Groundbreaking: How to Easily Remove Nightshade Toxins From Potato Starch

Ever since the beginning some percentage of people trying out supplemental resistant starch in the form of Potato Starch have complained of nightshade tolerance issues, primarily headaches and joint pain. This was a mystery, because some of us, including myself, were operating under the belief that these toxins were water soluble. Turns out not so.

I’ll let Ken Willing explain, as well as deliver a very simple solution (literally).


Contrary to widespread belief, the nightshade glycoalkaloid poisons alpha-solanine and alpha-chaconine are not soluble in water, so unfortunately it’s wishful thinking to assume that these headache-causing and arthritis-worsening toxins are entirely absent from potato starch—even a good brand like Bob’s. For those of us outside the U.S., the problem is worse, because Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese brands available worldwide are of dubious reliability: the starch itself is OK, but in it we encounter not only the usual nightshade toxins but also sulfite preservatives, not to mention shelf bacteria in abundance.

Fortunately there is a remedy for these problems—my headaches stopped cold the day I started implementing the following. This method rests on the fact that solanine and chaconine DO dissolve in acid, even a fairly weak solution—in fact experimenters have successfully used as low as 1.5%:

—In the evening, fill a suitable bottle 3/4 full of water and dump in tomorrow’s dose of potato starch, together with one heaping teaspoonful of citric acid powder (available in the baking-aids section of any supermarket). (Alternatively, make up a reasonably sour solution with white vinegar, but this is less satisfactory.) Shake well to fully disperse the starch and dissolve the acid crystals. Then wait a couple hours while the starch falls to the bottom to form a non-Newtonian mass. Then, carefully pour off the liquid—which now contains the solanine, etc., in solution—while the starch granules, tightly packed together, adhere in a clump on the bottom. Then, as a rinse: re-fill the bottle with fresh water, shake vigorously again to re-disperse the starch, and let it all sit till morning.

In the morning, again pour off the water, which is now only very slightly acidic. What you now have on the bottom is CLEAN potato starch, which can either be mixed in the same bottle with juice, milk, or water; or dug out and used some other way. I know this all sounds complicated, but I’ve clocked the total procedural time at about 2 minutes—a small price to pay for poison-free starch, in my opinion… and 100 trillion tiny mouths will thank you.


Thanks Ken. No telling how many people this will really help who would benefit from the PS, but just couldn’t do it. Now they can try again.

So, I’d ask that all of you who’ve seen reports like this in the various forums and such you’ve frequented, please spread the word and help spread the benefits.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. Stephanie on July 3, 2014 at 16:59

    Thank you! I am one of the achy few & very excited that this may allow me to partake.

    • CasUC on February 15, 2016 at 10:11


      Any update? Did this acid trick work for you? I tried potato starch last couple of weeks and my knees are killing me.


  2. Steve on July 3, 2014 at 17:36

    This could be the formula for Bullet Proof PS!

  3. Mycroft Jones on July 3, 2014 at 18:38

    Spooky, I just bought a bag of citric acid a week ago to balance the pH in my personal version of soylent. Now it has an even better use. Thank you.

  4. george on July 3, 2014 at 19:47

    Citric acid powder? Will give this a try just for comparison’s purposes. I have bought plenty of items in the baking aids section before, just dont recall seeing this product. Is there a brand name someone would recommend?

  5. JD on July 3, 2014 at 19:54

    I used to get gout attacks all the time on a SAD diet. Then I went on a LCHF diet, then just something closer to paleo (essentially no processed carbs, grains, or vegetable oils, not really caring about macronutrient ratios). I started doing 2-4 tbl of potato a day. About 3 weeks into it I got my first gout attack in 2 years, although quite mild compare to what used to be normal. I haven’t read about this happening to anyone else doing PS, and I don’t know if there is a mechanism that would cause PS to interfere with my bodies ability to eliminate purines. Maybe I’ll try the method described here, but if you ever had a gout attack you would understand why I’m extremely hesitant.

    • shtove on July 4, 2014 at 10:57

      That’s interesting, JD.

      For gout Jaminet recommends alkalising with lemon juice – to help dissolve uric acid.

      The index of my dead-tree version of Jaminet doesn’t explain. I wonder if anyone can independently confirm the alkalising property of ingested lemon juice?

      If it does have that property while being acidic outside the body, it’s up there with sodium bicarb as the king of Ph.

      Maybe lemon could be added to the PS as the acid, and then ingested to help the gout.

