There have been no shortage of supercilious, poorly researched articles about the blood type diets in the major media. They are usually provoked by a statement of support by some celebrity or media icon who has experienced success with the plan. Typically within a week my phone rings off the hook with one major media outlet or another needing ‘to talk with me as soon as possible because we are doing a story on your diet and are on deadline.’
This rushed approach characterizes almost every encounter I’ve had with major media. They gobble up whatever simple facts there are so as to explain the gist of the story, then go looking for an opposing viewpoint so they can get off being held responsible for any direct conclusions. This is called ‘balanced journalism.’
The article usually begins with a roll call of all the famous people who are following or have been on the diet. I usually have never heard of any of these folks, but my daughters often serve to tell me a bit about who they are. Then the diets are described, but never fully. Some reporters concentrate on the lectin-blood group specificity, others the anthropology, some the digestive differences in physiology. However, I’ve never seen a single article explain all aspects to some degree, which is of course the strongest argument for the theory: That it can be verified in multiple dimensions of analysis.
On the positive side, many articles feature a personal story about an average-type person who has had success with the diet. Usually the focus is weight loss, for obvious reasons. Very few of these articles profile people who have been cured of any physical diseases by adopting this way of eating. Again, this is due to legal issues. However, trying to heal or control a physical illness is the most common reason why people try the blood type diets.
HARD FACTS FROM THE FICTION DEPARTMENT. Finally, and this is almost always rolled out at the end, the article presents one or two nutrition experts to pass judgement on the merit, risk and need to follow a diet for your blood type. Unless the expert has had some exposure to the deeper, scientific basis for the theory (never) their comments are almost universally negative.
These comments usually fall into common categories:
CASE HISTORYMy office was recently contacted by Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz, a young reporter for the Chicago Tribune and told that they were doing an article on the blood type diet. Having given literally hundreds, if not thousands, of interviews at this point, my PR person usually begins the process with a few questions, such as what prompted the interest. In this case the interest appeared to stem from the health editor, who is apparently a type O vegan and somewhat distraught by the conclusions drawn from my theories. However the reporter was respectful and several emails went back and forth with the aim of addressing concerns from some of the nutrition experts. Since some were quite technical we directed the reporter to various links that discussed those point in detail. However, none of our corrections were turned into teaching points (for example, ‘a lot of people often think this about the diet, but in fact..’). Instead it seemed that they just went down their list to the next concern.
- The diets are dangerous. This statement is usually proffered by experts concerned that, by restricting certain foods by blood type, people will develop nutrient deficiencies. However, each diet variant (A, O, B and AB) is a carefully engineered balance of foods that ensures full nutritional value. This criticism has a long and hallowed record of institutional whoring for agribusiness: ‘whole grains are fine, except if you are gluten sensitive’, ‘high fructose corn syrup can be part of a balanced healthy diet’, etc. Curiously, this concern is often matched with the next:
- Of course people get better, the diets are all healthy: If you tell someone to get off of diet soda, they will feel better. I actually have no problem owning this criticism. We do include a lot of good naturopathic food wisdom with the blood type recommendations. I fail to see the problem with that. Paradoxically, if one were to go back and read my earliest popular book, Eat Right For Your Type they would find perhaps some of the earliest references to the value of using grass-fed beef, spelt and sprouted breads, quinoa and amaranth grains and a host of other weird foods. Now these are all part of the popular culture, but back then nobody recommended these things. I’ve always thought that the basic benefit of using blood type as a guide to proper eating was its ability to let people know exactly which, of all the supposedly healthy diets, would be best for them.
