Focus on Lectins with Dr. Vranken

We hear a lot about the pro-inflammatory effect of gluten on the digestive tract, but this problem could be the tree hiding the forest.

In order to survive, many seeds have “made” a hard shell (the fruit core) that protects them from predators, but grains and oilseeds are mechanically unprotected seeds. They, therefore, have a more “chemical” protection against predators: lectins. These non-digestible vegetable proteins cause digestive discomfort if the seeds are eaten raw, such as gas and bloating or even diarrhea and vomiting. This is a way of discouraging the predator from consuming them. When passing through the digestive tract, they can adhere to intestinal cells (which gluten does for example) and cause various inflammation problems there. They are also considered as anti-nutrients because they can decrease the absorption of calcium, zinc, iron …

The hunter-gatherer ate little or no lectins and our digestive tract has hardly changed since. With the advent of agriculture, the settled farmer cooked his food for long hours … our current way of life favors rapid cooking methods which expose us, among other things, to the presence of lectins in our meals.

And our digestive tract is not very adapted to it.

Indeed, thanks to gastric acidity partial digestion of lectins takes place and the intestinal mucus also protects us against inflammation due to lectins.

But the daily consumption of lectins can undermine this defense system which is not always so efficient in some of us. Some people have insufficient mucus production. This can cause the appearance of irritable bowel syndrome or a microbiota weakened by overconsumption of poorly prepared lectins.

Fortunately, soaking, germination, and prolonged cooking of seeds and oilseeds can greatly reduce the concentration of lectins.

It takes time and organization. Soak your seeds and oilseeds the day before consumption, germinate them, cook them longer. This sounds difficult in our busy world, but it is a genuine source of health.