    • Sally Oh on July 6, 2014 at 10:03

      Could you still ingest that lemon after the soak? ‘Cause then it would have the solanine and chaconine in it.

    • shtove on July 10, 2014 at 07:28

      I guess discard the first wash of juice and add more.

  6. JD on July 3, 2014 at 19:59

    Is there any reason you couldn’t just do this to a whole bag of PS at one time? Would it degrade or spoil in any way it was soaked in this manner and dried? I’m sure it would be clumpy, but it would probably dissolve in water again just fine.

  7. Richard S on July 3, 2014 at 20:42

    I’m curious if the procedure has been tested and published in a scientific journal or something reasonably equivalent. I just did a quick and dirty search and found nothing. I don’t doubt that is was helpful for Ken, but I would like to understand it better.

  8. Klara on July 3, 2014 at 23:30

    Hi, thanks for the info!
    I have been wondering: can one do something similar with potatoes before/whilst cooking?

  9. Mark on July 3, 2014 at 23:40

    Just use banana flour. No nightshade issues.

    • john on July 4, 2014 at 10:20

      Banana flour is RS3, Potato RS2. You should have both. Richard & DrBG posted about this recently in the RS update #2.

    • newbie on July 5, 2014 at 12:08

      Raw banana flour is RS2 – it is not cooked and cooled. Potato starch ( which is also not cooked and cooled) is also RS2. If you cook green bananas/plantains and then cool them,you get some RS3, the same goes for potatoes and rice.
      Someone correct me if I am wrong.

  10. Woodwose on July 4, 2014 at 02:18

    So any acid would work, like apple cider vinegar?

    Does the solanine get reduced by acids or does it just get separated from the starch and gets into the water?

  11. james london on July 4, 2014 at 02:50

    Happy to give it a whirl but do we think it’ll help people who (like me) have had rashes after using PS, rather than headaches/pains and also who (also like me) don’t have a problem with nightshades in our diet generally?

    • cobalt on July 4, 2014 at 19:18

      I have no idea, but the rashes might be due to the liver trying to dump toxins through the skin. Some people get headaches when detoxing, others get skin conditions. I could be wrong… but for those of use with not so great intestines PS starts off the process of eliminating all the bad stuff in there.
      Just a thought.

    • Charles on September 15, 2014 at 09:35

      FYI, I was getting skin problems/rashes with potato starch. When I stopped it, and just used other RS sources (larch, XOS, etc.), the skin problems went away. I don’t think it’s toxins. I think it’s the same issue with joint pains. I tried the citric acid thing once, but went on a trip and couldn’t continue the experiment. I will go back now and give it a try.

  12. Goodstuff on July 4, 2014 at 04:04

    ken, will the above procedure also remove the sulphites? I have large balls.

  13. Tim on July 4, 2014 at 08:52

    I use organic potato starch from Frontier and have had no adverse reactions…not even excessive gas. I also use green banana flour from WEDO. I’m up to about 3T total and am noticing a difference.

    I am having a hard time incorporating it into other “meals”, however. Any creative ideas as to how to take these?

  14. Joe Blowe on July 4, 2014 at 09:50

    Two things:

    1) If you don’t see citric acid at your local grocery store, see if there’s an Indian/Pakistani market in your area. Citric acid is used in making paneer (cheese). The other option is ebay, where you can buy it in bulk for making soap (I think).

    2) Have been meaning to report that I found big ol’ sacks of Dutch-manufactured potato starch at my local restaurant supply (which doesn’t happen to be open to the public. De Tulpen potato starch, made by Agridient, 50 lbs., around 33 bucks.

    Agridient appears to be a huge multi-national conglomerate, so I’d say there’s a good chance that Bob’s Red Mill buys their starch products from a supplier like this…

  15. Marie K on July 4, 2014 at 11:54

    Brilliant. Thank you! I’d been having headaches in the morning after taking PS the day before so had quit taking it. My Whole Foods does not carry citric acid powder, another grocery store in my town, a somewhat ‘natural’ food store has it in 4 different sections, baking, canning, wellness, and produce.

    • Ellen Ussery on July 7, 2014 at 10:02

      Marie K

      I would suggest you try taking Prescript Assist for a week or so, then try the PS again….that is what resolved my headaches when I first started PS..

