Greetings Fellow Gundrites!
This month's Newletter covers the topic of LECTINS. Those of you who have visited with me in the last year know that invariably the conversation will come around to Lectin avoidance, particularly if you have arthritis, take thyroid medication,
have other auto-immune diseases (yes, plain old arthritis is an autoimmune disease), have interstitial cystitis, or diabetes, heart disease, or are just plain overweight or obese. All of these conditions have as their underlying causation, our response to Lectins. So what the heck are these guys?
Lectins are large protein molecules that have the unique ability to bind to the complex sugar molecules that make up a large part of the surface of every cell of every living organism. Because of this ability, plants and animals use Lectins as one method of communication between cells, just like the USB port on your computer only accepts a plug that matches that port. No match, no fit, no matter how hard you push! In fact, Lectin, is the Latin word for "I choose".
Whenever I say "Lectin" many of you think I am saying "Leptin", the satiety hormone, or "Lecithin" an emollient from soy used to make things creamy. We'll get back to "Leptin" in a bit, because "Lectins" love to bind to the receptor for Leptin. Confusing, isn't it?
Lectins are also used by plants as a defense system against their predators, animals. Whether you have ever thought about it, plants were here on Earth for a very long time before the first animals arrived. They had it pretty good in those days. But with the arrival of animals, plants started to get eaten! In fact, you, and all other animals, are plant predators. Contrary to popular myth, plants don't like us, they don't want us to eat them, and they certainly don't want us to eat their potential offspring, their seeds. As you learned from "Dr Gundry's Diet Evolution", plants have an entire arsenal of tricks to avoid having their seeds eaten, but in my opinion, Lectins are the best.
There are so many Lectins in beans, that five raw Kidney Beans will kill a human by the Lectins binding to the sugar molecules on the surface of our red blood cells, making our red blood cells clump together and our blood coagulate! In fact, this ability of Lectins to attach to the sugar molecules of red blood cells is how your blood type is determined! We just mix some known Lectins with your red blood cells and see which Lectins make your blood cells clump. So powerful are the Lectins in beans, that the CDC believes that 50% of all "food poisoning" cases in this country are actually caused by the ingestion of undercooked beans or other Lectin containing foods.
If you think Kidney Beans have a powerful Lectin, Ricin, the Lectin of the Castor Bean, a native Southern California plant, is one of the most deadly poisons known to man. A single molecule, inhaled or injected, will instantly kill! No wonder its so popular in espionage circles! Plants don't like us! Any questions?
Since Lectins are used by plants and animals as part of cellular communication systems, many researchers including myself believe that plants use Lectins to disrupt cellular communications in animals. To use modern terms, Lectins hack into the operating system of your computer as a cyber attack. In this case, a Lectin attack. Sadly, it is difficult to destroy plant Lectins. In truth, pressure cooking is the only way to destroy Lectins. Soaking, with frequent water changes, can remove many bean Lectins, which explains why soaking seems to help rid the consumer of beans of abdominal discomfort; but most remain.
Gastric Acid is capable of breaking down some Lectins, but not most. Interestingly, if you are taking an acid reducing drug, you are allowing Lectins free access into you! Sounds like a great idea! Kind of like inviting the Hell's Angels to your next Super Bowl Party. How's that to get the party started!
Once in your intestines, Lectins bind to your intestinal walls and act like chisels to force apart the cells that protect the rest of you from the outside world. Once inside of you, Lectins then can bind to your joint tissue, your bladder tissue (interstitial cystitis), your pancreas, your thyroid, your blood vessel linings and promote attack by our white blood cells.
Those of you who have had our new Singulex Lab tests know that we can now measure a number of these inflammatory hormones; those who have had Berkeley Labs, know how important CRP and Lp-PLA2 numbers are to me for assessing how much you and your blood vessels are under attack!
Lectins, in their cyber-attack mode, love to jam communication systems. For instance, most of you know that Insulin is the fat storage hormone. Insulin does this by binding to a receptor on each fat cell that tells the fat cell to take up (ingest) or make more fat. Once insulin is satisfied, it detaches from the fat cell and moves on. However, the Lectins of lentils, green peas, corn, potatoes, and wheat all attach to the same insulin receptor on fat cells, but once attached, never detach, endlessly telling the fat cell to store more fat! Works to fatten pigs and cows, works to fatten us! Moreover, fat cells, when they are full, manufacture a hormone called Leptin, which travels to your brain to tell your brain that you are full and should stop eating. Lectins just happen to bind to the receptor site for Leptin, blocking its effect on satiety. The more Lectins you eat, the hungrier you get! Now you know why Lay"s Potato Chips say: "Bet you can't eat just one!" Any questions? Enjoying your Lectin Cyberattack?
So, what to do? I have developed a Lectin Avoidance List which you will receive if you are one of my patients. You may also look up Lectin-containing foods on the Internet. The good news is that seaweeds and ground up shrimp shells bind Lectins. If you are swallowing MSM or Glucosamine tablets for your joints, your joint pain is not mysteriously getting better: MSM and Glucosamine are the Lectin binding sugars in shrimp shells! Take them before meals or do like me and the Thai people: eat your Shrimp whole! You will learn to love the crunch!
So, Limit the Lectins; Expand your Health!