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HEALTH The Next Gluten Plant proteins called lectins are an emerging source of confusion and fear
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  1. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by packyderms_wife View Post
    What is MTHFR?
    It's what Mercury3 was describing but couldn't remember the name. I can't explain it any better, but if you google it you will get lots of hits.

  2. #42
    MTHFR Mutation Symptoms, Diagnoses & Natural Remedies

    MTHFR mutation - Dr. Axe

    An MTHFR mutation is a problem associated with poor methylation and enzyme production. MTHFR mutations affect every person differently, sometimes contributing to hardly any noticeable symptoms at all, while other times leading to serious, long-term health problems.

    Although the exact prevalence rate is still up for debate, it’s believed that up to 30 percent to 50 percent of all people might carry a mutation in the MTHFR gene, which is inherited and passed down from parent to child. (1) Around 14 percent to 20 percent of the population might have a more severe MTHFR mutation that impacts overall health more drastically.

    The MTHFR gene mutation was discovered during the completion of the Human Genome Project. Researchers realized that people with this type of inherited mutation tended to develop certain diseases, including ADHD, Alzheimer’s, atherosclerosis, autoimmune disorders and autism,more often than those without the mutation.

    There is still a lot to learn about what this type of mutation means for people who carry it and go on to pass it along to their children. As the website states, “Research is still pending on which medical conditions are caused by, or at least partially attributed to, the MTHFR gene mutations.” (2)

    To date, there have been dozens of different health conditions tied to MTHFR mutations, although just because someone inherits this mutation doesn’t mean that person will wind up experiencing any problems.
    What Is a MTHFR Mutation?

    According to the Genetics Home Reference Library, MTHFR is a gene that provides the body with instructions for making a certain enzyme called methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase. In fact, “MTHFR” is the shortened name for this enzyme. (3)

    There are two main MTHFR mutations that researchers focus on most often. These mutations are often called “polymorphisms” and affect genes referred to as MTHFR C677T and MTHFR A1298C. Mutations can occur on different locations of these genes and be inherited from only one or both parents. Having one mutated allele is associated with increased risk of certain health problems, but having two increases the risk much more.

    An MTHFR gene mutation can change the way some people metabolize and convert important nutrients from their diets into active vitamins, minerals and proteins. Genetic mutations can also alter neurotransmitter and hormone levels. In some cases, although not all, changes in how this enzyme works can affect health parameters, including cholesterol levels, brain function, digestion, endocrine functions and more.
    Natural Treatments for MTHFR Mutation Symptoms

    1. Consume More Natural Folate, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12

    Acquiring more folate (not folic acid, which is synthetic vitamin B9) can help with methylation. Getting more folate is very different than taking folic acid supplements, however. Some research even suggests that people with MTHFR mutations might have a harder time converting folic acid into its useable form and actually experience worsened symptoms from taking supplements containing folic acid.

    Getting enough folate is especially important before and during pregnancy. The period three months before conception and during the first trimester of pregnancy, mothers who get enough folate lower their children’s risk for various health problems. Look for the bioavailable form of folate in supplements called l-methylfolate and consume plenty of foods with folate.

    Having more folate in your diet means you’re better able to create the active form of 5-MTHF. Some of the best high-folate foods include:

    Beans and lentils
    Leafy green vegetables like raw spinach
    Bright-colored fruits, such as oranges and mangoes

    Those with a MTHFR mutation are also more likely to be low in related vitamins, including vitamin B6 and vitamin B12. These are easier to obtain from supplements, but food sources are always best. To get more B vitamins, focus on eating enough quality protein foods, organ meats, nuts, beans, nutritional yeast and raw/fermented dairy products.

    2. Treat Digestive Problems, Including Leaky Gut and IBS

    Digestive complaints are common among people with MTHFR A1298C mutations. Many things affect digestive health, including nutrient intake, inflammation levels, allergies, neurotransmitter levels and hormone levels. For people who are already prone to nutrient deficiencies, leaky gut syndrome can make problems worse by interfering with normal absorption and raising inflammation.

