A German health insurance company has offered all of its customers a test for a genetic disorder so that they can receive early treatment if they are affected. Four thousand customers took up the offer, and 67 were told that they were at high risk of the disease.
In cooperation with the Hanover Medical School, the Kaufmännische Krankenkasse, a health insurance company with about two million customers, offered all of its clients a test for the hereditary disease haemochromatosis, a disorder in which the body stores too much iron. The results were given exclusively to the people tested and not divulged to the company.
Haemochromatosis is an autosomal recessive disorder, which is characterised by excessive iron absorption in the gut and causes damage to the kidney, liver, and other organs, eventually leading to organ failure. Symptoms usually occur first after the age of 40. The disorder is treated by regular venesection (giving blood) to reduce the amount of iron.
At a press conference to announce the results of the initiative, Ingo Kailuweit, the company chairman, reported that out of almost 4000 voluntary participants, 67 people were identified as homozygous (carrying two copies of the faulty gene) and therefore at high risk of developing the disease. Not all people who carry two faulty genes develop the full blown disease, so some of the 67 people identified as being at high risk may remain healthy.
An opinion poll at the time of testing showed that almost 90% of the population supported genetic testing as part of a health insurance company’s programme if it provided benefit to the participants.
This shows how genetic testing is being used to reduce a potential financial burden on the insurance company for treating a preventable disease, without compromising the principle that insurance covers individual risk by using contributions from the whole membership without discrimination against risks about which the individual has no control. It costs more to insure a smoker, but continuing to smoke is a choice that is made by the individual.
Since the disease is often detected in its late stages, patients identified as carrying two faulty genes for the disorder at an early stage might be spared dialysis and possible kidney and liver transplantation. The estimated cost of treating someone with the disease when it is discovered late is about €100 000 (£69 000; $130 000).
The German government is passing a law on genetic testing, which will ensure that customers will not have to disclose the results of any genetic tests to life insurance companies if they are insuring their lives for less than €250 000. Nor will they ever have to disclose such results to their employers. The law will also make it compulsory to offer counselling to all people offered genetic tests.
If people were simply told their blood group and counselled on how to act according to that information, it would benefit everyone's health, and not just a tiny minority with rare genetic conditions.
The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition compared the diets of 507 hospitalised Italians recovering from their first heart attack and 478 controls, and found that the more pizza eaten, the lower their risk of acute myocardial infarction (heart attack). The authors of the study could not explain the link with pizza eating, but suggest that some of the ingredients of pizza have been shown to have a favourable influence on the risk of cardiovascular disease.
In Italy most pizza is usually consumed in traditional pizzerias, and consumption of "fast food" pizza is unusual. 100 g of a traditional Italian pizza has about 50g of carbohydrates, 20 g of tomato sauce, 20 g of mozzarella cheese, 4 g of olive oil, and 2 g of yeast. In terms of being a healthy meal, a pizza on its own is not ideal, as it contains relatively few vegetables, but combined with a fresh green salad, traditional Italian pizza could score better than a lot of other commonly available restaurant meals. In analysing the contents of a basic traditional pizza, real mozzarella cheese is one of the few cheeses that is acceptable for the diets of most blood groups; the pizza base, although made from wheat, is a relatively small part of the meal when compared with a deep pan pizza or pasta, for example, and more suited to individuals of blood groups A and AB, who have higher risk of heart disease than those with blood groups O and B; tomato is neutral or beneficial for non-secretors (who are at higher risk of heart disease than secretors); olive oil is generally beneficial; and a standard Italian pizza contains about 500-800 Calories, reducing the risk of obesity from calorie consumption. Pizza eaters were classed as occasional (one to three 200 g portions a month), regular (more than one a week), and frequent (two or more a week).
N.B. This is not a recommendation to those at risk of heart disease to eat lots of pizza: the 478 controls who ate more pizza than the 507 who had had a heart attack were also in hospital, so eating pizza does not keep you out of hospital. For specific individualised health advice consult your naturopath, and read the book 'Cardiovascular Disease: Fight It With The Blood Type Diet' by Dr. Peter D'Adamo.
