LECTINS – COMMON FOOD POISONS
By Dr. Lawrence Wilson
© May 2017, L.D. Wilson Consultants, Inc.
All information in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.
Definition. Lectins are a group of toxic chemicals found in certain plant-based foods including wheat, other grains, beans, soy, peanuts, pseudo-grains and seeds. They are also found in the nightshade family of vegetables – tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant and peppers.
Avoiding lectins is one reason that the nutritional balancing diets forbid the nightshade vegetables, wheat, soy, seeds and peanuts. The diet also limits the intake of beans and grains.
Common examples of lectins are:
Prolamins, so named because they are high in prolamine. They are found in seeds and in gluten.
Agglutinins, that cause clumping of red blood cells. These are found in the seed coatings of grains. Genetically modified crops have higher levels of these highly toxic chemicals.
Galactin-3, found on the surface of most cancer cells. It promotes angiogenesis, which is the way cancer grows by forming new blood vessels.
WHAT IS WRONG WITH LECTINS?
Many lectins are proinflammatory, immunotoxic, neurotoxic and cytotoxic. Certain lectins may also increase blood viscosity, interfere with gene expression, and disrupt endocrine function.
Worse with vegetarian diets. These diets usually contain more lectins because they usually contain more grains, beans, soy, peanuts and seeds. This is one reason we do not recommend vegetarian diets. For details, read Vegetarian Diets.
Worse in GMO foods. In general, GMO foods contain more lectins. This is just one reason they should be either banned or at least labeled properly.
Worse in high-grain diets. Lectins are also a big problem in diets high in grains, which is very common. Grains can be divided into too groups:
True grains are the seeds of grasses such as barley, oats, rice, rye, millet, wheat, teff, corn, kamut, spelt and possibly wild rice.
Pseudo-grains are the seeds from broadleaf palnts. They include amaramth, buckwheat, chia and quinoa. Both types of grain contain some lectins.
Avoiding lectins is one reason that in the nutritional balancing diets grain intake is limited, as are legumes. Instead, we recommend diets high in cooked vegetables, which are safe from these toxic chemicals.