  16. pzo on July 4, 2014 at 12:38

    FYI, don’t be fooled by an Asian brand of PS coming from China necessarily. The stuff I buy looks all Vietnamese, but also “Product of USA.” Probably a different truck at the loading dock from Bob’s………….

  17. Richard Nikoley on July 4, 2014 at 14:21


    Went out looking for citric acid today, no joy. But Amazon has lots of brands. Ordered a 2lb bag for 12 bucks.

    • Goodstuff on July 4, 2014 at 14:56

      Please put link to exact citric acid you bought in the post to save me the dilemma of choosing and to give you Amazon revenue. I have large balls.

    • Richard Nikoley on July 4, 2014 at 15:02

      Actually, all you have to do is click the link on the right sidebar and shop. Just search citric acid. I bought the 2 lb bag of Malliard, I believe is the brand. But if you prefer otherwise. No worries, I still get the credit.

      Thanks for asking.

    • Kelly on April 6, 2015 at 13:36

      This entire idea doesn’t seem to make sense.

      If acid neutralizes solanine in potato starch, wouldn’t stomach acid neutralize it?

      Thanks in advance Richard.

    • Lee on April 23, 2015 at 11:11


      I think the idea is that solanine (etc) dissolves into the citric acid / water – and is then poured away with the water, rather than the solanine (etc) being neutralised.

  18. Azurean on July 4, 2014 at 15:59

    Potato starch is already a processed food. If you need another process on top of that to make it not toxic, then the conclusion is clear : potato isn’t food for humans, don’t eat it. If you can’t eat something raw and unprocessed, then it’s not food – but if it’s food, you can cook it, I don’t suggest to eat raw meat.

    • Richard Nikoley on July 4, 2014 at 16:35


      If you have a kitchen, pots, pans, utensils, you are “processing” food every day. Potato starch involves chopping potatoes, adding water and straining, you stupid ignorant turd.

      Go away, moron.

    • paleophil on July 4, 2014 at 19:03

      Why is processing via cooking OK, but not via chopping and straining? Is churning OK? Who makes these rules? Isn’t it somewhat contradictory to say that meat is food because it doesn’t have to be cooked, but then say “you can cook it, I don’t suggest to eat raw meat”?

    • Azurean on July 5, 2014 at 01:37

      From Wikipedia :
      ” In order to prevent enzymatic darkening of potato juice the chemical refining of starch is carried out using sulfurous acid”
      Yummy. Doesn’t it sound like something your granny would cook in her kitchen ?

      You can’t call vegetable oil “frankenfood” and not give that name to your toxin-free potato starch that required a dozen steps of processing with various chemicals. Be coherent with yourself.

    • Richard Nikoley on July 5, 2014 at 06:40

      You don’t know what you’re talking about. And you’re too ignorant to know it.

    • paleophil on July 5, 2014 at 08:43

      “Cooking or cookery is the art of preparing food for consumption with the use of heat.”

      Azurean wrote: “Doesn’t it sound like something your granny would cook in her kitchen ?”

      It doesn’t sound like something my granny would “cook,” because making home-made potato starch doesn’t involve any cooking, unlike your meat, apparently, which you “don’t suggest to eat raw.” Cooking actually reduces the amount of resistant starch and is thus counter-productive.

      My granny did make potato starch in her kitchen every time she made boxty, as did I the past couple days when I made boxty, and it didn’t involve any sulfurous acid or any other “chemical,” which is thus a straw man. Creating potato starch is an unavoidable part of the most common ways of making that traditional Irish dish. Of course, the PS can be discarded if one wishes. I chose to not waste this purely natural home-made real food.

      Those who are interested in trying citric acid could presumably get even that from a widely acceptable source, such as fresh-squeezed citrus fruits–or is squeezing also forbidden in your processing rules?

    • Dr. Curmudgeon Gee on July 25, 2014 at 21:30

      i kind of see Azurean’s point.

      so trouble, it’s already “processed” (albeit (albeit minimally)

      PS is not the only RS;
      there’re many to choose from;
      so why bother

  19. Ankleface Wroughtlandmire on July 4, 2014 at 18:36

    Once the gut heals and the good bacteria population outbalances the bad guys, shouldn’t the nightshade sensitivity go away? Because many people eat a lot of potatoes and tomatoes and peppers and don’t seem to have any adverse affects. I assume that they are ingesting a certain level of toxins from the nightshades, but that a healthy gut is enough to cope with and eliminate the toxins.

  20. Jerry on July 4, 2014 at 20:10

    I have two concerns:

    1) Will the lower pH denature the resistant starch’s macromolecular structure?

