Archives for: September 2004
QUESTION: Dear Dr D'Adamo, I am a B+ and have been "eating right" for about 5 weeks and loving it. I am trying to recover from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and this diet has become an extremely significant part of my "recovery plan". But I write today with a different issue. I have just received results as to secretor status (yes I am one!) and also Lewis blood type. I am Lewis a+b+. I am intrigued and want to know more about this apparently rare type, but cannot find any further information.
ANSWER: The synthesis of the Lewis antigens is dependent on the interaction of two different enzymes (fucosyltransferases) that are the products of two different genes:
1. The FUT2 or the secretor (Se) gene locus (part of the synthesis of the H blood group antigen) that encodes FUT2 enzyme
2. The FUT3 gene locus which encodes an additional fucosyltransferase enzyme called FUT3.
Your final Lewis status is the result of the sequential action of these two enzymes. A simplified description would be that FUT3 codes precursor substance into the 'Lewis a' antigen. This is then acted on by the FUT2 enzyme which converts all the 'Lewis a' antigen into to 'Lewis b'. Thus the genetic basis for secretor status: non-secretors have a 'null gene' on the FUT2 locus, they cannot convert their 'Lewis a' substance into 'Lewis b' (they remain 'Lewis a+b-').
Secretors have the FUT2gene, and can make the FUT2 enzyme, which then can convert their 'Lewis a' into 'Lewis b.' That is why secretors are 'Lewis a-b+'. Double Lewis negative individuals (Lewis a-b-) lack the FUT3 gene enzyme which prohibits them from making 'Lewis a' (and consequently 'Lewis b').
The Lewis (a+b+) phenotype may occur in individuals where 'Lewis a' is incompletely converted into 'Lewis b' leaving some Lewis a substance remaining. This can due to a mutation in the FUT2 gene. Its occurence is quite rare. Many researchers consider the 'Lewis a+b+' state a transient one, rarely seen outside of the rare genetic mutation, and occasionally during pregnancy.Diet-wise you should consider yourself a secretor for the purpose of food determination.
Here is a good description (if a bit technical) of the Lewis system
Here is a link to a discussion of secretor status and Lewis groups.
QUESTION: Is it true that fluoride in the toothpaste should be avoided for all types of blood type?
ANSWER: We live in an increasingly 'fluoridated' world. The fluoride in water and toothpaste is potentially harmful; the hydrogen fluoride in contaminated air far more so. Each year, tens of thousands of tons of hydrogen fluoride create an environmental hazard which can be 1,000 times more harmful than sulphur dioxide, a key, but rarely mentioned component of 'acid rain'.
Fluoride in toothpaste can be absorbed through the tissues of the mouth, as well as swallowed accidentally. Many prescription drugs also contain fluoride. None of these items are labeled to indicate the quantity of fluoride added to the daily dietary total. In essence, flouride can become a 'straw that breaks the camel's back.'
In the early days of water flouridation, the total intake for most adults was 0.02 mg/kg/day: About one to one and a half milligrams of fluoride daily. Today, the figure is 0.095 mg/kg/day, and from food and drinking water alone, more than 6 milligrams daily.
Thus, the amount of flouride we are getting simply through the environment, has long ago passed the amount necessary to protect bones and teeth.
QUESTION: I'm a Type A. Have had persistent stomach problems over the past 6 years. Your blood type diet has been my only true source of relief from my symptoms. Thank-you! Have also experienced a chronic inner ear itch & fingernail fungus. Could food be the cause? What is your recommendation?
ANSWER: There is evidence that group A individuals are more prone to fungal infections of the skin over the other ABO groups.(1) This also extends to non-secretors as well.(2) This probably results from the fact that many fungal organisms have agglutinins on their surfaces with blood type specificity. (3)
In practice I've found that simple olive oil used in the ear works well for stubborn ear itch due to yeast or fungus. You could add a drops of expressed garlic oil or tea tree oil to jazz it up a bit if you wish. The nails are more difficult. Some people have done well with consistent applications of white vinegar twice daily, and/or Tea Tree Oil and the adoption of open toe shoes with frequent change of stockings. In general, following diet for your blood type (in your case the A diet) does produce long-term improvement, but it is slow.
1. Balajee SA, Menon T, Ranganathan S. ABO blood groups in relation to the infection rate of dermatophytosis.Mycoses 1996 Nov;39(11-12):475-478
2. Lamey PJ, Darwazeh AM, Muirhead J, Rennie JS, Samaranayake LP, MacFarlane TW. Chronic hyperplastic candidosis and secretor status. J Oral Pathol Med 1991 Feb;20(2):64-67
3. Furukawa K, Ying R, Nakajima T, Matsuki T. Hemagglutinins in fungus extracts and their blood group specificity.Exp Clin Immunogenet 1995;12(4):223-231
QUESTION: How problematic is the zinc-blocking action of phytic acid in soy, especially in the vegetarian diet, which tends to be zinc poor?
Soy (especially the bran or hulls) have been vilified in certain alarmist publications and websites as antinutrient factors. This is due to the presence of phytates, compounds capable of binding calcium, magnesium, zinc and iron in the intestines and preventing their absorption. As with most issues in nutrition, one should seek to evaluate both sides of the controversy, keeping in mind the great advantage our understanding of blood type variation offers to us.
