We can see that lectins in oats, grains & legumes have always been toxic. But given the choice between starvation & some serious health trade-offs, humans will always opt for survival. Without grains & beans, civilization would not have occurred.
Plants attack your defense system with their own three-pronged approach, making you feel sick on several fronts.
Strategy # 1:
The first mission of lectins is to pry apart tight junctions between enterocytes. Normally lectins should not be able to squeeze past the mucosal cells. But if your defense lines are breached, lectins can pry apart tight junctions by binding with receptors on certain cells to produce Zonulin. Zonulin opens up the spaces between enterocytes, which enables lectins to access the surrounding tissues, lymph nodes, or bloodstream. Once there, they act like any foreign protein, prompting your immune system to attack them.
Plants purposely make lectins that are virtually indistinguishable from other proteins in your body, a tactic called molecular mimicry. By mimicking human proteins, lectins fool the host’s immune system, causing it to attack the body’s own proteins. Multiple studies of arthritic patients have demonstrated elevated antibody levels for gliadin which is the principal component of wheat gluten. Gluten-free diets have been shown to be effective in reducing arthritic symptoms in celiac patients.
Lectins can bind to important receptors on the cell walls, either giving wrong information or blocking release of the correct information. For example, the lectin WGA bears a striking resemblance to insulin. It can attach to insulin receptor as if it were the actual insulin molecule, but unlike the real hormone, it never lets go – with devastating results, including reduced muscle mass, starved brain cells, and plenty of fat.
Gluten, the protein found in wheat, barley,rye, and often oats, is just one form of lectin.
All gluten foods contain lectins. Almost all grains & pseudo-grains contain glutenlike lectins. So-called gluten-free products are actually full of lectins in the form of flours made from corn, oats, buckwheat, quinoa,and other grains & pseudo-grains, as well as soybeans & other legumes.
Wheat germ agglutinin (WGA) is found in Bran. This means that white bread contains gluten but not WGA, while whole wheat bread contains both.
WGA is a small protein compared with most other lectins. So even if the gut mucosal barrier has not been compromised, WGA can pass through the walls of intestine more easily than other lectins can. WGA also:
- Behaves like insulin, resulting in weight gain & insulin resistance.
- Blocks sugar from getting into muscle cells, creating more fat, & starving muscles.
- Interferes with digestion of protein.
- Promotes inflammation by releasing free radicals, which can thin the gut mucosal lining
- Cross-reacts with other proteins,creating antibodies that can induce autoimmune responses.
- Crosses blood-brain barrier & cause neurological problems
- Interferes with DNA replication
- Causes atherosclerosis
- Contributes to development of nephritis extracted from the book Plant Paradox.