    2) Most citric acid is made from corn and it’s far from pure. The residual corn protein in corn starch turns into glutamic acid when citric acid is made from it. It can be quite a lot, up to 19%.

    I’ll try it with vinegar.

  21. Duck Dodgers on July 5, 2014 at 14:11

    In the past I had also referenced solanine as being water soluble. The reason I/we said that was because that is what is stated on the FDA Poisonous Plant Database:

    From: FDA Poisonous Plant Database: Solanine poisoning from potatoes

    “Solanine is soluble in water and diffused by boiling potatoes but not by baking them.”

    There are clearly conflicting reports stating that solanine and glycoalkaloids are not water soluble. And some people are obviously sensitive to the trace amounts of glycoalkaloids in potato starch. For most people, they aren’t a problem.

    • Duck Dodgers on July 5, 2014 at 14:22

      For those who are curious, here’s what I found on the amounts of glycoalkaloids (i.e. nightshade toxins) in potato starch.

      From: Glycoalkaloid Concentration In By-Products Of Potato Starch Extraction As Measured By Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorptioniionization Mass Spectrometry

      Starch, potato protein concentrate, and potato pulp were produced in order to determine the fate of endogenous toxic glycoalkaloids during potato processing. Potato protein concentrate was precipitated from potato fruit water using acid and heat. Glycoalkaloid concentrations were determined using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry. No correlation was observed between tuber protein concentration and yield of potato protein concentrate (r = 0.257). Glycoalkaloids could not be detected in starch extracted from tubers with a glycoalkaloid concentration of 6.6 mg/i 00 g (fwb). Dry potato protein concentrate and dry potato pulp produced from the same tubers contained 60 and 50 mg glycoalkaloid/100 g, respectively. the apparent partitioning of glycoalkaloids into the protein concentrate and pulp indicates toxicity might be a concern for these products, given that a maximum acceptable level of 20 mg glycoalkaloid/100 g is often cited for tubers.

      However, there is some disagreement on what is the best way to measure glycoalkaloids.

      It should be noted that more recent studies have shown < 4 µg/g glycoalkaloids in potato starch (Saito et al., 1990, Alt et al., 2005).

      To put that in perspective, the average potato contains 8 mg. of solanine per 100 g of potato.

      So, the detectable levels of glycoalkaloids should only be a problem for those who have trouble clearing glycoalkaloids from their bodies (i.e. nightshade intolerance).

      Interestingly, your flora assist in the breakdown of glycoalkaloids in the body, so feeding your gut bugs with prebiotic fibers and getting the right flora in place can actually reduce one’s sensitivity to these glycoalkaloid toxins.

    • tatertot on July 5, 2014 at 18:55

      6.6 mg/i 00 g (fwb).

      I’m pretty sure this means 6.6 mg/100g. Not sure what fwb means. The internet says “Friends with Benefits”

      dwb means dry weight basis and is the standard way of measuring things like RS. Maybe their typist was drunk when they printed this up.

  22. tatertot on July 5, 2014 at 14:44

    Duck! You are the man, again.

    Good find. I’ve searched high and low for a paper showing the glycoalkaloid (solanine, choconine, etc..) content of potato starch, and could find nothing. The paper you have says:

    “Glycoalkaloids could not be detected in starch extracted from tubers with a glycoalkaloid concentration of 6.6 mg/i 00 g (fwb). Dry potato protein concentrate and dry potato pulp produced from the same tubers contained 60 and 50 mg glycoalkaloid/100 g, respectively. the apparent partitioning of glycoalkaloids into the protein concentrate and pulp indicates toxicity might be a concern for these products, given that a maximum acceptable level of 20 mg glycoalkaloid/100 g is often cited for tubers.”

    I don’t know what this means: “from tubers with a glycoalkaloid concentration of 6.6 mg/i 00 g (fwb)” But, I assume it indicates starch made from regular potatoes.

    Basically, the paper says that glycoalkaloids are not found in potato starch, which is what I suspected all along. I can find papers all day long that talk about the GAs in byproducts of starch making (pulp, meal, water) and the GA content of these is why there is no potato protein supplement on the market.

    Potatoes have been bred over the years to have as low a GA content as possible, normally under 8mg/100g of potato. Green spots and eyes can have as much as 1000mg/100g.

