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The Important Vitamin D
Dr. Norman F. Childers

When the nightshade project was started in the 1950's at Rutgers University1, we immediately researched the livestock literature since farmers have known through history that they must eliminate the nightshades from their pastures.  They are poisonous to livestock.  They sent their children pastures to pull them up, now they are destroyed with chemical herbicides.  The Jimsonweed nightshade is famous for subtly destroying livestock that feed upon it in the cowboy country out West.  Animal nutritionists L.P. Krook2 and associates of Cornell University along with George K. Davis3 and associates of the University of Florida, performed research in the 1960's and 70's in Argentina and Florida to determine how and why livestock were mysteriously wasting away in certain pastures.  The problem was found to be hidden or unnoticed nightshade weeds and vines in pastures.  Then, research was initiated by R. Wasserman4 at Cornell to determine why these nightshades are dangerous to livestock.  The plants were found to produce and contain vitamin D3 naturally, the key vitamin in osteoporosis and related diseases.

In our early work, arthritic cooperators were warned against excess intake of vitamin D3 (ten times more active than vitamin D) from consumption and use of nightshades- potato, tomato, eggplant, tobacco, and peppers of all kinds except black pepper (another plant family, Piperaceae).  Later, it was found that a deficiency of vitamin D also could be a problem with osteoporosis and other health problems.  So, monitoring of vitamin D intake is paramount to get about 400 to 500 IU per day from either 20 to 30 minutes of sun daily or from a multivitamin/mineral pill if confined or during a low-light winter period.  Be careful in taking more than about two of these pills a week since they also contain too much synthetic vitamin A, which we are trying to avoid (see p. 41 in the Diet book).  Please see also the article on the web site "Can Osteoarthritis be improved or cured?."  

There may be other unknown health problems with the addicting nightshades (they all are drug plants the same as tobacco).  It is interesting to note that few, if any ,animal or human feeding tests with nightshades have been made.  They comprise a fourth to a third of each daily meal. Obviously, more nutritional research for people is needed.  In this Foundation's studies with thousands of arthritic people over some 40+ years, it appears that these foods (with or without tobacco) can cause a number of key human diseases other than arthritis.  They could be the Number One world health problem today, causing a tremendous increase in health problems and costs as their production and consumption steadily increase.  We were not born to be sick.  There is something causing the increasing health problems today.  It could well be the food nightshades as we now know what their relative tobacco can do to our health.

1. Childers, Norman F. and Gerald M. Russo. 1977. The Nightshades and Health.  Horticultural Publications, 188p.  New Brunswick, New Jersey
2. Krook, L., R.H. Wasserman, K. McKintee, T.D. Brokken, and T.B. Melbourne. 1975.  Cestrum diurnum Poisoning in Florida Cattle.  Cornell Veterinarian 65: 557-575
3. Davis, George K. Degenerative Effects of Nightshades on Livestock.  Chapter IV in N.F. Childers 6th edition of Arthritis- A Diet that Stops It. 250 p.  Dr. Norman F. Childers Publications, Gainesville, Florida.
4. Wasserman, R.H., J.D. Henion, and M.R. Haussler. 1976. Calcinogeric Factor (D3) in Solanum malocoxylin.  Science 194:853-875.