Benefits of IV Nutrition Therapy

by Mila McManus MD

Intravenous (IV) nutrition therapy has been used in hospital settings for decades and was first developed and tested by Dr. John Myers at Johns Hopkins University in the 1970’s.  Patients have reported significant improvements from IV Therapy for many conditions including fatigue, headaches, muscle spasms, PMS, seasonal allergies, sinusitis, asthma, anxiety, depression, stress, digestive disorders, nutrient deficiencies, toxicity, dehydration, hives, hyperthyroidism, infection, heart disease, and immune system support. 

If you are wondering if IV Nutrition Therapy is for you, here is a list of the benefits to consider:

  • Quick delivery, quick utilization – IV therapy delivers nutrients directly to the bloodstream where they can be utilized immediately. While you can’t expect IV Nutrition Therapy to take the place of a good supplement regimen, it can be used in targeted ways to get quicker results than would be achieved taking nutrients orally. 
  • Therapeutic doses delivered to the cells – IV therapy allows delivery of therapeutic (ie higher) levels to the blood stream in cases where it would be uncomfortable or digestively difficult to consume the same level orally. For example, when blood levels of Vitamin C are between 10-15 mg/dL, vitamin C  can help to overcome a cold and fight a virus.  This level can be achieved easily through IV therapy but would be very difficult, if not impossible, to reach through oral therapy. (read a book called Curing the Incurable by Dr Thomas Levy which is about all the benefits of high doses of vitamin C)
  • Immune Boosting Support – IV therapy makes it possible to quickly deliver B vitamins, glutathione, zinc, and vitamin C as added support to the challenged and busy immune system. It can function much like bringing in air support to the ground troops to make the difference and win the battle.
  • Improved energy, resilience to stress– With IV therapy you can begin to experience the favorable effects within hours. Depending on the therapy, examples include an increase in energy and stamina, the ability to think more clearly and a better mood.  B Vitamins help to relieve anxiety and stress while glutathione, our master antioxidant, supports detoxification. 
  • Immediate rehydration – IV therapy provides optimal hydration to support all vital organ functions. When done often, it can prove preventative and protective in avoiding kidney stones, constipation and damage to muscles. It can be a great choice for athletes to replenish vitamins and minerals lost through excessive sweating, while also improving recovery time and  preventing muscle spasms and exhaustion.
  • Fights effects of environmental toxins – Toxins in our everyday environment can take a toll on your health and appearance. IV Therapy can supply the antioxidants needed to fight off signs of premature aging and help the body flush out harmful toxins more effectively. Glutathione is especially valuable for this purpose.
  • Preventative care – Therapeutic doses of vitamin C have been shown to be toxic to cancer cells and are effective at building immunity and improving resistance to chronic and upper respiratory infections.

With few exceptions, most can benefit from IV Nutrition Therapy.  Come experience it for yourself!

By |2018-10-31T13:53:54+00:00October 25th, 2018|Articles, General|


CollaGEN, by Orthomolecular Products, is designed strategically to support connective tissue
regeneration and stability. Collagen is the primary protein fiber found in connective tissue,
which gives tendons, ligaments, fascia, cartilage, bone and skin structural stability. The body
makes collagen using specific amino acids along with vitamin C and magnesium. Aging, poor
eating habits, mechanical stress and inflammation can disrupt the process of collagen
biosynthesis, resulting in weaker fibers. CollaGEN supplements the raw materials needed to
restore collagen biosynthesis, thus supporting connective tissue regeneration and stability.
CollaGEN is a tasteless powder that can be mixed with water or another beverage choice and is
available for purchase at TWIHW.

