Category: Tom's Earlier Blogs
I would like a supportive answer to this when someone is eating a combining meal. When consuming protein, should protein be eaten first or last in a combining meal. I would say last due to a long digesting time for protein and the production of HCL acid that would denature enzymes used for carbohydrate breakdown. Or first, to allow protein to be digested in the lower portion of the stomach with carbohydrates residing in the upper part of the stomach somewhat safe from HCL acid but, with a shorter digesting time. I am concerned about the proper eating order that some people should use. I also understand about mono eating, time in between parts of the meal and the proper food types for that person. Thank You Curtis
The principle of food combining is a traditional naturopathic tool used to relieve stress on the digestive system, and thereby the rest of the body. Modern approaches to choosing combinations of food are based on the 'Hay Diet', a system of eating according to Dr. Howard Hay (1866-1940), who integrated the knowledge of contemporary nutritionists such as Lindlahr, Shelton, Kellogg and Arbuthnot Lane.
The concept is based on the idea that different types of food require different digestive processes, for example protein foods require an acid environment for digestion, such as that found in the stomach. Carbohydrates (starch, sugar) require the alkaline conditions found in the small intestine. The system recommends eating foods with different digestive requirements at separate meals. Thus protein and carbohydrates should not be eaten together; carbohydrates should not be eaten with acid fruit, as the fruit acids may impair creation of the alkaline environment required for carbohydrate digestion; vegetables may be eaten with both proteins and carbohydrates.
The food-combining concept was based on the book 'The Operation of the Digestive Organs' published in 1902 by Pavlov, the Russian nutritional anatomist, who first described the physiology of the human digestive system in scientific detail.
Dr. Hay also advocated a balance between acid-forming and alkaline-forming foods. This is based on the effect of the food on the pH (acid-alkaline balance) of body tissues after digestion and metabolism, rather than the type of environment required in the stomach or intestines for digestion. The effect on pH is due to the type of mineral content of the food.
Acid-forming foods contain mainly non-metallic mineral elements such as sulphur, phosphorous and chlorine, as follows:
Proteins: meat, fish, poultry, eggs, cheese, seeds, nuts Starches: most cereals, grains, potatoes Fruit: cranberries, plums, prunes
Alkaline-forming foods contain mainly metallic mineral elements such as potassium, sodium, magnesium, iron and calcium, as follows:
Most fruits, vegetables, millet, wine, some types of soya, molasses
Neutral foods have no effect on the pH of the tissues:
Fats, oils, sugar, tea
There is some dispute about the acid/alkaline-forming properties of certain foods such as tofu, coffee and milk, but these foods are also subject to various different processing methods.
In general it is suggested that the diet is composed of 80% alkaline-forming and 20% acid-forming foods, in proper combination relative to protein or carbohydrate content. Some authorities suggest that certain individuals do not tolerate a diet that is too alkaline-forming, such as Dr. W.D. Kelly, who suggested that some people may require a diet that is 60-70% acid-forming at some time.
Dr. Henry Lindlahr (1862-1924), a pioneer of natural therapeutics, suggested that eating according to his rules of natural dietetics would give a proportion of components that are similar to the chemical composition of blood or milk (mothers' milk being a natural food that sustains infants). This is obviously different to the dietary habits of most people in the modern Western world. Orthodox dietary recommendation is based on the concept that each meal should ideally be a combination of the major food groups: protein, carbohydrate and fat, with a few fruit and vegetables thrown in for good measure, based on calorific value rather than effect on pH of the body. Conventional diets have an acid-/alkaline-forming ratio of about 55:45.
Although the food combining system was recommended as a way of eating on a permanent basis, it is often used therapeutically to relieve stress on an overloaded digestive system.
Dr. Herbert Shelton (1888-1987) further researched the effect of food combinations in the 1940's, and some regard him as the true pioneer of food combining. Modern research on food combining has resulted in several changes to the Hay system. Jan Dries suggests five basic categories of nutrients that can be contained in food: protein; fat; sugar; starch and acid. He suggests that the greater the protein:starch ratio of a particular food the better its' digestibility. Cooking has a significant effect on the protein:starch ratio of some foods.
