SIBO Diet - What you need to know beyond SIBO . . .

SIBO & Lectins / Agglutinins

Welcome to another exciting SIBO Solution! news segment featuring the Cyrex ARRAY 10 Multiple Food Immune Reactivity Screen. The previous news segments covered what you need to know beyond SIBO & GUMS and SIBO & Food Coloring.  

SIBO and  undigested dietary lectins and / or agglutinins can change the integrity of your microbiota. Just as human tissues have receptors for lectins and agglutinins . . . so do bacteria!



Plant derived agglutinins and lectins have an affinity to human tissues and can be what triggers an autoimmune response.

Changes in the microbiota releases lipopolysaccharide (LPS) endotoxins. LPS can damage specific proteins that modulate the permeability of tight junctions between the cells such as occludin, zonulin, actomyosin and vinculin, in the wall of the digestive tract. 


  • Lentil Lectin
  • Pea Lectin
  • Bean Agglutinin
  • Soybean Agglutinin
  • Peanut Agglutinin

Once lectins and agglutinins have broken through the barriers to the submucosa of the intestine, they can reach regional lymph nodes and your systemic circulation. 

Your immune system can react to the lectin, and / or the agglutinin, and / or to the LPS. This can cause a potential 'cross reaction' with human tissue that triggers autoimmunity. For example as in Lupus the cross reaction is to neuronal tissue, joint tissue, or the skin or kidney.

Rated highest affinity to human tissue to lowest. 

  1. Wheat Germ Agglutinin - skin, nasophayrneal, buccal mucosa, stomach, intestinal brush border, colonic mucosa, connective tissue, thyroid, cartilage, liver, pancreas, kidney, prostate, skeletal muscle, cardiac muscle, breast, eye, brain.
  2. Soy Agglutinin - skin, buccal mucosa, parietal cells, intestinal brush border, thyroid, cartilage, liver, skeletal muscle, cardiac muscle, breast, eye.
  3. Peanut Agglutinin - skin, buccal mucosa, parietal cells, cartilage, liver, prostate, skeletal muscle, breast, pituitary, eye.
  4. Bean Agglutinin - intestinal brush border, connective tissue, thyroid, liver, pancreas, kidney, eye, brain.
  5. Lentil Lectin - skin, buccal mucosa, colon mucosa, connective tissue, thyroid, kidney, prostate, brain.
  6. Pea Lectin - connective tissue, skeletal muscle, eye.

Dietary lectins are classified as dis-ease causing toxicants. 

When consumed in excess by sensitive individuals they can cause 3 physiological reactions

  1. Severe intestinal damage, leading to nutrient deficiencies. 
  2. Provoked IgG and IgM antibodies causing food sensitivity and other immune responses.
  3. Binding to red blood cells which destroys the cell and together with immune factors can cause hemagglutination (blood cells sticking together) and / or anemia.

Lectin-Induced Disorders

  • Gut Dysbiosis / GI Disorders
  • Intestinal Barrier Dysfunction
  • Diabetes
  • Rheumatic Conditions
  • Arthritis
  • Nephritis
  • Infertility
  • Classical IgE Allergy
  • Celiac and Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity 

One study identify elevated serum antibodies to lectin wheat germ agglutinin (translation: the wheat germ protein binds carbohydrates and the bodies response makes antibodies that stick together) in celiac children that lends supports to the gluten-lectin theory i.e. gluten is the autoimmune triggering protein that leads to the intestinal damage of celiac disease.

However sometimes, removing gluten alone is not enough! Unless you remove ALL of the known immune reactions to lectins and agglutinins you may still have an immune cross reaction to gluten and therefore continue to have symptoms. 

I am very selective and frugal about testing however I recommend Cyrex testing to aid in identifying factors that can often be the key piece of the puzzle. Although I know this is a debate in the autoimmune community, people want to know what to eat and I have clear clinical evidence that this testing has made a difference in the treatment course and SIBO relapse potential. For more information, consider reading other SIBO News, my eBook and / or schedule a consultation or in-person appointment. 

In Best Health,

Dr. Melanie Keller ND, SIBO Expert


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1.) Falth-Magnusson and Magnusson. Elevated levels of serum antibodies to the lectin wheat germ agglutinin in celiac children lend support to the gluten-lectin theory of celiac disease. Pediatric Allergy Immunology, 1995; 6(2) 98-102.

2.) Freed DLJ. Chapter 34: Dietary lectins and disease. In food allergy and intolerance, 2nd Edition, Brostoff and Challacombe SJ, eds, Saunder Ltd, London, 2002 pp 479-488.

3.) Hamid and Mascod. Dietary lectins as disease causing toxicants. Pakistan J Nutrition, 2009; 8:293-303.

4.) Vojdani A. Lectins, agglutinins, and their role in autoimmune reactivities. Alt Ther Health Med, 2015.