    To improve digestive/gut health, the following dietary adjustments can be very beneficial:

    Reduce intake of inflammatory foods, such as gluten, added sugar, preservatives, synthetic chemicals, processed meats, conventional dairy, refined vegetable oils, trans fats and processed/enriched grains (which often include synthetic folic acid).
    Increase intake of probiotic foods, which are fermented and supply “good bacteria” that aids in digestion.
    Consume other gut-friendly foods, including bone broth, organic vegetables and fruit, flaxseeds and chia seeds, and fresh vegetable juices.
    Focus on consuming healthy fats only, like coconut oil or milk, olive oil, grass-fed meat, wild-caught fish, nuts, seeds, and avocado.

    3. Reduce Anxiety and Depression

    Because of how it can negatively affect levels of neurotransmitters and hormones like serotonin, testosterone and estrogen, MTHFR mutations are tied to higher incidences of mental disorders, including anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and chronic fatigue. High levels of stress can also make MTHFR mutation symptoms even worse. Tips for dealing with these conditions include:

    Supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids: Help to reduce inflammation and are beneficial for cognitive health.
    Regularly practicing natural stress relievers: These include meditation, journaling, spending time outside, giving back or volunteering, praying, etc.
    Regularly exercising: Helps to improve hormonal balance and sleep quality.
    Using soothing essential oils, including lavender, chamomile, geranium, clary sage and rose.
    Eliminating use of recreational drugs and reducing alcohol intake, which can both make symptoms worse by interfering with methylation. (4)

    4. Protect Heart Health

    Studies show that homocysteine levels tend to rise with age, smoking and use of certain drugs, so the first step is to focus on taking care of yourself as you get older and limiting use of harmful substances. (5) Other tips for keeping your heart healthy include:

    Eating a healthy diet, especially one with plenty of high-fiber foods
    Getting regular exercise and keeping your weight in a healthy range
    Managing stress to prevent worsened inflammation
    Consider taking the following supplements, which can help improve blood flow, cholesterol and blood pressure: magnesium, omega-3s, CoQ10, carotenoids and other antioxidants, selenium, and vitamins C, D and E.

    MTHFR mutation natural treatments - Dr. Axe

    5. Discuss Your Medications with a Doctor

    Some medications can further deplete already low folate levels or interfere with methylation. Speak with your doctor if you take any of the following drugs, which might make symptoms worse: (6)

    Birth control pills
    Hormone replacement therapy drugs
    Anticonvulsants (like phenytoin and carbamazepine)
    NSAID pain relievers
    Chemotherapy treatments
    Cholesterol-lowering drugs (like acid sequestrants, cholestyramine, colestipol and colesevelam)

    6. Boost Detoxification

    Because reduced methylation contributes to poor elimination of heavy metals and toxins, take extra steps to help flush waste and accumulated chemicals from your body. Tips for improving your ability to detox include:

    Consuming fresh vegetable juices to increase antioxidant intake
    Taking activated charcoal
    Drinking plenty of water and avoiding alcohol or tobacco
    Dry brushing
    Taking detox baths
    Exercising regularly
    Sitting in saunas
    Occasionally fasting in a healthy way or using natural enemas
    Only using natural beauty and household products that are free from harsh chemicals

    7. Get Enough Quality Sleep

    Sleep disturbances are common among people with anxiety, hormonal disorders, autoimmune disorders, chronic pain and fatigue. Make it a priority to get seven to nine hours every night, sticking to a regular schedule as much as possible. To help you get better sleep, try natural sleep aids like:

    Create a relaxing bedtime routine
    Use essential oils
    Stay off of electronic devices
    Read something soothing
    Cool your bedroom a bit, and make it very hard

