by Christopher Manton
In his book, The Eat Right Diet, Dr Peter D’adamo
introduces the concept of dietary lectins - and their potential to influence
the capacity of all bodily organ systems to function effectively. I
have been using the principles espoused in his book in my practice since
late 1997 with great success and have reduced the need for food sensitivity
testing in people suffering from allergic complaints. There have been
some instances where I have seen health problems such as arthritis,
diabetes and skin disorders resolved by dietary therapy alone using
D’adamo’s nutritional concepts.
However, one pressing concern for people on vegetarian diets is his
recommendation for those with ‘O’ and ‘B’ blood
types to consume more animal protein while reducing intake of unsuitable
grains and plant proteins. I would certainly agree that his nutritional
programming appears to be encouraging these blood types, the ‘O’
blood type in particular, to consume foods considered to be highly unethical
by serious vegetarians.
With this in mind, in July 1999 I ventured to the Gold Coast and the
International Congress on Natural Medicine where Dr Peter D’adamo
was to speak. After much discussion with him, it emerged that he is
a true humanitarian, and while he indicated that ‘O’ and ‘B’
types do benefit from animal proteins, he made it quite clear that vegetarians
from these blood groups can achieve good health without consuming flesh
and animal derived proteins.
I am convinced his program will gain wide acceptance in the Australian
naturopathic community. My charter is to see D’adamo’s work
and theories interpreted correctly. In this article I would like to
illustrate how ‘O’ and ‘B’ blood type individuals
can implement the basic tenets of the blood type diet while maintaining
their vegetarian way of eating.
The Lectin-Blood Type Connection
D’adamo’s theories are based on a chemical reaction taking
place between your blood and the foods you eat. Due to the so-named
lectins contained within foods, your immune and digestive systems still
maintain favouritism for foods that your blood-type ancestors ate. Lectins
are an abundant and diverse range of proteins found in foods - predominantly
seeds and particularly those of legumes - that seek out and bind to
carbohydrates in red blood cells.
Your blood-type antigen is one of four different carbohydrate structures
that stick out and label every one of your red cells as either ‘O’,’A’,’B
‘or ‘AB’ blood type. (An antigen is a foreign substance
which stimulates an immune response.) Certain lectins that are incompatible
with specific blood-type carbohydrate antigens will attach themselves
to that antigen, leading to blood cell clumping or agglutination. Once
cells are agglutinated, they become targeted for destruction by the
immune system as if they were some type of foreign invader.
Your blood-type antigen is found not only on your red blood cells, it
is also extensively expressed in digestive mucus, gastric-acid secretions,
pancreatic juices and bile. So if you eat food lectins that are offending
for your blood type, in addition to agglutinating your red cells, they
also have the potential to cause bodily cells in the digestive tract
to clump together and lead to an immune system response.
For example, when blood type ‘A’ people drink cow’s milk,
the milk lectin can interact directly with cells along the digestive
tract lining, resulting in localised inflammation with symptoms such
as bloating, flatulence, gut cramping and discomfort. For a person with
digestive system problems, looking at red blood cells via live blood
analysis is an excellent tool by which we can determine what is happening
to similar cells in the digestive system.
In the past, practitioners using live blood microscopy, like myself,
have related the picture in photo B to having excess protein in the
diet, or to the patient being incapable of effectively assimilating
protein. However, it seems that eating harmful lectins in foods is also
a major determinant of cellular agglutination which will occur throughout
the whole body. Because red blood cells bring oxygen to every cell in
the body, this is very undesirable and you will become more fatigued.
Agglutination is also reflective of an increase in organic acid level
within the body, which accelerates the rate at which you age and increases
the risk of developing infectious illness, cancer and heart disease.
The Protein Equation
Your day-to-day energy levels and endurance are partly determined by
how well you assimilate protein. This assimilation can be impaired by
many factors such as the consumption of those dietary lectins that cause
localized inflammation in the villi of the digestive tract lining. The
inflammation prevents the uptake of amino acids and other nutrients,
often bringing on symptoms like bloating, fatigue and/or sugar cravings
after the meal.
So What’s the Answer?
We don’t want to make the mistake of over-eating protein in order
to compensate for any inadequacies in assimilating these amino acids.
The adult body needs about 40 grams of pure protein daily to maintain
metabolic equilibrium, which amounts to 0.5 - 0.7 grams protein for
every kilogram of ideal body weight. This amounts to approximately 30
- 50 grams of protein a day which should be delivered over a minimum
of 3 daily serves. The challenge is to optimise the utilization of these
Plant proteins are more likely to be digested into their constituent
amino acids and then absorbed into the bloodstream. These amino acids
are easier for bodily cells to utilize in cell construction. Vegetarian
proteins will also improve cellular respiration within mitochondria.
In the context of blood typing, we need to eat beneficial or neutral
vegetarian proteins in combination with grains and vegetables that don’t
contain lectins that impair digestive system function and amino-acid
By consuming only beneficial lectins, we also encourage the growth of
friendly gut bacteria which further improves the uptake of amino acids
from the plant proteins. The lacto/ovo ‘O’ and ‘B’
blood-type individuals can also add milk and egg proteins to the range
from which amino acids can be derived. D’adamo assured me that
O- and B-type vegetarians can have optimal health if they choose their
plant proteins and meal combinations wisely.