- There is no scientific validation. This criticism is particularly nefarious, since it says one thing but means another. To say that the blood type diet theory has not been tested in large numbers, via a double-blind study, at some neutral university, is in fact true. There are reasons why this has not occurred. One is the sheer size and cost of a study of this sort. Food and diet studies are notoriously difficult to control, require constant supervision, often must be pursed for years, and are enormously expensive. Now, on top of all that, multiply the work and expense by four. But let’s talk about what this criticism actually means. Most of the time what the critic is really implying is that the theory has no scientific basis, which is a form of intellectual dishonesty, since not one of theses critics has ever taken the time to read through the extensive collation of existing research, much of it freely available online, that supports the conclusions drawn to form the basis of the blood type diet. I don’t spend a lot of time writing critiques of other diet theories, but if I was planning to do so, I’d probably pick up the phone, call the other guy, explain my concerns and see if I’d gotten my facts straight. Yet in the last fifteen years I’ve never received any such phone call.
- This is pseudoscience. This pejorative term is often used in conventional science to tar and feather ideas and practices that have no basis in accepted science, such as a theory that flouts the basic laws of physics. Of course, one man’s pseudoscience is another man’s frontier science, but that is the continual rub of forward progress and most honest scientists agree that it is part of the game. However, usage of the term has increasing become a favorite tactic of scoundrels to manufacture disinformation and stop interest and inquiry into a topic they might detest for any number of non-scientific reasons. By the way, there is nothing in the theory behind eating for your blood type that flouts the laws of physics, chemistry, immunology or physiology. On the contrary, that’s the problem: To talk intelligently about it requires that you know more than a little about these disciplines.
My Spidey senses were tingling, and I suspected that the article already had a preconceived agenda. Not surprisingly, when released the article pretty much went out of its way to diss the entire concept. Because of an association with Gannett Publishing, this article has appeared in other publications as well.
Famously, one of the experts firing the dreaded Parthian Shot, a Michael Greger, MD, who is touted as the head of something called NutritionFacts.org, was quoted as the following:
Dr. Michael Greger, founder of NutritionFacts.org, said the premise of the blood-type diet is wrong: The blood-type system, which predates humans, is far more complicated than just ABO, he said. “People crave individualized, personalized science, but this is pseudoscience,” said Greger, a general practitioner specializing in clinical nutrition.
I will not dwell on the stupendously ignorant basis of Dr. Greger’s criticism, since it betrays a complete lack of understanding about how blood types function in the body. You can read my answer to a similarly uninformed vegan doc here. What is interesting is the use of the pseudoscience label. Not simply because it is being applied by a person ignorant in the basic science, but rather because a quick look at Dr. Greger’s website (veganmd.org) and his ostensibly important job as head of the rather questionable nutrititionfacts.org show instead a vegan-biased, rather jaundiced army of one, and certainly not the vaunted expert the Tribune article purports him to be. Although I certainly acknowledge the value of vegan diets for some people (but certainly not everyone) others argue that the vegan diet theory itself is a pseudoscience, hence the title of this blog.
CONCLUSIONS, IF ANY.Media profilers of science and health need to start vetting their so-called experts. Here’s a news flash: Many critics of diet books have their own diet books and dietary agendas to protect. You’d think as professional news media this would cross their minds, but apparently it doesn’t. Balanced journalism should not mean that you just go out and find someone to disagree with the premise of your coverage.
You stare in awe at the blood cells floating lazily across the screen in front of you. The background looks like the Milky Way, occasionally studded with sparkling ‘moon rocks’. The eeriness of the scene belies the truths to be revealed about your health. This is live blood analysis. This article has been co-authored with Dr Okker Botha
Live blood analysis, also known as nutritional microscopy or dark-field microscopy, is fundamentally the analysis of living blood under a powerful microscope, connected to a camera.
The condition and quality of our red blood cells has a direct impact on our present and future health, with signs of stress and disease appearing in the blood years before they manifest as symptoms in the body.
THE BIOLOGICAL TERRAIN
Live blood testing enables one to see exactly how one’s blood behaves in the body, giving a clear picture of health at a cellular level. As a practitioner, I am not looking to make a diagnosis from patterns seen, but rather assessing the biological terrain, which may appear as pH imbalances and so on.