As I always like to remind people during 'this food is good' or 'this food is bad' arguments: One person's food is someone else's poison.
For example, phytates are present in many other plant sources; in wheat hulls at quite high rates, for example. In a normal diet in which soy is being consumed with a calcium supplement added into the diet, or dietary calcium sources are emphasized, or as a partial replacement for meat, fish or in combination with other plant protein sources, and where soy is not the sole dependent source for amino acids, such loss can be looked on as minimal.
Yet, as that famous radio announcer used to say: "Now, for the REST of the story!"
It has been proven that because phytates bind excess iron which can promote free radical DNA damage in the colon it can reduce this local oxidative damage. Phytates in plant fiber are also associated with reductions in the incidence of colon cancer, and directly reduce serum cholesterol and triglycerides, a partial risk factor for athersclerosis: Two areas of long term concern for those who are blood groups A and AB.
Phytates prevent absorption of excess iron in its most reactive form. Excess iron systemically, and at the level of the colon, can lead to an enhanced oxidative stress, which is implicated in heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and, of course, cancer. Additionally, phytates enhance NK cells, and can directly control many types of cancer cell growth.
So in summary, if you were a lab animal that was fed soy husks and nothing else for several weeks, you would in fact see a drop in your mineral levels. If you are an A or AB looking to minimize your risk of certain degenerative diseases by adding a rational amount of soy to your otherwise well-balanced diet, you could probably count on lowering your rate of cardiovascular and malignant disease instead.
Heaney, RP, et al. Soybean phytate content: effect on calcium absroption. Am J. Clin Nutr 53:745-747, 1991.
Erdman, JW, et al. Soy products and the human diet. Am J. Clin Nutr 49:725-737, 1989
Graf, E, et al. Dietary suppression of colonic cancer. Cancer 56:717-718, 1985.
Harland, BF et al. Phytate in foods. Wld Rev Nutr Diet 32:235-259, 1987.
QUESTION: I'm confused. In your book ER4YT, you stated several times that O's live longer. Now I'm reading that B blood individuals attain more advanced age. I have found much of your work to be contradictory, Why?
ANSWER: You make it sound as if that were a bad thing. A lot of data is contradictory; that is just one of the delightful aspects of science, and especially the science of epidemiology. That is what distinguishes science from other intellectual pursuits. The study (1) that I was aware of much earlier, looked at elderly Italian doctors and concluded that there is an excess of group O. This other study (2) asserts that it is group B that is longer lived was just one that I came across much later. Which is correct? It is hard to say, since the indigenous diets may or may not fit the profile diet for that type as I recommend it.
1. Jorgensen G. [ABO blood groups in physicians of 75 years of age. Further evidence in favor of little more fitness on the part of subjects with blood group O]. Minerva Med. 1974 Jul 14;65(54):2881-6.
2. Dworsky R, Paganini-Hill A, Arthur M, Parker J. Immune responses of healthy humans 83-104 years of age. J Natl Cancer Inst 1983 Aug;71(2):265-8
STUDY: Hemp oil ingestion causes positive urine tests for delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol
JOURNAL: J Anal Toxicol 1997 Oct;21(6):482-5
AUTHORS: Costantino A, Schwartz RH, Kaplan P.
ABSTRACT: A hemp oil product (Hemp Liquid Gold) was purchased from a specialty food store. Fifteen milliliters was consumed by seven adult volunteers. Urine samples were taken from the subjects before ingestion and at 8, 24, and 48 h after the dose was taken. All specimens were screened by enzyme immunoassay with SYVA EMIT II THC 20, THC 50, and THC 100 kits. The tetrahydrocannabinol carboxylic acid (THCA) concentration was determined on all samples by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) (5). A total of 18 postingestion samples were submitted. Fourteen of the samples screened above the 20-ng cutoff, seven were above the 50-ng cutoff, and two screened greater than the 100-ng cutoff. All of the postingestion samples showed the presence of THCA by GC-MS.
COMMENTARY: I receive a few questions per month on the benefits of hemp oil. Although promoted by Dr. Andrew Weil as non-narcotic, evidence suggests that levels of THC, the psychoactive component in marijuana, in in hemp oil is significantly high enough to trip convnetional drug screening tests. Another study described 4 patients who suffered gastrointestinal disorders and psychological effects after eating salad prepared with hemp seed oil.(2)
Hemp oil contains 57% linoleic and 19% linolenic acids, in the three-to-one ratio that matches our nutritional needs. These are the essential fatty acids -so called because the body cannot make them and must get them from external sources. The best sources are oils from freshly ground grains and whole seeds, but EFAs are fragile and quickly lost in processing. EFAs are the building blocks of longer chain fats, such as eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acid that occur naturally in the fat of cold-water fish like sardines, mackerel, salmon, bluefish, herring, and, to a lesser extent, tuna.
