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Lectins - The Missing Links

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In This Section:

* In this section, I will be discussing the vital and fascinating topic of lectins, the term used to describe antibody-sized proteins (glycoproteins- part carbohydrate, part protein), the most pertinent of which are those derived from foods. And which foods do you think provide the most damaging "lectins"? Yep...the "big 4" again- gluten grains (wheat, barley, rye), dairy products (casein), soy (errrh), and corn. Surprise, surprise! (smile)
This section will be under construction for a while and I will try to get to tend to it as soon as I can. This is a crucial concept for everyone to understand. In my early writing (e.g The Answer),  I referred to lectins as "dietary glycoproteins", having not yet come across the term "lectins". But a few years ago, I discovered a very important Webpage that catapulted me into a whole new world of discovery. It was, a great synopsis of the concept of lectins and the role these dietary glycoproteins were playing in the demise of our health. It was life-changing information that clarified much.
Further support came in reading the work of Dr. D'Adamo and his Eating for Your Blood Type. ( ) This information dovetailed perfectly with what I had suspecting and confirming over the previous years of research.
So, I will be writing a paper on what I have learned about lectins as soon as possible. In the meantime, I would strongly recommend that the reader do a search for "lectins" and start reading on their own. You will be amazed at what researchers know about how and why these food-derived glycoproteins drive our tissues and immune systems crazy. You will also see how our own body produces lectins to control cell function. Then you will see how the "confusion" and dysfunction arise. Again, a good starting point in the link above,
One of the most fascinating aspects of this topic is the interrelationship between lectins and viruses. I go into this in my newest section, Viruses- Friend or Foe? This really starts to put things together, especially once the reader grasps the fact that we are loaded with viruses, some of which are embedded in our very DNA. Those who have spent much time on this site already have a good grasp of this extremely important fact.
Once again, we see that our health destiny is firmly in our own hands. It is our own actions that determine the state of our health. We have the potential to live to be 120 years old (Genesis 6:3) or become ill and die at a very early age. We have placed our destiny in the hands of others and "genetics" for far too long. By understanding the role of food intolerance, lectins, viruses, and environmental factors, we can put the focus back where it and our choices.
I hope this helps,

* Important Links- Here are a few links to lectin-related sites that will hopefully get you started in your understanding of this vital and fascinating topic.
* Immune-mediated Diseases in a Nutshell- This is a post that made on one of favorite Internet forums. It was placed on a thread that I started about the observation I had made concerning the left side being more commonly afflicted first with immune-mediated diseases than the right. I hope you find it interesting.

* Viruses and Lectins- The Missing Links-  (Link only)This paper is the manuscript for my upcoming lecture at a major veterinary conference. It covers my latest passion- studying the potential interrelationships between the lectins of the "big 4" (gluten, casein, soy and corn) and the latent viruses that are residing in our cells, some even being embedded in our very DNA. These interactions help to explain "autoimmune" diseases and shed light on the development of that dreaded diagnosis of cancer.

* A Letter to a Colleague- The following article is an Email to a colleague who wrote on the behalf of a veterinarian pursuing a doctorate in immunology asking about the relationship between inflammatory bowel disease and hypothyroidism.

*** Fatty Liver Syndrome- Killing Two Birds with One Grain- This is an Email that I sent to the Friends of DogtorJ after I read a Yahoo health alert that "discussed" fatty liver syndrome. Actually the article left more questions unanswered than it answered, sooo....  This Email was also later edited by Ron Hoggan, a champion in celiac circles,  and published in the newsletter of, an awesome Website for anyone afflicted with or exploring the possibilities of gluten intolerance.

Important links:
I would suggest that the reader do some Internet searches for things like "lectins, viruses", "lectins, disease", "lectins, GMO", and other creative searches. You will see that these vital but relatively undiscussed elements are involved in many, many things both good and bad. They are a huge piece of the medical puzzle, as are viruses.



