A chemical reaction occurs between your blood and the foods you eat. This reaction is part of your genetic inheritance. It is amazing but true that today, in the twenty first century, your immune and digestive systems still maintain favouritism for foods that your blood type ancestors ate.
We know this because of a factor called lectins. Lectins, abundant and diverse proteins found in foods, have agglutinating properties that affect your blood and the lining of your digestive tract. Lectins are a powerful way for organisms in nature to attach themselves to other organisms in nature. Lots of germs, and even our own immune systems, use this super glue to their benefit. For example, cells in our liver’s bile ducts have lectins on their surfaces to help snatch up bacteria and parasites. Bacteria and other microbes have lectins on their surfaces as well, which work rather like suction cups, so that they can attach to the slippery mucosal linings of the body. Often the lectins used by viruses or bacteria can be blood type specific, making them a stickier pest for people of that blood type.
So, too, with the lectins in food. Simply put, when you eat a food containing protein lectins that are incompatible with your blood type antigen, the lectins target an organ or bodily system (kidneys, liver, gut, stomach, etc.) and can begin to interact with the tissues in that area.
Here’s an example of how a lectin agglutinates in the body. Let’s say a Type A person eats a plate of lima beans. The lima beans are digested in the stomach through the process of acid hydrolysis. However, the lectin protein is resistant to acid hydrolysis. It doesn’t get digested, but it stays intact. It may interact directly with the lining of the stomach or intestinal tract, or it may get absorbed into your blood stream along with the digested lima bean nutrients. Different lectins target different organs and body systems.
Once the intact lectin protein settles someplace in your body, it literally has a magnetic effect on the cells in that region. It clumps the cells together and they are targeted for destruction, as if they, too, were foreign invaders. This clumping can cause irritable bowel syndrome in the intestines or cirrhosis in the liver, or block the flow of blood through the kidneys – to name just a few of the effects. Lectins can also act as ‘fake hormones,’ latching onto the receptor for a hormone and either blocking the normal action of the hormone (this is called an ‘antagonist’) or revving up the hormone receptor non-stop (termed an ‘agonist.’)
Lectins: A Dangerous Glue
You may remember the bizarre assassination of Georgi Markov in 1978 on a London Street. Markov was killed by an unknown Soviet KGB agent while waiting for a bus. Initially, the autopsy could not pinpoint how it was done. After a thorough search, a tiny gold bead was found embedded in Markov’s leg. The bead was found to be permeated with a chemical called ricin, which is a toxic lectin extracted from castor beans. Ricin is so potent an agglutinin that even an infinitesimally small amount can cause death by swiftly converting the body’s red blood cells into large clots which block the arteries. Ricin kills instantaneously.
Lectins are a type of molecular Velcro. On the left is a slide of a normal blood smear. On the right a blood sample after agglutination.
Fortunately, most lectins found in the diet are not quite so life threatening, although they can cause a variety of other problems, especially if they are specific to a particular blood type. For the most part our immune systems protect us from lectins. Ninety-five percent of the lectins we absorb from our typical diets are sloughed off by the body. But at least 5 percent of the lectins we eat are filtered into the bloodstream, where they react with and destroy red and white blood cells. The actions of lectins in the digestive tract can be even more powerful. There they often create a violent inflammation of the sensitive mucous of the intestines, and this agglutinative action may mimic food allergies. Even a minute quantity of a lectin is capable of agglutinating a huge number of cells if the particular blood type is reactive.
Signs that you might be experiencing problems from lectins in your diet:
Bloating and flatulence after meals
Changes in bowel habits
Achy joints and muscles
Fatigue and tiredness
This is not to say that you should suddenly become fearful of every food you eat. After all, lectins are widely abundant in legumes, seafood, grains, and vegetables. It’s hard to bypass them. The key is to avoid the lectins that agglutinate your particular cells—determined by your blood type. For example, wheat germ agglutinin, the most common lectin found in wheat, binds to the lining of the small intestine, causing substantial reactions and irritation in some blood types – especially Type O.
Lectins vary widely, according to their source. For example, the lectin found in wheat has a different shape from the lectin found in soy, and attaches to a different combination of sugars; each of these foods is dangerous for some blood types, but can sometimes be beneficial for others. In the case of blood type A and soy, the lectin in soy can actually help the immune system keep guard against cellular changes that could go on to be problematic.
Many people with joint problems feel that avoiding the nightshade vegetables such as tomatoes, eggplant, and white potatoes seem to help their symptoms. That’s not surprising, since most nightshades are very high in lectins.
