Video

Fatty Acid Ratio In Food

The biological effects of the ω-3 and ω-6 fatty acids are mediated by their mutual interactions, but it is unclear whether the dietary ratio of omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids is important for human health.[1]

Ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats in the diets of hunter-gatherers

It has been claimed that among hunter-gatherer populations, omega-3 fats and omega-6 fats are typically consumed in roughly a 1:1 ratio.[2] At one extreme of the spectrum of hunter-gatherer diets, the Greenland Inuit, prior to the late Twentieth Century, consumed a diet in which omega-6s and omega-3s were consumed in a 1:2 ratio, thanks to a diet rich in cold-water fish (which are a rich source of omega-3s) and completely devoid of omega-6-rich seed oils.[3]

Optimal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats

To date, “no one knows what the optimal ratio in the diet is for these two families of fats.”[4] Susan Allport writes that the current ratio in Japan is associated with a very low incidence of heart and other diseases. A dietary ratio of 4:1 produces almost a 1:1 ratio of highly unsaturated fatty acids (HUFAs) in cell membranes.”[4][clarification needed]

Andrew Stoll, who advocates the consumption of the two fats in a 1:1 ratio, states, “Once in the body, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids follow parallel pathways, continually competing with each other for chemical conversion to various structures and molecules inside and outside the cells. Given this mechanism, it makes sense that the two fats might be required in approximately equal amounts.”[5]

Both Stoll and Allport assert that present-day diets in the developed world have departed dramatically from this ratio. It has been estimated that in developed countries, the ratio of Omega-6s to Omega-3s is closer to 15:1[6] Another estimate is that “[t]he diet consumed by the typical American tends to contain 14 – 25 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids.”[7][permanent dead link]

Fish

FoodCitationServing Size (g)Omega-6 fatty acids (mg)Omega-3 fatty acids (mg)Omega-6 : Omega-3 ratio
Atlantic Salmon, wild, raw[8]10017220181 : 11.7
Atlantic Sardines, canned in oil, drained[9]1 can
(92 g)
326013622.4 : 1
Tuna, canned in water, drained[10]1 can
(165 g)
14.84601 : 31.1
Tuna, canned in oil, drained[11]1 can
(171 g)
4,58834513.3 : 1
Cod, fresh and frozen[citation needed]4 oz
(113 g)
1006001 : 6
Mackerel, canned, drained[12]1 can
(361 g)
35749701 : 13.9
Swordfish, fresh and frozen, cooked[citation needed]4 oz
(113 g)
30017001 : 5.6
Crab, soft shell, cooked[citation needed]4 oz
(113 g)
1006001 : 6
Lobster, cooked[citation needed]4 oz
(113 g)
61201 : 20
Bluefish, fresh and frozen, cooked[citation needed]4 oz
(113 g)
30017001 : 5.6
Salmon, canned, drained[citation needed]4 oz
(113 g)
20022001 : 11
Smelt, rainbow[citation needed]4 oz
(113 g)
2005001 : 2.5
Scallops, Maine, fresh and frozen, cooked[citation needed]4 oz
(113 g)
1005001 : 5
Pacific herring[13]100 g24624181 : 9.8

Nuts and seeds

FoodCitationServing Size (g)Omega-6 (mg)Omega-3 (mg)Omega-6 : Omega-3 ratio
Almonds, dry roasted[14]1001206562010.8 : 1
Cashews[15]100778262125.5 : 1
Chia seeds[16]1005785175521 : 3
Coconut, raw[17]100366
Flax seeds[18]1005911228131 : 3.9
Hazelnuts, filberts[19]10078328790 : 1
Pecans[20]1002063098620.9 : 1
Pistachios, raw[21]1001320025452 : 1
Poppy seed[22]10028291273103.6 : 1
Pumpkin seeds, whole, roasted, without salt[23]100875977113.8 : 1
Sesame seeds, whole, dried[24]1002137237656.8 : 1
Sunflower seeds, kernels, dried[25]1002304874311.5 : 1
Walnuts[26]10033071200616.5 : 1
Sacha Inchi seeds[27]1 oz
(28 g)
548647711.15 : 1
Lentils, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt[28]100137373.7 : 1

Oils

FoodCitationServing SizeOmega-6 (mg)Omega-3 (mg)Omega-6 : Omega-3 ratio
Avocado oil[29]1 Tbsp (14 g)175413413.09 : 1
Butter[30]1 Tbsp (14 g)38244.18.7 : 1
Canola oil[31]1 Tbsp (14 g)261012792 : 1[32]
Coconut oil[33]1 Tbsp (14 g)243
Cod liver oil[34]1 Tbsp (14 g)12626641 : 21.1
Corn oil[35]1 Tbsp (14 g)722415746 : 1[32]
Cotton seed oil[36]1 Tbsp (14 g)695327257.5 : 1
Flax seed oil[37]1 Tbsp (14 g)171571961 : 4.2
Ghee[38]1 Tbsp (14 g)0.30.21.5:1
Grape seed oil[39]1 Tbsp (14 g)939513.5696 : 1
Hemp seed oil[40][41]???2:1-3:1 [note 1]
Lard[42]1 Tbsp (13 g)130012810.2 : 1
Olive oil[43]1 Tbsp (14 g)131810312.8 : 1
Palm oil[44]1 Tbsp (14 g)12282745.5 : 1
Peanut oil[45][full citation needed]1 Tbsp (14 g)4950
Sardine oil[46]1 Tbsp (14 g)27232531 : 12
Soybean oil (hydrogenated)[47]1 Tbsp (14 g)611637816.2 : 1
Soybean oil, (Unhydrogenated)[48]1 Tbsp (14 g)68079177.4 : 1[32]
Tallow (Grain Fed)[49]3.35%0.200%16.3 : 1
Tallow (Grass Fed)[49]1.2% (168 mg)0.8% (112 mg)1.4 : 1
Walnut oil[50]1 Tbsp (14 g)714114045.1 : 1

Grains and beans

FoodCitationServing Size (g)Omega-6 (mg)Omega-3 (mg)Omega-6 : Omega-3 ratio
Matpe (Vigna mungo bean), boiled[51]100243351 : 14
Peanut, All types, raw[52]1001569135320.3 : 1
Soybeans, dried, cooked[53]10044665987.5 : 1
Tofu, regular[54]10023803197.5 : 1
Nattō, regular[55]10054767347.5 : 1
Chickpeas, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt[56]10011134325.9 : 1

