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Report of the UK and Eire IfHI Members Symposium, 7th April 2006
After lunch I gave a presentation of lab testing facilities for blood type practitioners. This included a basic review of blood groups, UK distribution, disease and dietary significance of Rhesus, Lewis negative and minor blood groups A2 and A3, MN, and postal serology services offered by nature-cure lab services. Other useful laboratory tests were discussed: salivary secretor status test; the indican test; oxidative stress urine test; secretory IgA; anti-A and anti-B agglutinin titre; various stool markers; blood group specific markers in the standard biochemistry assay such as ALP (alkaline phosphatase) and BUN (blood urea nitrogen). There is a choice of labs for most of these tests for UK practitioners.
New information on subgroups of A was presented: As discussed in part I, many individuals of blood group A phenotype may have the genotype AO (it may be as high as 90%). Of these individuals, AO secretors are therefore capable of secreting the H antigen (of blood group O) into their stomach as well as the A antigen, allowing bacterial infestation, i.e. H. pylori (1). Low stomach acid, common in individuals with group A blood, additionally increases the potential for bacterial growth.
It has been known since the 1950’s (2) that individuals of blood group O are more prone to gastric ulcers, and it has been hypothesised that the connection relates to secretion of the H antigen and H. pylori cellular adhesion. Also those with blood group O tend to be hospitalised as a result of gastric ulceration more frequently than individuals with other blood groups due to the thinner O blood. Non-secretors of all types are also more prone to H. pylori, due to the similarity of Lewis a (Le a) to H antigen, although it has been found that some strains of H. pylori prefer Lewis b (Le b). A recent study (3) suggests that due to the diversity of H. pylori strains, their varying preferences for cell membrane antigens and the possibility of several mechanisms of attachment to the cell surface may make this type of study of H. pylori inappropriate for epidemiological research.
The question may arise “how do you know if you are AO or AA?” Mendelian genetics can be applied in certain cases to give an answer: if one parent is O the child typed blood group A1 must be A1O, (who may be more prone to bacterial overgrowth than AA). Similarly if two parents of blood group A have a child who is typed as blood group O, both parents must be AO.
If an individual is typed as A2, which can only be A2O or A2A2, they may have susceptibility to H. pylori beyond that of A1O: a recent study found that individuals with the A2 phenotype, as well as individuals of blood group O, are also more prone to gastric ulcers (4).
The A2 blood group may have some structural differences when compared with A1 – there are several similar A antigens on the surface of red blood cells of individuals with blood group A, individuals with the A2 phenotype express only one of these.
The afternoon coffee and green tea break also included a selection of NAP Unibars and Elspeth Semple’s amazingly tasty wheat-free fruit cake and chocolate cake, as well as fresh and dried fruit and nuts.
Then followed a presentation on herbs by Carole Symons MIfHI, medical herbalist. Carole listed selected herbs and their suitability for individuals of particular blood groups, including some used in NAP formulations. Where a particular herb might not be suitable for a specific patient, alternatives were given with similar actions. It was noted that Echinacea is not suitable for prevention of bird flu, as it is likely to overstimulate the cytokine burst. This was a topical subject, as the previous day a dead swan had been found to have the H5N1 strain of bird flu in Scotland. Elderberry products may be a better approach, than Echinacea, in combination with selenium, zinc and olive leaf. For someone with flu, the recommended dosage for an elderberry product such as Proberry liquid is 4 tablespoons (15 ml) 3 times per day.
Dr. Stuart Semple MBChB, FFHom, MIfHI presented a discourse on homoeopathy and the BTD. After 40 years of involvement in homoeopathy, he now uses blood grouping as a first line approach. He described how initially changing a client’s diet at the first appointment before deciding on a constitutional remedy at the second consultation tends to clarify the remedy picture in that individual and allows for more accurate prescribing. A former student of Marjorie Blackie, Dr. Semple explained that there are only 20 constitutional remedies, and that 60 % of the population have personalities that fit these remedy pictures. It would be an area ripe for research in the homoeopathic world to explore the correlation between the 8 basic blood groups and their subcategories, and these constitutional remedies, in the same way that the link was drawn earlier with the dosha/haplotype connection. This would also raise the question as to whether certain blood groups might react better or worse to a particular constitutional remedy.
Another area of interest to Dr. semple is lectinology, and the lectin-binding content of certain foods. He hypothesised the extent to which certain traditional food combinations or preparation methods coule neutralise, destroy or otherwise disable the lectins in foods, in what he called “therapeutic cooking”.
The discussion then opened out to the floor. Naturopath Ken Green noted how Hahnemann, the founder of homoeopathy, ate several kinds of animal protein at every meal. His test subjects, while proving a homoeopathic remedy, had to keep to a very limited diet to avoid confusing the effects of certain foods with that of the homoeopathic proving.
Dr Prannie Rhatigan MD, MIfHI mentioned a forthcoming course she is presenting in conjunction with naturopath Dr. Gaby Wieland: “Exploring the links between blood group and diet”, as part of a cooking weekend at the Organic Centre, 22-23 April 206. www.theorganiccentre.ie
That evening, the group met at one of the Howies restaurants in central Edinburgh, courtesy of NAP Europe. Dr. Semple had been ‘training’ the restaurant staff to provide suitable food for the party comprising individuals of 3 different blood types (the Semples’ usual restaurant had recently changed hands). Everyone was very well catered for, and it was a fitting close to an educational and informative day. The new information presented at this symposium will surely be enough food for thought until the next IfHI meeting, in May 2007, Phoenix, AZ.
1. Blood-group phenotypes, sulfomucins, and Helicobacter pylori in Barrett's esophagus.
Torrado J, Ruiz B, Garay J, Asenjo JL, Tovar JA, Cosme A, Correa P.
Am J Surg Pathol 1997 Sep;21(9):1023-92. PubMed
2. Pathbase H. pylori
3. Lewis blood genotypes of peptic ulcer and gastric cancer patients in Taiwan.
Yei CJ, Chang JG, Shih MC.
World J Gastroenterol. 2005 Aug 21;11(31):4891-4. PubMed
4. ABH and Lewis antigen distributions in blood, saliva and gastric mucosa and H pylori infection in gastric ulcer patients.
Martins LC, de Oliveira Corvelo TC,
World J Gastroenterol. 2006 Feb 21;12(7):1120-4. http://www.wjgnet.com/1007-9327/12/1120.asp PubMed
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