If you're having embarrassing digestive problems such as stomach cramping, bloating, smelly gas or "the runs," you may be confused as to why. You've probably heard that the root cause of your intestinal woes could include that you're lactose intolerant, allergic to wheat products, have a sensitive stomach or you're getting older and some foods just "don't agree with you" anymore.

Scientific research now shows that little-known proteins called lectins could be behind your uncomfortable... embarrassing... even painful intestinal issues. And if you're eating a traditional American diet your body is probably loaded with lectins found in...

* Nightshade plants such as tomatoes, potatoes and eggplant
* Wheat, rye, oats and barley malt
* Legumes
* All beans including soy and peanut
* Eggs
* All milk products, cheese, yogurt and kefir

Lectins are sticky proteins that are a part of a plant's natural immune system and provide a protective barrier for the plant. For example, sticky lectin proteins surround a pumpkin seed to defend it against mold or parasites. When the lectins in the pumpkin seed sense an attack, they attach themselves to the sugar molecules that are naturally contained in the invasive cells to block the attack and render the sugar molecules useless.

Although lectins are beneficial for plants they can cause problems in your body's digestive tract. When you ingest foods containing lectins, your body can't digest or destroy those lectin proteins. And those proteins travel through your digestive tract, attaching themselves to your healthy sugar molecules that are needed for effective digestion. Those sugars are now viewed as defective and your immune system tries to destroy them - and the result is an inflammatory battle in your gut that can make you miserable.

For relief from your worst digestive pain and discomfort, try beneficial lectin-fighting supplements such as N-acetyl glucosamine (NAG), bladderwrack, okra powder, D-mannose and mucins, as well as sodium alginate and pepsin.