Green, leafy vegetables

FoodCitationServing Size (g)Omega-6 (mg)Omega-3 (mg)Omega-6 : Omega-3 ratio
Arugula raw[57]1 cup26341 : 1.3
Green leaf lettuce, fresh, raw[58]10024581 : 2.4
Red leaf lettuce, fresh, raw[59]100
Boston lettuce or Bibb lettuce, fresh, raw[citation needed]1 cup
Brussels sprouts cooked[60]100791731 : 2.2
Cabbage red, raw[61]10034451 : 1.3
Chinese cabbage cooked, boiled, drained, without salt[62]10031411 : 1.3
Chard, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt[63]1 cup43.75.38.2 : 1
Sauerkraut, canned, low sodium[64]10026251 : 1
Spinach, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt[65]10017921 : 5.4
Turnip greens, cooked[66]10028641 : 2.3
Dandelion greens, cooked[citation needed]1/2 cup0.1
Kale, cooked[citation needed]1/2 cup0.10.11 : 1
Kohlrabi raw[67]1 cup27351 : 1.7
Beet greens, cooked[68]10065610.8 : 1
Collard greens, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt[69]1 cup1331771 : 1.3
Mustard greens, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt[70]10024221.1 : 1

Root vegetables

FoodCitationServing Size (g)Omega-6 (mg)Omega-3 (mg)Omega-6 : Omega-3 ratio
Carrots, raw[71]100115257.5 : 1
Beets, raw[72]10055511 : 1
Parsley, raw[73]100115814.4 : 1
Turnips, raw[74]10012401 : 3.3

Pumpkins and squashes

FoodCitationServing Size (g)Omega-6 (mg)Omega-3 (mg)Omega-6 : Omega-3 ratio
Butternut squash, Squash, winter, butternut, cooked, baked, without salt[75]10014241 : 1.7
Zucchini, Squash, summer, zucchini, includes skin, raw[76]10014241 : 1.7
Acorn squash, Squash, winter, acorn, cooked, baked, without salt[77]1 cup4517591 : 1.7
Tomatoes, Tomatoes, red, ripe, raw[78]10080326.7 : 1

Meat

FoodCitationServing SizeOmega-6 (%)Omega-3 (%)Omega-6 : Omega-3 ratio
Kangaroo, average of all cuts and species. Measured on raw cut weight.[79][permanent dead link]% of total fat27.410.72.5 : 1

See also

Notes

  1. ^ The authors state the ratio as Omega-6:Omega-3 and that it lies “between 2:1 and 3:1”.

References

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  2. ^ “Populations maintaining historic omega-6 to omega-3 ratios (approximately 1 to 1) are protected from many of the scourges of the modern age.” Source: Andrew Stoll, The Omega-3 Connection. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2001, p. 43.
  3. ^ William Lands, Fish, Omega-3 and Human Health. Urbana, Illinois: APCS Press, 2005, p. 10.
  4. Jump up to: a b Susan Allport, The Queen of Fats: Why Omega-3 Fats Were Removed From the Western Diet and What We Can Do to Replace Them. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007, p. 115.
  5. ^ Andrew Stoll, The Omega-3 Connection. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2001, p. 40.
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Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fatty_acid_ratio_in_food

Video

The Science Of Saponins – 5 Dangers Of Eating Them

Want to hear something scary? What if I told you some of your favorite superfoods are actually hurting you. 

Almost like finding out your doctor spends his free time as an axe murderer…

Turns out plants don’t want to be eaten. To defend themselves, they produce toxic booby traps. One of which is saponins.

Now you may need to sit down for this…

Quinoa, the pope of the church of superfoods, is loaded with these chemicals. 

Saponins can

  • Block nutrient absorption
  • Damage metabolism 
  • Kill cells 

Keep reading to learn the truth about saponins according to science, which foods are high in saponins, and 5 dangers of eating them

Blood glucose and insulin

5 Dangers of Eating Saponins

  1. Saponins are Antinutrients and Disrupt Fat Metabolism
  2. Saponins Increase Intestinal Permeability
  3. Saponins Cleave Cholesterol
  4. Saponins Disrupt Endocrine Function
  5. Saponins are Toxic to Cells

What Are Saponins? 

Saponins…Not just a shorthand way to say hello to someone. “What’s saponin?”

Saponins are a class of bitter-tasting compounds that produce soap-like foam when added to water. Most saponins occur naturally in plants, but some are manmade for scientific or industrial purposes.

All saponins have a hydrophilic (water soluble) carbohydrate bonded to a lipophilic (fat soluble) triterpene or steroid structure. The hydrophilic and hydrophobic properties interact with the surface tension of water to create bubbles in aqueous solutions.

Insulin blocks fat burning

Like many plant compounds, saponins evolved as a defense system against herbivores and insects[*].  Unlike human beings, they don’t like being submerged in a bubble bath. 

Standard american diet causes weight gain

Are Saponins Healthy?

Overall, the effects of dietary saponins aren’t very well-studied. Some researchers believe they have medicinal effects or health benefits, but any such effects appear to be hormetic in nature. 

Hormesis is a favorable biological response that sometimes occurs when cells or organisms are exposed to manageable amounts of toxins or stress. 

According to the authors of a 2018 paper,

“Emerging evidence suggests that hormetic phytochemicals produced by environmentally stressed plants can activate the moderate cellular stress response mechanisms at a subtoxic level in humans, which may enhance tolerance against severe dysfunction or disease.”[*]

In other words, by taking in low levels of toxic compounds, you might make your cells stronger. As Nietzsche said “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger…but quinoa still tastes like cardboard.”

The dose makes the poison. And unfortunately, no one really knows what the correct dose of saponins is for these effects. 

Someone who eats saponin-rich foods every day could be well above the threshold for any theoretical beneficial hormetic effects. And if you are already unwell, they could easily make you sicker.

That’s why I recommend exercise, fasting, cold exposure, and other forms of hormesis instead. 

They’re safer because you can control the dose and gauge the effects much more easily

Some studies also show that Ketones and BHB upregulate the same antioxidant pathways, without the side effects [*]. 

Even if saponins are beneficial from an antioxidant perspective, they have side effects. It’s like smoking a cigarette combined with quinoa, because it has antioxidants.

Keep reading to learn 5 reasons why eating saponin-rich plant foods is unwise.

Foods Highest In Saponins

Watch out for these foods saponin content

  • Licorice root (22.2-32.3 grams per 100g)[*
  • Legumes, especially peanuts, soybeans (3.9-5.6 grams per 100g), and chickpeas (3.6-5 grams per 100g)[*][*]
  • Quinoa (up to 0.73g per 100g)[*]
  • Spinach (0.5g per 100g)[*][*]
  • Oats (0.1-0.3g per 100g)[*][*]
Insulin resistance is related to all chronic disease

And processing or cooking does not significantly lower saponin content[*]. 

While rinsing quinoa or other foods may remove a portion of saponins, this isn’t true of all foods that contain saponins, like spinach for example[*]. 

Some processed foods may even include elevated levels of saponins added during manufacturing[*][*].

Pro tip on how to reduce saponin content: Cook saponin containing foods in vegetable oils, then throw them in the trash. 

This is why I recommend the carnivore diet. if you’re interested in a 30 day guide to getting started, make sure to sign up at the end of the article. 

