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Chapter Peter J. D’Adamo

Dr. Peter J. D’Adamo is a notorious researcher and educator in the field of naturopathy. His works on the correlations between blood types, health, and disease has achieved recognition in the scientific world at an international level. Founder and director emeritus of the Journal of Naturopathic Medicine, D’Adamo practices the profession in Connecticut. His book of greatest success is “Eat Right For/4 Your Type”, published June 1, 1997, was written in collaboration with Catherine Whitney.

He arrived at the conclusion that there must be something which renders food “good or not good” for a person, independent of the known dietary factors, finding that various foods have characteristics which make them more or less “friends” of the different blood types. In other words, a person’s immune system is able to react to a given food with the same intensity with which one could fight an invasive microbe or an incompatible blood type.

Subsequently, James D’Adamo’s son, Peter, concluded that in respect to every blood type, food and drink can prove itself to be:

-beneficial: if they operate like good medicine for your health;

-neutral: if they operate as nourishment

-to be avoided: if they act as toxic substances

We gradually continue this paper, and as a starting point, begin by examining blood and blood types.
    1. Blood and blood types

Often, the majority of people don’t even know their blood type, and the response to the question “which blood type are you?”, is generally very confusing or lacking any useful information. Normally, it is considered useful to know your blood type in order to respond to emergencies such as those which involve surgical interventions, a hemorrhage, or a transfusion.

Decisively a superficial approach, since blood is life itself, being the primordial force which fueled the power and mystery of birth, sickness, and death; entire civilizations were erected from blood; without blood, biologically but also spiritually speaking, we cannot exist. Its importance is undeniable.

The starting point will be from the beginning, the consideration and awareness that at the foundation of every individual there is a subjectivity that cannot be ignored or discussed; a subjectivity that in fact, in the past began precisely with blood; a key through which one can view history, retracing human movements and the consequent emergence of different blood types, with a “new” point of view; a key that allows us to discover a little more about ourselves, by following the first humans and how they adapted to food and climate changes. That to which Professor D’Adamo gives worth, is that the difference in blood types is strictly correlated to the capacity of man to adapt to his environment over the course of the centuries, and the repercussions that this variability had on the digestive and immune systems; not surprisingly, blood is the vehicle of all nutritious substances and of oxygen to every part of our bodies, but with relevant specificity to one’s blood type and to the person specifically.

We begin this journey towards awareness of the subjectivity and uniqueness of every individual, beginning with the studies of Peter D’Adamo, and starting from the history of human kind.
      1. The history of human kind and the parallel evolutionary history of blood types

The first humans date back to around 500,000 years ago, in Africa; an environment certainly more hostile than that to which we are accustomed to, in which the main daily objective was to defend oneself and obtain the necessary food for survival. They were neither strong nor agile in respect to other inhabitants of the Earth, but they had cunning instincts that gradually transformed into reason, and they possessed something very special, the opposable thumb, allowing activities that only man was able to carry out.

When human beings began their evolutionary course and began to migrate from one place to another, they had to face environmental, and consequently, food changes, thus beginning to change at the level of the digestive and immune systems; managing to survive and prosper in new places, adapting themselves, and adjusting their bodies over time. The appearance of the four different blood types, in chronological order respectively, O, A, B, and AB, obtain correspondence to the historical evolutionary stages that characterized the history of humanity.

Despite having had a long evolutionary journey thus far, man still possesses in his genetics, the code linked to diet, which typified people to their respective blood types 50,000 years ago; in fact many characteristics of our ancestors still belong to us today.

Around 40,000 years ago, the Cro-Magnon men appeared on Earth and became fearful hunters early on. The game which they hunted, the animal protein they consumed, supplied them with energy and provided them with all of their daily needs.

It is exactly in this period that the maximum expression and expansion of blood type O was born.

According to the studies carried out by D’Adamo, every typology of blood type reveals one’s own evolution, and the dietary and sport habits which one should have, also reflecting on certain behavioral attitudes related to our corresponding ancestors. Blood type O, therefore, is the ancestor of the different blood types, a species of hunter, characterized by an athletic body and a predisposition to foods of animal origin (meat). They are advised against dairy products, legumes, and grains such as bread, pasta, and rice, because these foods, especially wheat-based products, contain lectins2 which react with both the blood components and the digestive system, and interfere with the proper absorption of other nutrients. The gluten contained in it, in fact, is responsible for weight gain and alteration of the metabolism. And they are lead to challenging physical activities.

The populations began to migrate from Africa to European and Asian lands in search of other food, i.e. meat. The Earth began to populate itself with people belonging to blood type O. In fact, today it is the most common blood type.