To understand the concept of ‘terrain’, just think of a vegetable garden: if the terrain, or soil, is in a healthy condition, the plants will grow vigorously and will be free of disease and parasites. Similarly, if the terrain in the human body is healthy, bacteria, viruses and fungi will be repelled, metabolic processes will proceed unhindered, and disease will not be enabled. By examining the live blood, it is possible to assess the body’s terrain and anticipate the onset of disease long before it manifests. One has the opportunity to correct current imbalances, in order to improve current and prevent future ill-health.
HEALTH AND LIFESTYLE
Live blood analysis is especially useful in preventive health care. The red blood cells carry oxygen and the plasma carries nutrients to every cell in the body. The state of health or ill-health of the blood therefore affects every cell in the body, so it is clear that by improving the health of the blood, one can improve the health of the body.
Researchers all over the world have examined and studied live capillary blood for many years. Although many different approaches have been used and many opinions expressed, a central truth has emerged: the human body cannot live with an unnatural diet or an unhealthy lifestyle.
This has been a basic concept of natural medicine for thousands of years, but many of us still believe that one can cheat Nature and still survive. We are deluded into thinking that we can continue to eat unhealthily, and just take a pill to counteract the symptoms when we get sick.
LIVE BLOOD ANALYSIS VERSUS CONVENTIONAL TESTING
Live blood analysis is a quick and efficient way of assessing the health of a patient. A drop of blood is examined under a special microscope which has both dark-field and bright-field options. Very quickly one can see nutritional deficiencies, which organs are stressed, heavy-metal toxicities, and imbalances in acidity or pH. The toxic effects of a typical Western lifestyle are easily demonstrated. This is not a diagnostic tool but confirms what is already suspected, and also serves to monitor and demonstrate progress and response to treatment.
The advantage of examining blood in its fresh state is that one can gain much more information than when blood is sent for conventional pathological testing. When a haematologist (or nowadays more often a computer) examines a blood slide, they are looking at dead blood cells that have been fixed and stained. They count the relative numbers and look at structure, but they cannot assess how the cells are functioning. The chemical pathologist measures levels of cholesterol and other substances in the blood, and issues the result in relation to a standard reference range. The patient’s doctor then interprets these results and prescribes pharmaceutical medications to correct the abnormalities. Some of these medications may need to be taken for life.
With live blood analysis, the patient gets to see the abnormalities directly, and participates in discussing them. It is usually possible to correct them with the adoption of healthier eating habits, lifestyle modifications and natural supplements.
Many people who are told to modify their lifestyle don’t persist with the necessary changes for any significant length of time. When live blood analysis has enabled you to see the abnormalities that need correction, and you have been involved in the discussion of why it’s necessary to do something about them, you are motivated to make the recommended improvements. Another motivation is that patients often start to feel better quickly, and they can visually appreciate their progress at the next visit.
The development of most chronic and degenerative illnesses can be prevented with early nutritional intervention. Live blood analysis can detect many nutritional imbalances and deficiencies, which are major contributing factors in the development of these conditions, long before conventional blood testing can demonstrate any abnormalities.
LAYERED DRIED BLOOD ANALYSIS
A test often performed in conjunction with live blood analysis is called layered dried blood analysis or the oxidative stress test. A drop of blood is pressed onto a slide to make eight consecutive smears, which are allowed to coagulate and dry. The patterns of coagulation reveal further information about the state of the terrain, and provide signs that corroborate information already revealed by the live blood analysis.
In a similar way to how the body is represented in the iris of the eye, which can be interpreted by an iridologist, the body planes are represented in the coagulation pattern. Disturbances relating to the adrenals or reproductive system are found at the centre of the spot. Further out are bands corresponding to vital organs, then lymph tissues, then finally the skin. It is therefore possible to determine which parts of the body are holding toxins, and therefore currently ill, or at risk of developing disease.
Live blood analysis is a simple and very graphic way to gain fuller understanding of one’s health issues. It is a non-invasive test, which can reveal much about one’s current state of health. There are many health practitioners in South Africa who use live blood analysis to reliably demonstrate what patients ought to know, giving them the means to correct imbalances in their quest for optimal health.