5 Reasons to Avoid Saponins

#1: Saponins are Antinutrients and Disrupt Fat Metabolism

Similar to oxalates, phytins, lectins, and tannins, saponins are antinutrients[*]. These jerks bully your cells and steal their nutrients. 

Research shows that saponins in plant foods may interfere with the absorption and digestion of glucose, protein, and vitamins A, B12, D, and E[*][*][*].

They can also form protein complexes that have unknown effects when combined with proteins like casein from milk[*]. 

Not only that, saponins can disrupt the digestion of cholesterol and saturated fat.

Saponins form complexes with cholesterol that cause up to 44% of dietary cholesterol to be excreted rather than digested[*][*]. And in the case of saturated fats, they can decrease absorption by up to 87% by forming calcium-containing complexes[*].

Low insulin speeds up metabolism

They also inhibit pancreatic lipase which can cause oily diarrhea and liver failure[*][*]. The only people saponins benefit: the executives of Charmin toilet paper.

Vegetables are not this horcrux that solves all your problems. Turns out they can even make you fat.

Some saponins may even inhibit lipolysis (the release of free fatty acids) and hepatic gluconeogenesis, which could prevent your body from burning stored fat[*]. 

The mainstream medical paradigm considers antinutrients that disrupt cholesterol and fat metabolism “beneficial” because of the narrative that cholesterol and fat are responsible for heart disease and the obesity epidemic.

However, nothing could be further from the truth. You need cholesterol and saturated fat to make hormones and stay alive, and higher intake levels correlate to a healthier, longer life.

#2: Saponins Increase Intestinal Permeability

Along with preventing absorption of some nutrients, eating too many saponins can cause leaky gut. 

According to the authors of a study published in the Journal of Nutrition,

“The results indicate that some saponins readily increase the permeability of the small intestinal mucosal cells, thereby inhibiting active nutrient transport, and facilitating the uptake of materials to which the gut would normally be impermeable.”[*]

Basically, increased permeability of your intestines can allow bacteria, metabolites, and small food molecules to “leak” into your bloodstream and cause autoimmune issues and inflammation[*]. Your gut, stops holding the door. 

Fructose causes insulin resistance

Think of your gut like an exclusive club. The bouncers are the single layer of epithelial cells. In line, there are both toxins — underrage and uncool kids — and nutrients — celebrities and fashionistas you want inside. When your gut bouncers reject the toxins, saponins beat them over the head and find their way in anyways.

The club turns from something cool, fun and exclusive to a drunk, under-age mosh pit. It’s a disaster for everyone. 

Mouse studies of high doses of saponins demonstrate intestinal hemorrhage, erosion of mucosa, and damage to the small intestine, liver, and kidney[*].

Although it’s unlikely anyone eats enough saponins to cause hemorrhaging, some researchers think that elevated saponins in modern diets might be responsible for gut and immune issues[*].

“Leaky gut syndrome” may be responsible for rising rates of celiac disease, too[*]. 

#3: Saponins Cleave Cholesterol

Remember how saponins form complexes in your gut that prevent cholesterol from absorbing?

Saponins can also interfere with cholesterol in your cells and cell membranes[*]. All your cells contain cholesterol, and they require it for normal functioning[*].

In fact, scientists often use saponins to cleave cholesterol from cell membranes intentionally, to better examine them[*]. Instead of eating leftover quinoa, scientists put it in a test tube to conduct their tests. Okay, not actually. These scientists use chemically isolated saponins — but it’s the same exact chemical. 

Plant saponins also have the ability to strip away phospholipids, another vital part of cells[*].

According to a 2013 peer-reviewed paper, “the general cytotoxicity of saponins is mainly dependent on their membrane toxicity and that the membrane toxicity might be caused by the loss of cholesterol from the cell membrane”[*].

Keep that in mind next time you hear someone talking about the benefits of “lowering your cholesterol” with plant compounds or drugs.

Vegetable antinutrients cause insulin resistance

#4: Saponins Can Disrupt Endocrine Function

Saponins can disrupt male and female hormones in two different ways.

First of all, even though your cells can make cholesterol, you need adequate dietary cholesterol to sustain production of sex hormones[*][*]. And as we’ve already learned, saponins prevent your body from absorbing cholesterol. 

Second, many saponins have a phytoestrogenic effect and may act as an endocrine disruptor[*].

In men, endocrine disruptors can reduce testosterone levels, lower sperm count, and cause feminization[*]. We all knew eating quinoa was lame, but this takes it to a whole new level. 

And research links endocrine disruption in women to higher rates of breast cancer, infertility, and children with birth defects[*].

Finally, children may be more susceptible to endocrine disruption because their brains and organs are still in development[*][*]. 

That’s why I recommend that everyone, but especially kids, avoid saponins. Why take the risk?

#5: Saponins are Toxic to Cells

We’ve already covered the fact that saponins can cleave cholesterol from cells and increase gut permeability.

However, the cytotoxicity (cellular toxicity) of saponins extends beyond those effects. 

While some scientists think it could make saponins useful for treating cancer, cytotoxicity is a double-edged sword (at best)[*].

For example, saponins remove the cell membrane from erythrocytes and destroy red blood cells[*].

Saponins are a one-two punch. They first damage your gut junctions and allow molecules into your bloodstream. Then once inside, they destroy your cellular integrity. 

In vitro studies also show that saponins can damage and dissolve the endothelium (delicate, single-cell lining) of blood vessels[*].

Do people typically eat enough saponins to cause these effects? 

No one knows for sure, but if you eat a standard vegan cocktail of soy, chickpeas, quinoa, or take saponin supplements like ginseng or licorice root, you could be getting several grams of saponins each day. 

Studies show that saponins cleave cell membranes in concentrations of micrograms per milliliter [*]. Do you really want to unleash these toxic termites into your bloodstream? 

Last but not least, plant saponins are also genotoxic, meaning they cause DNA damage and interfere with cell replication[*]. 

According to a 2015 study, a triterpenoid saponin caused DNA damage in concentrations as low as 5 micrograms per milliliter[*]. That translates to human serum levels as low as a few milligrams of saponins.

Essentially, the evidence shows that saponins are likely to cause problems no matter where they end up in your body.

Final Thoughts

Are saponins helpful or harmful?

For the most part, they’re harmful. 

Most of the purported health benefits involve lowering blood glucose, insulin levels, cholesterol levels, or triglycerides[*]. But if you eat a healthy diet to begin with, you don’t have to worry about any of those things.

Perhaps in the future, someone will discover that saponins can help cancer patients. But you wouldn’t chow down on chemotherapy drugs at every meal to prevent cancer, would you?

Bottom line: instead of taking “plant medicine” to heal the effects of a toxic diet, try eating a diet that isn’t toxic.

Source: https://carnivoreaurelius.com/saponins/

Video

The Danger of Natural Sweeteners

While some say they are calorie-free, that doesn’t mean they are good for you.

