This is a product review of Lectin Guard by KaraMD; however, before discussing the product’s efficacy, are we tilting at windmills? Are lectins the culprits made out to be by supplement companies, like in Dr. Gundry’s Plant Paradox Diet, and are they causing digestive issues? Perhaps lectins are merely another example of marketing speak to promote solutions to an invented problem.
The fitness, beauty, and supplement spaces are notorious for the use of nebulous terms and propaganda. Cellulite was simply fat before it appeared in the pages of Vogue back in 1968. An industry complete with diets, remedies, and topicals was created to address the dilemma. Aerobic classes were born to maximize students per square foot in health clubs without investment in expensive equipment. As comedian Rita Rudner said, “The word ‘aerobics’ came about when the gym instructors got together and said: If we’re going to charge $10 an hour, we can’t call it jumping up and down.”
We promise to provide an overview of the man and the company, Kara MD, and an in-depth review of KaraMD Lectin Guard, its key ingredients, the purported benefits, potential adverse side effects, and its effectiveness. But first, let’s follow the science relating to lectins.
What are Lectins?
Lectins are carbohydrate-binding proteins found in a variety of commonly consumed foods. Almost all organisms contain lectins, from animals to plants and microbes. Sometimes referred to as an “antinutrient,” lectins may restrict the bioavailability of essential nutrients. Not all lectins, though, are dangerous, some may even be beneficial, and many types of lectins pass through your digestive system unchanged. Although the science is still evolving, typically, the lectins found in plants are considered edible and are usually harmless, yet sometimes they affect your health if not cooked properly.
For example, the NCBI, National Center for Biotechnology Information, relates an instance where phytohemagglutinin, the lectin found in red kidney beans, sickened a number of hospital employees, causing vomiting and diarrhea. Fortunately, all those affected recovered by the next day. In addition to the well-documented issue of the red kidney bean lectin, there is some evidence that lectins may affect the gut microbiota, decrease acid secretion, cause inflammation, and issues related to the immune function. However, the NCBI also notes that lectin’s properties may not always be harmful and may have some therapeutic potential worth exploring.
Doctors Gundry and Kara, paleo diet advocates, and others believe that the lectins found in beans, soybeans, peanuts, grains, and plants in the nightshade family are harmful, causing health conditions such as obesity, chronic inflammation, and autoimmune disease. Digestive issues attributed to lectins include bloating, gut permeability, and leaky gut syndrome. Dr. Kara specifically cites low energy, bloating, and heartburn as lectin-related.
Some recommend removing legumes and grains from the diet, while others, such as Dr. Kara, contend that lectins are prevalent in so many foods, attempting to eliminate them through diet alone is nearly impossible and simply won’t work.
Experts agree that although lectins are resistant to digestive enzymes, they are easily broken down by heat, inhibiting their binding ability. Most lectin-rich foods are cooked before eating, leaving a negligible amount for consumption, typically far too low a dose to pose a threat to otherwise healthy individuals. The offset to lectin avoidance is that most foods containing lectins have other beneficial compounds and are high in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.
But, back to the science, currently, there is no scientific consensus that lectins are connected to any health conditions outside of acute lectin poisoning, although other evidence is suggestive. So, if you are experiencing digestive issues such as gas and bloating, or have low energy, perhaps you should guard against lectins to be safe. Doing so may help you:
- Maintain a balanced gut microbiota
- Enable proper nutrient absorption
- Promote proper acid secretion
- Control inflammatory response
Now, on to the review of KaraMD’s Lectin Guard supplement.
The company’s founder, Dr. Mahmud Kara, practiced medicine during the first phase of his career at the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic. In 2008, he turned his attention to natural remedies and functional medicine when he started KaraMD. The company is an online presence marketing doctor-formulated dietary supplements, proactively addressing long-term health results in digestion, athletic performance, the immune system, and chronic inflammation. All KaraMD products are made in the U.S. in an FDA-registered facility.
What is KaraMD Lectin Guard?
KaraMD Lectin Guard is a doctor-formulated dietary supplement for intestinal health in a vegetable capsule (60 caps equal a 15-day supply). The product contains six ingredients, each identified appropriately with its dosage indicated on the supplement panel – no proprietary blends, so credit to KaraMD for its transparency in this product. Lectin Guard is non-GMO, gluten-free, Vegan friendly, has no animal by-products, and is safe for those with shellfish or sulfa allergies.
