Is the Blood Type Diet “RIGHT” for You?

I had a great question today from a reader.
 
She wanted to know if the Blood Type Diet was accurate and helpful.
I am sure many of you have come across this diet that has you eat a certain way if you are Type A, another if Type O, another if type B or AB.
 
I know there are doctors out there who claim great success with it, and some readers may have had success as well.
 
But I wanted to see if there was any peer reviewed, published literature to support the claims. I searched PubMed and found that a review had already been done about it. You can read it for yourself here: 
 
Before I get to that, the problem I find with this diet is that it is far too general for most auto immune patients.
I have seen patients come in eating this diet, and when I run food reaction panels on them, such as from Cyrex Labs, they are often highly reactive to what this diet has had them eating.
For example, soy is a recommended food for type A on this diet, yet I have several A patients who have an immune reaction to this food, and eating it will trigger a reaction as if they had eaten gluten.
I have had some type AB patients react to different dairy proteins, yet that is a recommended food for their “type”.
And then there are the patients who have Hashimoto’s antibodies, who may get flared up from the high iodine in kelp foods recommended for other types.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25355748
 
I know there are patients who have used this diet and had good results with weight loss or increased energy. However, there are others for whom it will have them eating foods that their INDIVIDUAL biochemistry does not tolerate.
This is why I prefer running labs on patients. We can cut out a lot of the wasted time on protocols that may not work for THEIR individual immune system.
 
As for the research on the blood type diet, the review found no studies to support the use of that diet, even for weight loss purposes. 
Of course there are people who have had great results following the blood type diet, and this does not negate those people’s results. My main emphasis is pointing out that it is always better to get lab tests to really know which foods are right for you, and which ones your immune system reacts negatively towards.
With that info, you can then customize an eating plan to avoid reactive foods and also a plan to increase your tolerance for foods by healing the gut. Dr Kharrazian has just created a Mucosal Tolerance Protocol that we started using in our office to support gut tolerance to foods.
What have your experiences and thoughts been about this diet? Please share them in the comments section, or message me if you have private questions.
You can also follow me on Twitter @drkirkgair or at www.FaceBook.com/ThyroidInfo
 

Is Giving UP Gluten REALLY Necessary for Hashimoto’s Patients, or Just Fad Hype?

Unless you are newly diagnosed, chances are you have heard a lot about the connection between eating gluten (a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, oats) and auto immune diseases like Hashimoto’s.

You also have probably heard from your doctor, online nutritionists, and many mainstream media outlets and late night talk show hosts saying it is a lot of BS, and that you actually NEED gluten to be healthy.

So Who Is Right?

And also, just how strict do I really need to be? Can’t I have a little cheat? What if I don’t have any gut symptoms?

To find out the answer, I searched through research articles on PubMed. I already knew my stance on the issue, but wanted to make sure there was current research that supported it.

The September 2015 edition of the journal Gastroenterology  found high “proportions of patients with NCWS or CD develop autoimmune disorders, are ANA positive, and showed DQ2/DQ8 haplotypes”. (note- NCWS is non-Celiac wheat sensitivity.)

In the March 2015 journal Cerebellumgluten was further linked to neurological disorders such as gluten ataxia, where there were no gut symptoms whatsoever, and occurred most commonly in patients with Hashimoto’s and other auto immune diseases. Check out this quote from the study:

“As with celiac disease, patients with GA (gluten ataxia) are often found to have an increased prevalence of additional autoimmune diseases the commonest of which include hypothyroidism, type 1 diabetes mellitus and pernicious anemia. Gastrointestinal symptoms are seldom prominent and are not a reliable indicator for the presence or absence of enteropathy. In this respect, gluten ataxia resembles dermatitis herpetiformis, an autoimmune dermatopathy triggered by gluten where gastrointestinal symptoms are not prominent even in the presence of an enteropathy.” (parenthesis and bold added by me for emphasis and clarification)

Wow. That is pretty powerful. How many of you with brain symptoms has ever had your doctor consider a possible gluten connection?

Did you know that a study from 3 years ago showed an increased need for T4 in patients with atypical Celiac disease?

How about that the need for increased T4 dosage reversed when the patient adopted a gluten free diet?

This study was in the March 2012 journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. Have you ever had your endocrinologist consider that this may be another reason your T4 is not working as it should, or did they ridicule you when you asked about it?

As far back as 1999, the Italian Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology   concluded the following:

The prevalence of coeliac disease in patients with autoimmune thyroid diseases is significantly increased when compared with the general population (p = 0.009) but not with patients affected by non autoimmune thyroid disorders (p = 0.18). We suggest a serological screening for coeliac disease in all patients with autoimmune thyroid disease measuring anti-endomysial antibodies, considering that early detection and treatment of coeliac disease are effective in preventing its complications.”

I could go on and on with studies that show the connection between gluten reactions, both non-celiac and celiac, and auto immune diseases, but it would quickly turn into a book.

The 2013 study in the journal Brain and Nerve by Yoneda even showed connections between Hashimoto’s encephalitis and gluten ataxia, which caused not only thyroid symptoms but neurological symptoms.  Thus gluten intake actually triggered not only reactions in the thyroid but also the brain.

Ok, so there IS a connection, but can’t I have an occasional cheat?

I remember talking to my friend Dr Datis Kharrazian about this. My wife had gotten seriously ill from her thyroid and mine was wreaking havoc on my life as well.

He asked if we were gluten free. I told him “mostly, like 95%.”

His response was that there was no such thing as mostly gluten free…just like you could not be mostly pregnant…you either ARE or ARE NOT…

It wasn’t what I wanted to hear, but it was what I needed to hear. He then told me something that the immunologists at Cyrex Labs confirmed when I had a consultation with one of their top doctors.

Just ONE exposure to gluten, one little bite of a “cheat”, could trigger an immune flare up that lasts 6 months to one year.

One year…that is HUGE.

I highly recommend that you go onto www.PubMed.org and search for yourself. The number of research studies is mind boggling.

Also check out www.CyrexLabs.com to read about the cutting edge tests that they are running for food reactions, environmental toxins, chemicals, metals, etc.

I hope this gives you some helpful info, and be sure to talk this over with your functional medicine or functional neurology practitioner for customized help.

You can follow me @drkirkgair or www.Facebook.com/ThyroidInfo