Let’s just cut straight to the point: natural sweeteners and sugar alcohols have been just as problematic as sugar and artificial sweeteners in over 80% of the 14,000 clients I’ve worked with over the last decade. 

It doesn’t matter how good their diet is, whether they’re men or women, or how active they are, natural sweeteners prove to be counterproductive towards my client’s achieving their health goals. Common examples you’ve likely heard of include stevia, xylitol, erythritol or Swerve.

Many people report the following when they choose to consume natural sweeteners and sugar alcohols on a regular basis:

  • Trouble losing weight
  • Inability to reduce glucose and A1c levels
  • Struggle to fasting due to intense hunger pangs
  • Stomach issues, such as abdominal pain and diarrhea 

I understand why people don’t want to cut the sweeteners out right away. You’re already making overwhelming adjustments to your diet and lifestyle as it is. I get it. I’ve been there myself. 

But if you really want to reach your health goals, you should actively try to scale back and stop consuming them on a regular basis.

These so-called natural sweeteners, which are often heavily proce

ssed, have been used for decades. We’ve not yet met anybody who switched to sweeteners and lost a lot of weight, and we certainly have not seen the diabetes epidemic go away. 

Even though they don’t contain many calories, they still stimulate insulin, which drives weight gain. This is the opposite of everything we’re trying to achieve through fasting or low-carb dieting. 

It’s not that you can never use natural sweeteners or sugar alcohols, but it is important to save them for special occasions. Think: holiday baking, special occasions or a weekly or monthly treat.

Patient show results almost immediately after cutting them from their feasting and fasting routines. The most surprising feedback from most is how quickly they start to feel better and are able to fast after discontinuing the sweeteners. Within a few days of cutting them out most people notice improvement in their digestion, blood sugar levels, and start to experience weight loss.

So, if artificial and natural sweeteners are slowing down your progress, try to avoid the following: 

  • Agave
  • Aspartame
  • Acesulfam-K
  • Allulose
  • Artificial sweeteners (aspartame, acesulfame K, saccharin, sucralose, Splenda, etc)
  • Beet Sugar
  • Cane Sugar
  • Coconut Palm Sugar
  • Erythritol (Swerve)
  • Fructose
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Honey
  • Malt
  • Maple Syrup
  • Monk Fruit
  • Sucralose
  • Stevia
  • Xylitol

Source: Article by Megan Ramos (https://idmprogram.com/the-danger-of-natural-sweeteners/)

12 High Oxalate Foods And How They Cause Damage

Plants don’t want to be eaten of course. So, like Kevin McCallister in Home Alone, they set booby traps for anybody who dares to try.

One of those booby traps are oxalates. 

Did you know that many chronic issues are caused by oxalates?

Oxalates can cause many issues such as:

  • Kidney Stones: 80% of kidney stones made of calcium oxalates
  • Autism
  • Reduced mineral absorption
  • Joint pain 
  • Skin and eye issues
  • Fatigue 

Oxalates can even be lethal to humans in high enough doses [*].

Before the carnivore diet I had IBS and acne, and oxalates were a big trigger. 

This is why the carnivore diet works so much better than keto. Because it cuts out all these anti nutrients that are triggers for people with compromised immune systems. 

Here’s the 12 reasons why you should not eat oxalates.

What Are Oxalates?

“But I thought plants and vegetables were healthy”

Well turns out they aren’t so innocent after all. They’re loaded with chemical weapons to attack their predators.

We tend to think of only refined sugar and carbohydrates as unhealthy. But these chemicals occuring in plants can also be as damaging.

When you look into the health of plants and vegetables, it paints a disturbing picture.

Because plants don’t want to be eaten, most contain anti nutrients and phytochemicals that fend off predators.

One of those is oxalic acid and oxalates. Oxalic acid is an organic compound found in plants.  

What is oxalic acid

You can think of oxalic acid like a magnet. It attracts minerals like calcium, potassium, sodium and magnesium and binds to them. 

These compounds bind together to form oxalate salts. When we talk about oxalates, these are what we’re discussing. 

Oxalates can either be soluble or insoluble. Soluble oxalates can dissolve completely in blood. Insoluble oxalates cannot. If they pass into the bloodstream, they instead make their way into tissues. 

Soluble Oxalate: Potassium oxalate, sodium oxalate

Insoluble Oxalate: Calcium oxalate

Insoluble calcium oxalate is what can really cause problems for the human body, because it forms a sharp crystal like structure. 

Oxalates are ubiquitous in plant foods. They occur in over 200 plant families and in some plants comprise over 80% of the dry weight [*].

spinach is high in oxalates

The plants it’s most prevalent in are: leafy greens, fruits, nuts, seeds and cocoa [*]. Ironically, these are the foods that people tend to think are the most healthy…thanks a lot popeye. 

When you eat spinach, do you know that weird texture on your tongue and the roof of your mouth? Well hopefully you don’t remember because you don’t eat spinach. 

But this is the oxalate content and is a defense mechanism for plants. 

People that think they’re being healthy by overpaying for a green smoothies are actually flooding themselves with damaging oxalates.

Oxalates Are a Defense Mechanisms for Plants

What is the function of oxalates in plants? They’re used as protection from infection and being eaten. 

Animals use the oxalates in two main ways.

The first is that they are very abrasive and damaging. Insoluble oxalates form crystals that can actually tear up the teeth of the bugs that are eating them. 

Animals have shown a distinct preference for eating foods deprived of these oxalates.

Larvae that eat food rich in oxalates show noticeable wear and tear. [*]

These crystals are like razor blades and are physically damaging to tissues. Below is a photo of the oxalate crystal like structure. 

calcium oxalate crystals

Oxalates can also be toxic to predators. In an experiment, one group of larvae were fed a diet high in oxalates. The researchers found that they larvae with high oxalate consumption didn’t grow as large [*].

calcium oxalate impact

Researchers also found higher mortality rates at larger stages of larva growth. 

Part of the way oxalates lead to higher mortality rates is because they bind to nutrients and reduce their bioavailability. They’re actually a sneaky way to make the diets the predators are eating much less nutritious. 

Many insects recognize this and avoid foods high in oxalates. In one study, researchers applied calcium oxalate to the outside of funghi and flies stopped feeding on the mushrooms. 

Additionally, a study of 46 conifers showed that there was a negative correlation between the amount of calcium oxalate and how much they were eaten by bark beetles [*]

High Oxalate Foods…This is a Big Problem with Keto

Oxalates are found in over 200 plant species, but some contain more than others. 

Over the last few decades, oxalates in our diet have increased substantially. This is largely because of the de-emphasis on animal foods and the allure of the “real food”, vegetarian movement. 

However, none of the evangelists of these diets have considered the bioavailability of nutrients or the toxic substances they contain. 

Paradoxically, the obsession with superfoods has hurt some people’s health. Some of these noble superfoods are the highest in oxalates and antinutrients: spinach, beets, blackberries, sweet potatoes, turmeric, cinnamon and chocolate. 