    MTHFR Mutation Symptoms and Signs

    Although researchers still aren’t entirely sure which diseases and disorders an MTHRF mutation might contribute to most, evidence exists that the following health problems are tied to one of two primary forms of genetic MTHFR mutation:

    Autism and other childhood learning developmental problems
    Down syndrome
    Depression and anxiety
    Spina bifida
    Bipolar disorder
    Autoimmune disorders and thyroid disorders
    Addictions (alcohol and drug dependence for example)
    Chronic pain disorders
    Heart problems, including low HDL “good” cholesterol levels and high homocysteine levels
    Hormonal problems and fertility problems, including miscarriages and PCOS
    Pulmonary embolisms
    Chronic fatigue syndrome
    Parkinson’s disease, other tremor disorders and Alzheimer’s disease
    Digestive problems, including irritable bowel syndrome
    Problems during pregnancy, including preeclampsia and postpartum depression

    The severity and type of symptoms that someone experiences depends on the variant of the mutation the person has, along with much how the ability to carry out methylation and make MTHFR enzymes is impacted. Some people produce up to 70 percent to 90 percent fewer enzymes than those without MTHFR mutations. Other experience much less drastic drops in enzyme levels, around 10 percent to 30 percent.
    Causes and Risk Factors of MTHFR Mutation

    The primary reason that MTHFR mutations cause health problems is due to disturbing the normal process of methylation.

    To understand why this mutation can raise your risk for common disorders, it helps to first understand the important roles that methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase normally plays. MTHFR normally: (7)

    Facilitates the process called methylation, which is a metabolic process that switches genes on and off and repairs DNA. Methylation also affects nutrient conversions through enzyme interactions.
    Forms proteins by converting amino acids (often called “the building blocks of proteins,” which we mostly obtain from foods).
    Converts the amino acid called homocysteine into another amino acid called methionine. This helps keep cholesterol levels balanced and is important for cardiovascular health. Elevated homocysteine levels put someone at a greater risk for heart attacks, strokes and other problems.
    Carries out chemical reactions that help the body process the vitamin folate (also called vitamin B9). This is done by converting one form of the methylenetetrahydrofolate molecule into another active form called 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (or 5-MTFH for short). Folate/vitamin B9 is required for numerous critical bodily functions, so the inability for the body to make and use enough — or a folate deficiency — can affect everything from cognitive health to digestion.
    Methylation is also tied to natural detoxification because it helps eliminate heavy metals and toxins through the GI tract in a timely manner.
    Methylation also helps with the production of various neurotransmitters and hormones, including serotonin. Deficiencies in these neurotransmitters can affects things like your mood, motivation, sleep, sex drive, appetite and digestive functions. Abnormal levels of neurotransmitters are tied to ADHD, depression, anxiety, IBS and insomnia
    In order for methylation to take place, the body requires the presence of a certain active amino acid called SAMe. SAMe helps regulate more than 200 different enzyme interactions, and without it methylation stops.

    Whether you carry the MTHFR C677T or MTHFR A1298C mutation determines if you’re more likely to suffer from certain diseases than others. (8)

    MTHFR C677T mutations are tied to cardiovascular problems, elevated homocysteine, stroke, migraines, miscarriages and neural tube defects. Some studies suggest that people with two C677T gene mutations have about a 16 percent higher chance of developing coronary heart disease compared to people without these mutations. (9)
    MTHFR A1298C are tied to higher levels of fibromyalgia, IBS, fatigue, chronic pain, schizophrenia and mood-related problems. This is especially true if you’ve inherited the mutation from both parents or have both forms of MTHFR mutations. (10)

    Someone can either have a heterozygous MTHFR mutation (from one parent) or a homozygous mutation (from both parents). Those with homozygous mutations tend to have more severe symptoms and health problems due to having lower methylation and enzyme production.
    Testing and Diagnosing MTHFR Mutations

    Many people have no idea that they carry an MTHFR mutation gene that contributes to their symptoms. How can you know if you’re carrying one of several common MTHFR mutations?