The two hero ingredients are Slippery Elm and Bladderwrack Powder. The two serve to block lectins, restrict their ability to adhere to the gut wall, and allow them to slip through the intestinal tract. Although doctor-formulated with ingredients believed effective in combating lectins, there are no patented or trademarked ingredients. There is also no mention of cGMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) certification, third-party laboratory testing, or certifications.
KaraMD Lectin Guard Ingredients
As noted, KaraMD Lectin Guard comprises six natural, plant ingredients, which we will go into detail about below.
- Slippery Elm – derived from North American tree moss. Slippery Elm has a “mucilaginous property” (Doctor Kara’s term) that coats the intestine’s surface, allowing lectins to slip through the intestinal tract.
- Bladderwrack Powder – Bladderwrack is a seaweed known to be rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. The sea plant is considered one of the most potent lectin blockers available, thought to deactivate harmful lectins by preventing them from adhering to carbohydrates or the gut lining.
- Okra Fruit Powder – Okra, also known for its antioxidant properties, is rich in RPS (raw polysaccharides), which have been shown to bind to lectins, preventing their ability to cause harm.
- Sodium Alginate – a soluble fiber, resistant to digestion, extracted from the cell walls of brown algae.
- Papaya Fruit Powder – Papaya is loaded with antioxidants that address inflammation and support the immune system. The digestive enzyme in Papaya, papain, makes protein easier to digest.
- Kiwi Fruit Powder – Kiwi is another fiber packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and the enzyme actinidin, which aids in protein digestion.
KaraMD Lectin Guard Benefits
In an embedded video on the company website, Dr. Kara explains the benefits of Lectin Guard as reducing bloating and irregular bowel movements, heartburn, and abdominal pain, with increased energy, and the potential for weight management.
Other essential benefits attributed to lectin-inhibiting products include helping to prevent “Leaky Gut” syndrome and enhanced immune support.
KaraMD Lectin Guard Recommended Dosage
The recommended dosage for KaraMD Lectin Guard is two veggie capsules with eight ounces of water, taken twice per day. As previously noted, this means the standard 60 capsule bottle will last only fifteen days versus most supplements packaged as a thirty-day supply.
How Does KaraMD Lectin Guard Perform?
There are no clinical trials on Lectin Guard to date, and there are no trademarked ingredients with human clinicals to support structure-function claims. The ingredients in Dr. Kara’s formulation are well established in reducing lectin’s adverse effects, and the dosages of Slippery Elm and Bladderwrack seem sufficient; in fact, some of the higher dosages observed in the category. The powerful antioxidant ingredients protect against an inflammatory response. As such, it appears the product should deliver relief for those with chronic digestive issues, particularly bloating and abdominal distress, with increased energy and improved regularity. We are less enthusiastic about the product’s ability to aid in weight management.
At $34.95 per bottle, the product becomes quite expensive when taken as directed, $70.00 per month.
Is KaraMD Lectin Guard Safe?
KaraMD Lectin Guard is generally considered safe for those over 18 years old; however, the label clearly states that anyone with a pre-existing condition or pregnant or lactating women should consult with their physician before adding the product to their supplement regimen.
The most common issues associated with lectin blockers are abdominal distress, nausea, and cramps.
KaraMD Lectin Guard Pricing
The company website, karamd.com, lists a single bottle, a 15-day supply at $34.95. In addition, quantity discounts are available on the site when combining KaraMD purchases, as follows:
The company stands behind its product, offering an unconditional ninety-day, 100% Satisfaction Money-Back Guarantee. There is free shipping on orders of $40.00 or more.
Where to Buy KaraMD Lectin Guard
For convenience, you can buy KaraMD Lectin Guard straight from the official KaraMD website for $34.95. The company website is your best option to access quantity discounts, particularly given this is only a fifteen-day supply.
The official KaraMD website offers a 10% discount on the purchase of 3 bottles and a 20% discount for the purchase of 4 bottles.
In Summary: KaraMD Lectin Guard Review
Although some lectins are toxic in large doses, people following a normal diet typically don’t consume enough to cause issues. In addition, as previously noted, lectin-rich foods such as grains and legumes are almost always exposed to heat during preparation. In our opinion, as supported by the science, the amounts of lectins in foods shouldn’t pose a significant threat to otherwise healthy individuals. And, avoidance of many lectin-containing foods means missing out on their beneficial compounds such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.
Unless you suffer chronic digestive issues, Lectin Guard may be an expensive solution to a non-existent problem. Kind of like tilting at windmills.
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