Lectins… What are they?

This applies to all living things, not just Dogs/Humans!

A Lectin is more commonly known for being part of a plant, although animals (Meats) too, it’s a protein shield if you like to put certain animals/insects off from eating them and to cause damage to those that do, now the damage isn’t instant, it’s subtle and the full effect can take weeks/months or years to develop depending on the who’s eating them and the diet as a whole, insects can die though!, Lectins are known as “Anti-Nutrients”.

How do they cause damage?

Lectins cause damage by binding to sugar molecules (Carbohydrates) where if they can in your body whether that’s in your blood, in your digestive system or even nerves, it doesn’t matter, they’re not fussy as to where they bind. Have you ever ran through a field of long grass, then you have grass seeds and other foreign aspects on your body? Similar concept.

What happens if you over consume?

Well consuming to many Lectins can penetrate the cells of the walls to your intestines, these walls once broken would cause whats known as “Leaky Gut”, this then puts your gastrointestinal tract at risk being exposed to harmful microbes and other pathogens which can then trigger “Auto Immune Responses”

Lectins are also known as Anti-Nutrients as they have been shown to effect the utilisation/absorption of minerals such as Calcium, Zinc , Iron, Magnesium and importantly, Taurine! This can lead to deficiency/malabsorption/imbalance issues, which have knock on effects.

Taurine for example, has had allot of limelight recently, partly due to dry food manufacturers making “Grain Free” versions which they used legumes to replace the grains (grains also contain Lectins, just lower levels of) now pet food companies were under scrutiny at this time because dogs/cats were developing DCM (Dilated Cardiomyopathy ) which were said the be caused by a Taurine Malabsorption/ Deficiency which seems plausible? Thats when i realised that cooking foods that contain Lectins at high temperatures, inactivates the Lectins. According to a study referenced at the bottom, Lectins that are subjected to 100 Degrees C for 10 minutes are destroyed. On average Dry Foods/Kibble are cooked at a temperature above 100 Degrees C and are subjected to such heat for longer than 10 mins during the extrusion/drying process regardless of brand/manufacturer.

Therefore my conclusion, is that there was multiple factors contributing to the DCM cases occurring but i don’t believe Lectins were the causation, more so an oversight of the “Grain Free” formulas as a whole!

What plants contain Lectins?

  • Legumes such as Lentils, Beans, Peas and Peanuts (phytohaemagglutinin)
  • White and Sweet Potatoes
  • Nightshade Vegetables such as Tomatoes
  • Grains such as Barley, Quinoa and Rice( Agglutinin)
  • Dairy Products (Casein A1- when the body converts A1 into beta-casomorphin (another kind of protein), pancreatic damage can result)

There are many kinds of Lectins and each effect the body differently, for example the Kidney Bean contains “Phytohaemagglutinin” which can cause red blood cells to clump together along with milder issues such as nausea and diarrhea.

You’ll notice i don’t advocate such fresh foods for dogs that contain Lectins, and this is why!

Can you remove Lectins?

I don’t know about removing them entirely without decimating the nutritional profile all together (Beneficial Vitamins and Minerals) but you can certainly lower them, when you was younger did you ever see grandparents soaking peas/beans over night before washing to cook? Well it’s a tradition passed down and the reason probably unknown by them but its to reduce the Lectins!

Good old fashioned boiling!

There’s other ways which people do naturally an autopilot and that’s peeling and de-seeding, skin and seeds contain the higher levels!

You can also use another method, which is a way of preserving too and that is fermentation! Fermenting foods has so many other health benefits too, such as Pro and Prebiotics (Symbiotics).

Please research your self and correct me on anything i’m incorrect on! I remain open minded and willing to dig deeper/educate myself further!

Remember Stay Safe and Stay at Home, Protect the NHS.

Michael K A Bennett – BCCSDip.HthNut

Please see References here:

Handbook of Plant Lectins (Google Scholar Book Publication)





Bella and Duke Logo

The reason behind this blog tonight was due to me seeing a great video by Rowan Sanderson of the bloody wonderful “Bella and Duke” . About why we should say NO to peanut (Legumes) butter!

I have no affiliation with Bella & Duke but i must give credit where its due… Check them out!! They currently have an offer too, 50% off first order and a free bag of treats = Free Delivery!! https://www.bellaandduke.com/lp/gabrand50/?gclid=CjwKCAjw4871BRAjEiwAbxXi2xZeV7hvB2CUau7lhr4sJGTihrAalwanahDLvv46KSDR6ZbFnHNKlhoCDVYQAvD_BwE

To see the video i’m referring to, check their blog here: https://www.bellaandduke.com/doggy-health-happiness/can-dogs-eat-peanut-butter/

2 thoughts on “Lectins… What are they?

  1. I like this article, learnt a lot of stuff. I new that lectins existed not that they were dangerous.


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