Around 20,000 B.C. our ancestors were decimating their resources of game, resulting in a rapid dietary change that led these men to also consider berries, seeds, and roots as food sources, transforming their carnivorous diet to an omnivorous one.

Early on, the meat resources that seemed inexhaustible, with an increase in population, began to run out, the environments became more hostile, the Cro-Magnon man became extinct, and men were compelled to go to war with each other, favoring further evolutionary changes and new migrations.

It happened that somewhere in the Middle East or Asia, around 25,000-15,000 years ago, blood type A appeared, responding to the new human needs in respect to the new environmental conditions. This historical period, which we know as the Neolithic period, is the period in which agriculture and the domestication of animals were the prominent features of these human beings.

An evolutionary breakthrough that characterized this historical period, men began to create the first stable farming communities with, at its foundation, a new type of cooperation. This turning point also changed, therefore, the people’s style of life with a very different diet, causing additional modifications at the level of the digestive and immune systems (as we are seeing these two systems go hand in hand). These populations were able to digest nutrients containing grains and other agricultural products.

The passage from blood type O to type A was very rapid. Why? To facilitate the survival of those who began to live in environments already more “densely populated”. In fact, the people with this blood type were more resistant against infectious diseases such as smallpox, plague, and cholera compared to those with blood type O; and today it is still the same. This impetuous evolutionary phase of first discoveries, migrations, but especially grand epidemics and new eating habits was so powerful that it changed our genes and encoded blood type A. In fact, according to D’Adamo, carriers of blood type A benefit from a diet rich in plant-foods and grains, but are instead limited in the consumption of meat. Assuming that farming is a less arduous job than hunting, D’Adamo suggests coupling the diet with a “relaxing” physical activity or at least one that is not too demanding (golf, yoga, dancing, swimming…). Slowly one infers that evolution is also linked to our blood type. Culturally speaking, it is above every prior ethnic and racial distinction, the result of an evolutionary journey and consequential environmental adaptations, both food and biological, one which is our complex and marvelous machine: our body.

Evolution continues <> with the emergence of blood type B about 10,000-15,000 years ago in the Himalayan regions, that today makes up part of Pakistan and India. What sparked this new genetic modification was probably the need to adapt to colder climates. This type of population was nomadic, with a culture chiefly linked to the farming of livestock.

In fact type B characterizes the nomad, an individual with an immune and digestive system generally very effective. According to the blood type’s diet, these people are the only ones who can consume dairy products with a certain freedom. The only discouraged foods are those rich in preservatives and simple sugars. Given that nomads move frequently and have time to think on the way, D’Adamo recommends light-weight physical activity with an important mental component such as tennis or walking.

Lastly, we find the more “modern” and rare blood type, AB, which intuitively developed from the mixture of Caucasian blood type A and Mongolian type B.

The barbarian hordes had the better of the now exhausted Roman Empire. This blood type has therefore a “multi identity”, and characteristics which bring together those of both blood types A and B, assimilating the strengths, but also the Achilles heel.

Type AB is described as enigmatic, being at the top of the evolutionary ladder. From a dietary and sportive perspective, the enigmatic lies halfway between type A and type B. One can therefore consume in moderation a little bit of everything, without overdoing it with dairy products.

This blood type could symbolically represent our complex and conflicting times.
      1. What is blood and why it is so important

From the naked eye, blood appears to be a liquid of a particular substance, it’s neither fluid nor solid, but viscous; its color is strong and smooth, ruby red. For some people, the mere sight causes one to quiver or even has the ability to cause loss of consciousness, a particular sensitivity, since there is nothing more natural and living than blood. Perhaps it’s its shameless naturalness in exiting from a wound, for example, that gives some people discomfort or the sensation of fainting.