Using modern research, and with a more recent understanding of the physiology of digestion, Dries amended the basic food combining principles to the following (abbreviated) ideal combinations:
Acids: can be combined with fats or sugars Starch: can be combined with fats Sugars: can be combined with sugars only Fats: can be combined with starch or acids Protein: should not be combined Vegetables: combine with all except sugars
As a general rule, the simpler the meal the easier it may be to digest.
Bearing in mind that certain foods should not be combined, it is important to understand the way in which the stomach digests food. Filling itself from the wall towards the centre, what is eaten first on an empty stomach clings to the stomach lining; the next food to enter the stomach sits on top of that; and what is eaten last falls into the centre of the stomach, surrounded by the food eaten previously. Gastric digestive secretions mix with the food against the stomach wall, which is then passed down into the small intestine.
Biologists suggest that a typical stomach will not become distended by a meal with a volume of a quarter of a litre (half a pint), but a stomach can stretch to contain up to 1.5 litres. Eating this amount of food in one meal increases the risk of fermentation in the centre of the stomach, as it is not being digested until it reaches the stomach wall. Atypical stomach shapes exist, mainly as a result of overeating, and may have different digestive capabilities.
Fruit should not therefore be eaten at the end of a meal, as the sugar in the fruit is more likely to ferment while it sits in the centre of the stomach waiting for the other parts of the meal to pass through into the intestines. If eaten on an empty stomach, fruit on its own passes through relatively quickly.
Dries suggests that eating food rich in water reduces its volume on reaching the stomach, as water follows gravity, sinking to the bottom, and leaves the stomach faster. Consequently he suggests that drinking during meals has little or no effect on digestion, and does not dilute gastric secretions, as more is secreted. Liquid should not be drunk when starchy foods such as bread are still in the mouth, as these require predigestion by saliva.
The principles of food combining are, like most other dietary approaches, attempting to cater for everyone at once. When the blood type system is added to food combining principles, account can be taken of of individual differences in digestive capabilities: having blood groups A and AB generally results in lower levels of stomach acid than O and B, due to the phenomenon of genetic linkage. This means that people of blood groups A or AB will get greater benefit from food combining, and certain foods that are more easily assimilated by the different types of digestive system can be eaten in preference to foods that may contain lectins incompatible with the blood group antigens secreted by that individual. Intestinal alkaline phosphatase, which varies significantly between blood groups, affects the capacity to digest oils and fats, may be inactivated by the antigen of blood group A, and also varies according to secretor status.
To summarise the principles of food combining, notice should be taken of both food combinations and acid-alkaline balance when choosing meals. Other factors that can affect digestion include the following: eating too much at once; eating too fast; eating while nervous, tense or stressed; eating when not hungry. The shape and condition of the stomach and intestines may also affect digestion. Blood group and secretor status can have a significant effect on the ability to digest and metabolise food.
For a simple experiment to test the principles of food combining, just give your dog meat and biscuits at the same meal and see what happens...
D'Adamo, P. 'Live Right 4 Your Type', Penguin, 2001 Dries, J. 'The New Book of Food Combining', Element, 1995 Lindlahr H. 'Natural Therapeutics Vol. I: Philosophy', C W Daniel, 1975 Lindlahr H. 'Natural Therapeutics Vol. III: Dietetics', C W Daniel, 1983
I am a Type A-non-secretor who has been strictly adherent to the bloodtype diet for 4 years and I love it. I have the inherited familial high cholesterol and I am not overweight. My total cholesterol is 400 and my daughters' was 383 at birth. My mom had quadruple bypass at 50 y.o. and died at 53. My aunt had triple bypass at 46 y.o. and is still alive at 65. My cousin dropped dead last month at 42 of a heart attack. Males die earlier. I don't want to be another statistic as I am 48yo but I have also refused to take statin drugs because my aunt got systemic lupus & pericarditis from statins and I think they are far more dangerous than everyone makes them out to be. I have tried gugulipids but I get horrible/debilitating headaches from them. What is effective that is relatively safe and what is your opinion on the safety of the new pill on the block--Zetia? I would appreciate any advise or suggestions as I have two grown children and I would like to live to see my grandchildren with this disease.
