What are Lectins and Why Should I Care?

what are lectins and why should I care

You might have noticed we like to talk about being lectin free. A lot. But there's a very good reason for this. 

Otopia began because we couldn’t find a protein powder that ticked all of our boxes — so we created it ourselves! One of the major boxes we wanted to tick was being free from lectins. Why, you might ask? Let’s dive in.

What the Heck are Lectins?

Lectins are carbohydrate binding proteins that help plants protect themselves. You’ll find them in a bunch of foods, particularly plant-based like beans, legumes, lentils, seeds, nuts, and nightshade vegetables like potatoes, tomatoes, capsicum and eggplant.⁠

But the body can’t actually digest lectins! They bind to cell membranes lining the digestive tract, where they can disrupt metabolism and cause damage and inflammation. 

O’Top Tip: An anti-nutrient sounds like the name of a supervillain. And that's not far off. They block the absorption of other nutrients into the bloodstream — for example iron, zinc and calcium.

 

lectins and gut health

A Gut Feeling

As Hippocrates said many moons ago, “All disease begins in the gut.” 

More recently, Dr Steven Gundry, the author of The Plant Paradox  and lectin free diet advocate, has added to this with the sentiment that all dis-ease also ends in the gut — a healthy gut. And that means there’s hope. 

Lectins can cause poor gut health and digestive problems resulting in weight gain and inflammation, which can lead to chronic dis-ease. To be honest, this is the last thing we want when we’re just trying to work out, be healthy and enjoy our bod in a crop top and leggings. To be blunt, we don’t want to worry about digestive issues when we’re doing the downward dog. 

When we notice these uncomfortable symptoms, it’s totally natural to want to do something about it and heal our bodies. 

O’Top Tip: We refer to it as “dis-ease” to emphasise that the natural state of ease is being disrupted. This was first coined by Louise Hay in You Can Heal Your Life where she talks about dis-ease as anything not in harmony with your environment.

 

why should I care about lectins

Care Factor: Not Zero

So why should you care? Well, we think you should care about our products being lectin free if:

  • You’re into gut health
  • You care about what goes into your body
  • You’re experiencing inflammation, sore joints or other body niggles despite living a healthy lifestyle
  • You experience digestive issues such as bloating, poor digestion or IBS
  • You’ve found issues with other protein products

It’s important to note that the current evidence is mostly for condition specific diets and more research is still to come. That said, you know your body better than anyone else. And we’re big believers in if it works for you and makes you feel good, go for it.

O’Top Tip: If you still don’t care about being lectin free, no worries! Maybe other things are more important to you like being vegan, gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, Aussie made or tasting great (all of which we can also happily accommodate).

 

anti-inflammatory lectin free

Self Care Factor: Massive

Self care has been co-opted by face masks and bubble baths (don't get us wrong, we’re big advocates for these as well), but REAL self care is putting the work in to care for yourself. A healthy lifestyle isn’t something that happens overnight.

The body has an amazing ability to heal itself but sometimes it needs help and healing your gut is one way to really show yourself self care. Following a plant-based diet, a lectin free diet, increasing gut health awareness and having patience are all key to working towards a happy gut. 

Know that it takes time for your body to heal, you just need to give it the right environment. That’s why we created a product that is anti-inflammatory and gut healthy so you can feel really confident in your choices. 

If you have any other Qs about our ingredients, what they mean and why you should care, reach out to the friendly faces on the Otopia team.