The average daily intake of oxalate is around 150mg. One green smoothie alone can have 500-800mg.

Below are some other foods that have over 100mg per serving. 

The 12 highest oxalate foods (100–900 mg per serving) include:

  • Spinach
  • Beet greens
  • Rhubarb
  • Beets
  • Peanuts
  • Endive
  • Cocoa powder
  • Kale
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Turnip greens
  • Swiss chard
  • Star fruit
Foods high in oxalates

Keto dieters need to be especially aware because many of these vegetables that are recommended to be eaten liberally are very high in oxalates. 

Keto oxalate foods

Throughout evolutionary history, these foods were never available year round due to seasonality. But now they are ubiquitous. 

Walk around any metropolitan city and you’re sure to find someone carrying an overpriced spinach and kale smoothie, mixed with non dairy almond milk, and touting the health benefits (probably instagramming about how they’re saving the environment). 

But these green smoothies flood your body with these oxalate crystals. 

How Do Oxalates Cause Damage to Humans?

Oxalates are one of the most effective plant weapons. Insect predators are aware of the consequences.

But humans have taken the bait and fallen for the marketing. The damage to humans is much more insidious and occurs over the long term, so the immediate consequences aren’t always apparent. 

It’s almost like the insects are smarter than we are. 

How do they cause damage?

Oxalates are toxins. Plain and simple. You can’t use them in any way, so whenever you ingest them your body tries to get rid of them. The process is slightly different depending on whether the oxalates are soluble or insoluble. 

Soluble and free oxalic acid is absorbed through the intestines and excreted into the urine. 

Insoluble oxalates are not absorbed. Instead, they have an affinity for calcium and try to bind to it (the two are like Romeo and Juliet together). It’s quite romantic.

calcium oxalate

Because you can’t absorb insoluble oxalates, you excrete them through the feces.

Dietary calcium can actually protect you against the damage of the oxalates by binding to it. But on the other hand, it reduces the bioavailability of calcium in your diet (because the calcium is excreted instead of used).

In a normal scenario, your body should do a good job expelling oxalates. However, if you have gut issues or leaky gut, you’ll have a much harder time expelling them.

There are two main ways oxalates cause damage. Mechanically and biochemically.

Mechanical Damage

Because oxalates are so abrasive, even the process of expelling them can cause damage.

Oxalate crystals are very abrasive and cause a tremendous amount of wear and tear.

When you have high circulating levels in your blood, they can be deposited in almost any organ in your body: thyroid, kidney, lymph nodes, intestines, eyes and skin [*] [*].

These crystals are not something you want deposited in your organs. It’s basically like filling your body with tiny razor blades that can mechanically shred tissues.

Similar to an oyster, if you open us up and you’ll often find some pearly crystals inside. Except in this case, the crystals are destroying your health

Biochemical Damage

Oxalates also work on a biochemical level. Smaller oxalate crystals called nano crystals can pass through your cell membranes.

When they get into the cell they inhibit enzymes that convert fuel into energy (such as biotin enzymes) These enzymes are critical for maintaining an energy balance and metabolic flexibility.

When it gets into the cell, it can poison and disrupt many processes [*]

  • High oxalate levels can cause cells to swell up and burst
  • Nuclear shrinkage
  • Depletes antioxidants like glutathione
  • Destruction of organelles 
  • Rupture of lysosomes leading to the release of destructive enzymes
oxalates damage mitochondria

When to Be Worried About Oxalates? 

People with impeccable health and immune systems don’t need to be as concerned about oxalate content. But spoiler alert, that’s not me. And if you’re reading this, it’s probably not you either.

If you have any of the issues below, you need to be very careful with oxalate intake. The gut issues are especially important because instead of excreting oxalates, issues like leaky gut can allow them to sneak into your bloodstream where they’ll wreak even more havoc. 

  • Kidney stones
  • Leaky gut syndrome
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
  • Autoimmune diseases such as chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Chronic inflammation related diseases

Dangers of High Oxalate Food Consumption

Too much oxalate in the urine and bloodstream is called enteric hyperoxaluria. This is caused by fat malabsorption, gut dysfunction and / or a high oxalate diet [*]

Basically, various factors are causing you to absorb way too much oxalate and your circulating oxalate is through the roof. 

Over time, high oxalate levels will damage tissue and organs throughout your body.

Dangers of eating oxalates

The symptoms of oxalate toxicity are often hard to identify because they are subtle and damage occurs over the long term. It’s not like 1 spinach smoothie will cause your face to blow up like a balloon.

But over time, the damage can be severe. Given the ubiquitous prevalence of leaky gut and the excessive consumption of high oxalate foods, I believe that many people are suffering from issues stemming from high oxalate consumption. 

Below are some of the main consequences.

1. Kidney Stones

The majority of research of oxalate impact is on the kidney. 

When oxalate is high in the blood it goes to the kidney. Soluble oxalates are mainly excreted through urine so the kidney plays a big role. 

In the kidney, oxalates can bind with calcium and wedge themselves into its tissue [*]. Because of this mechanism, roughly 80% of kidney stones are calcium oxalate. 

And no wonder kidney stones are on the rise in the US [*]. People can’t get enough of their leafy green superfoods (i.e. poison). 

Reducing oxalate content is an effective treatment for kidney stones.

2. Renal Failure

Over time, oxalates can damage the kidney enough to cause renal failure. The kidney is the main organ focused on excretion, and the stress and inflammation from oxalates can overwhelm it. [*]

3. Reduced Calcium, Magnesium and Zinc Absorption

Oxalates are like magnets for minerals. The most common mineral that it attracts is calcium. Because oxalates are expelled from the body as fast as possible, the calcium is attracts is no longer absorbed. 

So if you’re eating calcium and high oxalate foods together, you’ll only actually be getting a fraction of that calcium. 

This is why plant foods are often inferior sources of nutrients to animal products.

Many people think that spinach is a good source of calcium. But they’re almost as wrong as the people who think carbohydrates are good for you. 

The calcium in spinach is completely useless. It’s all tied up in oxalate and you excrete it all. And this is true for all high-oxalate foods.

Spinach reduces calcium

According to Dr. Weil:

“For example, although the calcium in spinach is 115 mg per half cup cooked, because of the interference of oxalic acid, you would have to eat more than 16 cups of raw or more than eight cups of cooked spinach to get the amount of calcium available in one cup of yogurt.” — Dr Weil

Additionally, a study tested consuming a high fiber diet with spinach, which is high in oxalates, vs the same diet with lower oxalate cauliflower.

Calcium, magnesium and zinc absorption were all lower on the diet higher in oxalates [*].

4. Mitochondrial Dysfunction

Maintaining mitochondrial function is a critical aspect to maintaining health. 

Mitochondrial dysfunction is associated with many chronic diseases, including cancer [*]. Despite being touted as longevity promoting superfoods, high oxalate foods can severely damage the mitochondria. 