As you are probably aware, blood group A non-secretor is at most risk from high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease. You also have another genetic factor that increases your cholesterol, which makes it twice as difficult to bring your levels down with diet alone, but you should still continue to be very careful with your diet, as your cholesterol is high.
Blood Group A individuals have the lowest levels of intestinal alkaline phosphatase of all blood groups, and non-secretors even lower. This reduces your ability to metabolise dietary fats, and therefore increases blood cholesterol levels. A low animal fat diet is essential in your case.
The book 'Cardiovascular Disease, Fight It With The Blood Type Diet' contains a list of super beneficial foods for secretors and non-secretors, and specific recommendations for lowering cholesterol.
Pantethine (active vitamin B5) is suggested to safely help reduce cholesterol. Stress reduction techniques will also help, but remember that your non-secretor status means you will have a tendency to high catecholamines, so keep up the exercise as well as the A-type relaxation methods.
The drug Zetia (ezetimibe) belongs to a new class of lipid-lowering agents that selectively inhibit the intestinal absorption of cholesterol and phytosterols. Its mechanism of action results in a synergistic cholesterol-lowering effect together with a statin that inhibits cholesterol synthesis by the liver.
The manufacturers of Zetia say when it is prescribed with a statin it should not be taken by anyone with active liver disease, and that your doctor may do blood tests to check your liver before you start taking Zetia with a statin and during treatment. (1) This is not good news for individuals of blood group A, who often have more liver problems than other blood groups.
The natural equivalent to the pharmaceutical Zetia is beta-sitosterol, a plant sterol. Sterols and sterolins, also known as phytosterols, are fats present in all plants, including fruits and vegetables. Although they are chemically similar to the animal fat, cholesterol, they have been shown to exert significant unique biochemical effects in humans. Because they are bound to the fibres of the plant, they are difficult to absorb during the transit of digested food through the gut. (2)
Your family history and secretor status means that you are also more likely to get autoimmune disease, although this is not one of the recognised side-effects of statins, which are known to suppress the immune system along with numerous other side-effects. (3)
Statins are not that effective at lowering cholesterol, but it is claimed that they prevent death from heart disease by lowering inflammation. There are plenty of natural alternatives that will reduce inflammation without causing other problems.
One alternative to statins is red yeast rice, which has a similar action to lovastatin. Red yeast rice is a fermented rice product that has been used in Chinese cuisine and as a medicinal food to promote ‘blood circulation’ for centuries. The HMG-CoA reductase (statin) activity of the food comes from a family of naturally-occurring substances called monacolins. Monacolin K, also known as mevinolin or lovastatin, is the ingredient in red yeast rice that Merck asserted as a patent violation because it was sold in the United States as a food that promoted normal cholesterol levels. Red yeast rice contains a family of nine different monacolins, however, that all have the ability to inhibit HMG-CoA reductase. Other active ingredients in red yeast rice include sterols (beta-sitosterol, campesterol, stigmasterol, sapogenin), isoflavones, and monounsaturated fatty acids. At a daily dosage of 2.4 grams of red yeast rice, the lovastatin content is 4.8 mg. The dosages used in clinical efficacy trials with lovastatin were 20-40 mg. It is unlikely that the effects achieved with red yeast rice are solely a result of the lovastatin content of the supplement, and more likely that other monacolins, sterols, and isoflavones contribute to the cholesterol-lowering effect the studies achieved. (4)
Remember that both statins and red yeast rice lower Co Q10 in the body, and a supplement of Co Q10 should be taken at the same time as either of them (5).
It is worth looking at the financial implications of taking medication: the consumer price of statins represent about a 4,000 % markup on the cost of the generic ingredient. (6)
Cholesterol lowering guidelines were issued in July by the US National Institutes of Health. Eight of the nine authors of the guidelines had failed to disclose financial associations with the manufacturers of cholesterol lowering agents. The guidelines, devised by the national cholesterol education programme of the NIH's National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, were endorsed by the American Heart Association-which also receives funding from the makers of statins. (7)
For those who still want to take statins and contribute to the profits of pharmaceutical companies, this medicine is as effective when taken in a lower dose in combination with niacin (vitamin B3) (8). The abstract admits the difference between the research and the reality of the effect of statins: “However, in spite of the dramatic success in large randomized clinical trials, two thirds of patients administered statins are not protected against cardiovascular events. This has prompted a search for additional targets for therapy.”
Niacin should only be taken under the supervision of a physician, but then so should statins. "Niacin lowers cholesterol, elevates high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and reduces the ravages of heart disease, but causes flushing when it is first taken. The flushing reaction dissipates in time and in most cases is gone or very minor within a matter of weeks. Niacinamide, which is not a vasodilator, does not produce a flush, but it has no effect on blood fats (lipids). Inositol hexaniacinate will lower cholesterol without the flushing side effect, but does not do so as well as plain niacin." (9)
Dr. Parsons Jr. points out that increase in the liver function tests, unless they are very substantial, i.e. over three fold, usually does not indicate liver pathology. There are many compounds that elevate liver enzymes, including all the statins, as well as acetaminophen (Tylenol), and ibuprofen (Advil). (10)
Choose a naturopathic physician to monitor your progress.
1. Website: Zetia
2. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). 2004 May;52(5):597-601.
Effect of a new beta-sitosterol analogue on plasma lipid concentrations in rats.
Song YH, Hong S, et. al.
3. Website: Statins
4. Altern Med Rev 2001;6(3):248-271
Cardiovascular Disease: C-Reactive Protein and the Inflammatory Disease Paradigm: HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors, alpha-Tocopherol, Red Yeast Rice, and Olive Oil Polyphenols. A Review of the Literature.
Patrick, L, Uzick, M.
5. Website: Co Q10
6. Website: Statin Alert
7. BMJ 2004;329:759
US consumer body calls for review of cholesterol guidelines
8. Curr Opin Investig Drugs. 2004 Mar;5(3):306-12.
Combination therapy for the treatment of dyslipidemia.
9. Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine.
Abram Hoffer, M.D.
10. Cholesterol Control Without Diet. The Niacin Solution.
Parsons WB Jr.
tom, I wonder if you could help with a question on borderline-high cholesterol. Results of a recent blood test showed; TC: 5.8 mmol/L; HDL: 1.67mmol/L; LDL: 3.86mmol/L; Triglycerides: 0.6 mmol/L. I am 95% compliant to the BTD and eat no grains. Is elevated cholesterol a warning in every case? Is this level within the bounds of acceptability for type ‘O’ Non-sec? Thanks for your time, Regards, Keith
High cholesterol has been associated with cardiovascular disease risk, and the American Heart Association is committed to increasing public awareness of the significance of cholesterol levels (1) A telephone survey of Americans over 40 found that 91% of respondents stated that it was "important to them personally to have a healthy cholesterol level", 51% did not know their own level. Only 40% were aware of national guidelines for cholesterol management, and 53% either did not know or overestimated the correct desirable total cholesterol level for a healthy adult.
The American Heart Association states that “Public awareness and understanding of risk factors for atherosclerotic vascular disease are essential for successful primary and secondary prevention”. The researchers concluded that “public understanding of cholesterol management is suboptimal. Physicians have a unique opportunity, on the basis of public attitudes and access, to improve cholesterol education”.
It is worth looking more closely at “cholesterol education”, and generally accepted risk factors for prevention of cardiovascular disease.
Cholesterol is a hormone providing the basis for all steroids made in the body, including adrenal
hormones and vitamin D. It is found in the blood and in every cell, where it forms part of the cell membrane. The liver, intestines and skin usually provide about 60-80% of the body’s cholesterol, the rest comes from the diet.
Total cholesterol (TC) measurement includes HDL, LDL and Triglycerides (from which VLDL can be estimated). TC Levels are influenced by metabolic rate, and thus can be affected by changes in thyroid or adrenal function.
High cholesterol is not a disease in itself unless genetically high due to a lipoprotein disorder, such as familial hypercholesterolaemia: this is an autosomal dominant disorder of chromosome 19, the heterozygous (more common) form occurs in one in 500 people, making it the most common human genetic disorder.
Other common genetic factors that can affect cholesterol levels are polymorphisms of APO E (Apolipoprotein E), CETP (Cholesterol ester transfer protein), SELE (E-Selectin). A CardioGenomic Profile is available as a screening for these commoner genetic polymorphisms affecting cardiovascular risk, and also includes methylation, coagulation risk and redox balance.
In terms of blood group associations, it is well documented that blood groups A and AB are at higher risk of death from elevated cholesterol levels (2). Blood groups B and O are at higher risk from heart disease as a result of carbohydrate intolerance, rather than from high cholesterol. A higher protein diet will protect blood groups B and O from hypercholesterolaemia, as it increases levels of fat-digesting intestinal alkaline phosphatase enzyme (IAP). IAP may be inactivated by the blood group A antigen, hence the reduced inability of A and AB to metabolise fats. Blood group O, and especially O non-secretors are at highest risk of disease as a result of having elevated triglycerides and obesity along with poor blood lipid profiles (3). In fact non-secretors of all blood groups are likely to have higher cholesterol levels due to lower intestinal alkaline phosphatase (4).
In terms of cholesterol itself, it is therefore important to take blood group and secretor status into account to get a more meaningful idea of cardiovascular risk.
The blood group O diet is designed to be effective in improving cardiovascular parameters in blood group O, “a variance from the conventionally accepted idea that high carbohydrate, low fat diets are the only manner in which to improve cardiovascular parameters” (5). The reduction of dietary lectin ingestion allows better glucose tolerance, which improves the important triglyceride levels.
The MN subgroup can also be a factor in evaluating cholesterol and triglyceride levels: there is an association between MN group with environmentally induced (diet-linked) hyperlipidaemia, with NN more easily able to lower cholesterol levels through diet than MN (6), (7) (8).
Blood tests for cholesterol measurement should be done after a 12-hour fast.
The blood results above (SI units) convert to the following (US):
TC = 224 mg/dL (150-220)
HDL = 64 mg/dL (40-90)
LDL = 149 mg/dL (60-130)
Trigs = 53 mg/dL (30-150)
VLDL [Trigs/5] = 10.6 mg/dL (estimated)
Chol/HDL ratio: 3.5 (<4)
The figures in brackets indicate the standard laboratory reference ranges. It can be seen from these reference ranges that TC is only slightly over the recommended maximum range of 220. This TC is fine, and your HDL and Chol/HDL ratio are also OK if you are otherwise healthy and your BMI is normal, as contrary to popular belief blood group O tends to function better with a cholesterol of over 200. If one wanted to be picky your LDL is a little high, which could be reduced by substituting fish for meat, as DHA, the ‘heart-healthy’ fatty acid found in oily fish actually raises LDL (9) (This apparently contradictory fact shows how unimportant cholesterol levels are without looking at the big picture). Moderate alcohol intake will increase HDL cholesterol. Finally your triglycerides are slightly on the low side (although within the reference range), which is not normally a problem, and could in fact be a result of your high dietary compliance level, but depending on symptoms you could check your thyroid function to be certain.
