Dr. Smith's Lectins - Natural Toxins in Food
Toxins in Food!
By Vinette Wilson, APN, MSN
Are you suffering from food sensitivities, allergies,
autoimmune diseases, gastrointestinal problems, fatigue and/or brain fog, if
so, please read on! There is a natural
toxin in your food that is the culprit behind many health issues.
Lectins, not to be confused with Leptin are the most likely
causes of myriad of symptoms and diseases.
Lectins are sticky carbohydrate binding proteins found in virtually all
plants and animals and serve as a natural “pesticide” to protect plants from
predators (including humans) and to support plants and animals in immunological
functions against pathogens and parasites. Some lectins that naturally occur in foods are
so toxic that they are deadly. The
deadly toxin Ricin is made from the lectins in castor beans and black beans
carry enough lectins to kill rats in a week.
Red kidney beans contain high levels of lectins and cause extreme
nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and severe abdominal pain immediately after
consumption if they are raw or undercooked.
Lectins are so powerful that the agriculture industry saw
the benefit of a “natural pesticide” and has now genetically modified (GMOs)
many of our crops to be more resistant by either increasing the amount of
lectin within the plant family or inserting lectins’ genetic material from
other plant families. Although they have
a beneficial purpose of protecting crops, lectins can be extremely toxic when
consumed at even higher levels due to genetic modification.
Lectins are found in every plant and animal at differing
levels. Ironically, some of the most
commonly consumed foods have some of the highest levels of lectins. Foods such as grains (especially wheat), legumes, soy, nuts, nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes,
eggplant, peppers, etc.) as well as any of its derivatives such as oils can
do tremendous harm when eaten raw or not prepared properly. Now we have an understanding
as to why we have such a high rate of health issues with consumption of these
foods. Consider this, GMOs have a high
concentration of lectins not only within that particular plant family, but
differing plant families which is design to provide more protection. So if you think you may be allergic to soy,
you may well be responding to wheat also if the soy was modified with wheat
lectins to enhance its protection against pest and fungus.
Once lectins are introduced into the body they can wreak
havoc. Lectins are not completely broken
down by digestion. Instead this sticky
substance binds to the walls of the intestines causing damage not only to the
wall itself, but also to the ability of the wall to absorb nutrients. After time, the walls become so damaged that
they increase in permeability allowing bacteria, partially digested food
particles and lectins themselves to pass into the bloodstream. This is known as leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut syndrome results in allergies,
system inflammation and autoimmune disease.
How do we protect our bodies from the damaging effects of
lectins? We start by reducing the
consumption of lectins, especially the top offenders listed above. Eliminating those offenders starts the
healing process of the intestines. That
doesn’t mean that you will never be able to eat a favorite food again. They can possibly be reintroduced slowly at a
later time once the intestines have healed and symptoms have disappeared. We also know that certain foods and
supplements provide protection for the intestines against lectin. Mucilagenic foods and supplements such as
Okra, Marshmallow root, Slippery Elm coat the intestines and prevent lectins
from binding. Mucin is a glycoprotein
that is normally excreted by the intestinal epithelial cells. It coats the
intestinal lining and neutralize intestinal antigens. L-Glutamine is a
nutritional substance that powerfully heals the intestines and there are
several other nutritional supplements that aid in protecting and healing the
Getting started…Eliminate or reduce lectins!
- Consider a diet that is grain, legume, soy, dairy, egg, nightshade, processed food and especially, GMO free. The Paleo-diet is an excellent option with minor modifications.
- You can reduce lectins in legumes/nuts by pre-soaking for at least 12 hours. Sprouting and fermenting foods also decrease lectins considerably.
- Eat a variety of foods! This decreases concentrations of certain types of lectins.
- Cook your food! While going raw is great and contains a lot of nutrients, raw foods contain far more lectins than cooked foods. Cooking also releases nutrients and makes them more bioavailable in many instances. So cook your food, especially if you are symptomatic.
- Lastly, improve and maintain good intestinal health. Probiotics such as TruFlora® and TheraLac® are an excellent source of beneficial bacteria that balance the offending bacteria. Also, products such as GI Revive® provide a synergistic blend of supplements that heal and support gastrointestinal health.
“Let food be thy medicine……” not thy poison!
Have a healthy and happy life!!!
Please Note: Above statements are not written by Health Realizations nor the opinion of Health Realizations