Alkaloids: contain a N-containing heterocycle
Alkaloids are derived from various amino acids : ornithine, lysine, phenylalanine etc.
Over 3000+ known alkaloids exist:
Examples: Nicotine, caffeine, morphine, colchcine, ergots, LSD, strychnine, quinine, resperine
Alkaloids have many effects on humans and other animals:
Known effects on mammals:
3. Affects membrane structure and cytoskeletal structure- cellular weakening or collapse as well as production of leaky membranes
4. Can affect nerve transmission / induction
- 'that first cup of coffee in the morning effect.'...
5. It may alter energy dynamics- use of energy from detoxification
with MFO (NADPH-dependent) / conjugation systems reduces energy for growth and can also alter acid balance with release of glucuronic acid used in conjugation.
In English - your body normally defends itself from the 'toxins' you take in daily ( by toxins anything it can readily use for metabolism and nutrition such as drugs you take for health or whatever) by breaking them down. Your body also treats the alkaloids in the foods you eat as toxins and oxidizes them to make them water soluble using your MFO or mixed function oxidases thus allowing them to be easily eliminated from the body as quickly as possible. If you take in too much of these compounds by smoking, drinking coffee and eating alit of foods with alkaloids, it costs the body quite a bit of energy.. energy it could better use for growth and repair.
Non-protein amino acids- These are the simplest and most widely present compound. There are more than 300 types known, mostly found in legumes and their seeds. Non-protein amino acids may be directly toxic or they may be anti-metabolites. Because of their close resemblance to the protein amino acids involved in metabolism, these compounds are mistakenly incorporated into protein synthesis where they produce defective enzymes and kill the organism.
Cyanogenic glycosides-These compounds are only toxic when they are broken down by the organism's enzymes and release HCN or prussic acid.
- HCN attacks the cytochrome system, interfering with the electron transfer necessary for the production of a H+ gradient in metabolism. This leads to oxygen starvation and rapid death.
- Cyanogenic glycosides are also toxic due to the release of nitrite.
Glc-O-(CH2)3 NO2 -------->NO2-The nitrite released substitutes for the oxygen on hemoglobin, thus interfering with the transfer of oxygen in the blood. This compound is especially harmful to cattle, but the human nervous system doesn't seem to take as much damage from this compound.
Glucsinolates-These mustard oil glycosides, often found in wild Brassica can cause gastroenteritis, salivation, diarrhea, and irritation of the mouth. When these compounds are modified, they can cause hyperthyroidism.
Specific examples of alkaloids include:
Steroid alkaloids i.e.. Zygacine from the Death Camus plant induces vomiting, diarrhea, decreased heart rate, gastroenteritis, subnormal temperature- (simulated death state) - use din voodoo practices
Indole ring i.e.. Vincristine: reduced white blood count used in leukemia from the Periwinkle plant
Go on to the next page on Terpenes.......