Should you however still wish to reduce your cholesterol-related risk of heart disease, exercise may be useful. The link with obesity and poor blood lipid profile is well-documented (10), particularly for those with intra-abdominal fat. A 10 kg weight loss can produce a 15% decrease in LDL cholesterol levels and an 8% increase in HDL cholesterol. Apart from reducing refined carbohydrates and hydrogenated fats, the best way to improve your cholesterol score as a group O is vigorous physical exercise according to current fitness levels and individual ability (for those of blood group A it may also be worth looking out for liver/gall bladder congestion). A thyroid blood test will exclude raised cholesterol secondary to hypothyroidism.
[Note: don’t think that if your levels of cholesterol are very low that it means you are super-healthy – a sudden drop in cholesterol can be a sign of disease onset. Kidney problems, some diuretics and pregnancy can also increase cholesterol levels, and high dose vitamin C can make cholesterol appear lower.]
Other tests that can give a more complete picture of possible risk of atherosclerosis are levels of apolipoprotein A and B, plasma homocysteine, and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein.
Other Risk Factors
It must be remembered that many of the connections between risk factors and actual disease have multiple causes. Blood group connections for example should not be interpreted as ‘certain’. There are certainly other lifestyle issues which can erode any statistical correlation. What we should get from the information are ‘trends’ which may be useful as a preventive.
The Cardiac risk calculator (11) will estimate your risk of developing heart disease over the next 5-10 years based on your age, sex, blood group, secretor status, cholesterol levels and other relevant factors. You will find from this that although your non-secretor status puts you at higher risk than a blood group O secretor, you are still at less risk than if you were blood group A or AB if all other variables remain the same.
In terms of orthodox medicine, the preventative treatment of choice for high cholesterol is HMG CoA Reductase Inhibitor medication (statins). These have been so ‘effective’ in reducing cholesterol that they are now on sale over the counter in the UK, and the US is considering following suit. Side-effects include gastro-intestinal disturbances, e.g. abdominal pain, constipation and flatulence, headache and musculoskeletal symptoms, muscle breakdown and death. Not generally listed is the fact that statins decrease the body’s production of Co-enzyme Q10, and long-term exposure to statins may substantially increase the risk of polyneuropathy (12). Why not trade one risk for another!
Alternative Views on Cholesterol
Not everyone sees a clear connection between high cholesterol and coronary heart disease (CHD). Dr. D’Adamo shows evidence that: “there is no clear relationship between the blood cholesterol level and the degree of atherosclerosis in the vessels” (13).
Dr. Malcom Kendrick appears to have made a similar discovery. He interpreted data from an international study of cholesterol and heart disease and found the results directly contradictory to the hypothesis that high cholesterol is related to CHD:
“For myself, all I can see is a French ‘paradox’ and Swiss ‘paradox’ a Russian ‘paradox’ a Lithuanian ‘paradox…My interpretation is that there is absolutely no connection between cholesterol levels and CHD rates in these nineteen different countries” (14).
For those who still feel they may be at risk of heart disease due to long term blood lipid readings, the thickness of the carotid artery may be measured using ultrasound to estimate damage to the heart vessels. When in doubt, evidence of preclinical vascular disease can be found by non-invasive means, such as CAT scanning for coronary calcification, before resorting to potentially harmful pharmaceuticals for which there are many natural alternatives.
1. Nash I.S, Mosca L, Blumenthal RS, Davidson MH, et. al.
Contemporary Awareness and Understanding of Cholesterol as a Risk Factor
Results of an American Heart Association National Survey
Arch Intern Med. 2003;163:1597-1600.
2. Pathbase: Cardiovascular Disease.
3. Pathbase: Hypertriglyceridemia.
4. Blomstrand R, Werner B.
Alkaline phosphatase activity in human thoracic duct lymph.
Acta Chir Scand. 1965 Feb;129:177-91
In Disease Knowledge Base.
5. Clinical Outcomes.
6. Berg K, Borresen AL, Nance WE.
Clin Genet. 1981 Jan;19(1):67-70.
Apparent influence of marker genotypes on variation in serum cholesterol in monozygotic twins.
7. Martin NG, Rowell DM, Whitfield JB.
Clin Genet. 1983 Jul;24(1):1-14.
