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The 8 Dangers of Eating Lectins (w. Science)

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Cutting out lectins is a big reason why the carnivore diet works so well.

One of those chemical weapons plants use to fend off predators are lectins which causes numerous issues. Lectins are a class of carbohydrate binding proteins. Most of them occur in plant foods, specifically within the plant’s seeds.

Why? The lectins are protection for the offspring in the seeds [[*](https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK22545/)]

Here’s the 8 reasons why you should not eat them (WITH CITATIONS).

1. *Gut Issues / Leaky Gut:* Many lectins are resistant to digestion. We cannot break them down, meaning when consumed they access our gut without any deterrence. When they reach the gut, they bind to surface linings on gut cells. There, they block nutrient absorption in the gut wall, change the gut flora and can break open the intestinal wall [[*](https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15302522)]
2. *Autoimmune Issues: M*any autoimmune diseases such as celiac disease, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis are characterized by increased intestinal permeability, suggesting that lectins that damage the gut are involved in the development of these diseases.[[*](https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22109896)]
3. *Insulin Resistance:* Lectins add one more mechanism: when they reach the bloodstream, they can bind insulin receptors and thereby interfere with insulin’s action.[[*](https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10489816)]
4. *Obesity, modulated through Leptin:* Leptin is a hormone that inhibits hunger. Leptin resistance is a significant contributor to obesity, simply because you cannot stop eating as long as you are still hungry. Well, guess what? Lectins can bind leptin receptors and thereby interfere with leptin’s action.[[*](https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17983356)]
5. *Inflammation:* Lectins are known to increase the production of inflammatory cytokines, small molecules that are involved in the inflammatory response.[[*](https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9918681)],[[*](https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17668318)] These proinflammatory cytokines may even disrupt insulin signaling – one more mechanism by which lectins may contribute to insulin resistance.
6. *Atherosclerosis:* A lectin-reduced diet has been shown to improve endothelial dysfunction. [[*](https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1161/atvb.33.suppl_1.a137)] Endothelial dysfunction impairs blood vessel function, a cause of hypertension and an early sign of heart disease.
7. *Neurodegenerative Disorders:* Animal studies have shown that lectins interfere with dopamine function.[[*](https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2016.00007/full)] Dopamine is a signaling molecule in the brain that allows nerve cells to communicate with each other. It is usually known as a hormone that is released when we feel happy, but it also has crucial functions in motor control. Parkinson’s disease patients don’t produce enough dopamine. The observation that lectins affect dopamine-producing neurons could be an explanation why vegetarians have higher rates of Parkinson’s disease.[[*](https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?Db=pubmed&Cmd=ShowDetailView&TermToSearch=2797455)]
8. *Nephropapy:* Gliadin, the lectin that is found in wheat and causes celiac disease, can bind to IgA antibodies and cause IgA nephropathy. In IgA nephropathy, IgA antibodies aggregate and build deposits. These deposits inflame and damage the glomeruli, the filtering units in the kidney. In a study with IgA nephropathy patients, avoidance of gluten reduced kidney damage[[*](https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1600133)]

Foods highest in lectins:

* **Grains:** wheat, barley, rye, corn, and oats
* **Nuts:** hazelnuts, walnuts, macadamias, and other nuts
* **Legumes:** beans, lentils, peas, soybeans, peanuts, and chickpeas
* **Nightshades:** tomatoes, potatoes. eggplants, and peppers

Read [more here](https://carnivoreaurelius.com/lectins/)

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