Jan 09 2011

Blood groups and the intestine

Published by at 10:56 am
Under Cholesterol | Disease Links | Physiology

No single diet theory can address all aspects of our individuality, and only a fool would claim that soy, red meat, grains, coconut oil or anything else is universally good or universally bad for everyone.

For example, people who are blood group O appear to derive significant benefit from a diet including hormone and antibiotic free meats and poultry. There is a very basic physiologic reason for this: those with group O blood have almost three times the levels of an enzyme in their intestines called intestinal alkaline phosphatase (IAP) [LINK]. This enzyme performs two very important functions in the body. First, IAP splits dietary cholesterol into smaller fragments, allowing for their proper breakdown. Second, IAP enhances the absorption of calcium from the diet. ABH secretor status plays a role in determining alkaline phosphatase levels: for example, Group O secretors secrete more IAP than group O non-secretors. So a spectrum of IAP secretion would extends from a high in group O secretors to a low in group A non-secretors.

Alkaline Phosphatases are a group of enzymes found primarily the liver, bone and the intestines. There are also small amounts produced by the placenta, and the kidneys. The primary importance of measuring alkaline phosphatase is to check the possibility of bone disease or liver disease so the bone and liver fractions are the most common diagnostic fractions. [LINK] Rosacea is a common inflammatory condition of the facial skin of unknown etiology, which frequently occurs in combination with gastrointestinal disorders. Many dietary and hormonal factors are known to affect the severity of rosacea symptoms, several of which also modulate the activity of the enzyme intestinal alkaline phosphatase (IAP). The role of IAP in inhibiting an inflammatory response to intestinal bacteria suggests a mechanism by which intestinal pathologies may be linked to the skin inflammation characteristic of rosacea. [LINK]IAP is involved in the maintenance of normal gut microbial homeostasis and may have
therapeutic potential against dysbiosis and pathogenic infections. [LINK]

IAP is critical to the health of the intestinal microvilli, delicate fingers of tissue that incrase absorption.

Now you’d think this was cutting-edge, late-breaking news since it is obviously of tremendous interest in these nutrigenomic heavy times. However, the first observations were made over four decades ago.[LINK] In almost thirty years of practice, I’ve never met a physician who was aware of this association until I had first told them.

In addition to these two critical functions IAP is an important influence on the ability of the digestive tract to heal. In fact during the fetal period levels of IAP rise so high that they are temporarily the most abundant enzyme in the body. Thus in most of our group O patients (44% of the population) we see a marked improvement in their IBS, colitis and Crohn’s disease when they increase their protein and cut back on their carbohydrates. [LINK]

Blood group B makes considerable amounts of IAP as well, but type A’s make very little. This probably explains why most studies that have looked at heart disease and blood type show a significantly higher rate of problems with blood group A individuals. These folks really should follow a Mediterranean-type diet.

Later studies showed that blood group A not only secreted almost no alkaline phosphatase in their intestines, but whatever little they did secrete was in and of itself inactivated by the presence of their own A antigen. [LINK]

Thus, we have here one of the strongest indications for the long term benefit of a low-fat diet in blood group A, both with regard to the susceptibility to cardiovascular disease, and (although not mentioned here) their additional susceptibility to cancer. Following the group A eating plan, with its emphasis on a healthy fats, low animal protein and the avoidance of foods high in phenylalanine, is the best method to maximize digestive efficiency in group A, lower their level of intestinal dysfunction, and to influence their susceptibility to cardiovascular disease.

One response so far

One Response to “Blood groups and the intestine”

  1. Ahmad says:

    I know this is reductionist, but someone with A+ blood type should be consuming how much calcium per day to grow to their full potential due to low IAP?

    You also mentioned that someone with a positive RH factor should consume less grains. Does this mean just grains (wheat, oats etc) or carbs in general (including roots/tubers etc)? Since A types should consume more carbs, what does a A+ supposed to do?

    How do you feel about processed grains and how consuming them is bad because they are not “nutrient dense,” therefore you are not gaining anything but instead losing nutrients already stored in the body as they are used to digest this food?

    Some people believe that agriculture was bad because it limited variety in our diets and eventually exposed us to these foods that can be considered “cheap calories.”
    I do believe agriculture did wonders in the sense that the cheap calories allowed greater more stable populations. This led to the division of labor and eventually, the wonderful medical industry you see today.

    My biggest question is this… If our bodies evolved for millions of years to the hunter gatherer lifestyle/diet, is it more important to follow a diet similar to that or one that began 10,000 years ago with agriculture? Is 10,000 years too soon from an evolutionary standpoint (for humans of course)?

    What blood type are you? just out of curiosity, I am sure you can guess mine. Thank you for you time, and your pursuit of knowledge.


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