Toxic Lectins Report
by Kato D. Haws
Introduction: Krispin Sullivan, CN reports that all foods contain lectins, some safe and some toxic. Lectins are a special type of protein capable of causing biochemical changes to cells lining the gut. If a person has unusual health problems it can be helpful to become aware of sources of toxic lectins and limit or avoid them..
According to Sullivan toxic lectins are found in certain common foods: dairy products, soy, grains, eggs, legumes (including peanuts), and nightshade family plants (e.g. peppers, eggplant, tomatoes and potatoes), including oils and other derivatives from these foods. John B. Symes, D.V.M., states that the worst offenders, opening the door to damage by other toxic lectins, are cow dairy products, wheat, rye, barley, soy and to a lesser degree corn. Symes states that goat dairy is safe, but not cow.
Symes states that normal dietary fats (not trans fats) and carbohydrates and glycoproteins from fruits and veggies such as pectin from apples block toxic lectins. However, Sullivan states the safest policy is to avoid them.
Mechanism of Damage: Simplified theory is that gut cells act as locks for what is allowed into the bloodstream. In some people it appears that if the right toxic lectin comes in contact with a lock it can pass the lock and damage the cell, allowing it and other non-valid substances to enter the bloodstream.
Far Reaching Effects of Toxic Lectins: When non-valid substances enter the bloodstream there are a variety of bizarre symptoms that can result. The following conditions are some of those that can be affected by toxic lectins:
- arthritis, both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis
- allergy, asthma
- high cholesterol, atherosclerosis, congestive heart failure
- high blood pressure
- diabetes, low blood sugar, hyperinsulinemia
- headaches, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, neuropathy
- IBS, Crohn's, colitis, celiac disease (as well as sub clinical gluten sensitivity)
- chronic candida, repeated gut pathogen infections
- osteoporosis, malabsorption syndromes
- failure to thrive, obesity
- autoimmune diseases such as thyroiditis, lupus, MS, Parkinson's
- dementia, Alzheimer's, brain fogginess
- autism, ADD/ADHD
- seizures, epilepsy, schizophrenia
- hormonal imbalances including adrenal insufficiency, low testosterone, PMS.
- cancer, several types including breast
Elimination Diet -- this is generally how an elimination diet works:
Stage I -- Two-week preparation period:
- Only the following are eaten for two weeks, preferably cooked: fruit (other than citrus), berries (other than strawberries), vegetables (other than nightshade), and lamb (reportedly the safest meat). [No cow dairy products, soy, eggs, grains and their derivatives, hydrogenated oils (trans-fats), caffeine, sugar, aspartame and other artificial sweeteners, MSG, preservatives (other than vitamin-E).]
- If symptoms improve then stage II is used to find additional tolerated foods. If symptoms do not improve then lectins are probably not the problem.
Stage II -- Finding additional foods that can be tolerated:
- A new food is chosen to test (see notes). Raw foods may be tested at this stage.
- A lot of the new type of food is eaten for one day, along with other food.
- If a food causes the return of symptoms within two days after the test day it is avoided (e.g. headaches, allergies, bowel problems, pains, sleeplessness, etc.).
- One or two more days are waited before testing another food. (See Sullivan)
It is recommended that a person keep good records of foods eaten and symptom changes. It is certainly recommended that a person check with their doctor before making dietary changes, especially if they are on any medication.
1. Symes recommends that cow dairy products, wheat, rye, barley, and soy and their derivatives be avoided permanently. They coat the lining of the upper small intestine with “glue” contributing to mal-absorption of calcium and other micro nutrients. He states that corn has the same problem to a lesser degree and moderation should be used with corn.
2. Symes states that caffeine, aspartame and other artificial sweeteners, MSG, and artificial preservatives are toxic and should be avoided entirely.
3. Symes says that toxic lectins cause elevated cholesterol; and both Symes and the Mayo Clinic condemn trans fats for their affect on arteriosclerosis. Symes states that they act as ‘“solvents” that allow things into the walls of the arteries of those that consume them and set the stage for the inflammatory process that follows.’
4. Symes states that low fat diets are very harmful because natural dietary fats block toxic lectins to some degree. (Just the opposite is true of trans fats however).
About the author:
Kato Haws Jr. was born in Mesa, Arizona in 1943. The son of Kato D.
Haws and Maxine Haws. He first became interested in health foods at
age 19, when he worked for a summer with a man who was into them.
Experimenting with his own body Kato has come full circle on a lot of
issues. Some of the biggest questions for him have been grains and
animal products. Since his first cholesterol test in 1989 of 302, he
has worked on dietary ways to lower it. His latest theory is that low
fat vegan diets are not the answer, but rather than toxic lectins are
the culprit. He feels he may have inherited a sub-clinical intolerance
to gluten grains from his mother, and currently (Dec. 2009) avoids cow
dairy, wheat, rye, barley, soy, and usually corn. As of Dec. 2009 he is still a vegan
but does not consider a little animal products to be harmful, except
cow dairy. He believes that trans fats (hydrogenated and partially
hydrogenated oils) are at the root of much of modern disease. See his
web page for his comments and history of readings of cholesterol: