Archives for: July 2004
QUESTION: I heard a very interesting talk recently given by a well known orthopedic surgeon who cured herself of breast cancer in nine months by eating only raw fruits and vegetables, and who believes all people should be vegan. She spoke about your diet, and pointed out that horses have 16 different blood types and yet they all eat the same diet: hay and grains. Interesting point. Can you tell us what makes humans different from horses and other animals in this regard? Thank you. By the way, I am doing very well on the Type O diet.
ANSWER: The assertion of the lecturer (recently echoed by peripatetic Andrew Weil) sounds logical, but analysis proves that they not in control of their facts.
1. Horses may have 16 blood types, but they only have 2 ABO types; and although this proves nothing (as we will see) they are almost always type A.
2. Humans probably have 300+ blood types, but more importantly, they are the only species with all four ABO variations (A, B, O, A. As I have emphasized several times in the past, the only blood typing system that matters to any degree with regard to digestion and basic immunity is the ABO system, since it is the only system that controls digestive secretions, bacteria populations and interacts with dietary lectins.
3. But even more basic, why does this person assume that a gene for blood type in one species does exactly the same function in another? Blood group genes are heavily linked to many other genes, and this varies from species to species. In pigs for example, the gene for type O blood gives them black haircoats and something called 'Porcine Stress Syndrome.' I've personally seen many human type O's with blonde or red hair, so I know this function may be true for pigs but it is certainly not true for humans. Many bacteria carry genes for ABO antigens, should we be looking at what they eat also?
Her advocacy of veganism for everyone is part of her belief system, so I doubt that this answer will make a difference anyway.
Rasmusen BA, Christian LL. H blood types in pigs as predictors of stress susceptibility. Science. 1976 Mar 5;191(4230):947-8.
QUESTION: I'm type AB. I wonder if you have any comments on the fact that many of the foods on my "should eat" list were amongst the many allergies I had right through to my late teens, including peanuts, lamb and eggs. I "grew out" of my allergies (Is this possible?) in my 20s, and turned 48 3 days ago. My egg allergy was consistent and the strongest of all foods tested, and I didn't eat my first egg until a few years ago ... absolutely problem-free!
ANSWER: You seemed to have had a high generalized allergic threshold as a teenager, in which case looking for leads to foods that may or may not have agreed with the AB diet is probably pointless. Many of the ABO food rationales, for example, have nothing to do with any of the basic mechanisms of allergy.(1)
In my opinion, the best strategy (though rarely needed) is to do scientific allergy testing (ELISA, IgE, etc.) and then work the results into the proper ABO diet.
Perhaps your allergies was of multiple cause, and the resolution of one or more was sufficient for the 'AB tolerance' to kick in a bit.
It's great that you can eat some of them now. Now you can benefit from them health-wise.
1. With the exception of the opposing blood group antibodies (isohemmaglutinins anti-A, anti-B, anti-A which can get involved in allergies. But these can be ignored in this case, since group AB individuals do not manufacture them.
QUESTION: I have been told that I have Scleroderma and Fibromyalgia. I just found your books. I will start the type A diet. Is there anything else I should do or take that could help with the pain and the skin. Thank you for your time.
ANSWER: One of the best methods for controlling fibromylagia is to follow the type A diet, with an emphasis on nixing the grain and legume 'avoids'. It has been supposed that many of these foods contain lectins which can upregulate anti-self antibodies, increasing auto-immune damage. Lectin blocking with anti-adhesive therapy may also be effective.
Systemic Sclerosis ("scleroderma") is a rare, chronic autoimmune (arthritis) disease that primarily affects females who are 30 to 50 years old at onset. It is a serious illness that can affect any part of the body. It is broken down into categories such as Diffuse, Limited, CREST, and Overlap. This type is often referred to as the "disease that turns people into stone" for the distinctive skin hardening that often occurs eventually. The hardening typically affects the hands, causing the fingers to curl inwards.
Scleroderma is a more challenging problem. Older evidence points to the use of the amino acid l-glutamine and the water soluable flavone +catechin as being of benefit in scleroderma. These belong to a group of agents that can inhibit the formation of connective tissue, especially the biosynthesis of collagen, (1) During an experimental search for inhibitors of the synthesis of collagen and ground substance glycosaminoglycans, a few connective-tissue active agents were selected for therapy of scleroderma. These included the standard drugs (D-penicillamine, benzyl-penicillin-diethylamino-ethylester-hydroiodide and glucocorticoids) and the more natural products L-glutamine,and (+) catechin. Treatment for several years was required to bring about an arrest of progression in 89% of the patients, a regression in three-quarters, and subtotal or total recovery in more than 40%. Indications of favorable prognosis are youth, short disease history, a high total dose of agent, and long duration of the treatment. I've used catechin in a patient who was also taking penicillamine; it certainly did no harm and may have helped a bit.
Vitamin D analogs have been studied for use in scleroderma, but it remains unclear if supplementation withthe vitamin would be equally effective.(2) Among other anti-oxidants, melatonin has also been mentioned as being of possible benefit. (3)
1. Asboe-Hansen G.. Treatment of generalized scleroderma with inhibitors of collagen synthesis.Int J Dermatol 1982 Apr;21(3):159-61
2. Sapadin AN, Fleischmajer R. Treatment of scleroderma. Arch Dermatol. 2002 Jan;138(1):99-105.
3. Simonini G, Pignone A, Generini S, Falcini F, Cerinic MM, Gabriele S, Alberto P. Emerging potentials for an antioxidant therapy as a new approach to the treatment of systemic sclerosis. Toxicology. 2000 Nov 30;155(1-3):1-15.
Should blood type be factored in feeding pets? I'm particularly interested in any information you may have about cats. Thanks!
Three blood types have been identified in cats - type A (most common), type B, and type AB (very rare). In the United States, nearly 95% of all domestic mixbreed cats are blood type A. AH Siamese, Burmese, Tonkinese, American Shorthair, and Oriental Shorthair cats tested so far have type A blood.
However, the following pure breeds have a 10-50% frequency of blood type B cats:
Abyssinian Birman British Shorthair Cornish Rex Devon Rex Exotic Japanese Bobtail Persian Scottish Fold Somali Sphynx
The frequency of blood type B in other pure breeds has not been determined.
Similar to humans, cats have naturally occurring antibodies to blood types other than their own. Blood type A cats have low amounts of weak antibodies to red blood cells (RBCs) from type B cats. Blood type B cats have high amounts of strong antibodies to type A RBCs, typically much higer than humans. Because of these strong anti-A antibodies, incompatibility between type A and type B cats can cause potentially fatal reactions when breeding type A toms to type B queens to produce type A kittens.
Unlike humans, it remains to be seen whether feline physiological functions (such as stomach acid levels) are linked to blood type through related genes. Certainly, food lectins would be as reactive for example in type A cats as they would in type A humans.
QUESTION: Why is pork an avoid for all blood types?
ANSWER: Pigs (like most non-humans) induce xenoreactive antibodies which in turn upregulate our own anti-ABO antibodies (the isohemagglutinins). This antigen in pigs, galactose alpha-(1-3) galactose, is apparently the target for these antibodies (which all adult humans have.) Though found in many mammals, pig xenoreactive antigens are probably more potent than most, since virtually every human carries antibodies to pork. Indeed, in every patient on whom I've ever tested blood group antibody levels, and who was a big pork consumer, the levels of antibody titer were always elevated.
QUESTION: I notice you don't support zinc supplementation for Type O's, yet most of your colleagues, many of whom are Bastyr graduates, are big on zinc for acne sufferers? Do you think the harm it causes outweighs its potential therapeutic benefits?