By |2018-10-25T16:57:18+00:00October 25th, 2018|Articles, General|

Drugs That Cause Memory Loss

By Mila McManus, MD

Without question, prescription and over the counter (OTC) drugs are double-edged swords.  While there are instances when pharmaceutical drugs are needed, in many cases there are safer ways to address symptoms and diseases without them.  As a physician, I feel compelled to remind my patients to become well educated about what they are taking and why, as well as to understand the risks.  In a world of risks, dying from a pharmaceutical drug reaction or side effect is among the highest risks from societal activities. Taking a food supplement or herbal remedy is among the lowest risks.  Adverse drug reactions are now the fourth leading cause of death in the US.  Getting struck by lightning is more likely to happen than to be killed by a supplement! [i]     

One common side effect of many drugs is memory loss and cognitive impairment. If you or someone you love has experienced memory loss or cognitive issues, check to see if any of the prescriptions or over-the-counter (OTC) medications listed below are being taken.  If so, consider other options.

Top 3 Types of Drugs That Cause Memory Loss or Cognitive Impairment[ii]


1. Anticholinergics – Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter responsible for memory and learning. Low levels of acetylcholine cause forgetfulness, poor concentration and difficulty finding words. These drugs block acetylcholine.   Many of these drugs start with the prefix “anti”.  These include antihistamines, antidepressants, antipsychotics, antibiotics, antispasmodics and antihypertensives.</p


2. Sleeping Pills – Prescriptions such as Ambien, SonataLunesta and OTC drugs such as Advil PM, Tylenol PM and Excedrin PM are used for pain and insomnia relief.


3. Cholesterol Lowering Drugs– Also called statin drugs, these are among the most profitable prescription drugs in the world. Memory issues have been so prevalent with this class of drug that it is now a requirement that memory loss be clearly listed as a side effect on the label. Included are Lipitor, Lescol, Crestor and Zocor. Generic brands all end in “-statin”. (don’t confuse with nystatin which is an anti-fungal medication and has nothing to do with statin drugs)  Click here for more information about Cholesterol & Statin Drugs.


And these cause memory loss too….

4. Painkillers including morphine and codeine as well as naproxen found in brands such as Aleve and Midol Extended Relief.

5. OTC drugs for insomnia, such as Sominex and Unisom.

6. OTC drugs for allergies, such as Benadryl, Claritin, and Zyrtec.

7. OTC drugs for motion sickness, such as Dramamine.

8. OTC drugs for acid reflux, for example, Pepcid AC, Tagamet, and Zantac.

9. Benzodiazepines are a class of drug most commonly used to treat anxiety and insomnia and include Valium, Xanax, and Ativan.

10. Lithium, commonly used for bi-polar disorder, depression, eating disorders and other mental illnesses, clearly lists impaired memory and poor concentration as very common side effects.

11. Chemotherapy drugs

12. Barbiturates such as Amytal, Nembutal, Seconal and phenobarbital

13. Common treatments for Parkinson’s including amantadine, levodopa, pramipexole, rotigotine, ipinirole, scopolamine, atropine and glycopyrrolate.

14. Anti-epileptic drug, phenytoin


Every drug listed above has a host of other potential side effects in addition to memory loss or cognitive decline, so it is easy to see why drugs should be understood,  and avoided whenever possible. As with any prescription drug, it is best to consult with your physician before changing or stopping any medication.  Be aware and be well.




By |2018-09-21T10:18:36+00:00September 20th, 2018|Articles, General|

Ketogenic Diet

10 Good Reasons to Try It…

The Ketogenic Diet is the current diet-of-the-moment. Unlike many fad diets, the Ketogenic Diet is therapeutic in nature and can benefit many people in many ways.

Who would benefit?

A Ketogenic Diet is well worth considering by anyone facing serious health challenges including
neurological issues or disease, mood disturbances, digestive problems, blood sugar regulation issues
including diabetes and insulin resistance, and those who need to lose weight. It is also a great option for generally healthy individuals who want to supercharge their health. Ketogenic eating has anti-aging and anti-cancer effects.

Ten Benefits of following a Ketogenic Diet besides weight loss include:

1. Optimize brain function and mental clarity
2. Stop food cravings
3. Anti-cancer strategy
4. Improve the gut biome
5. Improve energy
6. Increase muscle mass
7. Reduce or reverse insulin resistance
8. Reduce inflammation
9. Promote cellular detoxification
10. Slow down the aging process

What is nutritional Ketosis?

