut out potatoes, refined carbs, along with all sorts of other foods we don't even think twice about eating -- which I did -- and I felt pretty good overall. But, as the months went by it was pretty clear it wasn't solving my HPPD and so I began to incorporate some of the forbidden paleo foods back into my diet, including potatoes. 

What I've noticed recently is that when I eat excess potatoes or any other vegetable from the nightshade family I sorta feel the same way I do when I drink caffeine. One night I woke up sweating with a racing heart and crazy anxiety for no reason at all after eating a lot of potatoes. And today after eating a whole bell pepper for lunch I felt almost as if I'd drank a small cup of coffee as my symptoms seemed to flare up and I just felt nervous and sorta crazy. 

Anyway, I just thought I'd post to see if anybody has experience with this. If not, perhaps it's something to consider keeping an eye on. Here's an article about how nightshades can cause anxiety in people with nerve sensitivities: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/diagnosis-diet/201607/these-5-foods-and-substances-can-cause-anxiety-and-insomnia

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Tomatoes and Eggplants and Potatoes are all from the nightshade family.  The Jimson weed or Datura plant, mandrake, belladonna, tobacco, angel/devil's trumpet, I believe are all a part of that family.  Largely, it means that they may contain poisonous alkaloids, much in the plant itself, seeds and roots.  

Drugs like scopolamine and atropine can be found in these plants.   One was used a lot in eye science and the other in emergency rooms, respectively. 

These are both very important drugs ....BUT....

Be careful!


I also proposed the idea of perhaps a distillation of Jimson Weed would be an interesting plant to look into mainly for the photophobic effects it manifests.   So when you are off the drug after, you will not be so photophobic.  


Having read Carlos Castenada as a young adult, I thought it was an interesting thought.   I am sure it will be investigated in the future.  


Right now I sort of fear the mishandling of these plants as has been the case in some S. American countries.  


Certainly, a large amount of these plants can kill you or cause lasting effects such as that of HPPD.  So be careful with these plants and never be around people who would use these plants for harm.    

Edited by mgrade
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Consider eating eggs with peppers, tomatoes or potatoes because foods in the nightshade family may be anticholinergic.   The acetylcholine receptors tend to be competitive, so I figure adding eggs which is full of choline is not a terrible idea. 


Physostigmine is the antidote for acute nightshade poisoning. 

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As a nutrition graduate I felt the need to respond to this. Mgrade you are right in some ways, potatoes and tomatoes are part of the nightshade family and indeed can have some anticholinergic effects. Whilst potatoes are in the same family as datura they do not contain scolpolomine. Im sure you wasnt getting at that but just in case people on this board start avoiding potatoes for that very reason hahaha....

That being said, potatoes do contain glycoalkaloids that can be poisionus in large doses. However, you would generally have to eat a fairly large amount to have any adverse effects. I personally eat potatoes very occasionally and never really noticed a problem, unless I eat a large amount before bed it sometimes keeps me up for a while, but if you have an intolerance to them AND with us having HPPD and sensitive brains, it wouldnt be out the realms of possibility they have an effect. For the past 4 years or so I developed an intolerance to wheat containing products. I can eat it in small amounts but if I eat too much I can have GI issues, brain fog, increased anxiety etc. I think in this case you are in the know about your body and if potatoes don't sit well....dont eat them! That goes for any food regardless of its contents. 

K.B.Fante, I'm interested in what made you choose a Paleo diet? The Paleo diet has been somewhat misconstrued and changed into a fad diet. Whilst there are some aspects of the diet that can be helpful I think it can also have some negatives. You mention you had cut out refined carbs, which is a good thing, but are you also eating a low-carb diet in general? High carb diets are what helped our brains to grow and us as a species to evolve over time. We need 25-30% carbs a day just for proper brain functioning. I see some people on this forum are a fan of keto diets to reduce their symptoms, which may be the case, but I would take a bet they are also hindering any sort of recovery, or at least decreasing the rate of. I would say it is probaly more the increase of plant foods that you consume as part of the paleo diet that has been beneficial for you. Not trying to take shots at your way of living or anything, it has obviously helped you thus far, I just wonder if theres some other changes you can make :)

