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Nicotine & Poison/"Vitamin A" implicated together via nightshades...macular degeneration, birth defects, and more

First thing to know is that tobacco is a nightshade (Solanaceae) plant and that all the major nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, peppers/capsicum) contain nicotine as well.  Tomatoes and peppers/capsicum in particular are also extremely high in Poison/"Vitamin A" carotenoids.  Could this combination be why the nightshades generally have a reputation for increasing inflammation and ruining health?  If you didn't already know this, they do, see my other threads in this blog-forum about them.  This combination of nicotine and Poison/"Vitamin A" could easily explain why these foods truly earned their nasty reputation health-wise.

Altered retinoid homeostasis catalyzed by a nicotine metabolite: Implications in macular degeneration and normal development

"Retinoids (vitamin A) serve two distinct functions in higher animals: light absorption for vision and gene regulation for growth and development. Cigarette smoking is a contributing factor for diseases that affect vision such as age-related macular degeneration and increases the risk of birth defects; however, altered retinoid homeostasis has received little attention as a potential mechanism for smoking-associated toxicities. Herein, we demonstrate that nornicotine, a nicotine metabolite and component of cigarette smoke, catalyzes the Z-to-E alkene isomerization of unsaturated aldehydes and ketones, including retinals. Despite the recent explosion in the use of organic compounds as chemical catalysts, minimal effort has been devoted to biologically relevant organocatalysis. Our study demonstrates a system in which a lowest unoccupied molecular orbital-lowering intermediate similar to the endogenous protein rhodopsin effectively catalyzes isomerization under biologically relevant conditions. The product of retinal isomerization is all-E-retinal, which in the eye is a biosynthetic precursor to N-retinylidene-N-retinylethanolamine, a hallmark of age-related macular degeneration. Furthermore, 9-Z- and all-E-retinal isomers are biosynthetic precursors to 9-Z- and all-E-retinoic acids, ligands that mediate specific cellular responses by binding to transcriptional regulatory proteins critical in growth and development. Strict maintenance of retinal isomer composition is essential for proper transcriptional regulation. Nornicotine-catalyzed retinal isomerization implies an underlying molecular mechanism for age-related macular degeneration, the birth defects associated with smoking, and other smoking-associated abnormalities that stem from disruption of retinoid metabolism."

There seems to be a connection here between the two compounds.

Dr. Garrett Smith, the "Nutrition Detective"
Licensed Naturopathic Physician (NMD) in Arizona
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