The Ketogenic diet is named after the biological state of ketosis, which is achieved when the human
body reaches a fat-burning state. Most Americans eat so many carbohydrates that the body always has a
plentiful supply of glucose to use for fuel. As a result, the body forgets how to
efficiently burn fat. By reducing carbohydrate fuel, the body is forced to
become an efficient burner of body fat and dietary fat. Fat is a cleaner source of fuel for the body
and produces less oxidative stress than carbohydrates. 

What are the key aspects of a Ketogenic Diet?

Ketogenic diets have 4 main components.

They are:
1. low carbohydrate
2. high fat
3. adequate protein
4. combined with some degree of fasting.

Carbohydrates are primarily sourced from vegetables with good fiber content yet low carbohydrate content. There are a couple of fruits included as well, however grain, sugar and most dairy are excluded.  Total net carbohydrate intake is usually recommended to be at or below 50 grams, a target that should be reached in a step like fashion over one to two weeks.

Fat content is high and very specific in source. Strong emphasis is placed on avoiding refined oils, trans
fats, and fats high in Omega 6 inflammatory oils. Recommendations are for fats to be anywhere from 50-80% of total caloric intake (e.g. 1200 calorie diet in which 600-960 calories come from healthful sources of fat). Caution should be used in reaching these levels of fats, accomplishing this by slowly increasing fat intake over several weeks to allow the pancreas and gallbladder time to adjust to a higher fat diet.  Healthy fats provide satiation, improved mental clarity, and an excellent source of fuel for energy. They also help to balance overall cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation, and promote weight loss.

Adequate protein refers to the importance of getting enough protein without getting too much.
Most people will need between 30-70 grams of protein a day, spread throughout the day. This includes
protein from plant and animal sources. According to Dr. Mercola, in his book Fat for Fuel, excess
protein can stimulate a regulatory pathway in the body which can promote growth of cancer cells and
can convert to glucose, thus negatively impacting blood sugar and insulin levels (pp. 47-48). As with
carbohydrates and fat, source and quality of protein matters.

Finally, fasting is an integral part of teaching the body to burn fat efficiently. By working toward a slow
reduction in carbohydrates while at the same time increasing healthy, undamaged fats and introducing a fasting state 4-5 times a week, the body becomes an efficient burner of healthy fats instead of carbohydrates.

Once the body is “fat adapted”, meaning able to burn fats efficiently, recommendations are to then
cycle in and out of nutritional ketosis by feasting on higher carbohydrate vegetables and fruits once or
twice a week to maintain metabolic flexibility.

To minimize side effects and maximize benefits from the ketogenic diet, we recommend seeking guidance
from a nutrition expert knowledgeable about this diet. We also recommend that you read a book to ensure good
understanding and proper implementation.

Dr. Ron Rosedale ( and Dr. Joseph Mercola ( are both
proponents of this kind of diet for healing and good health. Information for this article has been taken
from these websites and Dr. Mercola’s book Fat for Fuel, published in 2017 by Hay House, Inc.

By |2018-09-05T10:40:37+00:00August 22nd, 2018|Articles, General|

CBD (Cannabidiol) Oil

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a hemp-derived phytocannabinoid found in agricultural hemp. It is being
recognized for many promising, safe and beneficial effects on human and animal health in nearly every biological process and gaining recognition as a natural and safe way to address many health issues. Despite common misconceptions, hemp and marijuana come from two different varieties of Cannabis sativa. Though the industrial hemp plant does contain low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)¹, the psychedelic substance in marijuana, the levels are significantly less, such that they would not cause any reaction in humans. Agricultural hemp is one of the most commercially important plants and is used to make textiles, soaps, oils, food products, paper and sustainable fuel. It is in this plant that Cannabidiol (CBD) is in high concentration and the oil can be properly extracted to be used for health benefits. It is a legal substance in Texas with no negative effects. (Be sure to check the laws in other states and note that this article is about hemp derived CBD and NOT marijuana derived CBD).