    The toxic dose is said to be 1mg per kg of bodyweight, or 81mg for a 180lb (81kg) person, which would be 1kg of potatoes.

    I have personally eaten nearly twice that many potatoes in a day with no adverse reactions, so who knows what is going on here.

    The FDA allows potatoes to have 20mg/100g.

    “In 1993, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences determined that the average consumption of glycoalkaloids from potatoes was 12.75 mg glycoalkaloids/person/day (0.18 mg/kg bw based on a bw of 70 kg) [117], which is approximately one-fifth of the lowest dose that has been shown to produce acute toxicity in humans (1 mg/kg bw). ”

  23. My Heal Your Gut Smoothie on July 6, 2014 at 08:52

    […] If you are sensitive to nightshades — which can cause headaches and arthritic pain — take these steps to remove the nightshade toxins from your potato starch. […]

  24. Sally Oh on July 6, 2014 at 10:32

    Just wrote a post on how I make my smoothie and came across this new info. The PS works for me but what other resistant starches are people using in their smoothies besides PS, green bananas and banana flour? It sounds like plantains aren’t working in a smoothie, but I’m going to try the green bananas for variety (not for taste, just for the bod.) Thank you for such good info — the comments are always informative, too.

    • Charles on July 14, 2014 at 13:39

      I’m adding larch aribinogalactan and Xylooligosaccharides. Good results from both. Also some Yacon powder. Slightly sweet, but low sugars. Adds a nice nutty sweetness to the smoothie.

  25. Ken Willing on July 7, 2014 at 01:15

    Yes, I believe any edible, food-grade, legal food acid should work. I only favour citric acid because here in Australia it is the handiest and cheapest, and affects taste the least. In the case of vinegar, I would use white or (at the suggestion of the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Allergy Unit) common malt vinegar, and I would give it two rinses, because vinegars contain biogenic amines like tyramine which, if you’re subject to migraines, you already know to run the other way from. The aim of the procedure, though, is to pour away the potato toxins along with the acidic liquid, with close to zero liquid left.

    Glycoalkaloids such as alpha-solanine are highly resistant to being dissolved in water. Were this not the case, Mother Nature would have made a gigantic faux-pas: If you are designing a poison to envelop and permeate an underground plant (such as a potato) for the purpose of deterring soil-dwelling organisms from invading that plant and eating it, you will have to make that poison water-resistant, or otherwise it will be washed out with the first soaking rains.

    In the production of potato starch, generally a significant amount of solanine is removed mechanically by pressure blasting the outer layer of the tuber off. But 30% to 70% of the total toxin can still remain in the inner flesh — this depends on variety, cultivar, age of the tuber, and random unaccountable factors. And of course obviously much depends on starch production practices as well. There may indeed be little glycoalkaloid in one batch of starch from one producer, and then possibly quite a bit in another batch from another producer in a different country on a different day. And who knows exactly where a given batch even comes from when tentacular corporations pick and choose and mix and match and multi-source ad libitum, and conceal these matters on their labels. Thus the advisability of “scrubbing” the starch, to be on the safe side, if you have a suspicion of sensitivity to nightshades (and if it seems worth the extra effort –which in my opinion actually turns out to be pretty small).

    Speaking of mysterious differences: I think it’s important to bear in mind that genetically programmed enzyme production can vary between one normal homo sapiens and another, by a factor estimated as high as 10 to 15-fold. So: there are those people whom nightshade toxins don’t faze in the slightest; and there are also those who are pole-axed by them — and these latter folks (I like to think) are equally normal: just different.

    • Duck Dodgers on July 7, 2014 at 15:43

      Ken Willing said:

      In the production of potato starch, generally a significant amount of solanine is removed mechanically by pressure blasting the outer layer of the tuber off. But 30% to 70% of the total toxin can still remain in the inner flesh

      Ken, that’s highly misleading. That level of solanine would only be an issue if bags of potato starch contained potato flesh.

      But they don’t!

      If your potato starch has “flesh” in it. You should send it back. Potato starch, should be fleshless starch granules. And all the water that is used in the starch making process is used to remove the flesh and retain the granules, using sieves.

      All that remains in a bag of potato starch is trace amounts of glycoalkaloids. Anyone that can tolerate a few french fries should be able to tolerate a few spoonfuls of potato starch without any issues.

    • tatertot on July 7, 2014 at 21:10

      Same with sulfur…anyone who can drink wine or eat raisins will not be effected by the 2-20ppm of sulfur that is sometimes found in potato starch.