A Few Common Foods That Contain Problem Lectins For Each Blood Type
Type O – Wheat, soy, peanuts & kidney beans
Type A – Lima beans, tomatoes, eggplant & garbanzo beans (chick peas)
Type B – Chicken, corn, soy & lentils
Type AB – Chicken, corn, bell pepper & fava beans
Lectins: A Summary
Lots of information on lectins can be found on the internet. Unfortunately, the great majority of it is either extremely technical or just wrong to some degree or another. One common misconception is that all lectins in foods are inactivated either by heating, or through the process of digestion. This is true, but only to a certain degree. Some lectins, such as the lectins from beans, are usually rendered inactive by slow and long cooking, but this may not result in all lectins being inactivated. Studies have shown that a percentage does tend to resist destruction, despite heating. Other lectins, such as the lectin from bananas, actually become more potent after heating. Digestive juices can inactivate lectins, but many people simply do not have the levels of stomach acid to do this. If you currently suffer from digestive problems, it is more than likely that you have some degree of lectin sensitivity, and following the diet prescribed for your blood type is the best way to start the healing.
Reasons why following blood type diet improves well-being
According to Dr. Peter DAdamo, author of “Eat Right For Your Type” Ninety-five percent of the lectins you absorb from your typical diets are sloughed off by the body. But at least five percent of the lectins you eat are filtered into the bloodstream and can cause different reactions in different organs”.
The blood type diet works because through it, you are able to avoid these harmful lectins.
Avoiding the lectins restores your natural genetic rhythm thereby enjoying health and vitality whilst avoiding unnecessary disease. Your blood type diet follows a clear, logical, scientifically researched plan based on your cellular profile.
Research indicates that your blood type is a key genetic factor that influences many areas of health and well-being.
Throughout your life, you’ve probably observed that some people tend to lose weight more easily, while for others, their weight is an ongoing battle. Or wondered why some people are plagued by chronic illness while others stay healthy and vital well into their advanced years. Very simply, the answer is in your blood type.
Knowing your blood type is an important tool for understanding how your body reacts to food, your susceptibility to disease, your natural reaction to stress, and so much more. A single drop of blood contains a biochemical makeup as unique to you as your fingerprint.
Below are five facts about your blood type that could change your life:
Your blood type may predict your susceptibility for certain diseases.
Research has found that individuals of certain blood types may be at a higher risk for certain diseases; studies have found that people with blood type O have a lower risk for heart disease, but a higher risk for developing stomach ulcers. People who are blood type A have higher risks of microbial infections, but Type A women experience a higher rate of fertility. Other research has found that people with type AB and B blood have a much higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer.
People of different blood types react differently to stress.
Type A people naturally have higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol in their bodies and produce more in response to stressful situations. On the other hand, people with type O blood, have a ‘fight or flight’ reaction to stress which results in the overproduction of adrenaline. It takes type O’s longer to recover from stress because it is more difficult for them to clear the adrenaline from their bodies.
Your blood type antigens are not just in your blood!
They are everywhere in your body, particularly in the surfaces that interact with the environment. These include your digestive tract, from your mouth to your large intestine, as well as your nasal passages and lungs. Because these blood type antigens are everywhere, they influence how your body reacts to the food you eat through several factors. For example: the lectins in certain foods bind to your blood type antigen and cause your blood to agglutinate (stick together), resulting in feelings of fatigue, headaches, digestive issues, skin problems and a host of other health issues.
Gut bacteria is related to blood type.
People of different blood types have different gut bacteria, in fact, certain bacteria are 50,000 more likely to turn up in people with one blood type or the other. This originated from our ancestors whose digestive tracts developed to accommodate one type of diet over another. For example, the microbiome of certain people developed to break down carbohydrates much more efficiently (blood type A). People lacking this ability (blood type O) tend to store carbs as fat.
A one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition does not work.
Food fads come and go, but the facts are clear: everyone does not have the same basic nutritional needs. We all know someone who is a strict vegetarian and thrives on that diet, while others swear by Atkins or similar low-carb plans. I’ve found that your nutritional needs can be determined by your blood type. Take a look at the food lists in Eat Right 4 Your Type; they are a guide for choosing the foods that will allow you to lose weight, reduce inflammation, increase energy and lead a longer, healthier life.
As you’ve learned, your blood type affects more than just the type of blood you’d need in the event of a transfusion – your blood type is a genetic factor that plays many roles in the human body. Choosing low-lectin, non-agglutinating foods that create a hospitable environment for your “good” intestinal flora and selecting foods that combat your disease risks are two good first steps in creating an individualized nutritional program just for you.
During the war, the “Red Ball Blood Test” was used as a quick test on the battle lines. If a soldier claimed to be sick, they pierced his finger with a needle for a drop of blood. If a “red ball” appeared, the soldier would be handed his rifle and sent off to battle.
If the blood layer on the finger looked watery and not bright red, the solder was deemed ill, and would usually not be sent off to fight.
This test could quickly determine an individual’s overall health.Read more →
According to Dr. Peter DÁdamo, author of Eat Right For Your Type, a chemical reaction occurs between your blood and the foods you eat. This reaction is part of your genetic inheritance. This reaction is caused by a factor called Lectins. Lectins, abundant and diverse proteins found in foods, have agglutinating properties that affect your blood. So when you eat a food containing protein lectins that are incompatible with your blood type antigen, the lectins target an organ or bodily system and begin to agglutinate blood cells in that area. Read more →