The issue of lectins has become more well know recently due to the work of Steven Gundry MD and others. For your chronic patient lowering the lectin load in the diet as well as taking lectin binding agents can make major shifts in your patients’ health.

Lectins are carbohydrate binding proteins found in your foods. Though they probably exist in all foods to some extent, they are highest in beans, grains, grain and bean fed animal products, nuts and seeds, and nightshades.

Lectins are resistant to breakdown by the body’s digestive enzymes and to most methods of cooking. Eating them in excess or even in small amounts in susceptible people can contribute to a myriad of health problems (especially in patients with dysbiosis and/or food sensitivities).

They are a major contributor to increased intestinal permeability (“leaky gut”) (1). As a result of leaky gut they can enter the bloodstream, react with antibodies and lead to various autoimmune “diseases” depending on your weakened areas, genetics, etc. One study showed specifically how they interact with enterocytes and lymphocytes, leading to antigenic stimulation, and cause the expression of rheumatoid arthritis (2). They can also make your body more prone to dysbiosis.

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