ARTHRITIS AND THE BLOOD TYPE DIET
As a nutritional consultant I have over the years repeatedly seen a positive response from clients who follow the blood type diet popularized by Dr. Peter D’Adamo, in his book “Eat Right 4 Your Type.” The areas that have produced the most positive feedback have been weight loss and arthritis. Today we will discuss arthritis.
The key factor to the blood type diet is the concept of “lectins.” These are a form of protein that functions as a type of glue, a way for organisms in nature to attach themselves to other organisms. These lectins are found in cells, bacteria, microbes and food, and if they are incompatible with your blood type antigen, then they will settle in different organs and body systems. There they draw other cells to that region and clumps the cells together, where the body perceives them as foreign invaders and attacks them. This clumping can trigger irritable bowel syndrome if they settle in the intestines, cirrhosis if they settle in the liver, or arthritis if they settle in the joints.
Most lectins from food don’t make it very far into the body, but about 5% of the lectins that we eat get into the bloodstream, where they react with blood cells. This only becomes a problem if your blood type is reactive to that particular lectin. A food containing a certain lectin can be beneficial for one blood type but dangerous for another.
The scientific community generally has little use for the blood type theory, but must admit two things: lectins show up under a microscope, and certain blood types get more of certain diseases than other blood types. These facts combined with years of feedback from Naturopaths and individuals who have used this diet effectively for a number of ailments, suggests that science will eventually take a closer look at it. There are in fact studies done with rabbits where lectins derived from lentils are injected into the knee joint cavity, resulting in the development of arthritis showing all the properties of rheumatoid arthritis.
In order to cut to the chase we will at this point simply state that for our purposes detrimental lectins create an inflammatory response in the body. Since inflammatory mechanisms are now linked to most major diseases (colitis, psoriasis, alzheimer’s, cancer, heart disease, arthritis, etc) the benefits of excluding certain offending foods from our diets are broad indeed.
At this point one really needs to find out their blood type (it is not covered by medical unless you require surgery, but if you donate blood you can find out for free), procure a copy of Dr. Adamo’s book and read the section on your blood type, paying specific attention to when “lectins” are mentioned. These food then should be mostly eliminated from your diet and only consumed on rare or special occasions.
Many people use glucosamine and/or chrondroitin as a natural treatment for arthritic conditions, and with great success. Yet it turns out that they may be effective because of lectin-blocking actions. It has been shown that glucosamine binds very effectively to wheat germ lectins (wheat being a particularly aggravating food for type Os). It is very possible that glucosamine and chrondroitin work by sacrificing themselves, reacting with lectins thereby neutralizing the lectins and preventing them from reacting with the inflamed tissue. Thus the benefits of glucosamine and chrondroitin supplementation may be due to mimicking the effects of a low lectin diet.