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FOLA
FOLA, Physician of Chinese Medicine
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 96
Experience:  Doctoral degree in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine with a focus on women's health and integrative medicine.
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About sprouts, very-young-vegetables, or young-vegetables,

Customer Question

About sprouts, very-young-vegetables, or young-vegetables, some source indicates that they are harmful to human. Here I am not talking about bacteria on/from them, but the poison developed in themselves.
For example, “These sprouts also contain high amount of phytoestrogens which contribute to pre menstrual stress in females. Also they prove to be very harmful in case of consumption by kids. They also cause early puberty in case of a girl child uses them regularly. So we can look somewhere else for some other seeds that contain less amount of the mentioned acid. Also some more components like sapotoxins, malonic acid and L-canavanine sulphate are found in these sprouts. These chemicals do have some adverse effects on the human body. They stop the reabsorption of the cholesterol present in the body. So even in this case you can use some other sprouts.” Cited from http://growalfalfa.com/alfalfa-sprouts-are-healthy-but-do-not-buy-the-whole-philosophy-from-the-experts/
Anyone helps?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Chris C. replied 2 years ago.

medtech254 :

Hi I'll see if I can assist you. What exactly is your question regarding these sprouts?

Customer:

Thanks for your asking. First, I need to make sure that if you will charge me. I cannot pay. Sorry.

Customer:

Thanks for your asking. First, I need to make sure that if you will charge me. I cannot pay. Sorry.


 


I am trying to grow sprouts, very-young-vegetables, or young-vegetables to consume myself. Yet some information sources says that although full-grown vegetables are editable, sprouts, very-young-vegetables, or young-vegetables are not edible. This is not because of bacteria or viruses related to them but the poison they themselves develop, perhaps in order to protect themselves. So I want to know the reality, if I will grow some sprouts, very-young-vegetables, or young-vegetables to consume myself.


 

Expert:  Andy PhD DABT replied 2 years ago.
Hello,

There are several types of sprouts that are sold commercially, such as alfalfa, broccoli, mung bean, and clover, so they are not a health risk. As long as you stick to those that are grown commercially you should be fine.

Take care,
Andy
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for your answer. However, your answer is contrary to what I cited (see the top of this webpage): “These sprouts [now I am adding that the word means alfalfa sprouts] … ”
Therefore, I will appreciate if you have some evidences (or sources for me to read) to support your opinion and refute the stuff I cited.
Thanks.
Expert:  Andy PhD DABT replied 2 years ago.
Hello,

When eaten, sapotoxin causes mostly local irritation to the stomach and causes pain, nausea, and vomiting that would occur soon after eating it (http://books.google.com/books?id=GDtMAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA195&lpg=PA195&dq=sapotoxin+toxicity&source=bl&ots=SstHiEd9-O&sig=ux2uxA5S0zfD8NJRvw4PWVy02K4&hl=en&sa=X&ei=-b2mT7z_E5SItweAzcjYBA&ved=0CEsQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=sapotoxin%20toxicity&f=false). Malonic acid stops cellular energy production similar to cyanide and would cause effects soon after eating it. L-canavanine sulphate disrupts many protein functions which is very toxic to cells and would cause effects relatively soon after it was eaten +(http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/2824021?uid=3739776&uid=2&uid=4&uid=3739256&sid=21100774699241). These chemicals are all toxic soon after they are eaten. So if there were toxic amounts in alfalfa sprouts it would be obvious as many people would be getting sick soon after eating them. However this is not occurring, so alfalfa sprouts are safe to eat. Now as to preventing cholesterol re-absorption, that is actually a good thing. Too much cholesterol is bad for your cardiovascular system as it allows for plague formation in the walls of arteries which can lead to a heart attack. By preventing cholesterol re-absorption, you lower your blood cholesterol levels and this is a benefit to your health, so that is actually a benefit of eating alfalfa sprouts. Now on phytoestrogens they do not cause an immediate toxicity and so are not something you would see right after eating the sprouts and so could be harder to connect to eating sprouts. Phytoestrogens are still a little controversial there is not enough data to say for sure what they do. However, what is known is that they are less effective at binding the estrogen receptor than estrogen made by the body, so in pre-menopausal women they lower the effect of estrogen made by the body, but in pre-pubescent girls and post-menopausal women, who don’t make much estrogen, the effect is slightly higher than normal levels of estrogen receptor stimulation. What this means is that the website that you referenced made a false statement when they said that phytoestrogens "contribute to pre menstrual stress", in fact since they bind the same estrogen receptors as is used by the bodies own estrogen and they have a weaker effect, the phytoestrogens actually lower the activity of the estrogen receptor and thus would lower estrogen's effect on "pre menstrual stress". However, there just isn’t enough data yet to say if these changes overall are bad or good, so I can’t really comment on it. Men do not make much estrogen, so their effect would be a slight estrogenic effect, however, what that does to men is also not completely understood. Some say it is beneficial and others say it is harmful, so again, until there is definitive data on that subject I can’t really comment on it, we just don’t know what that will do. However, it appears that alfalfa sprouts don’t contain phytosterols (http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2302/2), so it should not be an issue either way.

