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What are lectins?

05/03/2015

kidneybeans

These little annoyances have cropped up quite a bit in my practice recently. Particularly, with a client who has Crohn’s Disease, an auto-immune condition which effects the entire digestive tract.  We carried out a test, which allowed us to see which part of wheat he might be reacting to, as it is a very likely situation with Crohns, and I like to rule out potential celiac disease.  The test is Cyrex array 3 (wheat/gluten proteome reactivity screen).  Using state of the art technology, the lab are able to identify whether we need to refer back to GP for celiac confirmation, or whether the intolerance is considered non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

The results showed non celiac gluten sensitivity, with a particular concern with the lectins in wheat, and we have now discovered, he may be experiencing issues with other lectins, we are now working on an elimination diet.

So what are lectins?  Lectins are plant’s built in protection from insects, viruses, bacteria and other invaders, yes humans.  The lectins are low grade toxins, which for some people are difficult to digest and cause digestive discomfort, amongst other symptoms.  Often in the past, we would soak or ferment foods high in lectins, such as beans or pulses and wheat.

Which foods are the main culprits?

  1. Grains (especially wheat)
  2. Legumes (especially peanuts and soya)
  3. GMO foods (as these are high in lectins to help protect against the insects and other invaders)
  4. Dairy
  5. Deadly night shade family (aubergine, peppers, potatoes and tomatoes)

Lectins can damage the lining of the gut, the gut lining is only one cell thick, damaging this lining can cause gut permeability, compromise the ability to absorb the nutrients from our food and trigger auto-immune conditions, along with phytic acid oxalic acid, these are commonly known as anti-nutrients.   Lectins may also cause leptin resistance, leptin is the hormone, which when working well, tells us when we need to stop eating, of course if we are leptin resistant, we eat more food, probably high in lectins and gain many many pounds.

If you think you may have a problem with lectins, remove the common offenders listed above for two weeks.  Then slowly start to introduce them one at time.  So challenge grains three times in one day or until you get a reaction for three days.  If no reaction, go to the next one and so one.  Keep a diary of all your food and keep notes of your symptoms.

I can help you to improve the gut lining using particular foods and supplements, so once you know you have an issue with lectins, you are one step closer to feeling better! We can work together to bring more variety into your diet, as this is an important part of avoiding the effects of lectins.

I offer Skype consultations as well as face to face consultations in Fulham and Richmond.   Why wait?  07957 806 207

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