Avoiding Lectins Reverses Endothelial Dysfunction - The Proof

August 20, 2018

References: ATVBBill Davis of Wheat Belly

 Gundry has got his smoking gun! A poster presentation at the AHA meetings with an abstract is now on the books. This is bigger than you may think. It certainly is the first step. This is exactly along the same line as Bill Davis, of Wheat Belly fame.  Endothelial dysfunction is code word for the first step to vascular disease. Vascular disease is the process that ends up with a heart attack or stroke. Half of us are dying from it, so this is getting right to the "heart" of the matter. But Gundry has now collected and published the data that proves how you eat can reverse the first steps, and reverse the driving dynamic behind heart disease.  

What Gundry is reporting here is not the strongest of evidence because of the design of the study he has done. He took 200 folks in sequence who presented to his clinic. Higher-quality studies get subjects at multiple sites with multiple varied doctors reviewing them and randomize them with a placebo group. This study involved subjects ages 51-86, M:F ratio 3/2, with known vascular risk factors of high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, prior heart attack, a stent, or heart surgery. They were enrolled in a dietary program that emphasized large amounts of leafy green vegetables, olive oil, radical reduction of grain products, legumes, nightshades, and fruits; and generous amounts of grass-fed animal proteins, emphasizing shellfish and avoiding commercial poultry. All patients were instructed to take 2-4,000 mg of high DHA fish oil, 200mg of grape seed extract, and 50 mg of Pycnogenol per day. All patients had endothelial reactivity testing before and after a 5-minute arm occlusion using the EndoPAT 2000 machine (Itamar, Israel) at baseline and at 6 months. Their Endothelial Reactivity went from 1.88+/-0.7 to 2.25+/-0.5 (range 1.2-3.6) (p<0.01) over 6 months. Only 40/200 (20%) remained with ED, but all had increased ER numbers. Ten patients stopped the polyphenols after a normal PAT; all redeveloped Endothelial Dysfunction all over again on repeat PAT. 

Put simply, eating the supplements with the diet made the patients' arteries get stretchier, and stopping the program made them worse again. That's what you want to see. A stretchy artery helps carry the pulse wave forward. A rigid, stiff artery pushes back against the heart and cuts down on the blood flow in the heart as it shortens the time between heartbeats during which blood flows into cardiac vessels. Our elders called it "hardening of the arteries" and it was. 

The endothelium (think "the lining") of your artery does much more.  Your vascular tree of blood vessels is huge and the lining of it, called the "endothelium" is the largest organ in the body, considering that we have about 100,000 miles of blood vessels in our bodies. Its ability to function properly is right at the nexus of what we eat and what our cells see. Many chemicals flood into the blood from your gut and the endothelium of blood vessels is the last barrier between the outside world and your precious, vulnerable cells. A proper working endothelium is critical for many functions; filtering out dangerous chemicals, carrying the pulse wave along, watching for invading bacteria. And Gundry just proved that taking care of it is the first step in the right direction. It can be reversed. Plain and simple.  

To reiterate: Supplement with pycnogenol, fish oil, and grape seed extract. Avoid lectin-rich foods: wheat, legumes, nightshades, grains and animals fed those foods like poultry and cattle. Eat lots of green, leafy vegetables and not so many roots. And lose the sugar. In all its forms. Your arteries will heal.  

WWW.what will work for me. I already was taking the fish oil and the pycnogenol but I will start with the grape seed extract. I have an ED machine in my office and have a baseline. If I had calcium in my arteries, I would be doing this all the more passionately. I also want to start measuring the reactivity of my blood to adequate carotenoids. That's next week. Stay tuned. 

  Pop Quiz

  1. What is the largest organ in the body?               Answer: Ok, ok, we can fight about it. The liver is the biggest of the traditional internal organs and the skin gets the prize for size. Recently the "interstitium" which is all the additional connective tissue has been touted as the biggest. But if you get down to that detail, the lining of your blood vessels wins - the endothelium.
  2. High endothelial reactivity demonstrates out of control blood pressure? T or F              Answer: FALSE. No, you want a stretchy, flexible endothelium. The stiff, rigid low score means you are stiff and rigid. Getting old. Gundry showed an increase of 1.88 to 2.25 in just 6 months with his program.
  3. How does all this improvement work?                Answer: Stay tuned. We don't know all the details but Gundry's books make the arguments that the lectins in plants that set off inflammation collectively damage our endothelium. Our bodies have not had enough time to adapt to them after we came out of Africa. Avoiding bad foods is the first step. Then, providing the tools to calm down inflammation is the next layer
  4. Why fish oil on the list?                               Answer: Fish oil is a rich mix of omega three fats which are the precursors to building anti-inflammatory messengers. Giving more precursors pushes the balance of inflammation towards being calmed down instead of amped up which regular fats do.
  5. Why is grape seed extract included?                     Answer: Proanthocyanidins and catechins are the potent antioxidants in grape seeds that are believed to be 20 times greater than vitamin E and 50 times greater than vitamin C