Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What are Lectins?

Lectins are a class of proteins that are specific to certain sugar binding sites in the body, namely the lungs, mucous membranes, and the digestive tract. Most people are familiar with Ricin, which has been in the news recently for its role and use as a weapon bioterrorism. Ricin is simply a very potent lectin.

But lectins are found in many common foods, with less potency than Ricin, but with destructive effects on the tissues of the body. Lectins are produced by plants as a protective mechanism against pest such as insects, or microbial infestation. For example, Raw black beans contain enough lectins to kill rats in a week.

Lectin toxins in food are found in:
  • Grains containing gluten, especially wheat and wheat germ, oats, rye, barley.
  • Legumes (all dried beans, including soy and PEANUTS and the products made from them)
  • Plants in the Nightshade family, including potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant and peppers.
Some dairy is suspected to contain lectins, but only if cows were fed grains instead of grass. If you drink alot of milk, dry and purchase organic milk/cheese/etc from free ranging, grass fed cattle.

Diet recommendations: COMPLETELY eliminate grains containing gluten (wheat, barley,
and rye), peanuts, soybeans, and nightshades (peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, and potatoes) for at least 2 weeks, and see if you notice any changes in your symptoms.

Also, if you can find a local health food grocery, see if they can order some Bladderwrack capsules for you. Bladderwrack is a type of seaweed that contains a chemical that binds to lectins before they can do any damage to your body. You can also order it online through Amazon:

Some good substitues: exchange rice and corn for glutenous grains. Exchange sweet potatoes and yams for white potatoes. Exchange cashew or almond butter for peanut butter. Eat plain grilled meats, with no hot spice. Try Thai restaurants for pad thai with no peanuts, or sushi, or a hambuger with no fries, but a salad instead. And if you drink alcohol, try white wine or good tequila instead of beer or other liquors.

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