Natural toxins

Sprout toxinsSprouts are delicious but Mother Nature require respect for her children.

On this page you can read how you can still benefit from the few varieties sprouts that are better protected than most.


Natural defense for the plant

Most plants try to secure their return from being eaten before the next generation of plants is secured.

The defence consists of several types of natural toxins.

In some sprouts the substances decrease to a negligible level during the first 4 days of growth. In other sprouts the substances are more pronounced. It is in these cases that we sprout growers should be aware!


Information from people with knowledge

The following information about toxins in sprouts is quoted from the Danish Veterinary and Food Board and from researchers and professionals with extensive knowledge in plant toxins.

New knowledge on sprouts

Researchers and practitioners are continuously learning.
Therefore, you can find that content on this page may change over time. Each new post will be advertised on Facebook so that you can always stay up to date.
Therefore Fresh Sprouts recommend that you join our Newsletter.


Sprout with care

In spite of thorough research on Fresh Sprouts' side, Fresh Sprouts cannot be held responsible for any use, sprouting, discomfort, decease or other that may occur from the ingestion of sprouts following the instructions on


Lectins in legume sprouts

All legumes - beans, lentils and peas - contain the natural toxin, Lectins. Some varieties have such a high level of the substance, that they are potentially harmful if you grow sprouts and eat them raw. Therefore note that you may ONLY sprout the legumes mentioned under Legumes.

Lathyrogen in Pea sprouts

Lathyrogen is a natural toxin found in some of the Lathyrus Pea family. Therefore you must NOT eat these varieties of peas in any state:

L. sativus, L. cicera & L. clymenun


Cyanogenic glycosides in Flax sprouts

The Danish Veterinary and Food Board (Fødevarestyrelsen) advises that you do not consume neither sprouted nor crushed Flax/Lin seed in large quantities on a daily basis.

This is because Flax/Lin seed contain the natural toxin, Cyanogenic Glycosides. These substances can decompose to Hydrogen Cyanide (prussic acid) by enzymes released when Flax/Lin seed are crushed or sprouted.

Fresh Sprouts respect the recommendations of the The Danish Veterinary and Food Board and advice against the intake of Flax sprouts in large quantities.
High intake may for example be done by using Sprouts in juice.


Cadmium in Flax and Sunflower sprouts

Lin/Flax seed and Sunflower seeds have a high content of heavy metal cadmium, which can accumulate in the body with harmful effects caused by high intake of these two varieties.


Fagopyrin in Buckwheat sprouts

The hard, outer shell of unshelled Buckwheat contain the natural toxin, Fagopyrin. The substance is also developed in the sprouts.

Some people are naturally allergic to the substance. This will most often be reflected in the skin to become hypersensitive to sunlight. Other symptoms are itching and redness of the skin.

The problem arises especially in cases where large amounts of sprouted Buckwheat is consumed in high quantites in juice on a daily basis.
Some may be so sensitive to smaller amounts of Fagopyrin.

High intake of Buckwheat sprouts may be done by using Sprouts in juice.

It should be possible to neutrilize Fagopyrin from the surface of the Buckwheat shells by pouring boiling water over the raw, unhulled Buckwheat. Note however, that It may be difficult to get the Buckwheat to sprout after this treatment.


Canavanine in Alfalfa

Alfalfa contains the natural plant toxin, L. Canavanine.
To neutrilize Canavanine - as well as the natural content of Lectins in Alfalfa - these sprouts must always be grown till the sprouts produce leaves.
For the small concentration of Canavanine and Lectins in sprouted Alfalfa to pose a problem for normally healthy people, it would require the ingestion of significant amounts of Alfalfa sprouts on a daily basis.
That high an intake could be done by using Sprouts in juice.
Pea sprout

Find it all and more in the sprout bookFresh Sprouts book

The knowledge on this page has been discussed with Danish scientists in plant toxicology. Fresh Sprouts found this
important as you can nor sprout just any seed.

In the book Fresh Sprouts - a guide to sprouting you can
learn more about toxins in some sprouts and which sprouts
you can eat and why these are safe.

With this guide in hand you are sure to always choose the
right, healthy sprouts.


 Broccoli sprouts
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