Asthma and Lectins

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Asthma and Lectins

AN476-Legumes-732x549-thumbAround 2 years ago I wrote about Asthma prevention from the beginning of pregnancy. Abnormal gut microbiota communities in new born babies contributes to asthma. C-section delivery, formula fed instead of breast-feeding, and antibiotic on pregnant mother are believed to be very closely related to the loss of four types of gut bacteria in those babies. Now I am starting to think that my own daughter may have been born with abnormal gut microbiota….

Based on a description of her symptoms, A pulmonary doctor has diagnosed my daughter with asthma even though her breathing test was negative. She has experienced shortness of breath and chest tightness here and there and not associated with particular strenuous activity. Her breathing is good, no cough or wheeze, sleeps through the night, and can play. I didn’t want to admit that she has asthma, and the doctor was not 100 % sure either, but he prescribed a medication to see if it will help her breath.  Of course, I haven’t used it.

She has never used antibiotics except on three occasions; once during my labor (normal delivery without epidural and no GBS), antibiotic eye-drops at birth (every baby are given), and other time when she had eye bone surgery from an accident at age 6.

I strongly believe that any antibiotic that gets into the bloodstream of the fetus or into the mother’s milk will inevitably influence the composition of the baby’s resident microbes.  In our first three years of life, a great diversity of microbes self-organizes into a life-support system with the complexity of the adult microbiota. This critical period lays the foundation for all the biological processes that unfold in our childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and old age—unless something comes along to disrupt it.

There is a possibility that my daughter has abnormal gut microbiota because of those 3 occasions of antibiotic use; however, there are another possible reason why she has abnormal gut microbiota, and that is lectin. Lectins are a form of protein found in nearly all plants and animals. They bind to sugar molecules called polysaccharides that cover the surface of most cells in your body. Lectins act as effective biological agents against insect attack by destabilizing the insects metabolism, interfering with enzyme activity, and disturbing the protective, digestive, and secretory functions of the gut.

The reason I suspect that lectin might be a contributor to my daughter’s asthma symptoms, is that before my daughter complained about shortness of breath, she had developed a skin irritation on her feet. A doctor assumes that it was athlete’s foot, but I suspected that it was something to do with her diet. I put her on autoimmune protocol diet, which eliminates high lectin content foods, and after two months, her feet were cleared.

One of the three major ways of the immune system is stressed is at the site of the intestinal mucosa . As toxins and food antigens brush up against the mucosa, the immune system mobilizes to neutralize the toxins. Normally, much of this work would have been done by beneficial bacteria. However, when antibiotics are taken, the beneficial bacteria are destroyed. For toxins that make it to the mucosa, the body will tag them with a chemical secretory IgA (SIgA), which attracts macrophages and other white blood cells to consume the toxins. However, again the use of antibiotics typically show a severe erosion of the glycocalyx that normally coats the intestinal microvilli. This is usually accompanied by a loss of brush borders and a marked reduction in SIgA production. With loss of the secretory immunoglobulin A (SIgA), the body becomes more vulnerable to infections in the intestines from bacteria, viruses, parasites and yeast and they become resistant to treatment. Then, low in SIgA level becomes more sensitive to lectin.

So, now my daughter needs to take on the lectin free diet to become a Asthma symptoms free kid. It might not be easy, but if you think about consequences of not treating from the source, it is unavoidable.

Sources:
https://www.academia.edu/6445331/Antinutritional_properties_of_plant_lectins
https://www.functionalmedicineuniversity.com/public/Leaky-Gut.cfm
http://www.krispin.com/lectin.html
https://www.holisticprimarycare.net/topics/topics-a-g/digestive-health/1862-how-to-restore-gut-flora-after-antibiotics.html

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