What are lectins and why should I test for them?

Lectins are a class of sugar-binding proteins that are largely present in plants. Evolutionarily, lectins serve as part of the defense mechanism of plants. They serve to "clump" or agglutinize. If a person is sensitive to a particular lectin, it can be problematic to human health. Here are the top 3 reasons why. (1) Lectins are resistant to digestion and can overfeed certain species of gut bacteria leading to gut dysbiosis. (2) Many lectins have anti-nutrient effects and can damage the intestinal epithelial cells and open-up intestinal tight junctions, contributing to intestinal permeability. (3) Lectins can over-stimulate the immune system. If someone is sensitive to a particular food lectin, they will produce antibodies to that lectin which can cause an immune response and increase inflammation.

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