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I just got to a breaking point about this time last year where I decided I was gonna do whatever experimentation I could to see if it would help my symptoms and diet is one of the areas I tried to focus on. I did some studying and arrived at paleo probably because I'm more into natural health and thought it was the diet that best corresponded with that belief system. Truth is, I knew nothing of dieting or health at the time and just thought, based on everything I read, that it sounded like it could help me the most. 

I've since realized that all diets are pretty much fads and that healthy eating is not complicated: eat mostly vegetables, fruits and whole foods; eliminate excess added sugar; and take it easy on dairy, gluten and meat -- at least this is what works for me. 

In terms of carbs, I wouldn't say I'm deficient but I also don't go out of my way to eat starchy foods. I eat lots of fruit, which of course helps, as well as beans, healthy grains and starchy veggies here and there, but I've honestly eased up lately because I have a hard time processing lots of carbs due to additional health concerns. 

In terms of keto, I've heard of it working for epileptics, so given how well some of us respond to anti-epileptic medication I guess I could see the connection there as well. Wouldn't that mostly be due to high fat which feeds the brain? Also, I thought fire was what helped our brains grow abnormally large? 

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Certainly, you are right KB. 


They are fad-like these diets. 


When I was exploring Ketones, I remember it being linked to the Kreb's Cycle.  [I know a bit about stuff after 10 years of study but I got a C- in chemistry in HS]. 

If I remember correctly what exactly I was studying was adipose fat and Ketones and  the Kreb's cycle and hormones and diabetes.  


[What is interesting is short-to-medium chain fatty acids seem to cross the BBB.  Making some fatty acids psychotropic. Which is a tad scary]. 


Sugars and Carbs are the first things burned off. 

Bottom line if you are burning off things at a decent rate daily in the way of locomotion, your diet will factor less.    Won't necessarily help HPPD but your body will seem to a doctor to be of health, generally. 


If you are sedentary then you have to sort of rethink some things: a. being your DNA disposition to metabolism b. how reactions to external forces affect physiology.

Historically, people had thought [in the 1950s or so] that stomach ulcers were caused by stress.   But it was found that ulcers were caused by the h. pylori bacteria.   Nevertheless, I think that digestion can be upset by external stressors.  ie- diarrhea and GERD.


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  • 3 months later...

Just thought I'd post an update on this... 

In the past month or so I've strayed pretty far from my diet, especially with regards to nightshades, mostly because I want to be a bit more liberal with how I eat but also to do a bit of experimentation and see how I feel eating like I used to. Given it's fall where I live there's all sorts of tomatoes and produce coming off and I've pretty much eaten however many nightshades I want. After about three weeks I can say without a doubt that nightshades are like poison to me. All my HPPD symptoms have flared up and ones I thought I totally overcame sorta returned, although in a much milder manner. My snow increased, my DP got way worse, my voice sounded much more distant, tinnitus returned a bit here and there, and in general I just felt like I'd been poisoned, sorta in the same manner as when I ate too much nutmeg recently. In fact, one night I went all out and put okra, tomatoes and eggplant in a curry (all three being nightshades) and after dinner I pretty much felt like I was tripping. My whole body felt tingly, I could hardly complete a sentence, my heartbeat was rapid and I felt like blood was rushing to every part of my body. 

I know everyone's body is different but nightshades have natural pesticides that, when consumed in large amounts, can act like poison. I'm not here to suggest everyone completely eliminate them but I really think taking it easy on potatoes and tomatoes especially (which are staples of the Western diet) would be wise. If you're skeptical I'd encourage you to buy a week's worth of nightshades and see how you feel after eating them every day. I also noticed that they add up (again, just like nutmeg) and that even after ceasing to consume them I still feel the effects days later. 

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