      All that said, wouldn’t it be awesome if there were a potato starch on the market with RS, glycoalkaloids, sulfur, and a few other things printed on the label?

      When I make my own potato starch, it turns out an eggshell-white to slightly gray. This is due to oxidation of the proteins which stains the starch granules. On a side-note, I made a batch with blue potatoes…came out white.

  26. Ken Willing on July 8, 2014 at 22:10

    How much acid should be used ?
    I use a 600ml / 21oz Gatorade-type bottle 3/4 full of water, with one heaping teaspoon of citric acid. If using vinegar, I use 2 parts water to 1 part vinegar if it’s weak (4% acetic), or 3 parts water to 1 part vinegar if it’s the stronger kind (6%).

    These amounts of acid match (in fact they somewhat exceed) the acidic strengths reported as effective in empirical studies where glycoalkaloid toxins are separated out from potato slurry. Because our aims are less scientifically stringent, a weaker solution would quite possibly do the job for many of us. On the other hand, it’s also possible you may be one who needs to ditch even the hopefully small amount of glycoalkaloid that’s left after “scrubbing”, and forget you ever heard of potatoes and potato products and the whole Solanaceae family. Plenty of other sources of RS come from families homo sapiens has been on better terms with over a longer time.

    In my case, I do use the full acid strengths listed above, because 1) that’s what works for me, and it works less well or not at all if I skimp; and 2) these levels of acidity, with the waiting periods outlined, are intended not only to flush away glycoalkaloid, but also to kill shelf bacteria and help float out cockroach parts — all of which, here in Southern Southeast Asia, are necessities rather than optional.

    • getoffmylawn on July 24, 2015 at 11:27

      Thank you for this, Ken. I’ve tried this “scrubbing” of the PS, resulting in < headaches and joint pain. I'm not sure of the amount of citric acid powder, though. Do I use one heaping measuring teaspoon, or one heaping household teaspoon, which is considerably more?

  27. Duck Dodgers on July 9, 2014 at 10:38

    Some people here might be surprised to learn that glycoalkaloids (nightshade toxins) have been shown to offer some benefits to humans. Studies have shown them to have anti-inflammatory, hypocholesterol, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-cancer and anti-viral properties.

    So, even with nightshade toxins, the dose makes the poison and low levels of glycoalkaloids may even be beneficial.

    Glycoalkaloids, being glycans, should be metabolized by gut bacteria — particularly soil-based bacteria. So, it’s entirely possible to lose or gain tolerance to nightshades over time depending on the state of your gut and your gut barrier.

    Many ancestors consumed wild tubers that have far more glycoalkaloids than today’s domesticated tubers. They also consumed them with dirt or mud to absorb excess glycoalkaloids, which would have simultaneously diversified their gut flora.

  28. JR on July 9, 2014 at 10:55

    Richard, any reports of PS causing a post-nasal drip? This is my one complaint after a couple of months taking the stuff, but not sure if it’s related.

    • Richard Nikoley on July 9, 2014 at 14:03

      None that I know of and for myself, I think it’s been about a month since I used a single squirt of nose spray.

  29. Ken Willing on July 10, 2014 at 18:30

    Nightshades: What’s the problem?

    I had been putting raw potato starch in my horchata since Costa Rica in the early 1960s when my then-girlfriend’s Spanish grandmother showed me how to make this DELICIOUS drink (abuelita was substituting PS for chufa -“tigernut”- powder). But a few years ago I had to give up the PS ingredient, because I had joint pain even after cutting out major nightshades, and the specialist said I needed to root out “hidden sources” as well. (This did help.)
    What happens is this:

    — The neurotransmitter acetylcholine contracts your muscles.

    — The enzyme acetylcholinesterase breaks down acetylcholine, a process which is part of the body’s balancing act.

    — Nightshade toxins even in trace amounts can trigger inhibition of acetylcholinesterase. As a result there is less enzyme to break down acetylcholine, so acetylcholine builds up in your muscles and they get tighter and stay tighter (or sometimes, start to tremor). Do you have notable muscle stiffness first thing in the morning? That could be because acetylcholine was building up while you slept. Is it a little harder than it seems like it should be to stand up after sitting still for a couple hours in a seat at the movies? Same thing.