Immune-mediated Diseases in a Nutshell (and the role of lectins)


Dear Friends,

Here is a post that I just made on one of my favorite Internet forums. I was discussing the interesting observation that the majority of the immune-mediated diseases of the eye and peripheral neuropathies I have seen have occurred on the left side. I would estimate that over 90% of the immune-mediated ocular (eye) disorders that I have seen (uveitis, glaucoma, cataracts, dry eye) have occurred first in the left eye. Last week, a oncology nurse who had brought in her dog for its left-eyed problem had just been diagnosed with lupus and was experiencing a manifestation in her left eye. When I leaned out of the room to tell Gena (my main tech) that we had another left eye (which I have been doing for a couple of years now), the owner inquired as to why I was doing this. She found it very interesting because in her oncology practice, they were doing the exact same thing about breast cancer, which they saw much more often in the left breast. Hmm...

So, being the inquiring mind that I am :), I started doing some research, the results of which are turning up some phenomenally interesting things. I started a few threads and this was the product of one of them. I thought that it might be of some interest to you. This will be posted on my Website in the near future for future reference (which I know you will all want to do. LOL)

I hope you get something from it.


John B. Symes, D.V.M. ("Dogtor J")
Read- "Food Intolerance- Man and Animals versus Gluten, Casein, Soy, and Corn OR How We Won the Battle of Helm's Deep"


[QUOTE=jen.] John, does it seem from your research that autoimmune diseases tend to favor the left side at the beginning, or throughout the course of the disease?[/QUOTE]

Hi Jen,

In my veterinary experience, immune-mediated conditions, such as those of the eye, and peripheral neuropathies (e.g. Bell's palsy, Trigeminal neuropathy)usually strike one side and then the other IF it does strike the other side, just as they are typically described in the human literature. I have this thread going on the MS forum to try to sort a few things out if possible. To me, understanding MS holds the key to our understanding many other things since it appears to have many of the elements described below.

Until recently, I too had a very limited view of immune-mediated disorders. We have all been faced at some point with the misconception that the "autoimmune diseases" are a the result of an immune system gone haywire- that the immune system doesn't know what it's doing as it attacks the body for no good reason. That is an incorrect and downright abominable idea. It knows exactly what it is doing. We just have not completely grasped what it is going after in all cases of immune-mediated disease.

But, we are getting much closer to understanding this. However, the first thing to do is to put away that deception that the body makes mistakes. It doesn't...ever. Only we make the mistakes that injure our body. Then we can see what is really going, as we bombard our cells with all sorts of garbage while handcuffing our immune system with cover-up drugs while all the while providing the body with inadequate and even harmful fuel on which to perform. Yeah, it's our body's fault alright. :(

The fact is that there is a war going on in our body, a desperate struggle of "good versus evil" that parallels what we see going on around us. The key players are viruses, lectins, nutrients, pollution, chemicals/carcinogens, opportunistic organisms like bacteria/mycoplasma/fungi, lack of sleep and crazy lifestyles.

In the study of immune-mediated diseases, what you find is that the cells become abnormal and the immune system is called in to either kill them or to simply clean up the debris. Many of the cells are dead before the immune system even arrives. The fact is that certain food lectins ( ) can kill cells or force them to change into something that the body doesn't like without the immune system ever becoming involved. The immune response is secondary. We're blaming the wrong guy when we point the finger at the immune system as the culprit. It's just doing it's job, which is "housecleaning" in many cases.

And the viruses are not really the culprits either. That is the cool thing to see. They are just doing what they were designed to do- adapt to the garbage that we are throwing at them. They have been doing it since Creation. But, we are throwing more and more at them and many of these things are the worst things they have even faced (e.g. carcinogens) and in the highest abundance. What do we expect from these guys???

But why do these diseases states get put off as long as they do? (They're not waiting as long as they used to, are they? Surprised after that last paragraph?). They "wait" because our bodies/cells start out healthier as do our immune systems. They "wait" because we have lots of reserves to start out with, as we can live on 1/2 of one kidney and 1/4th of our liver. The death of theses cells is actually an ongoing process. We just don't feel the results until we get to "critical mass". Perhaps the immune system is signaled in to do the major housecleaning because it knows that we are getting desperately low in healthy tissue. Could that be why some don't survive the first attack while others never see another assault?

