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Quick Uptakes
November 25, 1998

No Potatoes Before Surgery

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JAMA. 1998;280(20):1735. doi:10.1001/jama.280.20.1735-JQU80008-6-1

For years physicians have wondered why some patients react so unpredictably to anesthesia or muscle relaxants. One of the answers may be found in foods the patient has eaten, even several days before surgery.

In laboratory experiments, researchers at the University of Chicago Medical Center have found that even minute amounts of solanaceous glycoalkaloids (SGAs) found in foods can inhibit metabolism of many commonly used anesthetics and muscle relaxants. Some of the foods in which SGAs are found include potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplants. The glycoalkaloids act as naturally occurring insecticides.

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