ANSWER: In my opinion, zinc is an absolutely critical nutrient for health, and in my experience, many individuals I encounter in my practice have a relative deficiency of this trace mineral. My concern in the book was to ensure that individuals did not self-prescribe zinc in high amounts for prolonged periods of time. (Note: it is not uncommon for me to encounter new patients taking some zinc in a multiple vitamin/mineral formula, some in an antioxidant, in a cold formula, etc and actually consuming too much zinc).
While high amonts of zinc can sometimes be very useful for acne and other skin disorders, I always use a zinc taste test to monitor someone's response to zinc over time and never use high amounts of zinc for any sustained period of time. Remember, zinc at 100 mg a day can depress immune function, and should be avoided unless an experienced practitioner is monitoring your response to zinc. I think supplementing the diet with about 15 mg of zinc is safe and prudent.
On page 157 of your book, you mention that the problem kernel in wheat is destroyed in the sprouting process. Does sprouting render other foods beneficial, or at least "not harmful"? I am a Type B and am wondering about sprouted beans and lentils, as well as sprouted sunflower and pumpkin.
Sprouting destroys wheat germ agglutinin, but other seed lectins are not always inactivated this way.
QUESTION: Loved your book. I'm a type O. I've read recently that whole fresh flaxseed (ground) is excellent for people in that it is a great source of fiber and cancer-fighting lignans. In your book, you mention that linseed (flaxseed) oil is highly beneficial for type O's. Does the same apply to the whole flaxseed as well?
ANSWER: Yes, whole flax seeds are beneficial for blood type O individuals (note: great for other blood types as well). Flaxseed lignans can help bind to Epidermal Growth Factor receptors (markers on cells that enhance growth, and are found more numerously on certain types of cancer cells) and block the actions of the estrogen promoting enzyme aromatase.
The corners of my mouth are irritated and crack when I yawn. I have tried cortizone ointments, anti-bacterial ointments, vaseline, to no avail. My doctor gave me a pill for yeast although he did not think it was a yeast infection. He also injected it with cortizone which did not help. He seemed to think it was nothing, even though I have consulted with him twice. The corners are red, wrinkled, and dry. I also consulted the dentist who didn't have any ideas on the cause. I am a type A but I am not very careful with the diet right now.
This can be very common in type A's, and is a clear sign that their stomach acid levels are too low. Following the type A diet more closely should help balance acid level to your dietary need. A topical licorice gel also can give substantial, if temporary relief.
QUESTION: I would like to know when, and by whom, it was discovered that some foods agglutinate the cells of certain blood types but not others. Thanks very much. Your work is inspiring.
QUESTION: What is you stance of the GM (genetic modified foods) controversy?
ANSWER: Very few people realize that the GM controversy centers around much of the research work currently being done of dietary lectins, so I am very interested in the health significance of genetic modification of food.
Recently, on eof the premiere lectin researchers, Dr Arpad Pusztai, was recently embroiled in a considerable controversy involving the use of genetically manipulated foods. Researchers have been experimenting with inserting the gene for certain lectins normally found in one species of plant into other species as way of increasing their resistance to disease. When examining the effects in rats of potatoes in which the gene for a lectin normally made by the plant Snowdrop had been inserted, Dr. Pusztai reported that examinations of internal organs of the rats after feeding with the genetically manipulated potatoes showed that there was a potent immune stimulatory effect on all parts of the rat digestive tract and that the genetically manipulated potatoes caused major inflammatory responses.
The result was that Dr. Pusztai was forced to resign from his position at the research institute that had previously employed him. Regrettably, the future looks rather scary with regard to genetically manipulated "Frankenstein lectins." Other researchers are experimenting with inserting wheat germ lectin into a variety of other foods, which of course means that it you have a problem with wheat, you are probably going to have a problem with these foods as well.
And if this was not unfortunate enough, the way the laws are written, no manufacturer will be obligated to disclose that your potato is actually a 'wheat germ lectin-potato."
(From yesterday) I'm confused about genes and chromosomes. Could you explain a little about their function?