    If you suspect you might be affected by an MTHFR mutation, consider having a genetic test performed, which is a simple blood test that can confirm your suspicions. This type of test isn’t routinely ordered by doctors but might be recommended if someone has high homocysteine levels or a family history of heart complications. Other tests that can help confirm a mutation include heavy metal tests, urine tests, homocysteine level tests, folic acid tests, leaky gut test and hormone level testing.

    Because it’s a problem related to an inherited gene, there is no way to “cure” an MTHFR mutation — however certain lifestyle changes and natural treatments can help manage symptoms and make complications less likely. Natural treatments for methylation problems depend on your specific symptoms and condition. The steps above can help reduce symptoms caused by disorders related to MTHFR mutations.
    Precautions Regarding MTHFR Mutation

    As mentioned above, MTHFR mutations are genetic and inherited. Developing problems from a mutation is not guaranteed. If you have a personal or significant family history of one or more of the above illnesses, it’s probably worth speaking with your medical provider about being tested for an MTHFR mutation.

    To be clear, MTHFR genetic mutations are not the only type that are capable of changing the way that methylation is carried out or that homocysteine is converted. This is part of what makes researching disorders related to this mutation difficult. Before assuming that MTHFR mutations are the cause of any your symptoms, get confirmation through testing and discuss results with your doctor. Don’t change medications without guidance, and get a second opinion if advice you receive seems unsafe.
    Final Thoughts on MTHFR Mutation

    MTHFR mutations are caused from inheriting one or more mutated genes that interferes with the normal process of methylation, folate conversion and enzyme production.
    Health conditions associated with MTHFR mutations include autism, ADHD, fertility problems, depression, heart problems, mood disorders and autoimmune disorders.
    Other factors can also make MTHFR mutation symptoms worse by further decreasing folate levels and raising homocysteine levels, including eating a poor diet, leaky gut syndrome/poor absorption, malnutrition, gastrointestinal illness, high amounts of stress, alcohol and drug use, and toxin exposure.
    Natural treatments and ways to manage MTHFR symptoms include improving gut health, getting more natural folate from your diet, acquiring more vitamin B6 and B12, exercising, lowering intake of inflammatory foods, and managing stress.

    Read Next: Vitamin B12 Benefits That You’re Probably Missing

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  3. #43
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Central Iowa
    Thank you CC for posting that bit of information, yes this is what my friend has and because she's contracted lyme's disease three times now her's seems to be a rather bad case.
    People are quick to confuse and despise confidence as arrogance but that is common amongst those who have never accomplished anything in their lives and who have always played it safe not willing to risk failure.

  4. #44

  5. #45

  6. #46
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    A Socialist State
    Don't just go to church. BE THE CHURCH!

  7. #47

  8. #48
    Dr. Gundry speaking on Video:


    Lectins bind to carbohydrates and attach to cells that allow them to do harm, as part of the plant’s self-defense mechanism against pests. Unfortunately, some may also cause trouble in humans
    Many lectins are proinflammatory, immunotoxic, neurotoxic and cytotoxic. Certain lectins may also increase blood viscosity, interfere with gene expression and disrupt endocrine function
    Among the most problematic lectin-containing foods are wheat and other seeds of the grass family, beans, soy and other legumes, and members of the nightshade family such as eggplants, potatoes, tomatoes and peppers

    Energy-Boosting Coconut Green Tea
    Resveratrol Improves Arteries

    By Dr. Mercola

    While whole foods are healthy, there are certain caveats to consider even here. Lectins (not to be confused with the phospholipid lecithin) are carbohydrate-binding proteins that are widespread in the plant kingdom. An estimated 30 percent of fresh foods contain lectins.1

    Even dairy contains lectins. Grass fed butter is an exception. Grass fed milk is also lower in lectins than grain-fed milk, thanks to higher amounts of SlgA, an immunoglobulin that binds to lectins.2 Lectins get their name from the Latin word legere, from which the word "select" derives — and that is exactly what they do: They select (attach to) specific biological structures that allow them to do harm, as part of the plant’s self-defense mechanism.