CBD Oil has been shown to have significant health benefits through promoting homeostasis, or
balance, in the body. Benefits include:
· Reduction of inflammation and pain
· Reduction or prevention of nausea and vomiting
· Calming of the GI tract
· Reduces neural excitability, improving peripheral neuropathic pain
· Reduces anxiety
· Decreases seizure activity
· Can calm tremors
· Can elevate mood (you may find that you chuckle when you are at the right dose)
· Neuroprotective
· Anti-cancer
· Anti -Oxidant
· Promotes elimination of DNA-damaged cells

All our vendors use an extraction process that is solvent-free using nonchemical CO2. They use state-of-the-art, ISO certified laboratories and take steps to ensure their CBD oil is pure, potent and free of pesticides, contaminants, heavy metals, and solvents. Products can vary by taste and dose and can be delivered sublingually or through capsules.

How Does CBD Oil Work in Your Body, and How Can it Benefit You?
CBD is a type of cannabinoid, and our brains are already wired up to respond to them. There are special receptor sites to which cannabinoids bind in places like the brain, other organs, the nervous system and the immune system. When cannabinoids bind to these receptor sites, they have influence over some part of the function or activity of what this site controls.

Research has shown that the way CBD interacts with these receptor sites can have beneficial influences. In addition, it seems that adding CBD to your everyday diet can have a positive impact on general health and well-being. There are many reasons to make CBD oil part of your diet, from its richness in omega-3 to its role as a natural source of amino acids.

¹THC, the compound found in marijuana and still illegal in many places, causes psychotropic and psychotoxic effects, specifically the euphoric high for which marijuana is known. Marijuana is specifically bred to have high levels of THC in the plant (and much less CBD) and there are negative implications and recognized correlations to its use with psychological disorders.

Note: There is no evidence that the trace amounts, if any, of THC would show positive on a drug test, but there is a small theoretical risk (as with poppy seeds showing positive for morphine in urine), and therefore it would be prudent for you to discuss this with your employer. We can issue a letter stating that you have been prescribed CBD Oil as part of your medical treatment at The Woodlands Institute for Health & Wellness at your request.

By |2018-07-25T16:15:30+00:00July 25th, 2018|Articles, General|

annmarie Sunscreen

Choosing a sunscreen can be difficult, especially since most have harmful and toxic chemicals or make promises for UV protection that may not be accurate. Two of the most harmful ingredients to watch for in sunscreens are oxybenzone, which is a known endocrine disrupter, and retinyl palmate, a form of vitamin A that can harm the skin and lead to skin tumors [1].  For this reason, we recommend:

Sun Love – Natural Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 20 (2 oz)

Formulated with 15% non-nano zinc oxide, this daily moisturizer protects the skin from UV damage, while providing a light, natural tint. This Broad-Spectrum SPF 20 cream infuses your skin with antioxidant-rich sea buckthorn seed, buriti fruit and sunflower seed oil to nourish and visibly enhance your glow.



By |2018-06-27T15:34:22+00:00June 20th, 2018|Articles, General|

What Foods Contain Lectins

And What to Do About It

By Nancy Mehlert, MS


If you are reading this without first reading our main article, you may want to back up and read it to benefit from the more in depth introduction to lectins

Now, for anyone struggling to lose weight, dealing with autoimmunity or digestive issues, or simply frustrated with a stubborn health problem, then it is worth considering that lectins may be holding back your journey to better health.

Lectins are found in a wide variety of foods making it impossible to eat a lectin free diet. Not all lectins are bad (see Tip #5 below), however there are many lectins that are quite harmful, and there are some foods that contain high levels. It is important to think about the cumulative impact since you may be eating a combination of high lectin foods that result in considerable toxicity.

Foods with the Highest Lectin Content – Best Avoided

Corn – One of the very highest in lectin foods, corn lectins are also very resistant to heat and, therefore, are difficult to reduce through cooking.  Pervasive in the American food supply, corn is also genetically modified (unless organic) and one of the highest allergenic foods.