Dr Robert O Young's New Biology, most simply stated, is that the over-acidification of the body is the single underlying cause of all disease. In contrast, the old biology, based on the work of Louis Pasteur in the late 1800s, stems from the idea that disease comes from germs which invade the body from the outside. Dr. Young has found that when the body is in healthy alkaline balance, germs are unable to get a foothold.
Think of your body as a fish tank. Think of the importance of maintaining the integrity of the internal fluids of the body that we ‘swim’ in daily. Imagine the fish in this tank are your cells and organ systems bathed in fluids, which transport food and remove wastes.
Now imagine we back up a car and put the tailpipe up against the air intake filter that supplies the oxygen for the water in the tank. The water becomes filled with carbon monoxide, lowering the alkaline pH, creating an acidic pH environment and threatening the health of the ‘fish’ – your cells and organs.
What if we throw in too much food or the wrong kind of food (acid-producing food like dairy, sugar, and animal protein) and the fish are unable to consume or digest it all, and it starts to decompose and putrefy? Toxic acid waste and chemicals build up as the food breaks down, creating more acidic by-products and altering the optimum alkaline pH.
Basically, this is a small example of what we may be doing to our internal fluids every day. We are fouling them with pollution, smoking, drugs, excessive intake of food, over-consumption of acid-forming foods, and any number of transgressions which compromise the delicate balance of our internal alkaline fluids. Some of us have fish tanks (bodies) that are barely able to support life, yet we somehow manage to struggle from day to day, building more severe imbalances until there is the inevitable crash and we have debilitating chronic, disturbing and disorganizing symptoms to deal with.
The pH level (the acid-alkaline measurement) of our internal fluids affects every cell in our bodies. Extended acid imbalances of any kind are not well tolerated by the body. Indeed, the entire metabolic process depends on a balanced internal alkaline environment. A chronically over-acidic pH corrodes body tissue, slowly eating into the 60,000 miles of veins and arteries like acid eating into marble. If left unchecked, it will interrupt all cellular activities and functions, from the beating of your heart to the neural firing of your brain. In summary, over-acidification interferes with life itself leading to all sickness and disease!
Live blood analysis, also known as nutritional microscopy, is the science of qualitative blood analysis for the purpose of evaluating health at the cellular level. Since blood is required throughout the entire body and without it we would cease to exist, blood could be called our ‘river of life’. Blood can also be considered as an organ just like the heart, lungs, kidney or liver. Indeed, all of these organs rely heavily on good quality blood to replenish them.
“If the blood is sick you will be too - and fat - regardless of what you look like on the outside.” (Young R O: 2005: p36 The pH miracle for weight loss)
The quality of the blood is vital to healthy, disease-free existence and this is dependent on correct nutrition. Healthy blood pH is 7.365 and the body will do anything to maintain this level, in the same way that it maintains the correct body temperature. When we eat unhealthy or acidic foods the body has to work much harder to bring the pH level back to its preferred alkaline balance of 7.365, thus drawing energy from our bodies which makes us feel sick and tired.
There are two types of analysis involved in nutritional microscopy. The first is called live blood analysis, whereby the blood has not been altered or changed in any way. Because this unchanged sample has many variables such as how hydrated you are, what you ate over the past day or so, a second – dried blood – test is carried out in order to obtain the complete picture.
This is called the Mycotoxic Oxidative Stress Test (MOST), which looks for the acid wastes of yeast and bacteria and where they are settling in the body, causing stress to those areas. By finding out how effectively your blood clots, we can get an idea of your overall constitution. As blood cannot coagulate where acids settle, white puddles or discoloration appear; the size and shape of which represent the severity of cellular disorganisation. The location of these puddles also corresponds to different organ systems. By letting the blood clot for 30 seconds before placing it on a slide we can look deeper into the organs and further back in time, enabling us to view conditions that have been developing over some time.
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