The ‘O’ Blood-type Vegetarian Program
I have put many vegetarian menus together for this blood type. Remember
that the neutral proteins are well utilised as long as the intestinal
environment is healthy and the digestive organs, including the stomach,
liver, gall bladder and pancreas, are all working well or being supported
‘O’-type Program Overview
The main point to remember is to avoid combining your beneficial/neutral
vegetarian proteins with offending lectins in grains, vegetables and
fruits. Make up your daily protein allowance from any of the neutral
or beneficial vegetarian proteins listed in the above table.
Cereal Grains - Wheat and corn (maize) contain lectins such as gluten
and others that react with the blood and digestive tract cells, and
interfere with proper assimilation of amino acids, minerals and other
nutrients - as explained earlier. While wheat is by far the worse offender,
by avoiding lectins from both grains you can maximize the assimilation
of the nutrients in your protein foods. ‘O’ blood types should
focus on reducing the total intake of grains and selecting more often
from rice, oats, millet, rye and barley. ‘O’ types are better
to get starch from vegetables such as parsnip, peas and sweet potato
and to increase the intake of other vegetables and fruits. It is important
to substitute fruit for that piece of bread between meals.
Vegetables - The nightshade vegetables, in particular eggplant, potatoes,
capsicum and chilli, cause arthritic conditions in type ‘O’s,
because their lectins deposit in the tissues surrounding the joints.
Sweet-corn lectins affect the production of insulin, and, like the lectin
in wheat, can lead to obesity and mature-onset diabetes. The assimilation
of proteins will be enhanced by avoiding combinations with potato and
corn in the same meal. Alfalfa sprouts contain components that, by irritating
the digestive tract, can aggravate type ‘O’ hypersensitivity
problems. The moulds in cultivated mushrooms and fermented olives also
tend to trigger allergic reactions.
Fruits - Rockmelons and honeydew melons contain very high mould counts
so should be avoided. Oranges, tangerines and strawberries should be
avoided due to the high acidic reaction they induce in the digestive
tract. The type ‘O’ digestive tract already has high acidity
and needs the balance of the alkaline fruits to reduce the possibility
of ulceration and irritation to the stomach and duodenal lining. Blackberries,
contain a lectin that aggravates type ‘O’ digestion so is
also better avoided.
The ‘B’ Blood-type Vegetarian Program
B-type program overview
For ‘B’-type vegetarians the best advice I can offer is to
adopt a lacto/ovo vegetarian style of eating. ‘B’ types utilise
the lacto/ovo range of proteins more effectively than any other blood
group and these can be liberally included by ‘B’ types who
are not lactose-intolerant. Type-’B’ individuals of Asian
or African descent are more likely to be lactose-intolerant, and in
these cases the sheep’s and goats’ milk selections may be
more suitable. Type-’B’ vegans still have a range of legumes
and nuts to select from, while taking care not to consume them simultaneously
with the grains and vegetables that may shut down digestion and cellular
metabolism (see below).
Cereal Grains - Wheat, corn and buckwheat lectins are all capable of
disrupting digestion and metabolism. Rye, rather than affecting digestion,
contains a lectin that settles in the vascular system causing blood
disorders and the potential for stroke. Rice and oats are probably the
best grains to use in combination with your protein foods to maximize
Vegetables - Tomatoes can irritate the digestive-tract lining, so are
best avoided. I have often seen ‘B’ individuals who have at
times observed completely undigested tomato in their stools. Sweet-corn
can disturb insulin metabolism and is best avoided, as are olives that
contain moulds which can trigger allergic-type gut reactions. Use sweet
potato, parsnip, potatoes and peas as alternatives to what are normally
good starchy grains - rice, millet and oats.
The basic tenets of the blood-type program are easy to follow even if
you are vegetarian. As lectins are present in very high concentrations
in legumes, nuts, seeds and grains, it is essential that vegetarians
select proteins in those food groups that will not disrupt digestion
or metabolism. This point should be emphasized even more for those who
suffer from digestive disturbances, weight problems, sugar intolerance
or immune deficiency syndromes.
If your blood type is either ‘O’ or ‘B’, there is
still a wide range of suitable plant proteins or lacto/ovo proteins
available to eat. As long as they are eaten with carbohydrates containing
friendly lectins, you should be able to combine proteins and starches
provided no other underlying gut disturbance is present. Remember, that
problems such as pancreatic insufficiency, bacterial and fungal dysbiosis,
hypo- chlorhydria (low stomach acid) and poor quality bile production
will also require therapeutic correction if your digestion and health
are to improve markedly while implementing blood-typing changes to your
diet. By attending to any such problems simultaneously with these changes,
you can expect to notice big improvements in health, ranging from energy
levels to raised immunity.
By choosing foods containing lectins favourable for your blood type,
you will be encouraging the growth of beneficial bacteria in your digestive
tract. This will underpin any improvement in your ability to assimilate
the nutrients in your diet. Of course, if you select foods with unfriendly
lectins, then expect a proliferation of unfriendly microbes which will
undermine good digestion and metabolism.
For those interested in a more complete explanation of lectins and their
role in nutrition, more information is available on the molecular basis
of the blood-type program on Dr D’adamo’s website, www.dadamo.com
For those that require visual proof that you are indeed becoming healthier
on the inside, Live Cell Testing can be used as a before-and-after measure
of the effectiveness of a blood-type diet program.
Christopher Manton, B.App.Sci., Dip.Ed., M.Nutr & Dietetics., Ass.Dip.Nat.,
Nutritional Biochemist, is the director of Live Blood Testing Pty Ltd.
He is qualified in clinical nutrition and naturopathy and runs a practice
in nutritional biochemistry using Darkfield Microscopy and the Bolans
Clot Retraction Blood Test.
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