What are lectins?

‘Sticky’ proteins found in plants that protect plants from predation but can damage human tissue

Why are they problematic?

  • They can damage the gut lining and cause ‘leaky gut’
  • We have evolved to deal with some high lectin foods better than others
  • Grasses, grain, and bean lectins we are less evolved to deal with

Sources of high lectins

  • Grains – less so gluten, but wheat germ agglutinin, so you can be gluten-free but still be consuming if you’re eating grains
  • Corn and quinoa
  • Nightshades: potatoes, eggplants, tomatoes
  • Beans: peanuts, cashews
  • Squash, zucchini, chia seeds

What do the symptoms of this look like, how might someone know it’s affecting them?

  • Joint pain and arthritis
  • Skin rashes and psoriasis
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Depression, fatigue
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Tonsils out almost guarantees lectin sensitive

Lab markers

  • Chronically low WBC
  • Inflammatory markers to track: hs-CRP, TNFa, IL-6 (for RA), adiponectin (>16 not good)

Treatment, a low lectin diet

  • Peeling and deseeding will reduce lectins
  • Low lectin diet
  • Focus on
    • Leaves, tubers, fats,
    • Intermittent fasting (wait 4 hours before bed)

What does the research say? Are there any published clinical trials?

  • Research in its infancy, many references in this book for mechanism

Cooking tip!

Use a pressure cooker to remove the vast majority of lectins in beans, tomatoes and potatoes!

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