Lectins (Agglutinins)

Lectins is another very powerful plant defence mechanism, these proteins bind to carbohydrates on the cells surface and binding them together (agglutination). Modern grains have been genetically modified to increase the production of these natural insecticides making them more pest resistant.

Lectins, including Gluten, are very persistent and as well as interfering with nutrient digestion and mineral absorption they can adhere to, damage and then penetrate the cell inning (endothelium) of the digestive tract by opening the tight junctions between cells. This results in leaky gut or increased intestinal permeability. Once In the bloodstream, lectins can bind to red blood cells increasing the risk of anaemia and triggers and interferes with our immune system leading to allergies, chronic inflammation and a myriad of autoimmune diseases.

Certain Lectins are also found in animals but unlike plant lectins, animal lectins have not been shown to be anywhere near as harmful. Lectin have also been shown to trigger the Insulin receptor thereby signalling the body to store fat and in addition interferes with the hormone leptin which inhibits hunger.

Health Issues linked to lectin consumption

  • Weight Gain
  • Acid Reflux / Heart Burn
  • Celiac Disease
  • Anaemia
  • Type 1 Diabetes
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Parkinson's disease
  • IBS
  • Various autoimmune conditions
  • Common Lectins
  • Wheat Germ Agglutinin
  • Gluten

Sprouting, soaking and boiling can inactivate lectins but once again this traditional wisdom has been mostly lost and why go to all that effort for something that provides minimal nutritional value (think survival food)

Foods high in lectins

  • Whole Grains
  • Beans
  • Nightshades
  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Potatoes
  • Peas