What kinds of jobs do genes do? We've know that genes are responsible for blood type, but virtually all the functions of the cell are under genetic control:
· The production of energy within the cell. · Signaling from the outside to the inside of cells. · General maintenance of cellular processes, such as protein and RNA synthesis and degradation. · Maintaining or changing cell shape. · Special cells make special gene products such neurotransmitters, bone, hormones, etc. · There are genes that establish the body pattern of the organism during early inter-uterine growth. · Specialized genes are responsible for initiating the cycle of cell division.
Chromosomes, composed of protein and DNA, are distinct dense bodies found in the nucleus of cells. Each chromosome contains a few thousand genes, which range in size from a few thousand bases up to 2 million bases. During most of the cell's life, chromosomes are not visible as individual objects under the light microscope, as the DNA is largely unwound so that it can be copied to RNA. However during cell division, the DNA winds up very tightly and the chromosomes become highly condensed and visible.
Human cells have a total 46 chromosomes, 22 pairs with one of each contributed by the mother and father, and two chromosomes which determine sex; two X chromosomes for females, an X and a Y chromosomes for males. Each pair of chromosomes is numbered from 1 to 23.
Each chromosome pair is joined at the center at a spot called the centromere. The characteristic 'banding' of chromosomes you will see in the picture here is obtained by staining with various dyes. The band width and the order of bands is characteristic of a particular chromosome - a trained cytogeneticist can identify each chromosome (1,2,3...22, X and Y) by observing its banding pattern under the microscope.
Chromosomes are divided into 2 legs; a "p" leg above the constriction point at the waist, and a "q" leg below it. By combining the chromosome number, the p or q leg and a particular band number it is possible to construct an address for a particular gene.
The gene for ABO blood group is on chromosome 9, band 34, on the "q leg." Thus its location is often referred to as "9q34."
STUDY: Galectins: a key intersection between glycobiology and immunology.
JOURNAL: Braz J Med Biol Res 1999 Apr;32(4):383-93
AUTHORS: Rabinovich GA, Riera CM, Landa CA, Sotomayor CE.
ABSTRACT: Galectins are a family of evolutionarily conserved animal lectins, widely distributed from lower invertebrates to mammals. They share sequence and structure similarities in the carbohydrate recognition domain and specificity for polylactosamine-enriched glycoconjugates. In the last few years significant experimental data have been accumulated concerning their participation in different biological processes requiring carbohydrate recognition such as cell adhesion, cell growth regulation, inflammation, immunomodulation, apoptosis and metastasis. In the present review we will discuss some exciting questions and advances in galectin research, highlighting the significance of these proteins in immunological processes and their implications in biomedical research, disease diagnosis and clinical intervention. Designing novel therapeutic strategies based on carbohydrate recognition will provide answers for the treatment of autoimmune disorders, inflammatory processes, allergic reactions and tumor spreading.
COMMENTARY: Galectins, or 'animal lectins' as they have sometimes been called, have emerged as a new family of closely related carbohydrate-binding proteins, which exert their functions by virtue of their ability to decipher glycocodes on complex glycoconjugates. They have been implicated in different immunological processes, such as lymphocyte adhesion, cytokine production, cell growth regulation, apoptosis (programmed cell death) and central and peripheral immune tolerance. For the next few days we'll be looking at what is known about the twelve human galectins.
QUESTION: I have recently read some of Anne Wigmore's books on sprouting. The benefits of sprouting made sense, so I invested in purchasing about 40 kilograms of sprouting seeds. I have just finished your book, and it makes total sense to me. My question is this: I am Blood type B. Your book indicates that I am not to eat many types of beans and lentils. Since I purchased many types of beans and lentils for sprouting, I am curious to know whether sprouts have the same lectins as the bean or the lentil. Please advise as to how your Blood Type Diet fits in with sprouting in general.
ANSWER: In general, sprouting denatures lectins in grains and legumes, changing an avoid food, into a less problematic food or potenially beneficial food. Since, I have not looked at all sprouts with respect to blood type, I can't unequivocalally tell you sprouted lentils would be okay for a B, but, based upon my knowledge of lectins, if the lentils are sprouted long enough the lectin content of the lentils would no longer be a concern.
