Lectins are present in almost all plant and animal products in different amounts. They include seeds, legumes, dairy products, potatoes, and tomatoes. Wheat and all other grains contain the highest concentrations of lectins.


Lectins are sugar-binding proteins and can bind to cell membranes and cause biochemical changes in it. Lectins are not all bad but, as with most things in life, consuming too much can be detrimental.



Understanding the role of lectins has enabled health seekers and their practitioners to achieve new levels of wellness. It has also showed the underlying cause of many so called "mystery diseases" which plague modern humans. Auto-immune conditions and the increase in metabolic diseases can be better understood in the light of lectin influences. Inflammatory diseases can also now be better resolved by sufferers and health practitioners.

"Do not confuse lectins with leptin, lactose, or pectin. Lectins are proteins that bind to carbohydrates or glycoproteins (proteins that contain carbohydrate chains). Proteins termed lectins (from the Latin legere, "to select") can bind to specific carbohydrate molecules. Lectins allow cells to bind or communicate with each other. They are found in every living organism, including viruses, bacteria, and most foods, to one degree or another, but most of them are harmless. Scientists have been studying lectins since 1884.

Some scientists believe lectins are part of a plant’s protection mechanisms. Plants also use lectins to communicate with their environment, for cell organisation, and as reserve proteins, among other functions."


Thanks to AuthorityDiet.com for the infographic.

Scientists have delved into the impact of lectins on consumers of lectins – these include humans, animals insects and fish.

The following conditions can be linked to susceptible people (lectin sensitive people):
- Hormonal issues
- Leaky gut wall
- Over-stimulated immunity
- Auto-immune conditions
- Inflammation
- Dysbiosis of gut flora
- Abnormal cell growth
- Insulin resistance
- obesity, brain dysfunction and many others.

There are various theories about why so many people have become overloaded and sensitive to lectins. In summary, they are twofold: plants have been altered by modern agriculture (more defensive) AND digestive integrity has been compromised by chemical disruption (antibiotics). Animal husbandry has resorted to feeding grain to feedlot animals, causing lectin loading in animal products.
The result is that lectins enter the bloodstream of victims resulting in a disease reaction in those who are genetically sensitive to this insult.

The solution is to reduce lectin overload and to restore gut wall permeability.


Because we don’t digest lectins, we often produce antibodies to them. Almost everyone has antibodies to dietary lectins in their body. This means our responses vary. 

Certain foods can become intolerable to someone after an immune system change or the gut is injured from another source. Particular lectins can stimulate an immune system response.

Lectin ingestion can cause flatulence. Consuming legumes and grains in their raw form can even result in nausea, diarrhoea and vomiting. Researchers speculate that many supposed causes of bacterial food poisoning may be lectin poisoning.

Since lectins are so widely distributed in food items commonly consumed by humans, and have been for many centuries, most nutrition experts assume they don’t pose a significant risk to human health.

Still, chronic ingestion of untreated high-lectin foods may call for further consideration. If you consume a diet with plenty of lectin-rich foods, try to reduce the amount by soaking, fermenting, sprouting and/or cooking.

There are proven protocols to reduce lectin overload and to restore gut wall permeability. 

Metabole can help with an appropriate plan.

dr charl du randt

Dr Charl du Randt is the CEO and in-house Naturopath at Metabole. Metabole has more than 20,000 success stories on record, and continues to change lives every day.

Both Dr. Charl and his wife, Malinda conduct lectures, talks, take part in radio discussions and have contributed to various magazines and newspapers. They encourage the subject of lifestyle management from a Scriptural point of view.

Dr Charl du Randt is also the author of Demonised Doctoring.

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