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
Research shows that non-secretor mothers are less able to protect their babies from infection with the Norwalk virus (NV) through breastfeeding than secretor mothers (1). Breast milk contains many secreted carbohydrates, including the blood group antigens, however non-secretors lack the ability to secrete their blood group antigens in their breast milk and other fluids.
It is already known (2) that secretors of their blood group antigen are more at risk of contracting gastroenteritis from NV infection, except for individuals of blood group B (3), who are at less risk of developing symptoms.
The Norwalk virus is the main cause of gastroenteritis “food poisoning” infection of a non-bacterial source. NV has a ligand that attaches to the A and H antigens in the saliva and digestive tract of blood groups O, A and AB to take hold and infect the host, but only in secretors. A ligand is a molecule that binds to another chemical entity to form a larger complex, like the agglutination of blood group antigens by lectins.
Symptoms of NV infection are: nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach cramps. Infected people usually recover in 2 to 3 days without serious or long-term health effects.
The new research shows that the milk of secretor mothers inhibits the attachment of NV to the receptors in their baby, but non-secretor mothers lack this protective secretion. Therefore non-secretor mothers are less likely to contract gastroenteritis from NV, but their babies may be at higher risk than babies of breastfeeding secretor mothers.
Suggested ways to limit the spread of Norwalk virus include:
• Wash hands with soap and warm water after toilet visits and before preparing or eating food;
• Cook all shellfish thoroughly before eating;
• Wash raw vegetables before eating;
• Dispose of sewage, including soiled nappies, in a sanitary manner.
Read ‘Eat Right 4 Your Baby’ to learn about ways of looking after your child while pregnant and breastfeeding.
1. Le Pendu, J
Histo-blood group antigen and human milk oligosaccharides: genetic polymorphism and risk of infectious diseases.
Adv Exp Med Biol, January 1, 2004; 554: 135-43.
2. Marionneau S, et. al.
Norwalk virus binds to histo-blood group antigens present on gastroduodenal epithelial cells of secretor individuals.
Gastroenterology. 2002 Jun;122(7):1967-77.
3. Hutson AM, et. al.
Norwalk virus infection and disease is associated with ABO histo-blood group type.
J Infect Dis. 2002 May 1;185(9):1335-7.
Dozens of new infectious diseases are likely to emerge over the next 25 years unless humans acquire an ecological perspective on infection rather than seeing microbes as simply an invading entity that should be blindly attacked with antibiotics or used as a tool for biological warfare.
According to Professor Tony McMichael, director of the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at The Australian National University, Canberra, the emergence and spread of 35 new or newly diagnosed infectious diseases in the past 25 years is a product of our modern way of life.
A conference at the UK Royal Society exploring the factors influencing emerging infectious diseases was told that the rise in international travel, overcrowded cities, intensive food production, sexual practices, poverty, and global warming were some of the ingredients that had come together to form a suitable culture medium for the emergence, maintenance, and spread of new infectious diseases, as well as allowing the resurgence of older diseases such as cholera, tuberculosis, and malaria.
Hepatitis C was given as an example of a disease born from sociotechnological change. "The advent of illicit intravenous drug use and blood transfusion has allowed the wider spread, and now recognition, of this virus."
The impact of the massive increase in international travel has allowed the spread of new diseases such as HIV and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) on an unprecedented scale.
The way in which humans have changed their environment has also influenced the spread of disease. Developments in agriculture, urbanisation, and deforestation have all changed ecosystems and allowed the emergence of infections. Lyme disease, a disease spread by ticks, was first identified in 1976, in the United States. Forest fragmentation, loss of predators, and the shift of suburbia closer to woodlands are all implicated in the appearance of this disease.
Another example is the Nipah virus. In 1999 this virus killed 100 people in peninsular Malaysia. The virus was normally carried by the forest fruit bat and had not previously seemed to pass to humans. However, because of deforestation and agricultural techniques the bat’s normal habitat and food source were changed. This forced the bats to encroach into fruit plantations, which were in close proximity to pig farms. The bats infected the pigs, which in turn infected the farmers.