STUDY: Maternal blood group in ABO and Rh systems and somatic condition of newborns.
JOURNAL: Rocz Akad Med Bialymst 1998;43:154-9
AUTHORS: Litwiejko-Pietrynczak E, Ochryciuk A, Wilk-Zebik M, Bukin M, Mankowska I.
ABSTRACT: Maternal blood group in ABO and Rh systems and somatic conditions of newborns. A group of 5454 eutrophic newborns (2649 female and 2805 male) from Bialystok were examined with respect to the following anthropometric features: body mass, crown-rump length (Si), head and chest circumferences and their, relation to the maternal ABO and Rh blood groups. The mathematical description was done with the aid of computer (Statistica 4.0 for Windows) estimating statistical characteristics specific for mass phenomenon of regular distribution (x, SD). Significance of the obtained differences was evaluated with student t test. On the basis of the carried out research, it can be concluded that maternal blood group A may favor male newborns to have higher mean values of body mass, head and chest circumferences, and female newborns--of head circumference only. The crown-rump length of newborns of both sexes does not show any alterations in relation to maternal blood group. Maternal Rh has no influence on the examined somatic development parameters of the newborns either.
COMMENTARY: We know that maternal blood type (again type A) influences the repeat occurence of ear infections within the first few years of life. (1) Here is a study which shows greater head and chest size in boys from type A mothers (head size and for both male and female children from type A mothers).
My mother was type A. Perhaps this is why I cannot ever find a hat that fits!
1. Clin Otolaryngol 1994 Aug;19(4):327-31
What impact does the blood type diet have on the developing fetus during pregnancy? I am pregnant (five months) with my first child and am type A. My husband is type O. If I follow the type A diet, and the baby happens to be type O like my husband, would it have any adverse effects on the baby? I am also concerned about any adverse effects of a low-protein diet during pregnancy. My mother has been on the type O diet for two months now, and has had wonderful results. I would also like to benefit from the diet that is right for my type, but am concerned about my baby.
Under situations of sickness, such as frequent miscarriage or whatever, the appropriate diet for the mother has worked wonderfully. We have had many patients as mothers who have followed the diet with great success. To my knowledge, the diet has resulted in no problems or reactions in these situations. Of course, everyone is different, and you might want to bring the diet to your obstetrician's attention if there are any other health problems. There should be no reactions should you conceive a type O child. This is true for a number of reasons. First the fetus is to some degree "immunologically priviledged". Second, type A does no normally react to O tissue. For example, if you are type A, you could receive type O blood. Sometimes, however, type O mothers can have a problem with B and A children.
QUESTION: What accounts for the correlation between blood type and race?
ANSWER: There's no direct interaction between race and blood type; rather, they have essentially superimposed their own independent influences on human evolution and survival. For example, it's almost universal to find darker skin in tropical areas, for it is a basic defense against UV rays. Lighter-colored skin on the other hand is more resistant to frostbite. We have to be careful even using the term "race," because these are not genetic categories per se, but rather indistinct differences with respect to geography.
Blood type functions the same in laboratory conditions. Type O was really the only numerous type for many thousands of years, because it had two antibodies to fight against Type A and Type B, which gave it protection against very common antigens (bacteria, et cetera) in the environment. In the other hand, it appears Type O was at a disadvantage when came to infectious diseases people would get in concentrated areas such as cities -- i.e. cholera, bubonic plague, et cetera. It really was the combination of things like race and blood type that gave early anthropologists ways of analyzing societies. We know that Type O is most prevalent in more isolated societies -- Native Americans, Inuits, Basques, et cetera. We know that Type A is more prevalent in areas of longtime civilization -- Mediterranean, et cetera; Type B most prevalent in the Central Asiatic steppes. So each of the types had originally had a specific survival formula for a part geographic and environmental situation. Occasionally race and blood type do interact. Though not very numerous, I do see African Americans who are B in my practice. Obviously, intermingling has occurred, certainly more frequently in a country like the U.S. I noticed that Type B African Americans have more health problems -- with diabetes, heart disease, et cetera. Why? Well, one reason is if there is a rub between having a set of racial influences on physiology as a result of one environment and a set of effects as a result of blood type that are a response to a set of different geographical circumstances.