The is a lectin in marijuana (3) which, although not blood type specific, does bond to glucose, perhaps the most abundant sugar in the body. Another species of hemp have been shown to contain lectins capable of binding to galactose and fucose, raising questions about suitability in blood group O and B. (4)
Safety? Hemp oil is undoubtably safe and for some people may well be a fine source of essential fatty acids. However, if you are in the type of employment that requires periodic drug testing you may well want to avoid using it.
2. Meier H, Vonesch HJ. [Cannabis poisoning after eating salad]. Schweiz Med Wochenschr. 1997 Feb 8;127(6):214-8. German.
3. Tumosa CS. A lectin in the pollen of marihuana, Cannabis sativa L. Experientia 1984 Jul 15;40(7):718-9
4.Ersson B. A phytohemagglutinin from Sunn hemp seeds (Crotalaria juncea). II. Purification by a high capacity biospecific affinity adsorbent and its physicochemical properties. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1977 Sep 27;494(1):51-60
QUESTION: Hello, I would like to know if it can be helpful to take Enzyme Q10 with bloodgroup A.... I understand if this question cannot be answered but it would very helpful for my husband. Thanks a lot, your book is really outstanding and magnificent!!!!
ANSWER: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration registery of adverse effects lists Co Enzyme Q10 as a potential cause of adverse effects in 2 case reports out of approximately 3400 total reports. However, the products contained many more ingredients that CoQ10 and because of the raw material cost (Co Q10 is very expensive) one could hypothesize that the reported adverse reactions were to other components in the formulas.
The results of studies have shown that the use of coenzyme Q-10 supplements appears to be effective in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases such as congestive heart failure, cardiac arrhythmias, and hypertension. The safety of CoQ has been established in studies, and no major side effects have been associated with CoQ use. Based on its safety and apparent efficacy, the use of coenzyme Q-10, in combination with conventional medications, can be recommended for the treatment of cardiovascular disease.
In a different multicenter study, by Lampertico and Comis, the efficacy and safety of coenzyme Q-10 as supplementary therapy in patients with heart failure was examined. The study took place in Italy, with 378 physicians participating in the trial. Of those 378 physicians, 201 were cardiologists and 165 were interns. Physicians were asked to choose no more than five of their patients suffering heart failure who had been stabilized on cardiovascular therapy for at least three months to participate in the study. In all, 1715 patients were chosen, with 804 being male and 911 female. Coenzyme Q-10 was added to the traditional cardiovascular therapy at a dose of 50 mg per day in 1423 patients, while 192 patients received CoQ as their only therapy. Treatment was given over a four week period. In addition to reporting basic patient data, physicians were asked to evaluate a series of subjective and objective symptoms before treatment began, after 15 days, and after 30 days of therapy. Emphasis was placed on adverse events, and the physician was additionally asked to give their opinion on the efficacy of the therapy. The results of the trial showed a statistically significant subjective and objective improvement in the 1423 patients who received CoQ in addition to their conventional medication. Analysis showed an overall reduction in the intensity of symptoms after two and four weeks of treatment (p<0.01), and statistically significant differences in systolic and dyastolic blood pressure and heart rate were found (p<0.01). Also of note, the incidence of clinical improvement in the group of patients which received only coenzyme Q-10 was the same as the group receiving CoQ in addition to their conventional medication. Incidence of adverse effects decreased from 2.2% after two weeks, to 0.4% at the end of four weeks. Physicians’ opinion of treatment efficacy was rated as excellent to good for 71.1% of the patients. A limitation of the study is its focus on people of Italian ethnicity. (1)
Since blood group A is a recognized risk factor for cardiovascular disease (2), it would appear that taking supplemental CoQ10 would be rational. A typical dose can range from 30-100mg daily, although I tend to recommend the lower doses more frequently. Other blood groups may benefit from Co Q10 supplementation as well, although I tend to use it more frequently in group A patients.
One caveat to remember is that without a small amount of lipid (fat) in the gut the absorption of CoQ10 is virtually nil. Thus to insure proper assimilation, CoQ10 should be taken with the largest meal of the day.
1. Lampertico M, Comis S. Italian multicenter study on the efficacy and safety of coenzyme Q10 as adjuvant therapy in heart failure. Clin Investig 1993; 71:S129-S133.
2. Suadicani P, Hein HO, Gyntelberg F.Socioeconomic status, ABO phenotypes and risk of ischaemic heart disease: an 8-year follow-up in the Copenhagen Male Study. J Cardiovasc Risk. 2000 Aug;7(4):277-83.
QUESTION: I'm a type B who has always been challenged by recurring bladder infections -since early childhood. Is there any herbs or food I can take to help minimize the almost non-stop use of antibiotics?
ANSWER: The bladder wall is open of the tissues most heavily deposited with ABO blood group antigens. As a matter of fact, it is known well accepted that the loss of blood group antigens from the bladder wall is almost always associated with malignancy
ABO blood groups and cancer have an interesting relationship; in tissues not normally though to contain much blood type antigen, such as the thyroid, malignancy often is hallmarked with the inappropriate elaboration of blood type antigen. In tissues that normally contain ABO antigens, malignancy is often preceded by the loss of blood group antigens.