Blood flows, flows like “everything”, it flows in every part of our body, in what we call veins or arties (the arteries of larger size) and each red blood cell alters its shape to become smaller in order to pass through the capillaries one by one, yes, walking single file, to reach the extremities of our body, those parts which feel cold more easily in certain positions or in certain weather conditions. But continuing to flow in the meantime, even if you feel cold, it will try to recover its optimum temperature and therefore ours; even if it is poisoned with an erroneous diet, even when we do not give it enough oxygen or water, even when we are sick, it flows anyway; it will continue to flow, trying to make up for what it lacks, for as long as it is subjected; it will flow until the end. If we take a microscope and enter into its world, for lack of a better word, into our world, only from very close, can one admire the masterpiece that always lies inside us. To get an idea of the dimensions of red blood cells, just think that a cubic millimeter of blood can contain more than 5 million of these small cells. Red blood cells are very particular. They travel around constantly within our body, in billions, like colonies of little trucks supplying oxygen to all the tissues. Contrary to all other cells in the body, red blood cells do not have a nucleus: they lose it shortly after birth (which takes place in the bone marrow) “spitting it” out like the pit of a cherry. They are basically little bags filled with hemoglobin, the only thing they know how to do, in fact (but very important!) is to produce hemoglobin, a protein that competing with iron, will bind and transport four molecules of oxygen to the shoulders for the whole body. All this is thanks to the substances absorbed from food. Every second 2 million red blood cells die inside our bodies. But at the same time, they produce other effects. Therefore, death and life are constant. And after this brief and very useful existence, they break apart and are swallowed up as food by some of the white blood cells that are responsible for this task.

In fact, red blood cells aren’t the only industrious inhabitants of blood, but there are also white blood cells, much less in number in comparison to red blood cells. They are like copilots, traveling in our blood and very attentive to what is happening. They are true sentinels, ready to intervene at the presence of intrusive invaders. Together they are also platelets, in the case of internal or external bleeding, but also for a simple scratch; they race to the rescue, coagulating among themselves, creating a barrier and trying to lose the least amount of red blood cells possible. All of these elements are found in a liquid known as plasma, a gelatinous liquid which contains many proteins responsible for various functions.

But why is blood so important for our state of health, and how does it influence this state? Even if it were enough to portray its importance, the only description and function of the oxygen carrier is just that it transports oxygen. Blood is also fundamental to the profound relationship it has with the immune system; the latter identifies all that is foreign to our body, everything that does not belong or is not biologically compatible to our body. It identifies it and it destroys it. This process “of identification” is of utmost importance. If the immune system does not recognize a foreign body, it can consent to the entry of intrusive organisms or damaging substances and allow them to do whatever they desire.

But how does the above process of identification occur?

The principle characteristic of this system is to be able to recognize structures that are not dangerous and must therefore be preserved, self, from the structures which are instead identified as harmful to the body and must therefore be expelled, non-self. Therefore our immune system will distinguish as non-infectious self, the non-infectious structures, from the infectious self, infectious structures. This recognition occurs with the presence of chemical substances, present on any form of existing life from the more complex to the less complex, called antigens, literally, inducers of antibodies. The immune system destroys every antigen that it considers potentially harmful or not belonging to our body. The more powerful and numerically elevated antigens are those associated with blood types, and since our blood travels throughout our body, we protect ourselves through an extremely efficient alarm system. In fact, when the immune system comes into contact with the antigen of an external substance, whether it is a bacterium, food, or corpuscles contained in the air, as first response to the call of the antigen, causes the blood type to “know” if the intruder is a friend or not.

Each blood type, O, A, B, or AB has a specific antigen in the cells throughout the body, which, among other things, takes its name. Type A will have antigen A, type B antigen B, type AB will have both antigens A and B, while type O, is called precisely O because there are no antigens present. One must imagine these antigens as antennas that protrude from the surfaces of the cells, constituted by a stem with an extremity which operates as receiver and transmitter. The support is formed by the union of numerous molecules of one sugar called fucose. When the proper antigen of a blood type realizes that an antigen from the outside has entered the body, it stimulates the production of substances known to us as antibodies; those which are responsible for physically attacking the foreign substance and favoring its destruction. The antibodies produced will have a physical structure specific to the foreign antigen that protrudes from the body of a given microorganism, adapting to it, and creating an extremely important chemical reaction called agglutination. This process allows antibodies to agglutinate, i.e., gather the microorganisms together, creating small clusters that tend to collapse so as to facilitate their expulsion.

This method of operation of the immune system has been a fundamental historical discovery. Dr. Karl Landsteiner, an Austrian scientist discovered what we now take for granted, namely that a person belonging to a blood type, rejects the blood from a person of another blood type. The antibodies present in the blood of a person, for example, with type A, directly attack the antigens that characterize a person belonging to type B, thus not being able to exchange blood. In the case that they undergo the process of agglutination, in fact, individuals with type A have anti-B antibodies, individuals with type B have anti-A antibodies, individuals with type AB, having in itself both types A and B, not requiring defense against these, do not present neither anti-A nor anti-B antibodies; they can in fact receive blood from all types, but can only donate to people of type AB blood. Finally, we have type O, which has both anti-A and anti-B antibodies, exactly the opposite of type AB. In fact, people with this blood type can donate their blood to whomever, but can only receive blood from people with type O. In fact, they are considered “universal donors”.
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