    It’s nature’s ingenious way of keeping natural enemies like fungi and insects at bay. Unfortunately, some of these glycoproteins may also cause trouble in humans. Lectins were first discovered in castor bean casings, which contain the lectin ricin. Ricin is so toxic that a dose the size of a few grains of salt can kill an adult if injected or inhaled.
    The Plant Paradox

    Dr. Steven Gundry’s newly released book, “The Plant Paradox: The Hidden Dangers in ‘Healthy’ Foods That Cause Disease and Weight Gain” has gained widespread media attention, reigniting the discussion — and concern — about lectins.3,4 Gundry has also completed a human study on lectins. In the Selfhacked interview above, he discusses some of his findings, and the reasoning behind his lectin avoidance diet.

    There’s a load of interesting information there, so I recommend taking the time to watch it, and/or read through the accompanying article.5 Many are now familiar with the problems of gluten, but lectins could potentially be just as problematic. That’s not to say the issue lacks controversy. There’s plenty of that to go around. Still, I believe the issue of lectins — toxic lectins, to be more exact — in the diet warrants a closer look.

    While Gundry goes so far as to declare lectins the greatest danger in the American diet, especially for those with autoimmune disease, the reality is likely to be far different. Authority Nutrition6,7 points out that lectins in small amounts can actually provide valuable health benefits, including immune and inflammation modulation, and that problems will only arise when you’re getting high amounts of them.

    Indeed, I believe it would be a mistake to assume all lectins are bad for you. For example, avocados contain the lectin agglutinin (persea Americana agglutinin),8 but that hardly places them on the list of foods to avoid! Avocados are among the healthiest foods I can think of, and research9 shows the agglutinin found in avocado is devoid of specificity for carbs. It interacts with proteins and polyamino acids instead.

    Beans, on the other hand, not only contain lectins that can cause problems for many people, they also have the added drawback of being high in net carbs, and are therefore best avoided in the initial transitional stages of a ketogenic diet. So, there are pros and cons to consider, depending on the food in question. The presence of lectin is by no means a sole determinant. That said, certain lectins have more potent toxic or allergenic effects,10 and the lectins found in beans fall into this category.
    Lectins and Their Harmful Effects

    Among the most problematic lectin-containing foods11,12 are wheat and other seeds of the grass family,13 beans, soy and other legumes, peanuts, and members of the nightshade family14 such as eggplants, potatoes, tomatoes and peppers.

    Grains and legumes such as black beans, soybeans, lima beans, kidney beans and lentils contain the highest amounts. Generally speaking, lectins are a type of glyca-binding protein, meaning proteins that bind to carbohydrates in your body. There are many types of lectins, and the main difference between them is the type of sugar each prefers and binds to in your body.

    As noted by Dave Asprey, founder of,15 “One of the reasons wheat is so bad for you is that the lectin in wheat is attracted to glucosamine, the polysaccharide that covers your joints.” Some — including wheat germ agglutinin (WGA), found in wheat and other grass-family seeds — bind to specific receptor sites on your intestinal mucosal cells and interfere with the absorption of nutrients across your intestinal wall.

    As such, they act as "antinutrients," and can have a detrimental effect on your gut microbiome by shifting the balance of your bacterial flora — a common precursor to leaky gut.
    Lectins Are Highly Inflammatory

    One major concern is that most lectins are proinflammatory, meaning they trigger inflammation and create advanced glycation end products. C-reactive protein (CRP) is one example of the many lectins you have circulating in your body right now, and it’s used as a marker of inflammation.

    They are also immunotoxic (capable of stimulating a hyperimmune response), neurotoxic and cytotoxic, meaning they’re toxic to cells and may induce apoptosis (cell death). Certain lectins may also increase your blood viscosity by binding to your red blood cells.