Urinary tract infections have been associated with ABO blood group, especially with group B (1), although other studies have disputed this. (2) What is not disputed, however, is the link between recurrent bladder infections and an increased incidence of chronic inflammation, with ABH non-secretors (3,4,5,6) When ABO blood group is factored with secretor status, the association becomes much stronger: Group B non-secretors have a much higher rate of chronic urinary tract infection and scarring over other blood groups. (7)
What to do:
The most basic strategy is to 1)find out if you are a non-secretor, 2.) if you are, to use a product like Deflect to provide blood type polysaccharides to in effect mimic the effect of being a secretor.
Non-secretors are more prone to infection because their inability to secrete their ABO blood type antigen in a 'free form' in such tissues as mucus and saliva deprives them of a way to inhibit bacteria from attaching to their tissue membranes. Think of bacteria as a piece of scotch tape. Now imagine the bladder wall as a piece of paper. Then imagine the bladder wall of a secretor being dusted with talcum powder. The scotch tape cannot attach to the bladder wall (paper) because the receptors were flooded by free blood type antigen (talc). A non-secretor has only the paper (no talc; i.e. no free blood type antigen) so the scotch tape (bacteria) can attach very easily.
Non-secretors will want to use a product like Deflect since it provides the 'talc' that they genetically cannot manufacture themselves.
2.Hopkins WJ, Heisey DM, Lorentzen DF, Uehling DT. A comparative study of major histocompatibility complex and red blood cell antigen phenotypes as risk factors for recurrent urinary tract infections in women.
3. Jantausch BA, Criss VR, O'Donnell R, Wiedermann BL, Majd M, Rushton HG, Shirey RS, Luban NL. Association of Lewis blood group phenotypes with urinary tract infection in children. J Pediatr. 1994 Jun;124(6):863-8.
4.Lomberg H, Jodal U, Leffler H, De Man P, Svanborg C. Blood group non-secretors have an increased inflammatory response to urinary tract infection. Scand J Infect Dis. 1992;24(1):77-83
5.Lomberg H, Jodal U, Leffler H, De Man P, Svanborg C. Blood group non-secretors have an increased inflammatory response to urinary tract infection. Scand J Infect Dis. 1992;24(1):77-83.
6. May SJ, Blackwell CC, Brettle RP, MacCallum CJ, Weir DM. Non-secretion of ABO blood group antigens: a host factor predisposing to recurrent urinary tract infections and renal scarring. FEMS Microbiol Immunol. 1989 Jun;1(6-7):383-7.
7. Ratner JJ, Thomas VL, Forland M. Relationships between human blood groups, bacterial pathogens, and urinary tract infections. Am J Med Sci. 1986 Aug;292(2):87-91.
QUESTION: Is the avoid status of Coconut Oil for Type O Secretors (and other types for that matter) based on the high saturated fat content or the existence of a harmful lectin remaining in the processed (minimally for Joachim) oil. I just wanted to get this cleared up, and I don't think that it ever will until you give us a reason. Sorry, I know that sounds a bit cheeky, but all of this debate is driving me just a little batty.
ANSWER: The Traditional Argument Against Tropical Oils and Fats:
Plant oils do not contain much (if any) lauric acid. Lauryl - 12:0 - acylchains are common triglyceride (fat=oil) components of many seeds. Digestive lipases cleave the l2:0 ester to make the free fatty acid and mono- and di-glycerides.
Coconut oil contains lauryl acyl chains but the dominate acyl chain is palmitate -16:0. There are reports that 16:0 triglycerides detract from cardiovascular health.
A well-known equation by Keys is to estimate that each 1% of dietary calories in the form of palmitic acid raises serum total cholesterol by 2.7 mg/dl. Many other studies have consistently confirmed these figures. Keys' classic formula relates the effect of serum cholesterol and saturated and unsaturated fats:
d=delta (in essence, change); fchol= cholesterol in food.
d (chol)= 2.7d (sat) -1.3d (pufa) + 1.5d SQUARE ROOT(fchol)
However Keys reported that the use of certain fats, amongst them "coconut-butter", led to violation of his formula. He noticed that lauric acid c12:0, c14:0 and palmitic acid c16:0 lead to a significant increase in serum cholesterol. In 1985, Reiser found coconut oil to raise cholesterol levels at least as much as beef fat itself (about 21.6% of total calories). Of course, this is only one study but it may indicate that lauric acid under some circumstances may have a cholesterol raising effect.
So, lauryl acylchains may or may not be healthy. Palmitate is probably unhealthy. If palmitate is unhealthy (palm oil is 45% palmitate and coconut oil is about 8.5% palmitate) then relatively small concentration of lauryl acyl chains in coconut oil are likely to be of little benefit.
Although palm and coconut oil do not contain cholesterol, they are very high in saturated fat; because of this it is probable that they accelerate the cholesterol-raising properties of other foods that do contain cholesterol -a potential problem if you are type O and are using animal protein as a basis of your diet.
Saturated fat will increase serum cholesterol even if there is no cholesterol in the diet (as in a vegan diet). Most of the cholesterol in the blood is not cholesterol that has come from the diet, but rather is cholesterol which has been synthesized by the body. Evidence suggests that saturated fat has this effect because it causes a reduction in the rate that liver cells synthesize LDL receptors, which are molecules responsible for removal of cholesterol from the blood. Thus, a vegan diet that was high in coconut oil would be expected to significantly elevate serum cholesterol relative to a vegan diet without the coconut oil - a potential problem if you are type A (already with a genetic proclivity to elevated cholesterol) and are using a low fat strategy as a basis for your diet.