Professor McMichael concluded by emphasising the need to acquire an ecological perspective on infectious diseases. "In the 1970s, eminent people were saying it was the end of the infectious disease era. We now find after the experience of the 1980s and 1990s, we are sadder and wiser."
Infection is not to be feared – bacteria are an essential part of the natural life cycle of the environment. Many bacteria are essential in the gut as they manufacture vitamins. Bacterial decomposition is a way of recycling unhealthy, dead or dying material back to its constituent elements. Pathological bacteria cannot grow on a healthy ‘soil’, or ground substance. Mucous membranes are moist warm surfaces such as the lining of the nose, sinuses, lungs, genitals, and the lining of the gut, ideal breeding ground for bacteria. All of these surfaces secrete blood group antigens (in secretors), Lewis antigens and many other protective molecules. These are our first line of defence (apart from substances introduced directly into the blood stream) – keeping the mucous membranes healthy and clean is vital to overall health, and that includes health of the intestines.
Put only the correct food into the intestines to prevent congestion and decay in the mucous membranes of the body, and use your knowledge of blood group and secretor status to choose the foods that are most suitable to you. This is, after all, the reason why each food has been classified according to its interaction with the individual intestinal environment.
Bacteria and viruses are not the cause of disease, they are a sign that a diseased organism (the body, the mind, the surrounding environment, exposure to toxic pollutants and susceptibility due to inherited weaknesses) has allowed a pathological process to bring about decay and decomposition. The symptoms that go with disease (inflammation, swelling etc.) are an indication that the natural healing processes of the body are active. Rather than poison the symptoms and suppress the cleansing mechanisms, encourage the eliminative processes and allow the internal healer to do its work.
British Naturopath Roger Newman-Turner says: “It is widely believed that healthy, well-nourished cattle will develop a natural immunity to Foot & Mouth Disease (FMD), or recover without long-term harm. In this context it should be emphasised that ‘health’ is not synonymous with ‘hygiene’ or asepsis. The antibiotic-ridden cow is the antithesis of a healthy animal. It could even be argued that an obsession with sterility has weakened the immunity by removing natural challenges to inherent defence mechanisms.
“It is high time this hypothesis was put to the test with properly conducted trials. It is not a new idea. Nearly fifty years ago, during the 1952 epidemic of FMD, my father, F. Newman Turner, invited the Ministry of Agriculture and the Animal Disease Research Centre at Pirbright to allow infected animals to mix freely with his herd of pedigree Jerseys. They had been reared organically, were never vaccinated, and were treated only with herbal medicines when the need arose.
“He based this challenge on the experiences of Sir Albert Howard, who had conducted a similar experiment with his pedigree oxen in India in the nineteen-thirties. Sir Albert had allowed his naturally reared animals to rub noses with neighbouring herds infected with FMD. None of his animals contracted the disease.
“F Newman Turner’s challenge was ignored - Pirbright did not even acknowledge his letters - but at least, fifty years later, some people are acknowledging that FMD might partly be the consequence of the intensive farming practices about which he was warning people then.”
The moral of the story is: Live peacefully with nature - any change in the environment in the name of development of human society must be ecologically sound and sustainable. To cure health problems first remove the cause.
New infectious diseases will continue to emerge. BMJ 2004;328:186 (24 January 2004)
Research in the Journal of Medical Entomology (1) demonstrated a preference by a particular type of mosquito (Aedes albopictus) for secretors of blood group O over all other blood groups, and significantly more than blood group A. The study also showed that skin treated with the blood group antigen of O blood (the H antigen, containing the disaccharide fucose) was also more attractive to the mosquitoes than skin treated with the blood group A antigen, which in turn was more attractive than skin treated with the blood group B antigen.
These mosquitoes appear to prefer one blood group in particular (blood group antigens are present in large numbers on the skin of secretors), but why is this information important?
