After watching our daughter's health decline last fall, we once again sought to find the root cause of her many complaints. We followed up with the gastroenterologist right after Christmas and received the diagnosis of glucoamylase deficiency. Extended family were still in town and that night we had a fun family dinner before saying farewell. Just a few hours earlier we learned that our daughter lacked the enzymes to properly digest starchy foods like potatoes, but she had been eating them her entire life so why not allow one more evening before setting to work on a starch free diet. Literally within 15 minutes of eating a VERY small portion of potatoes, she was crying with severe knee pain. As terrible as I felt witnessing my child suffer, it was helpful to see such a startling cause and effect scenario play out as we began a yet another massive dietary overhaul for our family. Even more shocking was attempting to comprehend that a potato could be the cause of the knee pain she has battled since before she turned two!
As we approach our one year anniversary of a glucoamalyse deficiency diagnosis and a year of a very low starch diet, it seems that glucoamalyse deficiency may be a red herring. This weekend we had fresh tomatoes and the younger two children managed to polish off an impressive amount of tomatoes in one sitting. That night, they both woke in the middle of the night with knee pain. What?! We didn't have any starch. And why is my son now waking with knee pain? ? I thought we had gotten to the root cause and the entire family has been on a very low starch diet.
The next morning we discussed why they were both up in the middle of the night and what on earth could have caused them both to suffer at the same time. My daughter asked if possibly the tomatoes could have caused it. The second she asked, a major light bulb went off in my brain. We know potatoes are a huge trigger for her pain. Of course it could be the tomatoes!
Other than similar sounding names, did you know that tomatoes and potatoes are related? They are in the same family of plants known as nightshades. Also related are peppers, eggplant, goji berries, paprika and tobacco. I can't find any quality scientific studies to link to so I will leave it to the powers of google if you are interested in learning more about the link between nightshades and joint pain, but it seems there is definitely a link for some people.
In hindsight, the reaction to the potato is making so much more sense. Not only is it high in starch, but it is also a nightshade...a double whammy! While it is a big discouraging to eliminate yet more foods, it a bit encouraging to considering the possibility that some of the previously tolerated starches might be added back.