I hope this answers your question.

Take care,
Andy
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Really thanks for your laborious work. I asked the question because I am growing mung bean greens (= very young or young mung bean, grown outdoors) to eat. And I found it curing my arthritis. I also try some other greens.
I read that some young plant is poisonous (see under “Plant toxicity” on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomato ). Yet it is not easy to say which young plant is poisonous. So, if you know any, please let me know. Really thanks again.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Relist: Answer came too late.
Expert:  Andy PhD DABT replied 2 years ago.
Hi,

I don't know of a list of sprouts which are toxic vs. edible. I do know that sprouting potatoes are toxic.

Take care,
Andy
Andy PhD DABT, Toxicologist
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 99
Experience: Board certified with 17 years in research or consulting
Andy PhD DABT and 4 other Health Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  FOLA replied 2 years ago.
As a Chinese physician, I am just jumping in here with a piece of information regarding mung bean sprouts. They are "curing" your arthritis because they have cold property and arthritis is hot, therefore they make you feel better.

In the same vein, Soybean sprouts help disperse what we call damp-heat, and chickpea sprouts and lentil sprouts are both good for qi ("chee").

These sprouts would be eaten cooked, not raw, for full benefit.

This may be part of the controversy regarding sprouting safety - it is hard in the home garden to make sure the sprouts do not harbor dangerous bacteria. This is why cooking them is always safer.

I also want to point out that many of the vegetables we eat are by definition immature. i.e., young. Vegetables such as artichokes, broccoli and cauliflower are actually flowers that have not been allowed to reach flowering state. Peapods and snap peas are also immature, by definition, if they were allowed to keep growing they would open and become actual peas. (Although the ones we have in the stores are hybrid varieties and may not REALLY produce regular-sized peas, but I present it just as an example.) We have many varieties of vegetables that are meant to be consumed when still technically young. Spinach and many other leafy greens become tough and bitter if left to grow too long.

Potatoes and tomatoes may be the exception to this rule because they are both members of the poisonous nightshade family. I know of no other exceptions in the US, but there are others around the world, such as manioc, and may be others in Australia.

Plants are very complex chemically and we would probably be surprised to know that many things we eat have trace toxicities. Which is why it is commonly said that ANYthing can be bad for you if you eat too much of it! Instead we eat a wide variety of fruits and veggies - and each is in moderation.

I am just giving you the point of view of a Chinese physician; I do believe that the pharmacologist who answered you above has much more of the chemical knowledge you were asking about.

However, perhaps this has added a little.
FOLA, Physician of Chinese Medicine
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 96
Experience: Doctoral degree in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine with a focus on women's health and integrative medicine.
FOLA and 4 other Health Specialists are ready to help you

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