Aedes albopictus (the Asian Tiger Mosquito) is now present in more than thirty states of the US. In the Northeast, it has been reported from York County, Pennsylvania to Cumberland, Salem, and Monmouth counties in New Jersey. The Asian tiger mosquito has demonstrated the ability to survive in states as far north as Minnesota and Delaware (2).
The Asian tiger mosquito has great potential to carry diseases into a substantial portion of the United States. In the Central region of the US, this species has been linked to the transmission of LaCrosse Encephalitis and the West Nile Virus (3). There have been several documented cases of Dengue Fever and Yellow Fever in southern Texas (4) due to the increased numbers of Aedes Albopictus in that region.
Most mosquitoes feed at dawn and dusk and rest in the foliage during the day, and will generally bite during the day only if you go into their shady resting spots. The Asian tiger mosquito however will readily leave its shady resting area to feed even in the direct sun. It is an agressive day-biter and is most active from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. It is not a strong flyer so it does not travel far from its breeding habitat (5). It prefers to bite the foot, followed by the hand, then the face (6).
The Asian Tiger mosquito is thought to have arrived in the US in tyres (7): it is a 'container breeder', reproducing in artificial water containers such as tyres, flower pots, buckets and rain gutters, as well as natural containers such as bamboo, bromeliads, and tree holes (imported tyres are now checked for mosquitoes).
People living in certain areas of the United States may therefore be at risk of exposure to diseases not normally associated with mosquito bites, and in locations not normally associated with mosquitoes. Blood group O secretors may be at higher risk than others from bites from the Asian tiger mosquito, and should ensure that their feet, hands and face are well protected even during the day. Any recent mosquito bites should be reported to a physician when presenting with a fever.
1. Shirai Y, Funada H, Seki T, Morohashi M, Kamimura K.
J Med Entomol. 2004 Jul;41(4):796-9.
Landing preference of Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae) on human skin among ABO blood groups, secretors or nonsecretors, and ABH antigens. [Pubmed 15311477]
2. Moore CG, Francy DB, Eliason DA, Monath TP.
J Am Mosq Control Assoc. 1988 Sep;4(3):356-61.
Aedes albopictus in the United States: rapid spread of a potential disease vector. [Pubmed 3058869]
3. Romi R, et. al.
Med Vet Entomol. 2004 Mar;18(1):14-9.
Potential vectors of West Nile virus following an equine disease outbreak in Italy. [Pubmed 15009441]
4. Mitchell CJ, Miller BR, Gubler DJ.
J Am Mosq Control Assoc. 1987 Sep;3(3):460-5.
Vector competence of Aedes albopictus from Houston, Texas, for dengue serotypes 1 to 4, yellow fever and Ross River viruses. [Pubmed 2849638]
6. Shirai Y, Funada H, Kamimura K, Seki T, Morohashi M.
J Am Mosq Control Assoc. 2002 Jun;18(2):97-9.
Landing sites on the human body preferred by Aedes albopictus.
7. Hawley WA, Reiter P, Copeland RS, Pumpuni CB, Craig GB Jr.
Science. 1987 May 29;236(4805):1114-6.
Aedes albopictus in North America: probable introduction in used tires from northern Asia.
Please, I need some advice on how to go about studying for a career in naturopathic medicine. I live in St. John's Wood, London, been on internet researching... any you can recommend? I am a qualified Food Technologist (trained in food science and nutrition at Wits, Johannesburg, SA), presently working as a nutritional manager in Chelsea. I've been on the BTD since 2000 and a keen follower of it! I will really appreciate your advice. Kind regards Gerda
If you are looking for a college that includes the naturopathic elements of blood grouping you might like to look at the University of Westminster complementary therapies course based in North London: I teach a practical session on blood typing there to the students doing the naturopathic module, and I believe they are going to include blood grouping at their clinic. Those on the degree course with the naturopathic module now also qualify for entry to the UK Register of Naturopaths (GCRN).