Mitochondria produce reactive oxygen species. They are atoms with an unpaired electron, which repel throughout your body looking for a match. Think of this like a drunk person at a single’s bar…

If they go unchecked, they can damage DNA, proteins and healthy mitochondria. 

Your body produces antioxidants to neutralize these reactive oxygen species: glutathione and superoxide dismutase. They’re both critical to maintaining mitochondrial health. 

However, oxalates deplete both of these antioxidants and can damage mitochondrial function [*]. 

Oxalate reduces antioxidants

Patients with kidney stones have been shown to have decreased mitochondrial function in their white blood cells [*]

The increased mitochondrial damage and dysfunction produces even more free radicals that lead to DNA damage and cancer [*]

“Results of clinical and experimental studies show that renal epithelial exposure to high oxalate and crystals of CaOx/calcium phosphate (CaP) generates excess ROS, causing injury and inflammation”  [*]

Which is ironic because many of these superfoods people eat are because they’re supposedly “antioxidants”. They’re really causing these “reactive oxygen species” and free radicals [*].

5. Arthritis and Joint Pain

Joint pain is one of the most common symptoms of high oxalate consumption. Many people are unaware of how much oxalates contribute to these problems. 

Oxalate crystals can actually lodge themselves into joints. If you remember the structure, they are very abrasive and can cause pain every time you move the joint [*] [*].

6. Inflammation

When oxalates are deposited into your organ tissues, they trigger inflammation. Specifically the NLPR-3 inflammasome [*].

NLPR-3 has been implicated in numerous chronic diseases, including cancer [*].

7. Autism

This study found that patients with Autism had 3x the levels of oxalates in their blood than normal individuals. [*]

Oxalates can cause autism

Researcher Susan Owens has also shown drastic improvement in autism symptoms when removing oxalates from the diet [*]

The exact metabolic pathways are unclear, but a few mechanisms have been hypothesized. 

Gastroinstestinal problems are common in children with autism and intestinal permeability likely plays a role[*]. 

Researchers in this study also proposed that increased permeability may allow oxalates to disrupt the blood-brain barrier and interfere with central nervous system function.

8. Leaky Gut and Gut Dysbiosis

Oxalates are an even bigger concern if you already have leaky gut. 

But they can also cause leaky gut and gut dysbiosis. Gut bacteria is necessary to degrade oxalates in the gut, but over time Oxalates can actually kill those bacteria [*]. 

One big problem with oxalates is that we cannot digest them. They pass directly to the GI tract and because of their crystal-like structure, they can irritate the gut. 

If you give these bacteria too many by force feeding them almond milk or green smoothies on a daily basis, they’ll give up and die.

There’s a war going on in your gut between oxalates and bacteria, and the oxalates are winning.

Gut dysbiosis can lead to leaky gut, which then makes the problem even worse.

9. Skin and Eye Issues

High circulating oxalate levels leads to deposits in numerous organs throughout the body. Two of the most common are the skin and eyes [*].

Oxalates are abrasive causing skin and eye issues when deposited there.

Oxalates cause eye issues

10. Neuropathy

Neuropathy is a disease where you have numbness in the hands and feet. Similar to the joints, oxalate crystals can make themselves at home in your peripheral nerves in the feet and hands. 

In this study, a 61 year old man who had neuropathy, had crystal deposits in his nerve tissues [*].

11. Thyroid Issues and Hypothyroidism

One of the oxalates other favorite crawl into is the thyroid. There, oxalate binds to T3, a hormone that the thyroid releases. 

This study showed oxalates in 79 out of 100 thyroid glands in routine autopsies [*].

T3 and thryoid hormones help to regulate many functions including: 

  • Breathing
  • Heart rate
  • Central and peripheral nervous systems
  • Body weight
  • Muscle strength
  • Menstrual cycles›
  • Body temperature
  • Cholesterol levels

This can disturb your natural thyroid hormonal balance.

Oxalates and thyroid issues

Another study found  that rats fed a diet with 5% oxalic acid developed hypothyroidism and had severe body weight losses [*]

12. Cystic Fibrosis

A study of 26 children with cystic fibrosis and no symptoms of kidney stones, showed that 14 had elevated levels of oxalate excretion [*]

This is just associative, but if you have cystic fibrosis you should be aware of this potential cause.

Symptoms of Issues with Oxalates

  • Bladder irritation
  • Joint pain
  • Migraines
  • Eye irritation
  • Skin rashes
  • Fatigue

Fix Oxalate Issues with the Carnivore Diet

Carnivore diet reverse oxalate damage

The human body isn’t designed to have access to these high oxalate foods all year round. Hunter-gatherers never ate oxalates in such high concetrations and throughout the year like we do. 

But people today are constantly barraging their bodies with oxalates and over time their bodies will give in. 

The best way to fix these issues? 

The carnivore diet is the best diet for oxalate based problems. And I think this is a big reason why we’re seeing some of the miraculous improvements in health that we are.S

How does the carnivore diet improve problems with oxalates? 

The Carnivore Diet Can Heal the Gut

The carnivore diet cuts out anti-nutrients, fiber and inflammatory sludge. This improves the gut microbiome by starving bad bacteria and strengthening the good bacteria. 

Lowering inflammation is the most important thing you can do for your gut health. 

A properly formulated carnivore diet is also high in Vitamins A, D, proteins and omega 3s which can heal the gut lining and cure leaky gut

Meat Increases Thiamine (B1) Levels

Low Thiamin (B1) levels will increase your body’s endogenous oxalate production. 

Thiamin is an important coenzyme for carbohydrate metabolism. Excessive consumption of carbohydrates can lead to Vitamin b1 deficiency [*].

So people that are both eating a higher carbohydrate diet and a diet high in oxalates, are flooding their body with these toxic crystals. 

And to make matters worse, spinach and vegetables don’t have the Thiamin necessary to replenish their levels. 100g of Spinach has only 10% of the daily RDA. 

spinach vs liver nutrition

Thiamine deprived rats have much  higher levels of oxalate production [*].

500g of steak and 100g of beef liver will get you >60% of your daily Vitamin B1 needs. 

Meat is Rich in B6 

Low B6 increases oxalate production. How? Your body can’t convert the oxalate precursor glyoxalate to the amino acid glycine without sufficient b6. Instead your body synthesizes oxalate instead because you have no b6.

Low b6 increases oxalate content

This study shows that b6 deficient mice can develop excessive oxalate levels [*]

Animal products have substantial amounts of b6 and they’re in the most bioavailable form. 

Just 100g of beef liver has 60% of your daily needs. And spinach, which is already raising your oxalate level, only has about 15% of your daily RDA.

Steak and liver are like mr. clean for oxalates. 

The Carnivore Diet is a Low Oxalate Diet

If you eat what humans are made to eat — red meat — you can cut out the overhyped antioxidant superfoods, and power yourself off the most nutritious food in the world.