Do the MN and Jk systems influence environmental variability in serum lipid levels?
8. Birley AJ, MacLennan R, Wahlqvist M, Gerns L, et. al.
Clin Genet. 1997 May;51(5):291-5.
MN blood group affects response of serum LDL cholesterol level to a low fat diet.
9. Theobald HE, Chowienczyk PJ, Whittall R, Humphries SE, Sanders TA.
LDL cholesterol-raising effect of low-dose docosahexaenoic acid in middle-aged men and women.
Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Apr;79(4):558-63.
10. Dattilo, A.M. and P.M. Kris-Etherton,
Effects of weight reduction on blood lipids and lipoproteins: a meta analysis.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1992. 56: p. 320-328.
11. Cardiac Risk Calculator.
12. D. Gaist, et. al.
Statins and risk of polyneuropathy.
13. Pathbase: Hypercholesterolemia.
14. Kendrick M.
Cholesterol And The French Paradox, The Swiss Paradox, The Russian Paradox, The Lithuanian Paradox...Etc...
Red Flags Weekly.
The UK government Food Standards Agency (FSA) has published advice recommending maximum consumption levels of oily fish for different groups according to age and reproductive status. Expert advisors examined the benefits of eating oily fish against the possible risks from consuming pollutants such as dioxins. The Agency's recommendation is that men and boys, and women past childbearing age can eat up to four portions of oily fish a week. Women of childbearing age, including pregnant and breastfeeding women, and girls, can eat up to two portions of oily fish a week.
The FSA report says that there is good evidence that eating oily fish reduces the risk of death from heart disease. Some oily fish contain chemicals such as dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which accumulate over time in the body and could have adverse health effects if consumed over long periods at high levels. The levels of dioxins in oily fish vary, and some types of fish tend to have higher levels than others. The FSA recommendations are based on people eating different types of oily fish: people should eat at least two portions of fish a week, one of which should be oily. A portion = 140 g (5 oz)
White fish: no limit
Girls (under 16), breastfeeding or pregnant women and those who may become pregnant: Up to 2 portions a week
Boys (under 16), men, and women who are not intending to, or can't become pregnant: Up to 4 portions a week
Marlin, shark, swordfish (heavily contaminated due to being at the top of the food chain):
Girls and boys (under 16), pregnant women and those who may become pregnant, breastfeeding women: do not eat
Men, and women who are not intending to, or can't become pregnant: Up to 1 portion a week.
Fresh tuna counts as oily fish, but tinned tuna counts as white because the oils are lost in the canning process. There is no consumption limit for tinned tuna, except for pregnant women and those who may become pregnant: Up to 4 medium-sized cans per week [presumably the canning process also destroys the PCBs and dioxins in the tuna].
The full report can be downloaded as a PDF from the FSA web site
It also lists the types of fish considered oily, and white (non-oily) fish.
The UK Vegetarian & Vegan Foundation have, not surprisingly, produced a response to the claim that eating oily fish is healthy in a report on their web site.
Plant sources of essential fatty acids (EFAs) as an alternative to those from fish are listed in the report.
The report says to ensure an adequate intake of alpha linolenic acid, good plant sources should be included in the daily diet, including green leafy vegetables, seeds, whole grains, beans and nuts, and flaxseed oil, Minimising consumption of omega-6 rich vegetable oils (especially corn oil, sunflower oil and safflower oil) and commercial oil-based processed foods will also help increase the omega 3 to omega 6 dietary ratio. The best way to buy and store nuts, seeds and their oils is in very small quantities and to keep them in the fridge for freshness. These oils are not suitable for heating as it destroys the beneficial fatty acids. They are best used as a cold salad dressing.
The report also notes that farmed salmon can contain two to three times less omega-3 fats as well as 15% less protein. Farmed fish can also contain chemical pesticide residues as well as dangerous levels of PCBs.
Of course neither of these reports take individuality into account when examining the health benefits of EFAs in oils. Those who have a genetic tendency to cardiovascular disease are people with blood group A, who will get the benefit from eating fish instead of meat.