    The key point here is how little nightshade toxin it can take to set off major effects. That’s why, even as we speak, armies of Rheumatologists are warning their patients about for example even the small amount of potato starch in a slice of gluten-free bread. And the even smaller amount that’s used as excipient filler in pills and capsules. Really. And even the minuscule amount that’s in envelope glue. They really do consider these amounts important enough to warn about — (google “nightshade” + “potato starch” + “hidden”).

    But using “scrubbing”, I’m now able to go back to having PS in my horchata.

  30. Ken Willing on July 10, 2014 at 21:15

    PS — I’ve enjoyed this thread very much. Unfortunately I’m forced by new great-grandfatherly responsibilities to take my horchata jug and go offline for foreseeably quite a spell. Ciao and all the best to all. Ken

    To Tim & Richard / Richard & Tim: It’s been said before, but: I sincerely hope you get the Swedish recognition you so richly deserve for the work you’ve done here and the countless lives you will over the coming years have made way, way better. Thank you.

  31. Charles on July 15, 2014 at 22:27

    Orthodoxy (from Greek orthos (“right”, “true”, “straight”) + doxa (“opinion” or “belief”, related to dokein, “to think”),[1]) is adherence to accepted norms, more specifically to creeds, especially in religion.[2] In the Christian sense the term means “conforming to the Christian faith as represented in the creeds of the early Church”.[1]

    Before we dismiss anyone’s claims about what is or isn’t in potato starch, I’d suggest it’s good to remember that we didn’t even know there was such a thing as “resistant starch” until the 80s. And who knows what the citric acid is doing? If someone does better with PS after using it, my thought is we should use that as a data point and investigate more. Dismissing someone’s hypothesis out-of-hand, just because we don’t think it’s 100% correct in all cases, doesn’t further the cause of new understanding, which seems to me the point of all of this.

  32. john on July 17, 2014 at 01:52

    No success for me. PS causes joint stiffness, eczema flare up, and digestive problems.

    I tried 3 rinses, 2 with a strong vinegar solution (2x of what was recommended) and one with citric acid, on the same batch of PS. No Dice.

    MrHeisenbug got me onto L. Plantarum, which works to mute eczema & autoimmune flare up but only when triggers are removed. Removing triggers isn’t enough to get rid of flares, they stay until I include the L. Plantarum in my diet.

    Heisenbug, recommended by DrBG, is onto something with this particular probiotic.

    • Kelly on April 6, 2015 at 13:57

      That’s really interesting John, as all l. plantarum probiotics contain potato starch!

      Are you still taking it and finding benefit?

  33. giskard on July 21, 2014 at 09:49

    Those of you who got knuckle pain and switched to Tapioca starch or started using the Citric acid trick – how many days did it take to resolve the knuckle pain?

  34. Dr. Curmudgeon Gee on July 24, 2014 at 22:48

    sounds too much trouble (i’m lazy)

    i’ll stay with sushi & green banana/plantain & cold potato/tuber

  35. johanna faust on October 20, 2014 at 15:34

    thank you so very much. didn’t want to comment but feel that doing so is important for those who come after. some observations:

    — the specific nightshade toxins assumed to be triggers may not in fact be those responsible
    –triggering may be more ph-dependent that you think

    there are a whole host (how big is a host? sorry to be inexact) of ‘raw potato juice’ arthritis cures. how can this be? i myself have, when squeezing out grated potato
    juice for home fries, been so attracted to the juice that i had to look it up. guzzled and felt great…

    unfortunately i have to go but let me add my working hypothesis:

    potatoes are hella alkaline.
    heat (from cooking) and olive oil is acidic
    tap and distilled water are mostly alkaline

    so i think the cooking makes the potatoes poisonous possibly

    also note if you are gluten sensitive or celiac, that acidic will make the gluten ‘worse’ if making it a hard indigestible ball is ‘worse’ —

    wonder if tomatoes can be rendered ok

    or gluten for that matter…

    be seeing you.

  36. Cat on December 12, 2014 at 16:17

    Ken – thank you for this option. I’ve got a household full of questionable-intestinal-flora sufferers, with mixed banana and nightshade allergies! We can’t go the banana flour route and I was concerned about PS for the most nightshade-sensitive family member. Now I have an option for him, should he start to react to the PS.

    WRT “The possible amounts of toxins are reeeeelly small!” comments & assays, my experience has been this: with three family members having multiple food allergies I have seen repeated evidence that *minute* amounts of an allergen can trigger serious responses. Until the system is robust enough, veritable homeopathic quantities can be enough to kick off symptoms…and yet getting the gut in working order to establish robustness is really tough when you’ve got so many allergies! Chicken, meet egg! Very frustrating! Sensitivities to allergens are individual and variable – when my body tells me there’s something there it cannot handle I trust it, lab numbers be damned.