The Blood Type/ Lectin Argument:
Lauric acid has a reputation of possessing anti-viral activity, and had been studied against vesicular stomatitis virus, arenavirus and a few others. However virtually all studies have been in-vitro, using concentrations which if taken by mouth would certainly produce massive digestive upset. For this reason it has been used by many individuals with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, though no studies exist that support the use of lauric acid against Epstein Barr virus or Herpes virus.
The same basis by which lauric acid gains anti-viral activity is also the mechanism by which it may promote additional sensitivity to dietary lectins. This phenomenon is called 'receptor capping.' In essence, similar charges tend to keep cell surface receptors (like the blood group antigens) uniformly spaced apart from each other. Since lauryl acyl chains act as a type of emollient/detergent on the cell wall (which is why they put it in soaps) they can disrupt the surface tension of the cell surface, thereby causing cell antigens to aggregate, potentially disrupting many cell-to-cell functions.
My advice: Keep the lauric acid in your soaps and shampoos and the coconut oil in your moisturizers.
QUESTION: Quick Reference Food Lists by Blood Type - Do you publish quick reference charts for showing the Beneficial, Neutral & Avoid Food Lists for each blood type? It would be so convenient to be able to take one along to the grocery store and post one on the refrigerator.
ANSWER: Yes, the ABO group diets have been made into laminated wallet cards which can be used when shopping (or 'quick quizzes' on long driving trips!)
They are avilable from North American Pharmacal.
QUESTION: What does a lectin look like? What is its composition? Molecular weight?
ANSWER: Since the 1880's, it has been known that extracts from certain plants could agglutinate red blood cells. In the 1940's, agglutinins were discovered which could "select" types of cells based on their blood group activities. Although "lectin" was originally coined to define agglutinins which could discriminate among types of red blood cells, today the term is used more generally and includes sugar-binding proteins from many sources regardless of their ability to agglutinate cells. Lectins have been found in plants, viruses, microorganisms and animals, but despite their ubiquity, their function in nature is unclear. Although lectins share the common property of binding to defined sugar structures, their roles in various organisms are not likely to be the same.
Lectins are structurally diverse; examination of the amino acid sequence, molecular size and other molecular properties show that lectins have little in common other than they are all proteins.
For example soybean agglutinin is a glycoproteln with no di-sulphide bond; Its molecular weight is 120,000, It consists of four subunits and has two binding sites.
Wheat germ agglutinin is not a glycoprotein and is rich in di-sulphide bonds with a molecular weight of 36,000, It has two identical subunits and four binding sites for sugars.
Thus we can see that lectins don't have much in common with each other (soy bean lectin is four times bigger than wheat germ lectins!) besides the ability to bind to specific glyco-conjugates, such as the ABO blood groups.
Two of my friends and I are type As. We all started the ER4YT Diet at the same time, and after six weeks we had all lost around 8 pounds. Since that time, a little over a month ago, none of us has lost any more weight. We are all concentrating on avoiding the foods that cause weight gain and including as much of the foods that help weight loss as possible. What are we doing wrong? Also, thought you might be interested in the fact that I, a type A, have hypothyroidism, and my husband, a type O, is hyperthyroid.
It is not uncommon for those just starting the diet to experience rapid and dramatic weight loss, followed by a "quiescent" period where the weight loss slows down or stops completely. This is due to the fact that each individual can have several "setpoints" where the metabolic machinery (either for genetic or metabolic reasons) remains locked at a particular ratio of weight to body fat. Much of this is the result of the capacity of the body's insulin metabolism. As I wrote in ER4YT, food lectins have been shown to compete with insulin on the body's fat cells.
Insulin inactivates the enzyme triglyceride lipase, which is normally used to convert stored fat triglycerides into both glycerol and fatty acids; these are then released, converted to carbohydrate and burnt off. Normally, there is a balance between the effects of insulin (which stores fat) and the enzyme adenylate cyclase (which activates the fat cell to burn fat). When the system is properly balanced, everything works fine; principally because insulin has a "half-life" and is under "feedback control." In other words, after insulin has accomplished its job, a feedback message is sent to the brain which tells the pancreas to cut off insulin production. With no new insulin being produced, the circulating insulin gradually dwindles and the cycle starts again.
Food lectins, including those lectins from wheat and corn, have been shown to bind to the fat cell's insulin receptor and inactivate triglyceride lipase. Unlike insulin, however, these lectins do not have any feedback control, and can bind irreversibly to the insulin receptor. In this situation the fat cell is permanently paralyzed, capable of only storing fat, but not releasing it. This explains why some people gain weight on a high carbohydrate diet: It is not the calories in the food, or the percentages of fat, protein and carbohydrate that are causing the weight gain (after all, most carbohydrates are low-calorie) but rather the lectins in the food itself acting to mimic the effects of naturally occurring hormones.
