ER4YT: Review in the Townsend Letter For Doctors

Posted by P.D'A on May 23, 1997  Book Corner

The Individualized Diet Solution
review by Jule Klotter
Eat Right 4 Your Blood Type: The Individualized Diet Solution to Staying Healthy, Living Longer and Achieving Your Ideal Weight by Peter D'Adamo with  Catherine Whitney; G.P. Putnam's Sons, 200 Madison Ave., New York, New York 10016 USA Hardback, 392 pp., 1996, $22.95

While all natural health advocates recognize the importance of a good diet, not everyone agrees on which diet plan is most healthful. Vegetarian diet, macrobiotic diet, high-protein and low-carbohydrate diet, high-carbohydrate and low-fat diet. The list of prescribed diets grows, partly because no single diet plan benefits everyone. Now, two naturopathic physicians (father and son) have moved beyond the one-diet-fits-all scenario. They have found an uncomplicated system for helping individuals determine which foods are most beneficial for them.

The story began when James D'Adamo worked and studied at several European health spas after graduating from naturopathic school in 1957. As part of its program, each spa served strict vegetarian and  low-fat diets. Despite the rationale and beliefs supporting such diets, James noticed that "a certain number of patients did not appear to improve , and some did poorly or even worsened." He sought a system for determining individual dietary needs. Because blood brings nourishment to body cells and organs, James looked for correlations between diet and blood type. Over the years, he recognized that each of the 4 blood types thrived on certain foods and physical activities. In 1980, James D'Adamo published his observations on diet and exercise patterns for each blood type in a book called Orle Man's Food.

Two years later, James' son Peter, then a senior in Bastyr's Naturopathic program, began to substantiate his father's theory with objective research. For over 10 years, Peter, with he help of Bastyr students, collected over 1,000 scientific articles on blood types and their correlations to disease, biochemistry, nutrition, and anthropology. In the laboratory, he tested each blood type's reactions to common foods. As a practitioner, Peter recommended the Blood Type Diet to 4,000  patients. He learned that, in addition to determining an individual's optimal diet and exercise practices, blood type indicates one's metabolic efficiency, energy level, emotional response to stress, and susceptibility to various diseases.

By following the Blood Type Plan, patients were able to combat serious illness, avoid common viruses and infections, slow cell deterioration that accompanies aging, and lose weight, as the body automatically eliminated toxins and fats. His findings generated much interest at the 1989 Annual Convention of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. Now, Peter D'Adamo, with the help of writer Catherine Whitney, presents this simple, yet effective, individualized plan for determining appropriate diet and exercise for individuals in Eat Right 4 Your Type.

Each of the four blood types, which develop at separate times in human evolution, exhibit biochemical differences. Type O, the oldest and most common blood type, has no true antigens (chemical markers that incite antibody production). Because of this, type O, also called 93the universal donor, does not cause antibody production when given to people with other blood types. The next oldest, Type A, first appeared in Asia or the Middle East between 25,000 and 15,000 BC as an evolutionary response to the rise of densely populated agrarian communities. The Type A antigen  causes antibody reactions in Type O and Type B, the third blood type. The Type B antigen appeared between 10,000 and 15,000 BC among nomads in the Himalayan highlands. The most recent and least common, Type AB, has the antigens of Types A and B, combining many of the characteristics of the two. People with AB blood can receive blood from A, B, as well as AB and O donors without experiencing an antibody response.

What do these blood types and their antigens have to do with diet? Foods contain lectins,compounds that interact with antigens on a cell's surface. Many food lectins have characteristics that are similar to one of the blood type antigens. If a person with Type B blood eats a food with B-like lectins, e.g. milk, the body accepts those lectins as compatible and familiar to its own B-antigens. If a person with Type A blood, however, drinks milk, the B-like lectins cause blood cells to clump together (agglutinate), gumming up the works. Besides causing agglutination in body organs and systems, incompatible lectins interfere with digestion, food metabolism, insulin production, and hormonal balance.

Compatible foods and food lectins tend to correlate to the evolutionary and environmental lifestyle of humans at the time that the blood type first appeared. For example, Type 0, the oldest blood type, reflects a time when humans survived by hunting their food. Small but frequent servings of meat (excluding pork), poultry, and fish along with vegetables and fruit form a healthful diet for Type 0. Grains (especially wheat), legumes, and dairy products - largely unfamiliar tothose hunting ancestors - are incompatible with Type O biochemistry.

While animal protein energizes Type 0, it has the opposite effect on Type A, the Cultivator. Type A's thrive on vegetarian fare: beans, legumes, cereals, vegetables, and fruits. Type B, the Nomad, has the greatest range of food choices. Fish and meats like lamb, mutton, rabbit and venison arehighly beneficial for B's. Chicken, however, is not; it contains a Type B agglutinating lectin. Unlike the previous blood types, B's benefit fromeating dairy products, as does Type AB. Type AB represents a merging of Types A and B. Like Type B, AB's require meat protein; but, because of their sensitive digestive tract and naturally low stomach acid, which they have in common with Type A's, AB's need smaller and less frequent portions.

For each of the four blood types, D'Adamo provides easy-to-use listsof highly beneficial foods, neutral foods, and foods to avoid under the following categories: meats and poultry, seafood, dairy and eggs, oils and fats, nuts and seeds, beans and legumes, cereals, breads and muffins, grains and pasta, vegetables, fruit, juices and fluids, spices, condiments, herbal teas, and beverages. The highly beneficial foods promote health.The neutral foods have no overt positive effects beyond providing necessary nutrients. The foods to avoid are actually harmful. Sample meal plans(standard menu and weight-control alternative) for 3 days along with a dozen recipes are included for each type. Supplement advice and exercise guidelines that correspond to each blood type's stress reaction complete the picture.