Corn-fed Meats: This includes most meats sold in grocery stores and restaurants. We are what we eat, and this applies to animals, too.  They are raised on corn and soy, two foods that are high in lectins. The purpose is to make them fat for market.  Lectins make us  humans fat, too.  The best way to avoid them is to buy certified grassfed meat. The American Grassfed Association is a good place to learn more. Look for “100% Grass Fed and Finished” on the label.

Casein A1 Milk[1]: Because of a genetic mutation in cow populations, some cows produce milk containing casein A1 protein, which is a lectin-like protein called beta-casomorphin. It attaches to the pancreas’ insulin-producing cells, prompting an immune attack on the pancreas of those who consume milk and cheeses from these cows.  Most cows today are casein A1 producers, and this is the milk and cheese found in store-bought dairy. Many who believe they are lactose intolerant are responding to the casein A1 in the milk. If you are going to consume dairy, opt for only casein A2 dairy products which come from goat, sheep, water buffaloes or specifically Belgian Blues, Guernsey, or Brown Swiss cow breeds. Holsteins are the most common breed and their milk is casein A1. Jersey cows may produce either, so checking the source and verifying is critical.

Peanuts and Cashews: Commonly called nuts, peanuts and cashews are legumes and both are very high in lectin content. The shell around the cashew is such an irritant that cashew workers must wear protective gloves to harvest them.  Cashews are in the same botanical family as poison ivy and dramatically increase inflammation[2].

Unfermented Soybean Products: Examples include tofu and edamame, the green soybean where lectins are highest and best avoided.  Traditionally fermented soy products such as miso or tempeh, if organic, have a much lower lectin content due to the fermentation.


High Lectin Foods to Eat Sparingly and Prepare Properly

Legumes: This pulse family includes any plant seed that is found in pods, such as peas, green beans, lentils, split peas, and all other beans (e.g. red kidney, black, white, garbanzo). Proper soaking and cooking, as well as choosing some of the lower lectin options like Great Northern beans, green beans and lentils, can make these a reasonable option when used sparingly. Most canned beans have not been soaked or cooked properly to reduce lectins. White kidney beans and soybeans are highest in lectins.

Grains: Just when we thought whole grains were best for us, we are learning that the lectins are highest in the outer sheath. Most earlier cultures seemed to understand that removing it made digestion easier. Traditionally, the Chinese, Japanese, and other Asian people have not been plagued with obesity, heart disease, and diabetes, yet they have been eating rice for thousands of years, always stripping away the hull where the lectins exist[3].  WGA or gliadin attached to gluten in wheat, oats, rye and barley are two other damaging grain lectins. Is it any surprise that many traditional European breads are made using the process of fermentation to make sourdough bread? The process of fermentation deactivates lectins. This traditional process is not used in bread manufacturing by the food industry.  There are many other health concerns when it comes to grains, such as pesticides and genetic modification.  Careful selection, preparation, and minimal consumption, however, make some grains a viable choice from time to time.

Nightshade Fruits and Vegetables: Included are tomatoes, potatoes (excluding sweet potatoes), eggplants, bell peppers, and goji berries among others. The highest lectin content is found in the skins and seeds, so simply peeling and deseeding can significantly reduce the lectin content, as well as reducing frequency and portion. Potato lectins are quite resistant to cooking and will only reduce by 50-60%.

Gourd Family Fruits: Normally called vegetables, the gourd family are fruits and include all squash varieties, pumpkin and zucchini. As with nightshades, some of these can be peeled and deseeded well and cooking will also help reduce lectins.


Preparation and Cooking Tips to Reduce Lectin Content

Research demonstrates that sprouting, fermenting, soaking overnight and cooking high lectin foods does dramatically reduce the lectin content, making them safe for most people. In addition to removing seeds and peel, here are some other tips to help reduce lectins.

Tip #1 – If you choose to eat beans, be sure to prepare and cook them properly, and NEVER eat raw or undercooked. They can have acute and toxic effects[4]. Be sure to soak beans in water for at least 12 hours before cooking, changing the water frequently. Rinse the beans well, discarding the water used for soaking. Cook for at least 15 minutes on HIGH heat, ideally using a pressure cooker like the InstaPot™.