And, there are good things in our bodies and diets that block the attachment of the bad things. There are good lectins and other binding agents that keep the bad ones from attaching. Some of these are produced by our own body and others come from our foods (e.g. fruits and veggies). Why does "an apple a day keep the doctor away"? Apples contain pectins that bind lectins. How does glucosamine work? It binds the lectins of wheat, et al and keep them from attaching to the cells that line the joint thereby preventing the inflammation they can cause. We know this.

Next, there are viruses inside the cells that react to the challenges that we throw at them. The glaring example is the group of retroviruses that are embedded in our very DNA that cause cancer when challenged by carcinogens. Is that the only virus in the cell? Not by a long shot. Viruses are critical in the normal function of nature, being responsible for variation and adaptation, with the latter being the key here. So some viruses are essential to our very existence. They are not the demons we have made them out to be.

And that is why some our cells literally invite them in. Our cells can produce lectins that attract viruses and facilitate their entry into the cell. Why would they do that? Because the cell wants or needs the virus??? I believe that is true in many of not all cases. But, if we don't see that viruses play an essential role in our function, we can't possibly understand why a cell would roll out the red carpet for a virus, can we? (How do "genetics" work, anyway? How does a non-living sequence of amino acids in our DNA do anything? The fact is that estimates of 45% of our DNA is made up of viral sequences. Now that makes sense.) All we have been seeing is the most superficial aspect of all of this- the diseases being "caused" by these viruses when, in fact, they are just reacting to our insults.

So, do you see the war going on? Good lectins versus bad lectins, good viruses versus "bad" (over-adapting) viruses? All the while, we are pouring toxins into the mix and feeding the body garbage for "nutrition" and expecting it to perform optimally. Thank God (literally) that we start out with so many reserves, which are meant to give us a fighting chance to wake up before we do irreversible harm. And we blame our body...or God? Whoa!

I used to think the whole left versus right thing would have no medical explanation and that it was going to be purely a "level two" (spiritual) thing. I'm seeing things a bit differently now. But, why these diseases strike one side and then the other rather than both sides at the same time will never have a good medical explanation. That is pure Grace. :)

I hope this helps in some way,


A Letter to a Colleague 
The following is an Email to a colleague who wrote on the behalf of a veterinarian pursuing a doctorate in immunology asking about the relationship between inflammatory bowel disease and hypothyroidism.
Hi Jean,

Do you want scientific articles or the ramblings of a mad man? LOL

(The following is meant to be more for your friend's  benefit than yours.)

I certainly think there are strong correlations between IBS and thyroid and the common ties are lectins, nutrient malabsorption, and the rise of embedded viruses. I believe that PLE is actually a chronic anti-viral battle in which the food lectins (along with some chemical sensitivities) have caused the chronic, latent enteric viruses to adapt into something the immune system no longer tolerates and is called in to keep them under control. The removal of some preservatives, etc. can cause partial remission of signs but the key to the long-term treatment is the elimination diet (especially the removal of all gluten, casein, soy and corn). This allows things to get back to normal. We all know the role corticosteroids play in short-term and long-term management, usually having transient success as treatments just like in their use in other immune-mediated diseases, which helps to PROVE the role of food proteins (lectins) in the pathogenesis. The initial damage done to (reactions incited in) the cells by lectins is independent of the immune system. The immune response follows this initial biochemical damage, which explains why symptoms abate but the condition persists.

Why the boring review? Because the same thing is happening in the thyroids, right? And the nature of the virus in the thyroid of the individual determines the form of thyroid illness that follows the lectin insult. In the dog, the virus induces hypothyroidism (and thyroid cancer is rare). In the cat, hyperthyroidism occurs FREQUENTLY followed by thyroid tumors....also viral. In the human, it can be either Hashimoto's or Graves that occurs (in keeping with the interesting fact that humans can get viruses from animals but not the other way around) and thyroid cancer is common. So, it is easy to assume from this that viruses ARE involved in thyroid illness, except in those cases in dogs and people where the hypothyroidism is purely from iodine malabsorption (which, according to a retrospective look at some studies, may occur in up to 1/3 of hypothyroid cases in the dog).