Red meat has all of the nutrients that humans need, in the perfect quantities. And it has no oxalate content. 

And the ketogenic diet increases our endogenous antioxidant levels [*]. Juice  cleanses are destroying your health. Eat red meat instead. 

Conclusion

Recent obsession with plant superfoods has dramatically increased the amount of antinutrients in diets. 

A naive obsession with “noble” antioxidants has ironically flooded people’s diet with oxidative stressful and inflammatory toxins. 

Oxalates in our diets have skyrocketed and so have many of the health issues it brings.

If you want to lower oxalate levels and make yourself immune to chronic disease, you need to start the carnivore diet.

Source: https://carnivoreaurelius.com/high-oxalate-foods/

Video

Are Lectins Bad For You? 10 Dangers Of Eating Them

“Make sure to eat your plants and veggies”. 

This is nonsense. Plants and vegetables are not put on this earth to serve humans. 

They don’t want to be eaten.Over millions of years evolving with animals, they developed defense mechanisms. 

Instead of fleeing or attacking, plants have chemical booby traps that poison their predators. They’re like Kevin McCallister in Home Alone.

One of them causes countless issues such as:

  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Insulin resistance
  • Obesity
  • Leaky Gut

Here’s what they are and 8 reasons to not eat them. 

Are Lectins Bad For You?

Are Lectins bad for you? First we need to discuss what they are.

It turns out plants aren’t so innocent after all. They’re loaded with chemical weapons to attack their predators.

We tend to think of only refined sugar and carbohydrates as unhealthy. But these chemicals in plants can also be as damaging.

One of the most damaging plant chemicals are lectins. They are carbohydrate binding proteins designed to damage cellular communication. 

What is their function? Lectins are designed (by evolution) to cause a severe immune response in the insects that eat them, which ultimately results in paralysis.

Blood glucose and insulin

But the same mechanisms are detrimental to your health.

Lectins are like sugar seeking drones. And because sugar is on almost every cell in your body, lectins seek them out and latch on. 

They also bind to something called Sialic acid, which is found in the gut, brain and nerve endings. Brain fog is often the result of your brain literally getting clogged with these lectins, which disrupt normal cellular communication. 

Lectins are in both plants and animals, however the most damaging ones are in plants. 

Why?

Lectins Are a Plant Defense Mechanism

Unlike animals who can run away, plants need extra protection for their seeds [*].

Remember, evolution was about maximizing genetic fitness. That is, increasing the chance genes are passed down to the next generation. If a vegetable’s seeds are eaten, its genes ceased to exist. 

So plants tend to concentrate their defenses in seeds to protect the family jewels. Over time through evolution, the plants that were best able to protect their offspring survived. Thus, the plants and vegetables that exist today are hyper optimized machines to protect their seeds. 

Lectins are highly inflammatory, and resistant to cooking and digestion. Thus, they pass right through the gut where they wreak havoc.

Yet humans continue to try to eat them…

When an insect eats lectin containing seeds and has an adverse reaction, its intuition dissuades it from ever doing so again. Whereas humans just paper over the symptoms and take antacids, instead of avoiding the foods that caused discomfort in the first place.

How much smarter are we really? 

Two Lectins to Watch Out For

There are many different lectins. The most infamous ones and damaging ones are Gluten and Wheat Germ Agglutinin. 

Gluten

Gluten is the most renown lectin.

I get it the fear is annoying. To many today, gluten is scarier than nuclear weapons.

What is it? Gluten is actually a complex of 100s of different proteins mainly consisting of two: gliadin and glutenin. It is the main protein in wheat and comprises approximately 80% of the protein in wheat.

Gluten can cause a whole spectrum of reactions. It can even kill people that are highly allergic. This alone should make you skeptical of all the health claims around gluten containing foods. 

Gluten is technically what is called a prolamin. The real danger stems from the fact that you do not have the enzymes to break down their amino acid structure. They are incapable of being digested and anything that cannot be digested or expelled causes harm.

Celiac disease — a severe gluten allergy — is on the rise. 

However, gluten is not just a concern for people that have celiac disease. It damages everybody. 

The picture below shows the gut of two people: one with celiac and one without. For both groups of people, gluten their increases intestinal permeability

Insulin blocks fat burning

When you eat gluten, it stimulates the release of zonulin, which prys the gut open. This is why gluten has been linked to so many autoimmune disorders (I will discuss more below).

However, gluten is not the only damaging lectin. In fact, gluten free products tend to have more of other lectins that are even more damaging.

Wheat Germ Agglutinin (WGA)

The other lectin that’s especially pernicious is Wheat Germ Agglutinin. An agglutinin is a protein that is in seeds to protect against insects. Crops today are modified to contain higher levels of agglutinin to make them even more resistant to insects. 

Wheat Germ Agglutinin is an especially small lectin. So even if the gut wall isn’t compromised, it can still pass through the walls of the intestine easier.

Wheat has a dark side and it shows with WGA.

Some of the damaging effects of WGA include [*]:

  • Disrupting endocrine dysfunction by binding to insulin receptors
  • Blocking sugar from getting into muscle cells
  • Interfering with protein digestion
  • Increasing inflammation
  • Crossing blood brain barrier
  • Stimulating weight gain. 

One of the biggest reasons the damage from WGA is so insidious is because it is in the bran. So from this perspective, whole wheat grains are worse for you.  

10 Dangers of Eating Them

Lectins are especially damaging to humans because we haven’t adapted to handle them. 

For instance, in 1988 a hospital launched a healthy eating day for staff. One dish had red kidney beans. Over the next 4 hours, over 10 people vomited profusely and had diarrhea. It was not a pretty sight in the hospital. No pathogens were found. 

The culprit: the lectin phytohaemagglutinin [*].

Who would think it’s riskier to eat a plant than an animal thats’ alive? How does something that’s supposedly so innocent cause so much damage? 

The challenge is that lectins are not acutely toxic. Unlike chloroform, if you consume lectins in low doses you’re not going to die immediately. The damage occurs over years.. 

Because of this, it’s hard to link these diseases directly to lectin consumption. But if you cut them out, you’ll notice the fog starts to clear. 

There are a number of health issues directly caused by lectin consumption:

1. Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance is associated with almost every chronic disease [*]. Persistently high levels of insulin both causes disease and signals that your body is chronically inflamed. 

Various mechanisms cause insulin resistance. 

One such mechanism is lectins. When they reach the bloodstream they bind to insulin receptors and interfere with insulin’s action [*].

This causes your pancreas to secrete more insulin than necessary. Ultimately this can lead to insulin resistance and chronic hyperinsulinemia. 

2. Obesity

Lectins and wheat were prized by our ancestors to gain weight. In advance of a cold winter, people used them to fatten up [*]. 

The problem is most people are now fattening up all year round. 

