Why Following Your Blood Group Diet Can Seriously Improve Your Health

February 28, 2011

I have long been a fan (as indeed is Cheryl Cole) of the Blood Group Diet developed by naturopath Peter D’Adamo and have followed it myself for a number of years. The basic premise, based on years of his and his father’s research, was to correlate results of blood types to illness and diet. Millennia of evolution have split human blood into four types: A, B, AB and O — around 44 per cent of Britons are type O, 42 per cent are type A, 10 per cent type B and 4 per cent are AB.

Our blood group is determined by genes inherited from our parents and for a long time the study of blood groups and disease was discredited. This was a result of the ‘racial science’ propagated by the Nazis – an absurd name for a made up creed to suit a political end – but there is serious science behind the idea that blood groups can hold the secret to fighting deadly diseases. Even better is the fact that you can do something positive, and simple, to make the most of your blood type.

The diet basically divides food into three categories: good, neutral and bad – and they are different for each blood type. You can eat as much as you want of the good, limit the neutral and avoid the bad and if fighting illness or going for weight loss you are advised to stick only to the ‘good’ categories.
Basically it is a very healthy diet based on natural foods in the main and has considerable flexibility – but I would think that as I am an AB and we have the greatest range of food choices!

In the Fifties, research at four London hospitals found the risk of developing gastric cancer was much higher for people with blood group A than for those with blood group O. But people with group O had a greater risk of peptic ulcers. This month, those findings have been confirmed by investigators at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, which studied more than a million people over a period of 35 years.

The lead researcher, Dr Gustaf Edgren, says people with group A may be more susceptible to gastric cancer risks such as smoking, alcohol and use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Type O people may be more vulnerable to a bacterium that can cause peptic ulcers, Helicobacter pylori.

Last October, U.S. scientists showed that a woman’s blood group can affect her chances of becoming pregnant. The study of more than 560 women undertaking fertility treatment found that those with blood type O were up to twice as likely to have a lower egg count and poorer egg quality, which could affect the chances of conceiving. Women with blood group A seemed to be better protected against their egg counts falling over time.

What distinguishes each type are their antigens (the immune defence systems) on the surface of the red blood cells. Each blood group type evolved to provide defences against lethal diseases. But each has its own weaknesses, too. For instance, those with type O blood (the most common) are at less risk of dying from malaria than people with other blood groups. But they are more vulnerable to cholera and stomach ulcers caused by viruses and bacteria.

Now ‘science’ has finally caught up and a number of studies is revealing how our blood groups may make us more prone to lethal illnesses — or even protect us from them – and it is the biggest group – O – that has shown some immediate benefit.
Researchers at Pennsylvania University have shown that having group O blood can lower your risk of heart attacks when they found that most people who have a gene called Adamts7 face a significantly raised risk of suffering a heart attack. But in people with blood group O who have the Adamts7, there is no raised risk.

More news on type O is they might be less at risk of pancreatic cancer, but research shows they are also more vulnerable than others to norovirus, the potentially lethal vomiting and diarrhoea bug. Men with type O might be more prone to piling on the pounds, say Danish researchers at Copenhagen’s Bispebjerg University Hospital, if they are exposed routinely to pollution at work as they have a significantly raised risk of obesity compared with men of other blood types. The researchers speculate that the pollution sets off chronic inflammatory responses in the men’s bodies that can result in them becoming overweight.

Other research has found that people with type AB and B blood have a much higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer and these two groups have also been linked to reproductive problems. A study at Harvard University found that women with AB or B group blood have a raised risk of developing ovarian cancer. There are also fears that AB blood may double or even treble the risk of pregnant mothers suffering from the potentially lethal blood pressure condition pre-eclampsia.

So research goes on worldwide, but not in England. Professor Mike Murphy, of the NHS Blood and Transplant authority, says: ‘Our colleagues in the U.S. have become increasingly involved in this type of research, particularly in trying to harness the power of blood types to fight infectious diseases. But the interest in Britain is sparse.’ So no movement there since the 1950’s, but Scotland is flying the flag as Alex Rowe, an infection specialist at Edinburgh University’s School of Biological Sciences, is investigating the blood group link with malaria.

Dr Muredach Reilly, the lead researcher on the heart attack and group O, says this knowledge may help to develop new therapies for people at risk of heart attacks and that such drugs may mimic the beneficial effect of the O blood group gene. I say go back to the source and try the diet for yourself. D’Adamo has written a number of books on the subject and a good place to start is with ‘Live Right for Your Type: The Individualised Prescription for Maximizing Health, Metabolism, and Vitality in Every Stage of Your Life’ by Peter J. D’Adamo as that also covers topics like exercise, as well as the basic foods. Or you could go back to the free report I wrote that you were sent when you subscribed to Healthy News – it was called The Eat Right Diet.


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