Is there a reproductive compatibility or incompatibility regarding the blood groups?
Studies have shown a significant excess (87%) of ABO incompatible couples in 102 persistently sterile marriages. The same researchers also found that in 7 couples with markedly delayed fertility, the 9 children that did result were all blood type O, and hence would have been compatible with the mother. The authors suggested that the infertility was due to the presence of antibodies in the secretions of the mother's genital tract, or incompatible sperm from the father..
Several older studies have shown childlessness more frequent among blood type A and B women than among AB or O, while a 1965 study showed an increased proportion of type O children in families with more than one child. All these studies consistently showed that if the father possesses an A antigen which the mother does not, there is a marked selection against the survival of the A offspring.
There is a marked tendency of blood type O babies of blood type O mothers to be male as opposed to blood type A babies of type A mothers, who tend to be female. Blood type B and type O offspring have a greater chance of being male if their mother is the same blood type as their offspring. While other studies showed that blood type AB offspring tended to be female more often than expected (as in blood type A) which led the investigators to conclude that the presence of the A antigen may have some effect in skewing sex ratios in favor of higher percentages of female offspring.
A recent study compared 589 ABO compatible (that is, the husband and wife had blood types which could be exchanged) against 432 ABO incompatible mating couples. The mean number of living children presents a significant difference. In the incompatible couples, there was 21% deficiency of blood type A children and 16% deficiency of blood type B children when compared to couples which were ABO compatible. This has led some researchers to theorize that ABO incompatibility results in 'cervical hostility' between the man's blood type antigen on the sperm, and the woman's opposing antibodies in her cervical mucus.
In general, the levels of opposing blood type antibodies are higher in blacks than in whites. Whites typically have higher anti-A levels than anti-B levels and the levels were higher in females than in males. This is not true in blacks, where the anti-B levels are almost as high as were the levels of anti-A in both men and women.
QUESTION: I am blood type A, 53 years old, and on HRT because I am at risk for osteoporosis (S.D. of -1.0). My mother survived breast cancer when she was 72 yr. I think I would feel safer on estriol and progesterone but does it conserve bone? Thank-you for your dedication and fascinating work.
ANSWER: Estriol (E3) is one of the three major naturally occurring estrogens, the others being estradiol and estrone. Estriol is produced almost exclusively during pregnancy and is the major estrogen produced in the normal human fetus. During pregnancy the production of estriol depends on an intact maternal-placental-fetal unit. Fetal-placental production of estriol leads to a progressive rise in maternal circulating levels reaching a late-gestational peak several orders of magnitude greater than non-pregnant levels. Estriol has been suggested to be less carcinogenic than estradiol and estrone in animal studies. It has been shown that at doses effective for the relief of postmenopausal symptoms, estriol does not induce endometrial proliferation to the extent of the other estrogens. Topical estriol has also been used for the relief of postmenopausal genital atrophic changes and urinary incontinence.
Studies show that estriol can be effective with regard to both maintaining bone density and protecting the endothelial lining of the arteries from pathologic changes. In one study E3 significantly improved bone mineral density in elderly subjects. Other results are somewhat contradictory, but several Japanese studies showed good results with E3 and calcium supplementation.
STUDY: Sex ratio in man: an analysis of the relationship with ABO blood groups and placental alkaline phosphatase phenotype.
JOURNAL: Hum Hered 1979;29(3):143-6
AUTHORS: Gloria-Bottini F, Polzonetti A, Lucarini N, Palmarino R
ABSTRACT: Secondary sex ratio (SR) in man is influenced by various genetic and environmental factors. It has been observed that SR in subjects of blood group B compatible with their mothers is higher than in other subjects. The analysis of 676 newborns of the Rome population and 1,684 newborns of the New Haven (Connecticut) population have confirmed a higher SR in B group subjects compatible with their mothers. The data also indicate that placental alkaline phosphatase is another genetic factor influencing SR in man and that there is a strong interaction among ABO phenotype, fetomaternal ABO compatible status and PAP phenotype concerning their effects on SR.
COMMENTARY: Sex ratios are the number of males/the number of females in humans.
The Primary Sex Ratio is defined as the sex ratio at the time of conception whereas the Secondary Sex Ratio is the sex ratio at the time of birth. (1.06 in the US)
Usually, the sex ratio (numbers of boys born divided by the numbers of girls born) is slightly greater than one. In fact, world-wide about 106 boys are born for every 100 girls. This number is also reported as the male proportion of total births, or 106/206 = 0.514 = 51.4%.
This study indicated that offspring who are type B, and who are compatible with the mother (i.e the mother is either B or A have a higher percentage of boys to girls at birth. Interestingly the authors speculated that alkaline phosphatase may have been an influencing factor, in which case we can assume that the secretor status of the mother (i.e. AB or B secretors) is the phenotype with the highest sex ratio.
QUESTION: I have found your observations/ recommendations for my blood type (O) to be very accurate. After a lifetime of unsuccessful treatment for depression and anxiety, I have just been diagnosed as bipolar II, proving yet another of your theories. Any ideas?