    This makes the blood cells sticky, resulting in abnormal clotting. Some lectins (such as WGA) may even interfere with gene expression and disrupt endocrine function. Lectins also promote leptin resistance, thereby increasing your risk of obesity. All of these factors can predispose you to disease.
    Who Should Avoid Beans and Other Lectin-Rich Foods?

    People who may need to be particularly careful with lectin-containing foods — specifically those in the nightshade family, all grains, legumes and beans — include those struggling with inflammatory or autoimmune conditions,16,17 including but not limited to:

    Thyroid dysfunction (especially Hashimoto’s thyroiditis)
    Heart disease

    Caution may also be warranted if you’re taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, as they’ve been shown to increase gut permeability.18 This allows toxic lectins to enter your bloodstream, thereby raising your risk of experiencing an adverse reaction.
    Avoid Beans During Initial Stage of Ketogenic Diet

    Foods high in both net carbs (total carbohydrates minus fiber) and lectins deliver double the harm, and this includes grains and beans. In fact, I recommend abstaining from both grains and beans during the initial stages of my metabolic mitochondrial therapy (MMT) program, which involves cyclical nutritional ketosis, detailed in my new book, “Fat for Fuel.”

    Once you’re through the initial stage where strictly limiting net carbs is crucial, and your body is efficiently burning fat for fuel, then beans (and other net carbs such as grains) can be reincorporated, especially during your “feasting” days. Feast-and-famine cycling or pulsing is an important component of the MMT program. This simply means you cycle in and out of nutritional ketosis rather than staying in ketosis indefinitely.

    Initially, you limit your intake of net carbs to 40 or 50 grams per day and replace them with healthy fats. This will transition your body into primarily burning fat for fuel and radically reduce your risk for most chronic diseases. If your insulin level is below 3, then your carbohydrate consumption may be ideal for you even if it’s higher than 40 or 50 grams. However, if your insulin level is higher, then you are best advised to scale back net carbs from your diet.

    The higher your insulin levels are, the fewer carbohydrates you should eat. Unless your fasting insulin is below 5, avoid carbs like beans, legumes and grains such as rice, quinoa and oats in this initial phase. These foods not only drive your insulin levels up but also increase your chances of becoming leptin resistant, which interferes with your ability to lose weight.

    Once your body is burning fat for fuel, you then begin cycling in and out of ketosis. As a general rule, I recommend increasing your net carbs and protein one or two days a week — days on which you can go as high as 100 grams or more of net carbs — and then cycling back into ketosis on the remaining five or six days. During these high-carb days, beans are acceptable if you like them. Just be sure to cook them properly to neutralize most of the lectins.
    Why Beans Must Be Carefully Cooked

    Red kidney beans contain the highest amounts of the toxic lectin phytohaemagglutinin. Many other beans also contain it, albeit in lower amounts, including white kidney beans and Greek butter beans. This lectin is why you should never eat beans raw or undercooked, lest you come down with bloody vomiting and other symptoms reminiscent of severe food poisoning. As few as five undercooked beans can cause severe symptoms.

    Cooking at high heat deactivates this lectin, making the beans safe to eat. Research has shown cooked red kidney beans contain only 200 to 400 hemagglutinating units (hau), compared to the 20,000 to 70,000 hau found in the raw beans. While most people would never consider eating dry beans without cooking them, skipping steps or undercooking them are common kitchen faux pas that send many to the hospital. As noted in The Atlantic:19

    “Stories of lectin poisoning are not especially rare. In ‘The Independent’20 the food writer Vicky Jones describes a dinner party in which she used Greek butter beans in a dish without boiling them first. Soon everyone was violently ill. It came on so quickly that before they could consider going to the emergency room, death seemed preferable to [trekking to the] hospital. Jones recovered fully, as most lectin-poisoned people do.”

