They are found in legumes such as chick peas and vetch, are derivatives of amino acids that act as metabolic antagonists of glutamic acid, a neurotransmitter in the brain.
Excessive consumption of Lathyrus sativus leads to crippling, irreversible paralysis of both lower limbs, mainly in males. This is attributed to the presence of a non-protein amino acid, ?Noxalyl-L-2, 3-diaminopropionic acid or ?N-oxalylamino-L-alanine. Lathyrism is primarily a problem in some areas of India.
Last modified: Saturday, 18 February 2012, 10:34 AM