In his book, D'Adamo relates several case histories representing his and other doctors' experiences with the Blood Type Plan. In onecase, a 30 year-old woman with type A blood was suffering from kidney failure as a complication of lupus. She had spent several weeks on shunt dialysis and was scheduled for a kidney transplant within six months. The woman ate substantial amounts of dairy, wheat, and red meat -"all dangerous foods for a Type A person in her condition." Her doctor prescribed a strict vegetarian diet (type A), hydrotherapy, and homeopathic remedies. Her condition improved within two weeks. Within two months, the woman no longer needed dialysis or a kidney transplant.

A second case involved a 52 year-old Lebanese woman with Type O blood who had advanced cardiovascular disease: cholesterol level over 350 (normal is 200-220) and over 80% blockage in three arteries. Her diet, following the traditions of her culture, included lots of fish, olive oil, and grains - foods currently recommended to reduce the occurrence of cardiovascular disease. After performing a balloon angioplasty on her, her cardiologist suggested that she takeMevacor, a cholesterol-lowering drug. Preferring a more natural approach, the woman sought help from D'Adamo. Because she had Type O blood, D'Adamo suggested that she eat more red meat. His suggestion made her nervous since prevailing medical knowledge indicates that red meat should be avoided by people with heart disease. After consulting her cardiologist, who again urged drug therapy, the woman decided to follow the Type O Plan for3 months. In addition to eating more red meat, she followed D'Adamo's suggestions for substituting other grains for her high intake of wheat. D'Adamo prescribed an extract of hawthorn, an herbal tonic for the cardiovascular system, and niacin, a B vitamin that helps reduce cholesterol levels. He also started her on a walking program to release the stress caused by her job as an executive secretary. 'within six months," D'Adamo reports, "[her] cholesterol plummeted, without medication, to 187, where it stabilized."

The Blood Type Plan for diet and exercise gives natural health practitioners a profound tool for promoting healing in their patients. Although it is not a panacea, the Blood Type Plan benefits digestion, metabolism, immune function, and prevents cell deterioration. Eat Right 4 Your Type presents this cohesive theory in a clear, accessible manner. This book makes a valuable contribution to health care.

The Boldest of the New Books on Alternative Medicine:
How Blood Type Determines Your Health

One of the hallmarks of alternative medicine is the recognition of the biochemical uniqueness of each individual and the need to tailor treatments and prescriptions to match that individual variability. While a person's genetic code, ultimately, is the basis of this individuality, basing treatments on genetic factors is too broad an approach and not consistent with alternative medicine.

According to naturopath Peter J. D'Adamo, N.D., in his book Eat Right 4 Your Type, the missing link might be the four basic blood types: O, A, B, and AB. "There had to be a reason why there were so many paradoxes in dietary studies and disease survival, why some people lose weight and others do not on the same diet or why some people keep their vitality as they age, and others do not," says Dr. D'Adamo. His research into anthropology, medical history, and genetics led him to conclude that blood type is "the key that unlocks the door to the mysteries of health, disease, longevity, physical vitality, and emotional strength."

Dr. D'Adamo explains that the practical application of the blood type "key" is that it enables you to make informed choices about your dietary, exercise, supplement, and even medical treatment plans. With the blood type "road map," these plans can now "correspond to your exact biological profile" and "the dynamic natural forces within your own body."

Type O-
People with type O blood fare best on intense physical exercise and animal proteins and less well on dairy products and grains, says Dr. D'Adamo. The leading reason for weight gain among Type O's is the gluten found in wheat products and, to a lesser extent, lentils, corn, kidney beans, and cabbage, Dr. D'Adamo explains. Ideal exercises for Type O's include aerobics, martial arts, contact sports, and running.

Type A-
Those with blood type A, however, are more naturally suited to a vegetarian diet and foods that are fresh, pure, and organic. As Type A's are predisposed to heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, "I can't emphasize how critical this dietary adjustment can be to the sensitive immune system of Type A," says Dr. D'Adamo. Type A's prefer calming, centering exercise, such as yoga and tai chi.

Type B-
Type B's have a strong immune system and a tolerant digestive system and tend to resist many of the severe chronic degenerative illnesses, or at least survive them better than the other blood types. Type B's do best with moderate physical exercise requiring mental balance, such as hiking, cycling, tennis, and swimming.

Type AB-
Blood type AB, the most recent, in terms of evolution, of the four groups and an amalgam of types A and B, is the most biologically complex. For this group, a combination of the exercises for types A and B works best, says Dr. D'Adamo.

Blood type, with its digestive and immune specificity, is a window on a person's probable susceptibility to or power over disease, according to Dr. D'Adamo. For example, Type O's are the most likely to suffer from asthma, hay fever, and other allergies, while Type B's have a high allergy threshold, and will react allergically only if they eat the wrong foods. Type B's are also especially susceptible to autoimmune disorders, such as chronic fatigue, lupus, and multiple sclerosis. Type AB's tend to have the fewest problems with allergies, while heart disease, cancer, and anemia are medical risks for them. With arthritis, Type O's, again, are the predominant sufferers because their immune systems are environmentally intolerant," especially to foods such as grains and potatoes which can produce inflammatory reactions in their joints, says Dr.D'Adamo. Types A and B are the most susceptible to diabetes, while types A and AB have an overall higher rate of cancer and poorer survival odds than the other types.

While you cannot change your blood type, you can use knowledge about its nature to implement a dietary plan biologically suited to your makeup, says Dr. D'Adamo, who supplies copious details on eating plans for all four types. "Most of my patients experience some results [within two weeks of starting the diet]- increased energy, weight loss, a lessening of digestive complaints, and improvement of chronic conditions such as asthma, headaches, and heartburn."