“About five months ago, I made an appointment with Dr. McManus about some digestive problems I have been having for the last few years. I thought it was just getting older and there was nothing I could do about it. Dr. McManus told me about the yeast cleanse, so I thought I would give it a try, not expecting much. After 10 days on the diet and eating healthier, I had amazing improvements to my digestive system and felt so much better. It was life changing! I discovered I was sensitive to certain foods and once I eliminated them from my diet, I am so much better. I don’t have all the cravings and extreme energy swings I used to have either. I highly recommend this program. It has changed my life for the better!” – Pat B
From The Ketogenic Kitchen, by Domini Kemp and Patricia Daly
1 Honeydew melon
1 large cucumber
2-3 fresh mint leave sprigs
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Salt and pepper
½ teaspoon chili flakes
3.5 ounces goat feta cheese
- 1. Cut the melon into slices, de-seed and cut out flesh. A melon baller makes the appearance nice if you have one. Otherwise, cut the flesh into bite-sized pieces. Place in a large bowl.
- 2. Wash the cucumber and cut lengthwise into quarters. Then dice into bite-sized pieces and add to the bowl. English cucumbers partially peeled would be lovely.
- 3. Chop the mint and add to the bowl along with the lemon juice, olive oil and some salt and pepper.
- 4. Add the chili flakes and mix well. Adjust the seasoning if needed.
- 5. Add the goat feta, toss lightly and serve.
Net Carbs: 9.8g
Protein: 4.2 g
Fat 7.2 g
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 disruptor) and retinyl palmate, a form of vitamin A that can harm the skin and lead to skin tumors . 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.
- 1. Clean water has always been and remains the gold standard for hydration. For normal daily exercise and play in the sun, aim for 25-50% of body weight in ounces for adults and children. For long periods in the heat, drink more and drink frequently.
- 2. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Rich in both water and electrolytes, they are optimal hydrators that prevent cramping and assist with recovery. Examples of good hydrating choices for summer outdoor activities include celery, watermelon, cucumber, kiwi, citrus fruits, carrot, pineapple, iceberg lettuce, tomato, berries, broccoli and cauliflower.
- 3. Add Sea Salt to water, fruits and vegetables. Sea salt will help to balance potassium levels, alkalize the body and support hydration.
- 4. Avoid typical sports drinks such as Gatorade, Powerade and Propel, just to name a few. They are full of sugar, phosphoric acid, food dyes, and artificial sweeteners. If you feel you must use something more than the options listed above, then opt for cleaner, healthier choices such as NUUN Hydration Effervescent Electrolyte tablets, Hi-Lyte™ or Lyteline™ Electrolyte products. These choices are clean and appropriate for endurance sport activities. They are non-GMO, gluten free, and sugar free. Follow the instructions provided on the products.
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: 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.
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. 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. 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.
ASK ABOUT OUR LECTIN SENSITIVITY TESTING. FIND OUT IF YOU REACT TO SOME SPECIFIC LECTINS!
 Gundry, Steven R., The Plant Paradox, (New York: HarperCollins, 2017), pg.32
 Gundry, Steven R., The Plant Paradox, (New York: HarperCollins, 2017), pg.209-210
 Gundry, Steven R., The Plant Paradox, (New York: HarperCollins, 2017), pg.45
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.
Supplement Ingredients 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.
 Pierini, Carolyn, M. Lectin Lock™: Natural Defense Against a Hidden Cause of Digestive Concerns and Weight Gain. Vitamin Research News. 2007;21(2):6
Makes 6-8 patties
The aroma is amazing and the patties are bursting with flavor. The mint and curry are the secret, making these pleasing to the palate, without the spicy heat. They make a perfect lunchbox item.
1 lb All-Natural Lamb
1 small sweet potato, washed, peeled and shredded
¼ cup pine nuts, chopped
2 teaspoons curry
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon butter, ghee or bacon drippings
1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
2. Form patties.
3. In a medium skillet using medium heat, melt fat and cook the patties until brown on the outside and cooked through.
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. 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. 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.
- 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.
 Peumans WJ, Van Damme EJ. Lectins as plant defense proteins. Plant Physiology. 1995;109(2):347-352
 Pierini, Carolyn M. Lectins: Their Damaging Role in Intestinal Health, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Weight Loss. Vitamin Research News. 2007;21(1):1-4
 Pierini, Carolyn M. Lectin Lock™:Natural Defense Against a Hidden Cause of Digestive Concerns and Weight Gain. Vitamin Research News.2007;21(2):6
I was in bad shape when I made my initial visit to Dr McManus. I had been able to manage my Hashimotos previously so I knew my then-current physicians were not getting at the root of the problem. Dr. McManus has turned me around in a few short months. It’s happening faster than I even thought possible. She has an amazing staff and she is a powerhouse of information and ideas. I finally feel like I have a Doctor that is my partner in wellness. I only wish I had found her earlier in my Thyroid journey, but I am so happy to be here now.
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.