Tip #2 – If consuming grains, keep in mind that the only way to make bread safe is to buy organic AND raise the bread using traditional methods of yeast or sourdough, which breaks down the gluten and other harmful lectins.  You would be hard pressed to find this in our grocery stores. You will need to make it yourself or purchase it from a traditional artisan bakery.

Tip #3 – Many beans, seeds and grains can be sprouted to deactivate lectins. There are some exceptions, such as alfalfa, where sprouting increases lectins. We recommend the cookbook, Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon for all forms of traditional food preparation including sprouting, fermentation, and cooking methods that reduce harmful lectins.

Tip #4 – Consider investing in a pressure cooker.  Plant lectins are most effectively neutralized when cooked under pressure relatively quickly. This method is ideal for beans, legumes, quinoa and rice, for example.  Avoid slow cookers for plant foods, as they will increase lectin content because of the low temperature used.

Tip #5 -There are some safe lectins in many foods. The lowest lectin content options are asparagus, garlic, celery, mushrooms and onions. Cooked root vegetables like sweet potatoes, yucca and taro, along with leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, avocados, olives and olive oil are all examples of healthy foods that do contain some lectins.  They can be eaten without restrictions.

Remember, while lectins can wreak havoc on health, it is not possible nor ideal to eliminate them from your diet.  The key is to identify the worst culprits, cut those out, and make sure you are preparing food in ways that minimize or reduce lectin content.  How strict you need to be will be determined by your health status, genetics and willingness to explore the possibility that lectins are standing in your way of better health.



[1] Gundry, Steven R., The Plant Paradox, (New York: HarperCollins, 2017), pg.32

[2] Gundry, Steven R., The Plant Paradox, (New York: HarperCollins, 2017), pg.209-210

[3] Gundry, Steven R., The Plant Paradox, (New York: HarperCollins, 2017), pg.45


By |2018-09-25T10:10:39+00:00May 30th, 2018|Articles, General, NANCY’S NUTRITIONAL NUGGET|

Product: Lectin Control Formula

Lectins are specialized proteins commonly found in fruits, vegetables, seafood, and especially in grains, beans and seeds.  They are not degraded by stomach acid or proteolytic enzymes, making them resistant to digestion.  Certain lectins consumed in everyday foods can bind to cells in the gut and to blood cells, initiating a cytokine response and contributing to less than optimal digestive health.  Lectin Control Formula is a unique blend designed to support against problematic lectins[1].

Supplement Ingredients[2] and how they work: Lectins can bind to sugar residues of polysaccharides and amino sugars in the gut and on the intestinal cell surfaces.  By consuming an array of these friendly sugar structures with the meal, they provide a decoy system in which “sacrificial” molecules are present to bind lectins and keep them from sticking to our cells and causing damage.  These sugar decoys attract dietary lectins, bind to them and eliminate them through the gut. These sugars also encourage healthy bowel flora and enhance joint and synovial health. The decoy friendly sugar structures in Lectin Control Formula include:

  • Mucins, which have been called digestive gatekeepers. They protectively line the digestive tract and moisten and lubricate the food we eat. Mucins protect against yeast, bacteria and food sensitivities and have lectin binding capacity.
  • N-acetylglucosamine (NAG) is a specific form of glucosamine that most effectively binds the disruptive wheat lectin called wheat germ agglutinin (WGA). NAG also plays an important role in the human body with immune regulation, inflammation and cell signaling.
  • Bladderwrack (focus vesiculosus) is a nutritious seaweed component which contains sugars called “fucoidins”. These sugars are especially capable of binding to lectins and microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria and yeast.  Fucose is a favorite sugar attachment site on the surface of cells for Helicobacter pylori (the bacteria responsible for ulcers and gastritis) and Candida albicans. Use of Bladderwrack acts as a decoy as the L-fucose pulls the lectins and opportunistic pathogens away from binding to the gut lining and locks them up for elimination from the body without disrupting other balances in the GI Tract.
  • Okra is a vegetable and rich source of lectin-binding protective mucilage. The Okra Extract, like the other ingredients discussed above, helps to remove existing lectins that are already attached to cells and helps to clean the intestines. It is also a rich source of bioavailable calcium.
  • D-mannose is also a common binding sugar for lectins and pathogenic microorganisms, much like Bladderwrack.
  • Sodium alginate is a soluble fiber derived from seaweed and is resistant to digestion. Colonic bacteria partially ferment sodium alginate to beneficial butyrate, which is food for the colonic epithelial cells. Sodium alginate is also used for detoxification.