ANSWER: There is some evidence that type O blood is associated with higher a higher incidence of bi-polar problems, sometimes also referred to a 'manic depressive disease.' (1)
This may be related to a genetic linkage between the allele for type O blood on the ABO chromosome, and the proper functioning of a gene which controls dopamine synthesis, called DBH. (2) DBH controls the proper conversion of the amino acid tyrosine into dopamine, catecholamines or thyroid hormone. Because of this it appears that type O's may not be as efficient as the other blood types in processing catecholamines (the most famous catecholamine being adrenaline). Thus, they can oscillate between high and low levels of catecholamines, consequently also having high and low levels of dopamine.
Best strategies for using blood type to help manage bi-polar illness:
1. The type O diet (low wheat, higher protein) is very beneficial for enhancing catecholamine metabolism. many O's will use wheat to manipulate their dopamine levels. Better to use protein instead.
2. Aerobic exercise increases the efficiency of the body's handling of both dopamine and adrenaline.
3. Catechol (from North American Pharmacal)
4. Lithium seems to work well in most type O's, However, it works even better if taken with 50mg zinc.
(1) Ertas M, Vahip S, Tuglular I, Saygili R. Lewis and ABO-Rh blood group systems in patients with bipolar affective disorder. Encephale. 1990 May-Jun;16(3):203-4.
(2) Sherrington R, Curtis D, Brynjolfsson J, Moloney E, Rifkin L, Petursson H, Gurling H. A linkage study of affective disorder with DNA markers for the ABO-AK1-ORM linkage group near the dopamine beta hydroxylase gene. Biol Psychiatry. 1994 Oct 1;36(7):434-42.
QUESTION: I am AB+ and have just read your book. I have noticed that under supplements you have Bromelain and as I suffer from IBS though it would be good to take. My chemist has advied me though that several people in the USA have died from taking Bromelain due to some internal bleeding etc. Please give me you comments and is it safe to use in my case?
ANSWER: A scan though MEDLINE under the keywords 'bromelain', 'death', 'internal', and 'bleeding' yielded no results. If any report of bromelain toxicology was evident, it would have been reported here.
An FDA Press Release dated February 22, 1998, titled a 'List of Risky Supplements' stated that 'High doses of Vitamin E cause bleeding in people taking blood thinners. So can bromelain, a pineapple enzyme used as a digestive aid.'
As far as I can tell, it is speculative and provides no evidence or case histories whatsoever.
Bromelain does contain an enzyme fraction in tiny called 'escharase' which can increase capillary permiability. Huge doses of purified escharase has been reported to cause chickens to hemmorhage at the wing tips. The dose of bromelain capable of producing this effect in a human has never been determined, but would no doubt be enormous.
Perhaps the FDA might even the playing field by an occasional press release that conservatively places annual death in the USA from Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) at 16,500 per year.(1) Aspirin alone causes 7,000 deaths per year in the USA.
But these, unlike those 'dangerous' anti-inflammatories like anti-oxidants, bromelain and ginger, are an 'acceptable risk.'
Between the years 1983-90 exactly one person died in the USA from a vitamin overdose (US Poison Control Data).
1. R Tamblyn, L Berkson, WD Dauphinee et al. Unnecessary prescribing of NSAIDs and the management of NSAID-related gastropathy in medical practice. Annals of Internal Medicine 1997 127: 429-38.
I am B+. Is there a difference in the diet plan based on negative or positive?
No real difference has been noted with regard to the Rh blood type and diet. This is for several reasons. First the Rh antigen (if you are Rh+) is only a very weak antigen and not expressed in tissue outside of the red blood cells. Thus there are no known lectins capable of attaching to it. Second, the anti-Rh antibody (if you are Rh-) is a weak antigen, and is not capable of attacking foods or other environmental things. There is a study showing a higher rate of auto-immune disease in Rh- over Rh+, and I sometimes take this into account when treating type O-'s who have inflamatory disease. But the basic answer is no, there is no difference in the eating plan one way or the other.
QUESTION: My sister and I are both O type, and she is diabetic. We are wondering if whey protein in morning shakes are a good idea for us. Any advice? Many thanks!
ANSWER: I would not recommend whey products for type O, and especially type O diabetics, since diabetics have shown tendencies towards elevated antibodies to milk proteins. What I would recommend would include:
Fenugreek seeds: 1-2 tsp daily. These can help regulate blood sugars (1)
One handful of standard 'silver dollar' or domestic mushrooms daily. Mushroom can increase insulin-like activity in the body (this is not usable by O secretors, who may instead want to opt for fava beans.) (2)
The bioflavanoid quercetin. Quercetin has shown an ability to block the enzyme aldose reductase, which is responsible for many of the late stage developments, such as neuropathy and eye damage. (3)
1. Pavithran K. Fenugreek in diabetes mellitus. J Assoc Physicians India. 1994 Jul;42(7):584.
2. Gray AM, Flatt PR. Insulin-releasing and insulin-like activity of Agaricus campestris (mushroom). J Endocrinol. 1998 May;157(2):259-66.
