Antigens and the Immune System
As mentioned in my last post I’ve been reading Eat Right For Your Type by Dr. Peter J. D’Adamo. I touched a bit on the blood type diet but didn’t reference the main reasoning behind it. I want to dive into this deeper, because I think the information is interesting and important for healing any type of inflammatory condition (including endometriosis).
One way the immune system works is through antigens found in the cells of the body. The body’s unique system of antigens are like a chemical footprint.
Some of these powerful antigens define your blood type. These blood type antigens are very sensitive and when working properly they are the body’s best defense system.
According to Dr. D’Adamo, “When the immune system sees a foreign antigen (from bacteria) then one of the first things it looks for is your blood type antigen to tell whether it is friend or foe.”
When the blood type antigen senses a foreign antigen then the first thing it does is create an antibody that attaches and tags this foreign antigen for destruction.
Blood type antigens also develop antibodies against other blood types. These antibodies are the strongest in the immune system.
Lectins and the Agglutination Process
Chemical reactions happen between blood and certain foods. This is shown through the presence of lectins. Lectins are diverse proteins found in foods that have agglutinating properties that affect the blood.
According to Dr. D’Adamo with agglutination, “the antibody attaches itself to the viral antigen and makes it very sticky. When cells, viruses, parasites and bacteria are all agglutinated, they stick together and clump up, which makes the job of their disposal all that easier.”
Many food lectins have characteristics similar to certain foreign blood type antigens that are declared as enemies in the system causing the agglutination process to start in order to reject it.
According to Dr. D’Adamo, “When you eat foods containing lectins that are incompatible with your blood type antigen then the lectins target an organ or bodily system (kidneys, liver, brain, stomach, etc.) and begin to agglutinate blood cells in that area.”
This information makes me wonder about the connection between endometriosis, lectins and agglutination. It seems to me that the process of agglutination and of sticky lectins that some of this could collect on endo implants? I searched for research done on this and wasn’t able to find anything that I could comprehend, Lol.
The Negative Effects of Lectins in the Body
Most lectins found in the diet are removed by the body’s immune system but according to Dr. D’Adamo, at least 5% of the lectins we eat are filtered into the blood stream where they destroy white and red blood cells.
Different lectins target different organs and systems. Lectins settle in the body and create a magnetic effect on cells in that region. These clumped up cells can cause IBS, cirrhosis of the liver or block blood flow through the kidneys.
Lectins in the digestive track create inflammation of the sensitive mucus of the intestines. Agglutinative action in the intestines may mimic food allergies.
Lectin activity of certain foods can interfere with digestive processes, slows down metabolism so you don’t efficiently burn calories for energy, compromises the production of insulin and upsets hormonal balance causing water retention and thyroid disorders.
Nervous tissue is very sensitive to the agglutinating effect of food lectins, which is why those with joint pain generally find relief by cutting out foods high in lectins.
Foods high in lectins include gluten containing grains (wheat, barley and rye) and most other grains (corn, rice, etc), legumes, soy and dairy and foods in the nightshade family (meaning they grow at night from energy from the moon, rather than the sun) including tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and eggplant.
By following the blood type diet the theory is that the body avoids lectins that respond poorly to your blood type.
Testing for Lectins With the Indican Scale
It is possible to test for the presence of lectins in your body through a urine test evaluated by the Indican Scale.
According to Dr. D’Adamo, “The Indican Scale measures a factor called bowel putrefaction. When the liver and intestines don’t properly metabolize proteins, they produce toxic byproducts called indols. The level of these toxic by products is shown on the Indican Scale.”
If you avoid foods that contain lectins that do not metabolize in your own system, then the Indican Scale will be low. If you regularly consume foods that are high in indigestible lectins then your Indican scale will be high — meaning you have a high amount of toxic substances in your body.
On the Positive Side?
I’ve heard about lectins in passing especially from followers of the Paleo Diet — which contains guidelines to avoid foods high in lectins. I know that a lot of women with endometriosis and auto immune conditions have found success by following the Paleo Diet — perhaps because of the decrease in high lectin foods.
It is said that lectins may be inactivated by soaking, sprouting or fermenting and some lectins are removed through the cooking process. By soaking legumes overnight, draining the water, rinsing then draining again does seem to remove or inactivate many of the lectins.
What about you…. Have you paid attention to your lectin intake in regards to your blood type? Or do you follow the Paleo diet with success? I’d love to hear from you.