    Thanks again for working out this possible solution, Ken – and if we need it, I’ll be certain to come back and add one more anecdotal data point for the process!

    [For myself, on 4tbs of PS I’m sleeping like a BRICK with great dreams – both very unusual for me. Reduced anxiety. Increased mental clarity. Increased exercise endurance. Resilience to cold. 24 fasts feel like low-stress events (those with adrenal issues know what I mean – when fasting with out-of-whack adrenals, you *know* if you’re over doing it!). Satiation is amazing fasting or eating….the list goes on and on. 43yo female, reasonable health, moderate-carb paleo, histories of systemic candidiasis, hypothyroid, adrenal insufficiency, mental illness – just call me the canary in the coal mine of any lifestyle change 🙂 ]

    • Richard Nikoley on December 12, 2014 at 17:19

      OK Cat. You go. Just don’t get blinded.

    • Richard Nikoley on December 12, 2014 at 16:29


      I LOVE commenters and PEOPLE like you. Thank you so much for lending yourself.

    • Cat on December 12, 2014 at 16:35

      Anything for science! *tips hat*

    • Kelly on March 7, 2017 at 14:46

      Cat, I guess you missed Tatortot’s post above the showed NO alkaloids present in potato starch, just in potato protein?

  37. Magnus.W. on June 26, 2015 at 22:17

    Why would you eat all that things? If you can carry through the day without them you are good. Gluten is the best thing for consuming, but pure and filtered (up to 94 %) rich protein. Potatoes have good and bad sides, you just need a lot of herbs to neutralise the bad things. But anyway I would not recommend it for consuming more than once an year, your body is hungry for proteins and gluten if you put a hand on potatoes. Than better replace them with Oats and your body will produce own proteins on natural way.

  38. Low Carb Baker on March 29, 2016 at 15:54

    I use potato starch as an ingredient in low carb baking for my Type 2 Diabetic husband in the hopes of the prebiotic function of potato starch will enhance his gut bacteria to improve his glucose tolerance. However, we both have arthritis and need to eliminate nightshades from our diet. What citric acid:potato starch ratio should be used for removing nightshades from ½ cup of potato starch?

    • Richard Nikoley on March 29, 2016 at 17:26

      Not sure, and I thought the proportions used were in the post.

      At any rate, potato starch will be useless in baking in terms of resistant starch. Heating above 140 turns it into regular starch. The little granules burst, like popcorn.

  39. Kelly on December 27, 2016 at 18:13

    Too much ‘sour taste’ actually can make tendonitis a lot worse, according to TCM. Sounds ridiculous, but I’ve found it to be true in my case. It’s also constipating…

  40. Sam on January 17, 2017 at 16:37

    has anyone tried Hi-maize corn? it shouldn’t cook out and has more rs2

  41. Beau Dean on August 23, 2017 at 11:50

    Man..There needs to be a definitive guide to potato starch and nightshade sensitivity like Mark Sisson does lol. I am still confused. If anyone has more information about this please let me know.

    So I understand that quality potato starch shouldnt contain much solanine etc to bother most people. But plenty of factors come into play and trace amounts can be found, especially in “crappy” brands. So this acid treatment is suppose to eliminate that variable. Did I miss a comment where someone reported back that indeed, they can handle the treated starch with acid versus untreated raw starch?

    I know it is old but there is a whole post over at selfhacked talking about the negative effects of glycoalkaloids. The person experienced negative effects and recommends using green banana or high maize instead, of course. Natasha (a commenter here and there that beat her potato issues) argued a little bit with the webmaster and nothing was really conclusive about it. The self hacked fella says it is not something he can over come like she did. Just sharing my thoughts.

    I read Tim Steeles book recently (the potato hack, great book), and he talks about how present alkaloids can make your mouth burn. Like if you had a shitty old potato or something, too many eyes, too much green, etc, if u put it in ur mouth it would burn. I am unsure of the amounts it would take. I wonder if you could swish raw starch in your mouth for a moment to check for tainted tater starch. I am also aware people can have immune reactions to proteins in taters (rare i think and circumstantial, but that is entirely a different phenomenon. Or so I think. Thanks for readin folks

Leave a Comment

Follow by Email8k