3. Nuraliev IN, Avezov GA. The efficacy of quercetin in alloxan diabetes. Eksp Klin Farmakol. 1992 Jan-Feb;55(1):42-4.
I have type O blood and was on a diet very close to the type O diet for many years, with cholesterol of 126. Then I had a heart attack and my physicians put me on a vegan (type A) diet, on which I have lost 60 pounds, but my cholesterol went up to 244. I'm concerned about the amount of saturated fat on a type O diet. Thanks.
Not a problem (as you can tell) if you are using lean, organic meats and exercising. By the way, an increase in cholesterol in type O vegans is not uncommon, probably a response of excess insulin production (because, as my colleague Greg Kelly says, "Most vege-tarians are in reality starch-etarians.". Hyperinsulinemia has twice the risk factor for heart disease as elevated cholesterol and would be much more of a threat to you.
QUESTION: Where and how does one find bladderwrack without the alcohol based herbal tinctures. I am unable to locate another more suitable form.
ANSWER: As I have said, commercial health food store tinctures of bladderwrack are ineffective because the active ingredient, the sugar fucose, is not alcohol soluable.
You can purchase high-quality Fucus vesiculosis from North American Pharmacal. It comes in 60 capsule bottles. You can read more about it here and purchase it here.
QUESTION: My question concerns a popular Ayurvedic herb, Ashwagandha (a.k.a. "Winter Cherry": Withania somnifera; Solanaceae). I believe it is in the Nightshade family, and none of the nightshade vegetables are good for my blood type, which is A. Should I also refrain from using Ashwagandha, which is an ingredient in an antioxidant coffee substitute, "Raja's Cup"? By the way, thank you very much for this forum. I enjoyed reading the archived questionsand am glad you are so knowledgable about Ayurvedic and Chinese herbs, pranayama, etc.
ANSWER: Withania somnifera L. (Solanaceae) (WS) is an Indian medicinal plant having a remarkable reputation among the indigenous medical practitioners. The plant exhibits varying degrees of therapeutic value, some of which useful in the treatment of cognitive dysfunction, epilepsy, insomnia, rheumatism, gout, dyspepsia. It has been shown to be apotent anti-oxidant. These antioxidant effects of active principles may explain, at least in part, the reported anti-stress, immunomodulatory, cognition-facilitating, anti-inflammatory and antiaging effects produced by them in experimental animal and in clinical situations and may justify the further investigation of their other beneficial biological properties.(1) Ashhagandha may also help reverse the loss of white blood cells during chemotherapy with taxitol-like drugs. (2) It also appears to exert a positive influence on the endocrine, cardiopulmonary, and central nervous systems. The mechanisms of action for these properties are not fully understood. Toxicity studies reveal that ashwagandha appears to be a safe compound.
Ashwagandha is especially good stress remedy for group A's, and can also work faily effectively in groups B and AB. Group O does better on Rhodiola-type adaptogens which help modulate adrenaline release.
1. Russo A, Izzo AA, Cardile V, Borrelli F, Vanella A. Indian medicinal plants as antiradicals and DNA cleavage protectors.Phytomedicine 2001 Mar;8(2):125-32
2.Gupta YK, Sharma SS, Rai K, Katiyar CK. Reversal of paclitaxel induced neutropenia by Withania somnifera in mice. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 2001 Apr;45(2):253-7.
A friend has this and after reading the book today he is starting the Type A diet - but how about the botanical protocal of liver-specific antioxidants? You may be an answer to prayer as he is going on the liver trans-plant list if something doesn't help him first!
Look into the herbs milk thistle (silymarin), phyllanthus, curcumin and licorice. Make certain your friend takes these supplements only if under the supervision of a physician skilled in their use.
QUESTION: I have been on the O diet before and loved it. Want to start again and can't seem to get through the first 3-5 days that it takes for me to get over the obsessive cravings, especially to wheat. Any suggestions for supplements, etc. to "jump start".
ANSWER: A lot of type O's report having rough times adjusting to the loss of wheat in the diet, especially in the first few weeks. I've found that the use of the amino acid glutamine can help offset these feelings until the O diet begins to help upregulate dopamine levels.
In the brain, glutamine is converted to glutamic acid, the only alternate source of glucose available to the brain. It provides a ready source of brain fuel for hypoglycemics and helps stave off sugar cravings and hypoglycemic symptoms that develop when blood-sugar levels drop too low.
In the brain, glutamine is a substrate for the production of both excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters (glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid, popularly known as GABA). Glutamine is also an important source of energy for the nervous system. If the brain is not receiving enough glucose, it compensates by increasing glutamine metabolism for energy-hence the popular perception of glutamine as "brain food" and its use as a pick-me-up. Glutamine users often report more energy, less fatigue and better mood.
Glutamine is plentiful in both animal and plant protein. The typical American diet provides between 3.5 g and 7 g of glutamine; more is synthesized according to need. Even so, heavy stress, such as strenuous exercise, infectious disease, surgery, burn injury or other acute trauma leads to glutamine depletion with consequent immune dysfunction, intestinal problems and muscle wasting. Consequently, it has been proposed that glutamine should be classified as a "conditionally essential amino acid."
Typically, a useful dose is 500-750mg in powder or capsules between meals for a week or two. By the way, glutamine (unlike most amino acids) is rather pleasant tasting, with a slightly sweetish flavor.