Why does the iodine malabsorption take place again? Due to villous atrophy of the duodenum where the iodine is normally absorbed. This is extremely common in celiacs and is part of the syndrome induced by the lectins of gluten. Do these same lectins head off to the thyroid and induce hypothyroidism in sensitized individuals? With celiacs having a 50 times higher rate of hypothyroidism, I'd have to say yes. Are all celiacs hypothyroid? No, not all have the virus or ever experience the right combination of factors that leads to their expression. But between the malabsorption of iodine (being blocked by the "big 4"...gluten, casein ,soy, and corn) and the true immune thyroiditis, staggering numbers of us have low thyroid levels.

And in the dog, the most food allergic dogs have the worst thyroid illness, don't they? The Cocker, Shih Tzu, Poodle, Lab, Rottie, German shepherd, Dachshund, and Dobie lead the pack. The spayed female Dobie often develops the hypothyroidism before the skin manifestations of food allergy show up. The gas they have is their big tip off. Woof! LOL. The food allergies are the outward manifestation of the internal damage to the gut, with IgE being formed at the time the lectins damage the villi. IgG is also formed to these food glycoproteins and later becomes involved in the more serious immune-mediated diseases. The bad news is that not all individuals form IgE to the offending foods. Not all celiacs are allergic to wheat. This is bad news. This is probably why the Dobie, who is a leading thyroid breed, does not manifest the extreme skin signs of food allergies seen in others like the Cocker, Shih Tzu, and Labs. But they do get other manifestations like thyroid, polyarthritis, and IBS and finally cardiomyopathy, which I certainly believe is the same chronic, latent viral mechanism as the other immune-mediated diseases that we see manifested at the exact same time (peaking at 7 years of age).

And when do we see the Rottie die of osteosarcoma (also a virus, as easily seen by doing a search for "osteosarcoma virus")? Yep, the same age. Their immune systems totally fail them early, don't they? No wonder they are lining up at the board-certified derm guys office to get skin tested? Their (secondary) inhalant allergies are incredible. I had a 5 year old Rottie come in this week for acute fulminating AIHA... the worst I have ever seen (and I have had about 7 cases in the past 1.5 months. I "love" Mobile.) His urine looked like sangria and his serum like cabernet. His owners gave him ice cream every night for dessert. Too bad they didn't know about Dr. D'Adamo's work on eating for your blood type. "Murphy" was probably the dog equivalent of Type A blood in people, the most dairy intolerant. Alpha S-1 casein loves to stick red cells together just like (Borden's) Elmer's glue (from casein) holds things together.

The interesting thing is the relative lack of gastrointestinal symptoms in the dog compared to all of the skin allergies, immune-mediated diseases, and early cancer. But, this is the exact same thing that happens in celiacs. Only 1/4th of us are even having gastrointestinal signs. That's what happens when the duodenum is the primary target. As long as the stomach, jejunum, ileum and colon are OK, we're "good to go" so to speak. BUT, as things progress, the other parts start to fail for secondary some. Still, the main manifestations are thyroid illness and other immune-mediated diseases, neurological issues, early cancer, and a myriad of malabsorption-related symptoms. See the reference below to "The Gluten File".)

So much for the ramblings of a mad man. I'll see if I can dig up some articles from the gluten and casein intolerance literature as well as PubMed to back up all of these "allegations" if you want.

If I were her, I would spend some time studying celiac disease in people as a model for disease. It is a great example of just what she is looking for, I think. Here is a great forum for her to spend some time on.  "JCC" (Cara) is one of the forum regulars and really has it goin' in. Her "The Gluten File" ( ) is a great piece of work. She could also learn a lot about lectins from Dr. D'Adamos' work. My favorite primer for this topic is The Lectin Report

Hope this helps,


I hope you enjoyed your time here and got something important from your stay. It is my goal to help all of mankind navigate through the jungle of medical information now available on the Internet and find the truth about the origins of what we call "disease" as well as discover the natural solutions for these conditions.
We do have our health's destiny in our own hands more than we've ever imagined, certainly more than most have ever been told. Think naturally and the answer will come.
Dogtor J
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Feel free to check it out now at I am still working hard to populate all of the pages so don't worry if a link does not work. They should all be active in the near future. In the meantime, this current site will remain on-line until I get all of the bugs worked out.

Let me know what you think! It's not too late to make some changes.
Dogtor J

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