GLUTEN, LECTIN... IMMUNE AFFECTIN'
You’ve probably heard the term, “gluten”. You may have even heard the word, “lectin”. But what you probably haven’t heard of is how the grains you find (gluten and lectin) them in can affect your health. Today, I’m gonna’ break that down for you. Let’s start with gluten. The large, water-soluble protein that creates elasticity in dough (Also, the primary glue in wallpaper paste 😬 is gluten. It’s found in most common grains, such as wheat, rye, barley and some beans. Researchers believe that as many as 1/3 of us are probably gluten-intolerant or gluten-sensitive. For this group of people, an inflammatory response is triggered. Over time, those who are gluten intolerant can develop a dismal array of medical conditions- dermatitis, joint pain, reproductive problems, acid reflux and other digestive issues. And that doesn't mean that the rest of us aren't experiencing some milder negative effects that just aren’t as apparent. Lectins, also found in grains and legumes, are mild, natural plant toxins. Researchers have found that lectins can inhibit healthy gastrointestinal function by damaging delicate brush borders that line your small intestine. Brush borders are where most of the nutrients from the food we eat are absorbed. They contain digestive enzymes that help break down carbs as the final component of their digestive process and allow appropriate forms of nutrients (glucose, amino acids, fats, vitamins and minerals) to become absorbed into the bloodstream from the intestine. Lectin damage to brush borders allows larger, undigested protein molecules to infiltrate the bloodstream. The ever-vigilant immune system sees these unfamiliar protein molecules and sets up a typical immune response to deal with them. Unfortunately, these undigested protein molecules can resemble molecules that reside on the outside of healthy cells, leaving your immune system confused as to who the real enemy is and in turn, an autoimmune response develops, something experts believe is the root cause of many common diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis and a host of other conditions. I don’t write this with intent to steer you away from grains forever but to educate you on the foods you’re eating. I live by the 80/20 rule and if grains/gluten/lectin are things you enjoy as foods, then go for it! Just let it be part of your 20% We have got to do a better job of understanding what we’re putting inside our bodies. Now more than ever, optimizing our health and immunity is vital. -Functional Lifestyles