Pizza and risk of acute myocardial infarction. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2004 Nov;58(11):1543-6. Gallus S, Tavani A, Vecchia CL. PMID: 15138460
Hi Doc! Thank you for taking my question. I've been trying
to find out why Cod Liver Oil is an avoid for type O's. I would
like to take it as it is a good source of vitamin D, but if it
is more detrimental than beneficial, I won't. Could you please
advise? Thank you again. Joe M.
The practice of giving cod liver oil (CLO) began in nineteenth-century
England when young people on a poor diet were deprived of exposure
to the sun. Without sun, their bodies couldn't make vitamin D
(known as the "sunshine vitamin"), and they developed
rickets. Because CLO contains large amounts of vitamin D, it cured
rickets and made a great contribution to public health.
On average, 20 milliliters of CLO contains1,500 IU of vitamin
D, as well as 1.8 grams EPA, 2.2 grams DHA, 15,000 IU vitamin
The omega-3 content of fish oils can lower blood triglyceride
levels, thin the blood, and also decrease inflammation in various
parts of the body.
CLO should be avoided by blood group O non-secretors,
and is generally neutral for healthy O secretors. The reason for
this difference is that Dr. D'Adamo has observed depressed saliva
levels of sIgA (secretory Immunoglobulin A) in O non-secretors
on CLO supplements.
sIgA is similar in a way to blood group antigen secretions
in that sIgA is secreted on all mucosal body surfaces as the first
line of defence against invaders. sIgA inhibits binding of micro-organisms
to mucosal surfaces, preventing entry. sIgA deficiency is associated
with increased gastrointestinal tract permeability and increased
manifestations of delayed patterns of food allergy. It is therefore
essential in ABH salivary non-secretors, who don't have their
blood group antigens on their mucosal surfaces to protect them.
CLO can have a fishy taste and might cause belching, nosebleeds,
halitosis, or heartburn in some people. Gastrointestinal side
effects can be minimized if CLO is taken with meals and if doses
are started low and gradually increased.
Any unsaturated oil, including fish oil, can become rancid
if exposed to heat, light or oxygen. Rancid oils are very unhealthy
because they contain free radical molecules that damage your cells.
Some manufacturers add vitamin E to fish oil capsules to keep
the oil from becoming rancid. Another method is to remove all
the oxygen from the capsule.
Excessive vitamin A and D is possible with too much CLO. Pregnant
women and women who want to become pregnant must be careful about
excessive intake of vitamin A due to its potential effect on the
foetus. Fish oils extracted from non-liver sources are usually
not a problem. Check the label of fish oil products for the vitamin
A and D content.
Fish oil may increase homocysteine concentrations and nitric
oxide metabolism in healthy humans. At excessive levels, these
substances can lead to inflammation and oxidant stress (free radical
damage to the cells).
Fish oil, especially in large doses over a period of time,
has a blood-thinning effect and thus affect bleeding time. Blood
group O tend to have the thinnest blood, and so this may be a
consideration when supplementing with oils. If you have a health
condition, if you are taking blood thinning medication (aspirin,
coumadin, warfarin etc.), or are pregnant always consult with
your physician before taking fish oil or EPA/DHA capsules.
Fish have no refuge from environmental pollution and most have
become contaminated to some extent with mercury, dioxins, and
other petrochemicals. When oil is extracted from fish, these oil-soluble
chemicals are included. In addition, if too much heat is used
during processing, free radical peroxides will be present in the
oil. Therefore it is wise to be very selective when purchasing
any fish oil product. Buy fish oil only from reputable companies
who have verified by independent laboratory analysis that their
product is free from chemical contamination and peroxides.
Vitamin D is known as the "sunshine vitamin" because
the body manufactures the vitamin after being exposed to sunshine.
Ten to 15 minutes of sunshine 3 times weekly is adequate to produce
the body's requirement of vitamin D.
O contains Vitamin D (Cholecalciferol)
150 IU per 3 capsules
For an O non-secretor sardines and mackerel will be beneficial
foods rich in vitamin D
Cunningham-Rundles C. Analysis of the gastrointestinal
secretory immune barrier in IgA deficiency. Ann Allergy. 1986
Tanida T, et. al. Decreased excretion of antimicrobial
proteins and peptides in saliva of patients with oral candidiasis.
J Oral Pathol Med. 2003 Nov;32(10):586-94.
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.