    General Cooking Recommendations and Other Lectin-Reducing Strategies

    Here are some general preparation and cooking guidelines to reduce toxic lectins in beans:

    • Soak the beans in water for at least 12 hours before cooking, frequently changing the water. Adding baking soda to the soaking water will boost the neutralization of lectins even further21

    • Rinse the beans and discard the water used for soaking

    • Cook for at least 15 minutes on HIGH heat. Cooking beans on too-low a heat can actually increase toxicity levels up to five times or more.22 Avoid any recipe calling for dry bean flour, as the dry heat of your oven will not efficiently destroy the lectins

    • The best way to destroy lectins is to use a pressure cooker.23,24,25 Many swear by the InstaPot,26 a multipurpose pressure cooker. Avoid slow cookers, as they will actually increase lectin content due to the low temperature used.

    A study27 that compared the phytic acid content of soaked peas that were then either boiled regularly or cooked in a pressure cooker found pressure cooking reduced phytic acid content by 54 percent, compared to 29 percent through regular boiling. Pressure cooking may also preserve more nutrients than other cooking methods

    Sprouting and fermenting will also dramatically reduce the lectin content of foods that contain it, making them far safer. This is one of the reasons why traditionally sprouted grain bread is easier on your digestion than conventional bread made with processed, unsprouted grains.

  9. #49
    Dietary Lectins: Everything You Need to Know
    By Joe Leech, Dietitian |
    Reviewed on May 29, 2017

    Asian Woman With EdamameVery few foods are perfect.

    Most of them have both “good” and “bad” aspects.

    Lectins are among the “bad” things that are frequently mentioned.

    Lectins are a family of proteins found in pretty much all foods, especially legumes and grains.

    Frequent consumption of large amounts of lectins has been shown to damage the lining of the digestive system (1).

    Some people claim that this causes increased gut permeability and drives autoimmune disease.

    It is true that lectins can cause harm, but there is more to the story than we’ve been told. For example, it is easy to get rid of them with the right preparation methods.
    What Are Lectins and Where do They Come From?

    Lectins are a diverse family of carbohydrate-binding proteins found in nature. All plants and animals contain them (2).

    These proteins play various roles in normal physiological functions, including those of our own bodies.

    For example, they help cells and molecules stick to each other, and perform various functions related to the immune system.

    Although all foods contain some lectins, only about 30% of the foods we eat contain them in significant amounts (3).

    Legumes (including beans, soybeans and peanuts) and grains contain the most lectins, followed by dairy, seafood and plants in the nightshade family.

    Their function in plants is not clear, but they may have evolved as a survival mechanism.

    Most plants do not want to be eaten, so having these damaging molecules may discourage animals from eating them in large amounts.

    Just like other animals, humans are vulnerable to the toxicity of lectins. Concentrated amounts can cause digestive issues and long-term health problems.

    In the case of the poison ricin (a lectin from the castor oil plant), they can even cause death.

    Bottom Line: Lectins are a family of carbohydrate-binding proteins. They are found in all foods, but the highest amounts are found in legumes and grains.

    Lectins Can be Harmful to Humans in Large Amounts

    Soybean Seedling

    Humans have problems digesting most lectins.

    In fact, they are highly resistant to the body’s digestive enzymes, and can easily pass through the stomach unchanged (1).

    The “stickiness” of lectins makes them prone to attaching to the intestinal wall.

    There, they disrupt the body’s routine maintenance of cells, so the everyday wear-and-tear that occurs in the intestine gradually worsens (4, 5, 6, 7).

    This is the main reason why excessive lectin intake causes digestive distress.

    The most extensively studied lectins are called phytohemagglutinins, which are mostly found in plants, especially legumes.

    Uncooked (raw) legumes like kidney beans are the biggest sources of these lectins.

    Eating raw kidney beans can lead to lectin poisoning, the main symptoms of which include severe abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea (8).

    However, keep in mind that humans don’t typically eat raw legumes. They are always cooked before consumption.