The potential human health effects of dioxins and PCBs may also include damage to the immune system, infertility, birth defects, and altered levels of sex hormones. These are not yet known to have blood group specificity [although the next IfHI conference may enlighten us on this].
This is an example of how difficult it is to decide whether a basic food product such as fish is going to be healthy to eat. The FSA guidelines advise those who are likely to become pregnant to avoid swordfish, for example. Should restaurants therefore restrict the sale of meals containing this popular seafood to girls and young women unless they confirm that they are not intending to have children?
The only answer is to keep as healthy as possible while avoiding industrial processes that contaminate the sea, and encouraging environmentally friendly alternatives to polluting practices. It may take generations to clean up the damage that has already been done, but at the very least we should stop making it worse.
The book Eat Right for Your Baby contains detailed information on which food to avoid before and during pregnancy according to ABO blood type, including certain types of fish high in mercury.
A UK national tabloid newspaper the ‘Daily Express’ today ran the front page story with the headline: ‘THE DNA DIET MIRACLE – Greatest medical breakthrough in 100 years could save your life’.
The story follows a presentation to the annual meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science by a UK company offering DNA testing. The newspaper reports how British nutritionists have apparently developed a groundbreaking diet programme based on detailed analysis of DNA, to set out exactly what each person as an individual should and should not eat for the rest of their life.
The company claims to be “the first in the world to offer a nutrigenomic diet”, and that “a person’s genes should effectively recommend exactly what he or she eats.”
These ‘revelations’ will come as no surprise to the millions of readers of Dr. Peter D’Adamo’s books, many of whom have been following a diet tailored to the information on their gene 9q37 (ABO blood group) for years. Some have looked into further refinement of this knowledge of how genetic inheritance affects interaction with food and the environment by finding their secretor status (gene 19q13.3).
It is good that nutrigenomics is finally reaching the mainstream, although unfortunately no mention of blood groups in connection to diet is made in the article. Perhaps it is because people can find out this information for free by becoming a blood donor and then borrowing a book from the library, rather than having to have a relatively expensive DNA test via their doctor, that the laboratory have not promoted this important element of nutrigenomics.
Genetic testing can be useful where there is a strong family history of certain diseases, or where people want to find out more information about their risks. Testing can cover frequent polymorphisms such as:
* APO E (APOLIPOPROTEIN E), where certain variations can have a role in blood lipids abnormalities and in cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer disease, multiple sclerosis and in age-related macular degeneration. The genetic code responsible for polymorphisms of APO E is found at location 19q13.2. It is interesting how the location of this significant gene is such a close neighbour of the gene for ABH salivary secretor status mentioned above (19q13.3), and how it has been found that non-secretors tend to be more prone to many of these problems. Dr. D’Adamo has found that ABO blood group and secretor status have many genetic linkages with diseases (see Pathbase on this website for details).
The following link is for the entry in the Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man™ database on the scientific background to that gene and genetic disorder: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/dispomim.cgi?id=107741
* GSTM1 (GLUTATHIONE S-TRANSFERASE M1): people lacking this enzyme found at 1p13.3 (and related enzyme GSTP1) have reduced ability to metabolize environmental carcinogens or toxins from the liver and kidneys. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/dispomim.cgi?id=138350
* MTHFR (Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase): a defect in this enzyme located at gene 1p36.3 can lead to high levels of homocysteine, which can increase the risk of heart disease. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/dispomim.cgi?id=607093
A Genomic Profile can be obtained via the D’Adamo clinic in the US, or via Canterbury Osteopathic Clinic in the UK in addition to full blood grouping. This is a screening test for some of the commoner genetic polymorphisms affecting risks for specific problem areas. A consultation is required to determine which Genomic Profile is most appropriate, and a sample of blood or saliva is used for DNA analysis.
The ‘DNA Diet’ nutrigenomics story was also covered by ‘The Scotsman’, and can be read online at: http://news.scotsman.com/uk.cfm?id=1066652004