There are a number of ways lectins make you gain weight. One such mechanism is via insulin. Persistently high insulin signals that you’re in the anabolic or fed state: that you should be building up and storing fat instead of burning fat. As discussed above, lectins are linked to insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia. 

This study shows that when added to insulin, lectins stimulate the insulin receptor more than insulin alone. 

Standard american diet causes weight gain

Lectins also exert their weight gain effect via leptin. Leptin is a hormone that regulates satiety. 

Lectins can bind to the leptin receptor and cause leptin resistance. [*] When you’re leptin resistant, your body doesn’t signal that you’re full. 

This may be why bread is served at the beginning of a meal: to block hunger receptors and make you even more hungry. 

3. Leaky Gut & Digestive Problems 

If you have digestive issues, lectins are a likely culprit. Digestive issues are the most direct symptom of lectin consumption.

Why?

Your gut has evolved over millions of years to recognize and expel one thing: infectious microorganisms. The problem is that it hasn’t yet adapted to the flood of lectins and antinutrients added to your diet. 

As a result, lectins are indigestible to humans and the gut is the first site where they wreak havoc.

After passing through your gut undigested, Lectins attach directly to the intestinal lining. There they cause digestive discomfort and can even pry your gut lining open. Additionally, lectins like gluten also stimulate the release of zonulin which opens up a space in the lining, causing leaky gut

Once a gap is open, anything you consume can find its way into your bloodstream. Similar to a splinter, your body recognizes the foreign invader and tries to expel it. Usually it’s quite successful. However, there are major externalities and side effects including chronic inflammation. 

Insulin resistance is related to all chronic disease

Last but not least: harmful bacteria love lectins. A healthy gut microbiome is vital to your health [*].

4. Inflammation

Once you have leaky gut, food you consume can pass into the bloodstream. This effectively hacks your immune system and makes it go haywire. 

This study pictured below, for instance, showed a spike in lectin concentration in the blood after peanut digestion. 

Low insulin speeds up metabolism

Foreign bloodstream invaders activate the immune system and cause inflammation.

As a result, lectin intake is associated with proinflammatory cytokine production — a signal that the immune system is on alert. 

Chronic inflammation is associated with a range of conditions, such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, insulin resistance and again, autoimmune diseases [*]. 

5. Autoimmune Disorders

Autoimmune disorders are on the rise. One of the biggest causes in my opinion are lectins. 

Your immune system uses antibodies to identify pathogens. But in the case of autoimmune disorders they bind to healthy cells. 

One of the reasons why is because lectins can mimic healthy cells. Once lectins enter the bloodstream, they play dress up. They are able to mimic your healthy proteins and confuse your immune system [*]. This is why lectins cause insects to become paralyzed. 

I have to give it to lectins, this is a heck of an attack maneuver. Instead of plants exerting the energy to attack you, they cause you to turn on yourself.

Your immune system needs time to rest and if you’re eating 6+ meals a day or constantly bombarding your gut with lectins it will break. 

Many autoimmune diseases such as celiac disease, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis are associated with leaky gut, suggesting that the gut damage from lectins plays a big role in the etiology of these diseases [*].

Fructose causes insulin resistance

6. Atherosclerosis and Cardiovascular Disease

Lectins have been implicated in the development of cardiovascular disease.

The first mechanism is via platelets. Platelets are blood cells that form clots to stop bleeding. However, aggregation of platelets can block blood flow through vessels leading to a coronary event. Lectins can aggravate this effect. Endothelial function has been shown to improve on a low lectin diet [*]. 

Additionally, The Diet and Reinfarction Trial (DART) showed that a group that consumed more fiber had a higher cardiovascular mortality rate. Lectins, amongst other things, may have played a role in the negative consequences of fiber [*].

Is it finally time to rethink the suggestion to replace red meat with lectin rich legumes and grains? 

7. Depression

Depression is on the rise. One of the biggest reasons why: the evolutionary mismatch. 

Society has transitioned from real food to junk food. Real relationships to junk relationships. Sun daily to a sedentary, indoor lifestyle. All of these are major factors in the rise of depression.

But when it comes to diet, one of the so called “healthy” foods may be a culprit: vegetables. 

How? A study in yeast showed that lectins are transported directly from the gut across the brain barrier into the brain [*].

Once in the brain, they bind to dopamine receptors damaging their function. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that signals pleasure. Dopamine dysregulation is linked to depression [*].

Additionally chronic inflammation exerts many of its most pernicious effects on the brain where it’s been implicated in both depression and neurodegenerative disorders. 

8. Neurodegenerative Disorders

Low dopamine production is also associated with parkinson’s disease. 

This could explain why vegetarians have a higher rate of Parkinson’s [*].

This study showed that when scientists severed the vagas nerve — the nerve that connects the gut and brain — in c elegans, it reduced their risk of parkinson’s by 40% [*].

Quite the draconian treatment. However, it begins to elucidate one of the mechanisms by which diet may cause neurodegenerative disorder.

Vegetable antinutrients cause insulin resistance

9. Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is on the rise. However, the medical institution views it as a result of losing the genetic lottery.

What if it was also connected to our poor diet?

Lectins may play a role. This study showed that maternal gluten consumption increased the risk of type 1 diabetes by 2x between the lowest and highest intake group [*].

Why? One explanation is because lectins damage insulin receptors. 

Another explanation is because of the autoimmune component of type 1 diabetes. One of the causes of type 1 diabetes is because your immune system attacks your pancreas cells, damaging insulin production [*]

10. Nutrient Deficiencies

Lastly, lectins also exhibit anti nutrient effects and can lead to nutrient deficiencies. Antinutrients are a big problem with plant based foods and why vegetables are a lot less nutritious than you think.

Just because a vegetable has a nutrient, doesn’t mean you absorb it. 

Lectins, for instance, can actually block protein absorption by interfering with digestive enzymes and binding to sugar molecules that disrupt physiological processes.

This study showed that lectins reduce protein absorption, for instance. This is by inhibiting trypsin, a digestive enzyme [*]

Foods Highest in Lectins

There are 5 main categories of foods highest in lectins

  1. Beans and legumes
  2. Squash: pumpkin, butternut, zucchini
  3. Grains: new food to us. Lectin bombs. Even gluten free
  4. Nightshades: tomatoes, potatoes, peppers
  5. Fruit: out of season. If it has a seed it’s a fruit. Peppers and cucumbers. 

If you’re having health issues, try cutting these lectins out for 30 days. 

Conclusion

You can see that a diet that is rich in lectin increases the risk of many western chronic diseases. 

These conditions are linked with each other: if you have one, you have a high chance to have more from the list. This suggests that they all have a common cause, one of which may be high lectin intake.

Lectins are a plant defense mechanism and serve as protection from being eaten. So, it’s not surprising that eating large amounts of lectins is indeed a threat to our health.

The more we follow our natural diets and cut out the toxic junk, the healthier we will be.

Source: https://carnivoreaurelius.com/are-lectins-bad-for-you/