    Bottom Line: Lectins can cause digestive distress in humans. Some lectins, such as the phytohaemagglutinins in raw legumes, can be downright poisonous.

    Overexposure May Increase Gut Permeability and Lead to Autoimmune Diseases

    Kidney Beans

    Repeated exposure to lectins may eventually damage the gut wall.

    Unwanted substances can then more easily penetrate the gut, and may enter the bloodstream.

    This condition of increased gut permeability is often called “leaky gut” (9).

    When lectins “leak” into the bloodstream, they can interact with glycoproteins on cell surfaces (10).

    Lectins can also interact with antibodies, which are a core component of the immune system. This may cause an immune reaction not only against the lectins, but also the body tissues to which the lectins are bound (11).

    This type of response is known as an autoimmune reaction, where the immune system mistakenly starts attacking the body’s own structures. This is how lectins may increase the risk of autoimmune diseases.

    Bottom Line: Repeated exposure to large amounts of lectins may increase gut permeability. Some researchers believe that dietary lectins can raise the risk of autoimmune disease.

    Cooking Degrades Most of The Lectins in Foods

    Proponents of the paleo diet claim that lectins are harmful.

    Due to the lectins (and other anti-nutrients), they say that people should remove legumes and grains from their diet.

    Girl Eating Beans From a Can

    However, what is often left out of the discussion, is that lectins can be virtually eliminated with cooking.

    In fact, boiling legumes in water eliminates almost all lectin activity (12, 13).

    While raw red kidney beans contain 20,000 to 70,000 hau (hemagglutinating unit), cooked kidney beans contain only 200-400 hau, a massive drop.

    In one study, lectins in soybeans were mostly eliminated when the beans were boiled for only 5 to 10 minutes (14).

    It makes no sense to avoid legumes because of lectin activity in raw legumes. People don’t eat raw legumes, they are always cooked first.

    Bottom Line: Cooking at high temperatures effectively eliminates lectin activity from foods like legumes, making them perfectly safe to eat.

    Lectins Can be Reduced Further With Soaking, Sprouting and Fermenting

    Holding Beans

    Cooking is not the only way to degrade lectins in foods.

    Soaking or sprouting seeds and grains helps to eliminate lectins and other anti-nutrients (15, 16).

    Fermenting the foods can also work, by allowing friendly bacteria to digest the anti-nutrients (17, 18, 19).

    This is why traditionally prepared whole grains are much healthier. Populations that traditionally ate grains usually treated them first with some form of fermentation.

    Grains today may be more problematic because they are no longer prepared like they used to be, and are therefore higher in anti-nutrients.

    Bottom Line: Soaking, sprouting and fermenting foods can eliminate lectins and other anti-nutrients, especially from grains.

    Should You be Concerned About Lectins?

    It is true that dietary lectins are toxic in large doses, but humans don’t eat large doses.

    The lectin-rich foods we consume, like grains and legumes, are almost always cooked in some way beforehand.

    This leaves only a negligible amount of lectins, making these foods safe to eat for the majority of people.

    People with autoimmune or digestive problems may respond well to a diet that excludes most lectins, including those from dairy, eggs and plants of the nightshade family, like potatoes.

    However, the amounts in foods are probably way too low for this to be a real concern for otherwise healthy individuals.

    Most of these lectin-containing foods are high in vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and all sorts of beneficial compounds.

    The benefits of these healthy nutrients far outweigh the negative effects of trace amounts of lectins.

  10. #50
    Perilla oil
    Perilla oil is an edible vegetable oil derived from perilla seeds. Having a distinct nutty aroma and taste, the oil pressed from the toasted perilla seeds is used as a flavor enhancer, condiment, and cooking oil in Korean cuisine. Wikipedia
    Polyunsaturated omega‑3 omega‑6: 65-86 g 52-64 g 14 g
    Saturated: 6-10 g
    Fat: 100 g

  11. #51


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