QUESTION: I am having trouble finding someone in Germany who undertakes the secretor/non-secretor test. Is the test known by another name? Do you know of anyone in Dusseldorf (Germany) who does the test? I look forward to your feedback.
ANSWER: You can contact Stacktheme Europe, who are based in Holland. They should be able to help you.
3602 PS MAARSSEN
Telephone: 00-31-(0)3462 28 68 45
FAX: 00-31(0)3462 28 60 56
STUDY: Examination of lectins, polysaccharopeptide, polysaccharide, alkaloid, coumarin and trypsin inhibitors for inhibitory activity against human immunodeficiency virus reverse transcriptase and glycohydrolases.
JOURNAL: Planta Med 2001 Oct;67(7):669-72
AUTHORS: Wang HX, Ng TB.
ABSTRACT: A variety of lectins were tested in vitro for inhibitory action against the activities of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) reverse transcriptase and the N-glycohydrolases (alpha-glucosidase, beta-glucosidase and beta-glucuronidase). Lectins from Phaseolus vulgaris, Momordica charantia, Ricinus communis and its constituent chains, and Agaricus bisporus were able to inhibit HIV-1 reverse transcriptase. P. vulgaris lectin and A. bisporus lectin were the most potent.
COMMENTARY: The tested lectins included red kidney beans (Phaseolus vulgaris), Chinese Bitter Melon (Momordica charantia), Castor Bean (Ricinus communis) and the common mushroom (Agaricus bisporus). Castor bean lectin is too toxic for use. Bitter Melon has been extensively analyzed and shows some anti-HIV promise. However, it appears that kidney beans and common mushroom may have an even better ability to inhibit the enzyme reverse transcriptase (which is a critical part of the HIV reproductive cycle.)
Certainly, the addition of either food (depending on ABO status) in the regular diet of any HIV positive person can offer a potentially safe, inexpensive and tasty way to help block the virus.
STUDY: Proposed biomolecular theory of fasting during fevers due to infection.
JOURNAL: Altern Med Rev 2001 Oct;6(5):482-7
AUTHORS: Yarnell E.
ABSTRACT: The folk admonition to starve a fever may have a scientific basis. Fevers due to infectious organisms that produce neuraminidase (sialidase) may contribute to the pathophysiology of autoimmune conditions. Neuraminidase unmasks host cellular lectins that interact with food lectins and can induce human leukocyte antigen type II (HLA II) expression. HLA II can then bind food lectins and serve as targets for antibody production. Some of these antibodies can then cross-react and attack healthy tissue, inducing disease. The example of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus is discussed, helping to explain why infectious organisms and dairy product ingestion appear to be linked to some cases of this disease. Genetic variants and other factors may contribute to disease pathogenesis, so this model does not explain all instances of autoimmune disease. Fasting as a way to avoid the process by not introducing food lectins is briefly reviewed. Neuraminidase inhibitors might be useful in preventing genesis of autoimmunity during infection, although this possibility has not been formally tested.
COMMENTARY: In general, it is a time-honored naturopathic technique to fast (or at least limit intake of certain types of foods) during fasting. This may now have some scientific backup, since it has been reported that an inordinate number of chronic food sensitivities develop after acute gastrointesinal infection. This article points out (although the point was originally proposed by the British immunologist David Freed) that changes to the intestinal tract that occur during infection can produce alterations in host recognition that produce targets for antibody production. If we consider ABO blood groups as one of the 'genetic variants' alluded to by the author, it makes a strong case for closely adhering to the ABO diet specific for your type when attempting to fight off an infection -much more preferable to complete fasting, since fighting infection is energy intesive, and does require substantial calories from the diet.