Suggested use, 2 capsules at the beginning of each meal.  Caution is given to not exceed the recommended daily servings.  If you are pregnant, nursing, have a medical condition, take prescription drugs, have known hypersensitivity to iodine or hyperthyroidism, consult your healthcare professional before using[3].


[2] Pierini, Carolyn, M. Lectin Lock™: Natural Defense Against a Hidden Cause of Digestive Concerns and Weight Gain. Vitamin Research News. 2007;21(2):6



By |2018-06-28T22:16:39+00:00May 30th, 2018|Articles, General|

What are Lectins? Should I care?

By Mila McManus MD

The study of lectins is an extensive and emerging area of science with far-reaching implications to both health and healing. Learning about them may be a significant game changer for your health.  The findings may even surprise you.  It is quite possible that lectins are the hidden cause behind many symptoms and diseases.  If you struggle to lose weight, have autoimmune disease, digestive issues, or have stubborn health problems that just don’t seem to improve or resolve, learning more about lectins may be time well spent.

Lectins are a large class of proteins that can be found in all forms of life.  In plants, lectins are the natural defense system that protect the plant from destruction by microorganisms, pests, and insects[1]. Lectins make the plant leaves unappetizing, poisonous to invaders, or signal by color to the animal when a fruit is ready to eat.  For example, during the growing process, a fruit will be green and high in lectins, therefore harmful and toxic to an invader.  Later, the fruit will reach ripeness, turning a bright color, signaling to animals that the fruit is ready to be eaten. At ripeness, the lectin content has dropped and is no longer toxic to the predator.  When the animal eats the fruit, it carries the seeds in the digestive tract to another area, and then defecates the seeds into a new place to grow, thus perpetuating the plant species.  Lectins are in the seed’s outer coating as well as inside the seed on what will become the leaves once the seed sprouts.

Lectins are often referred to as “sticky proteins” because they are attracted to cell surfaces, causing cells to clump together (called agglutination). One extreme example is ricin, a lectin found in castor beans.  It is such a potent lectin that just a minuscule amount ingested can cause death due to massive clotting of red blood cells from agglutination[2]. Another more familiar lectin is gliadin (a.k.a. wheat germ agglutinin or WGA).  WGA is a component of gluten, the most well-known lectin of our time. Again, think of the “sticky” nature of lectins. Lectins bind to cells in the gut, blood, nerves, muscles, and joints, just to name a few. There, they act as chemical messengers, but their message is harmful, not helpful.  It is a message to inflame and a message to wreak havoc. WGA is involved in almost every acute and chronic inflammatory disorder including neurodegenerative disease, inflammatory bowel disease, infections and autoimmune diseases².

Not all lectins are harmful, and some are even beneficial. Our focus today is on the lectins which inflict damage to the human body in the following ways:

  • Lectins from the diet damage the delicate intestinal lining, increasing gut permeability and compromising protein digestion[3].
  • Lectins can be transported across the intestinal membrane into general circulation where they may attach to other tissues (connective, nervous, bladder) causing immune dysfunction and systemic inflammation³.
  • Lectins are chemical messengers potent enough to initiate and aggravate existing inflammatory conditions including autoimmune diseases (e.g. thyroiditis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia) ³.
  • Lectins have a significant impact on metabolism and weight gain. Normally, insulin acts like a delivery truck for excess carbohydrates (glucose) by attaching itself to the insulin receptor site (think loading dock) found on fat cells. Here, insulin tells the fat cell to open the storage room door, so that glucose can be moved into the fat cell for storage.  Once the glucose has been stored as fat, the insulin backs away from the loading dock receptor site, and the fat cell locks up the door to the storage room. In many people, lectins disrupt this process in a significant way.  Remember, the lectins are sticky.  Lectins stick to the insulin receptor site (the loading dock) on the fat cell, mimics insulin by instructing the fat cell to open the storage room door and move glucose into storage as fat.  However, lectins do not back away but instead stay indefinitely attached (stuck) to the receptor site giving a constant message to store fat².

Lectins do present a paradox.  On one hand, plants are essential for good health and small amounts of lectins can be handled and managed by a healthy body. On the other hand, the wrong plants, eaten routinely and abundantly, can result in a cumulative toxic impact to the body over time. The same plant toxins that can kill or immobilize an insect can also silently destroy your health and insidiously impact your weight.  Your current health status, family history, and genetic individuality will determine your body’s ability to recognize lectins as friends or foe.

We now have access to a lab test for lectin sensitivity for those who want to see results in writing before launching into a lectin reduction diet.  Our supplement of the month is another helpful resource, as it works to block lectins from the gut surface and passage through it.

To find out more, read today’s Nutrition Nugget . There, we will address which high lectin foods are most damaging and best avoided, and which lectin foods can be prepared in ways that reduce the lectin content.  For a more in-depth study of lectins, you may want to read The Plant Paradox, by Dr. Steven R. Gundry, MD., where you will also be introduced to his Plant Paradox Program diet.


[1] Peumans WJ, Van Damme EJ. Lectins as plant defense proteins. Plant Physiology. 1995;109(2):347-352

[2] Pierini, Carolyn M. Lectins: Their Damaging Role in Intestinal Health, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Weight Loss. Vitamin Research News. 2007;21(1):1-4

[3] Pierini, Carolyn M. Lectin Lock™:Natural Defense Against a Hidden Cause of Digestive Concerns and Weight Gain. Vitamin Research News.2007;21(2):6

By |2018-09-25T10:12:51+00:00May 25th, 2018|Articles, General|

Protein Powder Alert

By Nancy Mehlert, MS

The Clean Label Project is a non-profit, consumer product labeling organization working to ensure accurate labeling of food and products for people and animals.  Recently, they completed their 2018 Protein Powder Study where 134 protein powder products from 52 brands were screened for over 130 toxins including heavy metals, BPA, pesticides, and other contaminants with links to cancer and other health conditions. Please check out the study here and see if any protein powders you or your family are using was tested. The results were horrifying!

Because of their work, we will be revising our recommendations to our patients and want to retract our recommendations for Vega Protein Smoothie protein powder, whose company’s products did not fare well at all.  It is frustrating that it takes a non-profit organization to test these products for the public to become aware of toxicities and it points to the fact that food producers do not check or ensure for purity nor do they seem concerned for the health of their consumers.

Dr. McManus and I both believe that few of us need a protein powder supplement anyway because we can get plenty of protein from eating vegetables, meats, nuts and seeds.  However, there are, from time to time, reasons why a protein powder could be a helpful nutritional tool, so we will continue to offer recommendations for specific products.

This study is further evidence regarding our warnings about why it is important to choose your supplements carefully and why we carry supplements, including protein powders, in our office so that we can we closely examine products to ensure you the best possible, cleanest, most effective formulations.

Also, check out Pure Paleo Meal by Designs for Health, which is a trusted and certified protein powder available in our office.  From the results of this study, we would also be comfortable with Ancient Nutrition Cinnamon Apple Bone Broth Protein and the Wilderness Poets Hemp Protein Powder, both of which were rated 5 stars.  These are flavor specific, as not all flavors were rated the same.

By |2018-06-11T08:37:08+00:00May 5th, 2018|Articles, General|
%d bloggers like this: